METALOCALYPSE Season II: Black Fire Upon Us (Adult Swim) 2dvd 34.00
Dethklok is back!!! Our favorite animated purveyors of apocalyptic metal destruction have returned to face their demons both mighty and petty. In season two, they venture into the horrors of fashion, P.R., detox, the dating scene, state politics, as well as staging the largest public criminal execution of all time and of course botching it big time. This season they are faced with new mortal enemies from the Tribunal (one voiced by Malcolm McDowell), as well as an army of disfigured and damaged former fans called The Revengencers. Can Dethklok finally release their new record to save the World Economy, or will they be crippled by their childish infighting and developmentally challenged destructive behaviors? We never listed the first season, but we were all pretty much OBSESSED. The music is amazing, so good it's hard to believe they're not a real band, and the band members various accents are SO impossible to understand which almost makes it funnier and will probably have you turning on the subtitles, and the carnage, oh the carnage, so much blood... Brutal!
METALOCALYPSE: DETHKLOK The Dethalbum (Williams Street / Adult Swim) cd 14.98
METALUCIFER Heavy Metal Bulldozer (Iron Pegasus) lp 17.98
METALUCIFER Heavy Metal Chainsaw (R.I.P) cd 14.98
You have to be pretty darn metal to get into this band, and that's as it should be: no poseurs allowed!! Metalucifer are Japanese metalheads (some from the cult black metal combo Sabbat) paying tribute to the glory days of '80s true metal, a la Maiden and Priest. This is their third album, following up to 1998's "Heavy Metal Drill" and 1996's "Heavy Metal Hunter" (what's next, Heavy Metal Hacksaw? Heavy Metal Pliers?). Brilliant, aren't they? And utterly ridiculous of course, something I doubt guitarist Elizabigore or bassist Geniezoluzifer would deny. In fact, they may be the MOST ridiculous tongue in cheek (yet kick ass) metal band ever. Get this: track four on here is called "My Way Is Heavy Metal" while on their previous disc they had an anthem entitled "Heavy Metal Is My Way". Wow. If you think that's stupid, I don't need to tell you not to buy this album. But if you think that's kinda rad, then, this is for you -- and it's not just for laffs either, 'cause they really do lay down the metal law fairly convincingly: screaming guitar leads, triumphant lyrics, pounding drums, majestic riffs, the works. A Thor for today. Over-the-top and awesome.
"Warriors Ride On The Chariots" RealAudio clip:
"Heavy Metal Samurai"
METALUCIFER Heavy Metal Drill (Iron) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. This Japanese metal band should win some sort of award for their name, not to mention their song titles: "Heavy Metal Is My Way", "Heavy Metal Drill", "Heavy Metal Hunter"...you get the idea. '80s leather & shades speed metal worship with all the Maidenesque guitar leads you could desire, topped off with charmingly warped English language lyrics/vocal delivery. Metalucifer is a side project of cult black metal band Sabbat, if that means anything to you. Fun stuff.
METALUCIFER Heavy Metal Hunter (Metal Proof Records / R.I.P. Records) cd 13.98
As you might guess after seeing 'em posing for pictures in front of a wall of vintage metal vinyl, these Japanese nutjobs are bigger metal maniacs than almost anyone else on the planet. And, they manage to do justice to their obssession with the music they make. This here disc is metal proof: the "ultimate US edition" of their debut album Heavy Metal Hunter, augmented by English language-tracks taken from their hard to find Heavy Metal Drill disc. Thus this includes 2 versions of title track "Heavy Metal Hunter pt.1" (one with extra solos) and a take of "Heavy Metal Hunter pt. 2" along with such songs as "Wolf Man" (both Japanese and English versions), "Bloody Countess" (likewise), "Headbanging" (ditto), and more. Totally old school, NWOBHM worship goin' on, delivered in a delightful tongue-in-cheek fashion -- we think. If you've ever seen local San Francisco metallers The Lord Weird Slough Feg end a live set with their raging cover of "Heavy Metal Hunter" you'll probably want this disc (and as it happens we have just enough copies to provide for the needs of all three of you).
"Heavy Metal Hunter pt. 1"
METASTASE Lassitude / Decroissance (D' Automne) 7" 8.98
Super limited debut release from these Quebecois funeral doomlords, whose sounds definitely hews closer to the sort of washed out dronedreamdrone doom we've been digging so much lately, that strange liturgical murk of Skepticism, mixed with the doom-ed psychedelia of Megaton Leviathan, the sound shimmery and almost shoegazey, the guitars warm and soft focus, the vocals airy and ethereal, in fact the A side is downright blissed out, and when the more metal VOKILLS finally come in, a rumbly demonic growl, even then it manages to sound sort of blurred and bleary, especially with the other more clean and chantlike vocals, a seriously dreamy chunk of downtuned dirgery that almost sounds like a doom metal Low. The B side slows it down even further, adding some keening mournful melodies, the guitars massive and warm, lush and layered, the vocals another layer of low end, gorgeously viscous and beautifully blackened, a haunting melancholic creep, that is more tranquil and mesmerizing that pummeling or pulverizing. The second half of the song adds some extra clean guitar melodies, and what sounds like swirling synths, and in a surprising twist gets a little bit mathy, but a slow woozy mathiness, that only manages to make it sound even more strange and psychedelic. LIMITED TO 550 COPIES!!! Pressed on green vinyl, with a printed full color cardstock insert.
METI BHUVAH II (The Howl) cd 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Leave it to the Russians to school us on the dark realities of existence with their relentlessly insular take on black metal. Everyone knows and loves Old Wainds and Nav, and now we have Meti Bhuvah, an intense whirlwind of blackened punk fury from the icy North that sounds like it could have easily stepped out of 1986. The abundance of stripped down thrashing punk riffs and guttural, bile spewing vocals, combined with appropriately lo-fi yet powerful recording quality, pretty much sound like the perfect balance of crusty D-Beat punk and Bathory's first record with bursts of pre-crossover American Hardcore a la Siege, COC, and SSD. The drums are generally a medium paced pound, the guitars are like napalm with occasional moments of phased out weirdness from the archaic recording devices, and the bass sounds amazing as it gurgles and distorts its way around the rest of the maelstrom. There isn't much variation to the affair, nor should there be. Instead, Meti Bhuvah stick to the basics, much in the vein of Ildjarn, and never let you forget why you relinquished your soul to the dark side in the first place. The riffs are evil yet catchy as hell and the saturation of pure metallic rage begins to take on a throb of psychedelic proportions if you just let it sink in and take over. In a little more than thirty minutes, Meti Bhuvah takes you on a blackened journey through the Russian wilderness that skews your perception and pummels your eardrums into senselessness. Just the way we like it.
"Immersion" MPEG Stream:
"Desire" MPEG Stream:
"Pleasure" MPEG Stream:
"Blood, Flames And Ice"
METI BHUVAH s/t (ASSAVLT) cd 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
MEZEKTET s/t (Wolvserpent) cassette 6.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Got just a handful of these tapes, from a batch of 120, from this new-ish group featuring members of several aQ faves including Pussygutt / Wolvserpent and A Story Of Rats, recorded a few years back, and sold mostly on the recent Wolvserpent / ASOR tour. And for folks who are familiar with either or both of those bands, the sound of Mezektet isn't that far removed, shimmering strings, melancholic steel string guitar, ominous percussion, all hazy and woozy and otherwordly, sounding at times like some sort of gypsy folks spinning at 16rpm, definitely a dark doomfolk vibe, but like the players' other projects it leans toward the black and the metal, and in this case, actually does spend much of it's time in metal mode, pounding drums and frenzied riffage, howled vokills, but here, those sounds are smoothed out and blurred, wreathed in high glistening crystalline tones, the sound a murky loopscape more than a proper black blast, almost as if Tim Hecker was trying his hand at black metal, needless to say, it sounds incredible, tripped out and heavy, atmospheric and darkly moody, definitely need to hear more from these guys (and gal). Hope this wasn't just a one off, cuz it's definitely as good as anything the various members have done in their other projects. Sadly, we only have about 10 copies left, and pretty sure it's already sold out and out of print. So grab one quick before it's too late. LIMITED TO 120, each one hand numbered, recorded on cool metallic green tapes.
MGLA Groza (Northern Heritage) cd 15.98
The long awaited and first proper full length from this Polish black metal horde with the unpronounceable moniker (Mgla means 'fog' in Polish btw). We first heard Mgla on the incredible Crushing The Holy Trinity compilation, sharing sonic space with such black metal luminaries as Deathspell Omega, Clandestine Blaze, Exordium, Musta Surma, and Stabat Mater. At the time we had never heard Mgla, let alone heard OF them, but they definitely held their own, and then some. Soon after came their Presence ep, which continued to demonstrate Mgla's mastery of loping minor key buzz, layering the Burzumic murk with woozy melodies, and adding flurries of double kick blast beats, managing to invoke the old masters while somehow creating a black sound all their own. So now comes Groza, a 4 part, 36 minute full length, and holy shit is it good. Everything we loved about Mgla before is present, but the songwriting has improved greatly (songwriting is not always a priority in black metal, not as much as stringing together kick ass riffs) and the sound is better to. An excellent production that manages to keep plenty of buzz, but makes the guitars burn bright, the drums don't get lost at all, especially the double kick which adds awesome percussive accents to long stretches of buzz. The opener alone is worth the price of admission. A ridiculously catchy main riff that manages to still sound grim and black. The drums a simple groove (some Khold-ish moments for sure), with brief flurries of double kick, but it's the second part/riff that truly transcends, after a gorgeous midtempo bridge/breakdown, the band launch into an incredible arpeggiated mid tempo groove, a minor key melody as melancholic as it is catchy, wrapped around the main riff, those double kick drums leaping to the fore, it's hard to explain, but it's just awesome, it has the same power as a timeless pop song, that riff is just so emotional and intense. Every time the song loops back around to THAT part, it's just perfect. Even when the est of the instruments explode into a blast, that main melody keeps swirling endlessly, and makes even the blast haunting and moving. There's also a awesome drum breakdown in the middle, before the band lurches back into dreary woozy minor key miserblist action. So awesome. It took about 10 listens before we could even review this record cuz we just kept listing to the first track over and over and over. So imagine our surprise when the second track hit the very same spot, offering up a gorgeously mournful minor key melody, a killer groove, all wrapped around some incredible drumming, verging on mathrock, but never going quite that far, instead just pounding away, letting the riff transform the blackness into something special. And the last two movements follow suit. The more we listen to this, the more the Khold comparison seems apt. Only insomuch as there is a distinct pop element, and a groove, falling in that no man's land between blast and dirge, and the guitar parts don't just buzz, they swirl and whirl and shimmer, there are vocals too, of the growly demonic sort, but they bow before the riffs, and the beats, and unlike a lot of black metal, there is definitely some bass happening, adding to the thickness of the sound and that element of groove. It's funny, we get so much to listen to every week, so not everything gets the amount of listening time it deserves, and when we set out to review this, actually, it was definitely going to be positive, but nothing too effusive and fawning, but on repeated listens, and on closer headphone listens, we're realizing this could very well be a contender for one of our favorite black metal records of the year....
"Groza I" MPEG Stream:
MGLA Presence (Northern Heritage) cd ep 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We reviewed the massive triple cd black metal collection, Crushing The Holy Trinity a while back, a compilation of some of the most fucked up and amazing black metal we'd heard in ages, due in no small part to the contributions of long time AQ faves Deathspell Omega and Clandestine Blaze. The rest of the collection was made up of lesser known bands, all of whom managed to kick our asses as well. One of the bands we had never heard of, but whose contribution etched itself in our memory like an upside down crucifix held in the fire and then pressed into our foreheads was the bizarrely monickered MGLA. This Polish (as far as we can tell) horde traffic in the same sort of loping midtempo black metal as their countrymen Graveland. Nods to Nargaroth and Woodtemple as well. That gloriously droney, midtempo, murky and fuzzed out blackened buzz we can never get enough of, interrupted by occasional bursts of stumbling blast beats, lightning fast mosquito buzz riffs, glass gargling demonic howls, all with a subtle Viking vibe. The whole thing is swathed in Burzumic ambient fuzz, and laced with mournful Xasthur-ish arpeggiated minor key melodies. Awesome. Can't wait for the forthcoming full length!
"Presence I" MPEG Stream:
MGR Y DESTRUCTO SWARMBOTS! Amigos De La Guitarra (Neurot) cd 14.98
Amigos De La Guitarra. Friends of the guitar. Funny. Both of these guys are most definitely friends of the guitar, although neither really plays the guitar the way nature intended. Well, maybe once in a while they do. Two Mikes. One called Mare, one called Gallagher. One also known to us as Destructo Swarmbots. The other, known around these parts as MGR, or sometimes, the guy from Isis. Both MGR and Destructo Swarmbots are long time faves around these parts, both creating epic expansive sprawling guitarscapes, occasionally heavy and intense, other times shimmery and ethereal, and while we never expected to find the two playing together, now that we're listening to it, it sort of seems like a pretty fantastic idea. One 42 minute track, that begins all moody and melodic, finger picked guitars, melodies, harmonies, lilting and almost folky, a little post rocky, moody and minor key, gradually growing more and more intense, some of the guitars billowing out into clouds of rumble and blur, while the rest keep the main melodies going. Before it gets to noisy, the drones recede, once again leaving the guitars to drift delicately, weaving subtle sonic shapes, until once again, some of the guitars begin to growl and buzz, the chords and melodies growing more jagged and abrasive, the sound a roiling soft swirl, which is when things get really interesting and suddenly some of the guitars are chopped up and sent stuttering, creating a droned out rhythmic skitter, while the other guitar soars and wails in the background. All around, sheets of feedback fold in on themselves, shot though with jagged shards of corrosive high end crunch, before finally the chaos begins to dissipate, leaving just a tangle of guitar melodies, slowly unfurling, winding down through gauzy fields of crackle and muted buzz, until just shadowy echoes of the guitars remain, and then nothing at all. In short: A gorgeous disc of trancey blissed out ambient heaviness, from two friends of the guitar...
"Amigos De La Guitarra (Excerpt)"
MHONOS Humiliati (Le Crepuscule Du Soir) cd 13.98
It's hard to argue with a mysterious ritualistic ambient doom outfit from France, especially, when there are six members, four of whom are credited with 'low frequencies', while the other two are credited with 'deep pulses', and then on top of that, spread out between all six: ultrasounds, 'ondulations', horns, bowls, incantations, screams, organum, bells, bowls and 'arpegiatas'. As well as the fact that they are each credited with the honorific 'frater' before their names, casting Mhonos less as a musical group and more as some sort of arcane religious sect, formed around a slavish devotion to the drone, specifically a blackened strain of doom-ed drone, cobbled together from multiple, thick, layered, downtuned bass dirges, minimal percussion, looped rumbles and chanted vox, creating a seriously liturgical, choral vibe, the first twenty three minutes of the opening thirty four minute track, a totally mesmerizing, lurching, lumbering and looped creep, a hybrid of SUNNO)))-like slo-mo-dirgery, and the vocal driven low end ritualism of recent aQ faves Phurpa, all tethered to a ritualistic death march rhythm, and we're talking total blissed out atmospheric ambient doooooooom, which eventually transforms, albeit briefly, into a couple measure of more traditionally metallic heaviness, as if the song was finally going to launch into some serious riffery, only to almost immediately zone out into some spacey longform layered drone/drift shimmer, the tones descending, the chordal whir seeming to detune, as various low end tendrils begin to swoop and sway, the drums returning, but more as filigree than propulsion, before finishing off with a surprising squall of chaotic psychedelia. Which leads directly into the shorter (relatively, at 8 minutes) second track, which right out of the gate sounds like Tuvan throat singers teamed up with Skepticism, a whirring organ like blur, stretches out like a grim black haze, the drums a primitive pound, the vocals deep raspy rumbles, somewhere between throat singing and death metal gurgle, the sound dark and dense and ominous, but also strangely meditative and mesmerizing, this song too gradually blossoming into something strangely warm, and again abstractly psychedelic. The record finishes with a nearly 35 minute long sonic bookend, starting out with some serious distorted metallic bass riffing, which again hints at an eventual explosion into some sort of black blast or furious pounding blowout, but instead, the sound lurches into a crushing slab of tribal drum driven slowcore pummel, dizzying and almost industrial, the sound fracturing into a grinding blackened almost-noise rock, the multiple basses providing both heft and melody, the vocals here transformed into more of a punk rock yowl, the whole sound heaving and roiling malevolently, before suddenly and surprisingly evolving into a strange sort of tripped out psych drone drift, all effected bass melodies and swirling FX, hazy and heady, washed out and woozy. Eventually, the basses swell and the heaviness returns, and the song becomes a depressive blackdoom creep, with slow motion riffs, and more demonic drum pound, everything blown out and super distorted, sounding a bit like Cop Shoot Cop or Swans at 16rpm, heaving and heavy, the various low end buzzed and drones peeling way one by one until just strangled mewling vocal, and a pounding echo drenched drum remain, a haunting and harrowing finish for sure. So great. Most definitely for fans of SUNNO))) and other likeminded purveyors of low slung slo-mo heaviness, as well as anyone into mysterious vocal driven ritualism, a la Phurpa, Huun-Huur-Tu, etc, and generally all and any manner of funeral doom metal, droned out black ambience and atmospheric bass driven tarpit creep...
"Alveus Terra" MPEG Stream:
"Ex Nihilo... Ad Nihilum..."
MI AMORE The Lamb cd 14.98
MICROWAVES Contagion Heuristic (Crucial Blast) cd 14.98
In the anti-tradition of whitebread Bay Area thrash metal, the violent morass of New York no wave, and a familiarity with Ralph Records / THE RESIDENTS insanity, Microwaves draws from a palette that is somehow as wide as it seems limited. Spiked skronk-infested guitars spit tonality-impaired riffs like so much chaff from a surgically calibrated tree shredder, while a propulsive fretless bass assault is jammed through all manner of alien effects, often rendering it as more a bowel-rumbling presence than an actual instrument. The percussive cyborg clatter and MICROWAVE's paranoid dual vocal attack serve to further blast MICROWAVES' dystopian thrash into the outer void.
"MK" MPEG Stream:
MICROWAVES Psionic Impedance (UGexplode) lp 14.98
For whatever reason, we've never reviewed anything by angular metallic noise rockers Microwaves, even though some aQ-ers are big fans, but we HAVE reviewed several records by Br0wn Angel, which just so happens to feature one of the members of Microwaves. And while the sounds are certainly pretty different, there's definitely a sonic link. Although probably best to consider that this 2012 release from Microwaves was released on Weasel Walter's UGexplode label, which of course means there's definitely a serious no-wave / free-noise vibe going on, which there most certainly is, but his guitar /drums / FX duo take that stuff and filter it through something much more mathy and metallic, which most definitely pushes all our buttons, the sound lurching from slithering progged out creep, to tangled, almost sci-fi sounding metal crunch, to warped new wave noise rock freakout, the guitars jagged and atonal, the drums wild and octopoidal, the vocals yelped and howled, some tracks wreathed in thick swaths of synth squelch, others a haze of psychedelic buzz, the guitars sometimes so distorted they sound like blasts of power electronics, and if you needed more of an idea of what these guys were shooting for, check out their awesome (and awesomely tweaked) cover of Devo's "Penetration (In The Centerfold)", which takes the already warped original, and manages to attain a level of cover version genius that almost rivals Pussy Galore's take on the same song. Total tripped out, psychedelic zoner-metal, noise-wave, math-rock radness that is most definitely recommended. FYI this is the vinyl version, but there's also a cd, which we'll hopefully get in to list soon too.
"Hammerspace" MPEG Stream:
"Ortolan" MPEG Stream:
"Ne Plus Ultra" MPEG Stream:
"Penetration (In The Centerfold)"
MIDDIAN Age Eternal (Metal Blade) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We know a lot of you, like us, are fans of the supreme sludge majesty of Eugene, Oregon's mighty Yob. Over the course of four albums, Yob reigned as one of the heaviest, spaciest doom-prog outfits ever, sounding something like a tripped-out Rush on 16rpm, mixed with the riffs of Sabbath and Sleep, all super epic, doomy and psychedelic. What's not to love? Not only that, but they always stopped in to shop at Aquarius whenever in town. So, we were certainly sad when Yob broke up, a while ago. But now, we're very glad to report that Yob mastermind Mike Scheidt has bounced back with a new band, Middian, who have just made their debut on Yob's old label Metal Blade. And Middian pretty much take up where Yob left off. It's again a trio, it's again totally doom, and Mike's trademark combination of soaring, electronically effected clean singing and growling gutturalisms is still in place. But the five new tracks that comprise Age Eternal's 57 minutes are if anything darker and denser than anything Yob had yet achieved, yet also maybe more melodic. Middian is at times faster paced (not all doom, even with songs as long as these, has to be slow all the time) than Yob ever was, but Middian's songcraft embraces a wide array of emotions and dynamics. The aggro impetus of opener "Dreamless Eye" definitely reminds us that Mike was often looking for death metal records when visiting our shop, while elsewhere on this album the listener is enveloped by blissful swirling layers of slo-mo, melodic drone. If you liked Yob, if you like Mammatus, if you like Neurosis, if you like Lesbian, this should be right up your alley. However we're not sure if Metal Blade's marketing idea (as expressed on the cover sticker-blurb) that this is for fans of The Sword, High On Fire, and the Obsessed is quite correct... while fans of those bands could and should love Middian, this is still quite a bit more sonically and structurally "extreme" than any of those. Maybe add Boris and Ufomammut to that list, at least, to come closer to Middian's mean between psychedelic stoner metal and brutal doom. PS we noticed online that Middian is playing a record release party for this album in Portland tonight, Friday April 13th, with both Asunder and Slough Feg also on the bill -- damn, wish we could be there!
"Dreamless Eye " MPEG Stream:
"The Blood Of Icons"
MIDNIGHT Complete and Total F@#cking Midnight (Outlaw) cd 10.98
"All Hail Hell" MPEG Stream:
"Hot Graves" MPEG Stream:
MIDNIGHT CHASER Rough And Tough (Heavy Artillery) cd 14.98
Braggadocious San Francisco metallers Midnight Chaser unleash their album debut, brought to us by the same label that put out the Vektor album we highlighted last list. But while Vektor blew minds with their advanced thrash tech, Midnight Chaser are much more retro and rockin' than that. They play sleazy hard rock steeped in the sounds of the late '70s/early '80s New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, a la Diamond Head, Blitzkrieg, Chateaux, and Tank. And we know they know their stuff, they covered Tank on the limited edition ep that preceded this, and are named after a song by obscure NWOBHMers White Spirit (the band that Iron Maiden third wheel Janick Gers got his start in). Combine that with their native Californian good time rock n' roll roots and you've got a party... in fact, the lead off track here, entitled "Awesome Party" (actually Midnight Chaser's original name before wiser heads prevailed) tells you pretty much all you need to know. Super catchy chugging riffiness, in support of the singer's spirited contention that he's "got nothing to lose", "really need(s) to cut loose" and is "looking for an awesome party tonight". And it would be an awesome party, if Midnight Chaser were playing... The whole rest of the record is similarly rockin' and fun, including their cover of "Dynamite" from Blackout by the Scorpions. Other things to like about 'em: the singer has short hair, wears aviator shades, and thus kinda has a Graham Bonnet thing going. The disc's cartoonish cover is pretty rad/ridiculous, depicting a sexy woman of indeterminate age (possibly the protagonist of track 5, "Cougar'd") riding a mechanical amplifier beast with electric guitars for legs, galloping across a hot pink landscape. Yeah they're not very grim and kvlt, are they? But take a break from the black metal and rock out for once! Seems we've got a little New Wave Of San Francisco Old School Awesome Partying Heavy Metal happening here, with the likes of Space Vacation, Hot Fog, and now these guys! Cool.
"Awesome Party" MPEG Stream:
"Rough And Tough" MPEG Stream:
MIDNIGHT PRIEST Rainha Da Magia Negra (Stormspell) cd 11.98
Most of the metal bands we've heard who sing in Portuguese are from Brazil. This band, though, actually hails from Portugal itself, the old country as it were, and appropriately keep their metal old school as well. We can imagine 'em playing shows with their countrymen Ironsword, since they're both traditional '80s styled metallers. However, whereas Ironsword sing in English, and musically pay tribute to cult heroes Manilla Road, these guys, as we said, instead sing in their native tongue, and seem most inspired by early (Di'Anno era) Iron Maiden and other NWOBHM acts (plus pre-NWOBHMers Judas Priest no doubt). There's six triumphant tracks here on this 29-minute debut disc, nice and heavy, raw and rippin', displaying a definite knack for riffs, making good use of their twin guitar attack. The vocals are melodic but rather gruff and aggressive, coming from a fellow simply called The Priest. Everybody else in the band seems to have not only stage names but nicknames too. Like, guitarist Rod Wolf (which can't be his real name!) is also known as "The Mystical", and the allegedly named Wartank Alex also gets called "Animal", naturally enough 'cause he's the drummer. All that, plus the cartoon-like band portrait tell us these guys aren't the most serious band ever. Yet their music doesn't sound like they're fooling around, they manage to not only kick out some awesome riffage but also generate and atmosphere that can get genuinely dark and epic. There's definitely something quite likable about this band, regardless of the language barrier. Heck, the singer wears glasses (which is pretty cool we think, since a lot of us here do too). Also, and more importantly, despite our not knowing what he's singing about, he still manages to command our attention. As do the guitars, and those we do understand!
"Rainha De Magia Negra" MPEG Stream:
MIDNIGHT PRIEST s/t (Stormspell) cd 11.98
More from these Portuguese true metallers!
MINSK Out Of A Center Which Is Neither Dead Nor Alive (At A Loss) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Some magazine recently voted Minsk "Biggest Isis ripoff" in it's year end poll. Hardly fair we think. Good thing there's no black metal poll with a "Biggest Darkthrone ripoff" category, you'd need a whole magazine to list the results. Anyway, no, no, no, Minsk is their own glorious head caving soul crushing entity. Sure there are sonic similarities, this is definitely of the sludgy metallic post rock persuasion, and lord knows we can't get enough of that stuff. But Minsk are definitely a whole different beast, falling much closer to Neurosis or Buried At Sea (which featured at one point a current member of Minsk). Where Isis is tight and controlled, Minsk sound a lot crustier and sludgier. When you close your eyes and think of Isis, you probably picture mysterious figures standing before a vast body of water, or a huge expanse of starry sky, musically deconstructing the workings of the universe, but for some reason if you close your eyes and picture the guys in Minsk, all that comes to mind are huge furry yeti's, carrying spiked clubs, eight foot tall mountain men with beards down to their waists and greasy old baseball caps and unwahsed hair, blurry old tattoos, and big black shitckicker boots. Amps held together with bent rusty nails and scavenged duct tape, guitars covered in stickers and paint and dirt and branches and whatever else got in their way as they trudged from the cave to the stage. This is huge heavy harrowing shit. Massive riffs, roiling and churning, thick and viscous, the vocals are similar, a raging below, not quite a shriek or a howl, just an anguished, ultra pissed bellow, the drums are big and loud and way up in the mix, not ultra complex, but busy enough to keep the sludge in check. The other thing that Minsk has that sets them apart is not one but two synths, which gives the whole record a thick dense creepy creepy vibe, no silence EVER, always some sort of ominous sonic swirl, sometimes way in the background, sometimes whipped into a frenzy, a dense dark squall of rumbles and drones. Each track stretching out and chugging over and over, building and building like some heavy metal Steve Reich, before drifting off into some haunting almost Middle Eastern sounding stretch of clean guitar, sludgy synths and warm harmony vocals. The whole record is peppered with those sorts of strange stretches: spacy ambience, Hawkwindy psychedelic swirl, loping post rocky mesmer, blissy blurry shimmer. Each its own mysterious slow burn before the fucking walls come down in a suffocating sludgeslide of massive doomy droney riffing. FUCK YEAH!
"Waging War On The Forevers" MPEG Stream:
"Narcotics And Dissecting Knives"
MINSK The Ritual Fires Of Abandonment (Relapse) cd 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
"Ember" MPEG Stream:
"White Wings" MPEG Stream:
MINUS Jesus Christ Bobby (Victory) cd 16.98
While this is noisy, chaotic metalcore (a la Converge, Coalesce, Botch, Cave In) on Victory, there -are- some twists: First of all, these guys are from far-off Iceland (and to prove it, they even got an ex-Sugarcube to sing on one song -- not Bjork though) and, also, they produced this with the help of Icelandic electronica artist Curver, who contributes some additional digital-glitch chaos to Minus' already-complex and fucked up songwriting. We read a quite negative review of this on some indie pop website, written by someone suckered in by the Sugarcubes connection and subsequently confused and horrified by the madness on offer here -- the reviewer claimed that it wasn't even music! Well, that person obviously isn't an Aquarius customer...and certainly hasn't heard much current metal/hardcore stuff! In actual fact (well, our opinion), this is pretty darn amazing!! Minus go beyond the aforementioned crushing noisecore and computer fuckery to incorporate some unexpected emo-pop hooks and non-screaming singing -- and there's even an acoustic guitar song with plaintive vocals halfway through the album! Also, we love the bonus backwards track at the end. Minus is yet another reason all of us here at Aquarius really want to take a vacation to Iceland! Recommended.
"Misdo" RealAudio clip:
MIRAG Black Temple Carved In Smoke (Battlecruiser / Celebrate Psi Phenomenon) cd 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We couldn't keep these in stock way back when these were just little ol' cd-r's, they've been out of print for a while, but have now been repressed and gussied up a bit. It's a REAL cd instead of a cd-r, and the packaging is super swank, metallic silver ink on thick black sleeves. Take a deep breath and dunk your head in this burning pit of black fire... Another bleak and black slab of experimental drone in metal's clothing, and as always totally fucking great. From Campbell Kneale's (Birchville Cat Motel, Black Boned Angel) experiMETAL Battlecruiser label comes the mysterious Mirag (whom it is suspected might in fact be Matthew Bower of Skullflower, Sunroof!, Total, etc.), whose wash of fuzzed out guitar grrrrrr is as swoonsome as it is brutal, a warm woozy swell of icepicks to the ear, as soothing and hypnotic and droning as it is fierce and furiously fuzzy. Huge churning swaths of mega-distorted guitars, moaning and grinding, rumbling and squealing, wrapped in all shades of grey and black, a desolate industrial fog, whose harsh and oppressive vibe is reminiscent of late eighties, early nineties NYC knuckle dragging thud and pound: Swans, Cop Shoot Cop, Unsane. But the sound itself has more in common with Total and Burning Star Core and Hototogisu and that sort of warm soft noise, huge walls of slow shifting vacuum cleaner guitar, thick and pulsing, nearly static, with occasional flares of melted melodies that are swallowed up almost as soon as they appear.
"One" MPEG Stream:
MIRAG Black Temple Carved In Smoke (Battlecruiser / Celebrate Psi Phenomenon) cd-r 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Another bleak and black slab of experimental drone in metal's clothing, and as always totally fucking great. From Campbell Kneale's (Birchville Cat Motel, Black Boned Angel) experiMETAL Battlecrusier label comes the mysterious Mirag (whom it is suspected might in fact be Matthew Bower of Skullflower, Sunroof!, Total, etc.), whose wash of fuzzed out guitar grrrrrr is as swoonsome as it is brutal, a warm woozy swell of icepicks to the ear, as soothing and hypnotic and droning as it is fierce and furiously fuzzy. Huge churning swaths of mega-distorted guitars, moaning and grinding, rumbling and squealing, wrapped in all shades of grey and black, a desolate industrial fog, whose harsh and oppressive vibe is reminiscent of late eighties, early nineties NYC knuckle dragging thud and pound: Swans, Cop Shoot Cop, Unsane. But the sound itself has more in common with Total and Burning Star Core and Hototogisu and that sort of warm soft noise, huge walls of slow shifting vaccum cleaner guitar, thick and pulsing, nearly static, with occasional flares of melted melodies that are swallowed up almost as soon as they appear. SUPER LIMITED AS ALWAYS!! NOT SURE WE'LL BE ABLE TO GET MORE WHEN THESE ARE GONE!
"One" MPEG Stream:
MISERY INDEX Dissent (Anarchos) cd 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Get ready extreme metal fans -- the most punk rock band in death metal return again with perhaps their single best recording yet. I've been an enormous fan of these Baltimore-area death/grinders since most of the band's members initially splintered off from Dying Fetus and its more narrow death-metal trappings. Misery Index retains the intensity of death metal, but further incorporate more focused song structures from a hardcore punk perspective. Don't be misled -- they're still a million times more technical than most, but they have the most anarchist-friendly smash-the-state lyrical agenda this side of a Crass compilation. Misery Index stand alone in their ability to achieve the rare combination of totally brutal heaviness contained within the context of distinct, catchy memorable and unique songs -- a sadly rare anomaly in metal these days. And the drumming! The Herculean drum abilities of the inimitable Kevin Talley have been mentioned in these pages before, but it bares repeating, if only because Talley has been absent from the last couple recording sessions. Well, he's back again, and just a few seconds of his playing will send prospective metal drummers back to the rehearsal studio, tail between legs and head bowed in shame. Overall, an intensely powerful five-song ep and a very welcome return to form. Stay with the band Kevin!
"Dissent II. Exception to the Ruled" MPEG Stream:
"Dissent III. The Imperial Ambition"
MISERY INDEX Retaliate (Nuclear Blast) cd 12.98
Speaking in terms of aural metaphor, prepare to be brutally beaten about the head and neck by this new release from the no-holds-barred death/grind outfit known as Misery Index, a band that AQ's metalheads already were fans of -- thanks to their split cd with Commit Suicide -- and having been formed by 3 ex-members of the mighty Dying Fetus, including master metal drummer Kevin Talley, who was replaced by a drum student of his before this record!). 'Retaliate' storms along with super political (A customer of ours called them the Crass of death metal), seriously pissed-off, society-slagging, strength through hate music-making. With their shouted vocals, brutal guitars, and grindgod drumming, Misery Index can't be taken lightly.
MISERY INDEX / BATHTUB SHITTER split (Emetic) 7" 4.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. What the world needs now is... more BATHTUB SHITTER!!! And what the world needs, our shit obsessed grindmetal pals from the East are here to provide. Two brand new blasts of grinding freaked out, spazzy and shrieking grind metal, occupying some impossible musical space between Brutal Truth, the Boredoms, Cannibal Corpse, skate thrash and eighties hardcore. So weird and so fucking awesome!!! We kind of want to figure out a way to fly the guys in Bathtub Shitter to the US so they could be the AQ house band, blasting and bleating dissonant serenades to our customers 24 hours a day. Okay, maybe not, but we still love 'em! The 'Shitter are teamed up here with Maryland's own grindmetal destruction crew Misery Index, who unleash one track of downtuned grinding nirvana as well as a blown out blast that is a Napalm Death cover. Comes packaged in a super swank gatefold 7" sleeve, with BS's side a haunting airbrushed watercolor batwinged, horn headed child demon flipping us the ubiquitous peace sign hand gesture (although his hands sport huge demonic talons!). Cool!
MISERY SIGNALS Of Malice and The Magnum Heart (Ferret) cd 14.98
MISTIGO VARGGOTH DARKESTRA Key To The Gates Of Apocalypses (The End) cd 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. One of our all-time favorite weird black metal releases, up there with Burzum's "Filosofem" and Potentiam's "Balsyn" (with whom it shares some similarities). Yes, that's plural Apocalpyses, how evil is that?! And only one key to those gates...anyway, this disc is perhaps Allan and Andee's favorite new black metal find. A one-man side project of Russian (!) Emperor-clones Nokturnal Mortum. While that band was merely ok, this project absolutely rules. One track only, an over-seventy minute long 'song' that begins with dark ambient rumblings, encounters growling wolves, delves into Burzum-like fuzz-trance, all that before erupting into truly epic black metal riffing...an hour later you'll be hiding under your bed trembling with fear (or perhaps slaking your thirst with blood and howling at the moon) but the song still isn't over! A very impressive piece of work. Triumphant evil!" Since I wrote that, pagan folk metallers Nokturnal Mortum (who are actually Ukrainian, really, not Russian -- a distinction important to them, I'm sure!) have released some newer albums that we really liked, notably their latest, "NeChrist", which many of you bought and presumably enjoyed. Anyone that applies to MUST get this disc too if you don't already have it. Likewise for fans of other avantgarde black metal like Caacrinolas or the aforementioned Burzum and Potentiam... Let me (Allan) quote myself again, this time from the pages of, uh, Cool Beans magazine: "...this disc is amazing! Not just for the novelty of a seventy-minute 'song' that incorporates both ambient forest-rumble (I swear, you'll smell the breath of the wolf) and straight-up black metal riffarama, but for the sheer quality of the music alone! ... Perfect for staring out of a train window into a darkened, rainy and unknown landscape of a foreign land. Obviously, recommended!
MISTRESS II: The Chronovisor (Rage Of Achilles) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Drunken, Dirty, Dave, Misery, and Migg are back, stumbling out of the gutter and into the studio to record a follow-up to 2002's self-titled Mistress debut. England's answer to Cavity or Eyehategod (but way more wasted), Mistress make rock n' roll with much feedback and bad feelings. Some of these guys are involved with the amazing Anaal Nathrakh, and what that band is to polished black metal symphonics these guys are to good times stoner rock. In other words, they're not so much about cracking open a brew and smoking pot as they are about smoking crack and, uh, brooding. Well maybe that's not true, they're all smiles in the band photos. Musically, though, this is some mean-ass, serious stuff. On II: The Chronovisor, Mistress tear through eight tracks of ugly, raw, punkish sludge-metal with titles like "Rat Piss" and "Wanker Colony" before wrapping things up with an epic 13-minute ninth track, entitled "38". Their debut did the same thing, culminating in a lengthy doom opus as well. Clearly these boys don't want to mess with a winning formula!
"Hell Is Other People" MPEG Stream:
MISTRESS s/t (Rage Of Achilles) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Hailing from Birmingham, England, the five-piece sludgemetal annihilation squad called Mistress is miserable, drunken, and dirty, quite literally -- just take a look at this list of the band members names and what they're credited with -- Misery: notes Drunken: noise Dirty: bulldozerbassing Dave Cunt: voice Migg: total destruction of wooden coffins (and cymbals) That tells you something right there, doesn't it? On their self-titled debut cd, this filthy fivesome crank out wretched distortion/fuzz laden doomgrind in the vein of Eyehategod and Iron Monkey, with some effective black metal touches here and there (keyboards used sparingly), as on the track "Rebecca". Which makes sense, since singer Dave is a member of awesome British black metal act Anaal Nathrakh that we love so much! Of course Mistress isn't nearly as intense as Anaal (what is?), and actually as doom sludge stuff goes they're also not on par with the likes of Khanate or Corrupted, quite. But they're still pretty good. They get all rock n' roll (kinda in the style of Floridian sludge-meisters Cavity) with midtempo Sabbath-dragged-through-the-mud cuts like "Goatboy" and "Necronaut". But Mistress are at their best when they take that brand of doominess to its utter extreme on the closing, twelve minute long psychedelic noise/feedback filled drone metal epic "Lord Worm". Good stuff, that.
"Necronaut" RealAudio clip:
MISTRESS The Glory Bitches Of Doghead (Feto Records) cd 15.98
MITCHELL AND MANLEY Norcal Values (Thrill Jockey) lp 16.98
Props to Thrill Jockey. Not only did they come up with a batch of Record Store Day releases this year that were all truly worthy (unlike some other RSD stuff that seems more about collectability than good music), they also made sure that they'd last a bit beyond Record Store Day itself, being limited but not soooooo super limited that they're already on eBay. So, you'll find a bunch of 'em on this list, like the Oval/Liturgy 12", and this, the vinyl-only debut lp from the guitar duo of Mitchell and Manley. If you're familiar with Isaiah Mitchell's playing in his band Earthless, you kinda know what to expect... endless, tripped out, set the controls for the heart of the sun electric guitar soloing... Meanwhile, Phil Manley is no slouch on the axe himself, as he's demonstrated in Trans Am, The Fucking Champs, Oneida, Jonas Reinhardt, etc. Plus, if you've heard his recent solo album Life Coach, you know he's totally tuned in to '70s kosmiche krautrock electronics. In this context, Isaiah is perhaps more about fingers on frets, and Phil about feets on pedals, but the division of labor isn't all that clear-cut. And if you were here on Sunday for their instore (their first ever live performance together!), you got a taste of what the two of them are capable of (and, probably already bought this lp). However, that instore was, despite everyone's best intentions (sorry, neighbors!) a bit louder and "face melting" than how Mitchell and Manley come off on record, which Phil had told us was kind of "new-agey". And Norcal Values does mellow it out a bit, on two side-long cuts, "San Francisco Values" (we're proud of them, dammit, and just love Nancy Pelosi!) and "Sausalito Values" (adding a little Marin to the mix). Basically, this is just what we expected (and wanted)... something that combines the never-ending jamming aspect of Earthless, with the more blissed out vibe of much of Phil's solo album. Shred vs. shimmer, here. Improvised live, with no overdubs. Guitar solos, like it says on the cover. Although this was released on 4/16, for Record Store Day, it could just have easily come out on 4/20... what we're sayin' is that this is stoner music. Not sure how long these will be around, they are limited to 1000, so better hurry and grab one now - you can mellow out and relax (and light one up) AFTER you've scored a copy. Comes with digital download, btw.
MITHOTYN Gathered Around The Oaken Table (Hammerheart) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The original Invasion label version of this has been out of print for along time, but now we have it back in stock, repressed on Hammerheart, with new (not so ridiculous but not really better either) cover art. This is what we said about it before: Viking heavy/black metal at its alehorn-swinging best (with album title related cover art that is either so stupid it's funny or so funny it's stupid). This band manages to incorporate folky melodies yet rock like a heavy metal band should. Better than Einherjer, not as extreme as Enslaved (but maybe more fun). The song with the line about "my magic hammer" is my favorite.
MITOCHONDRIAN Parasignosis (Profound Lore) cd 13.98
Record number two from these twisted avant Canadian death metallers, whose sound has less in common with Morbid Angel or Deicide and WAY more in common with the warped and twisted metal of groups like Portal, WOLD, Impetuous Ritual, Cremation and Gorguts. Years in the works and meticulously assembled, Parasignosis is a dizzying, ultra prog outsider death metal blow out, rife with impossibly obtuse arrangements, super demented time stretched vocals that sound like a blurred droned out gurgle, the guitars don't buzz and chug as much as they ooze and swirl and soar, the sound muddy and murky and blurry and chaotic, a churning, roiling morass of downtuned guitars, of chaotic intricate drumming, of those fucked up vokills, as well as strange samples, buried whispers, the normal blast and pound and pummel, infused with super druggy psychedelia, with the tracks constantly slowing down and spacing out, the guitars unwinding into loose tangles of psychedelic leads, and unfurling layered, textured spidery melodies, the riffs themselves gnarled and twisted, the band locking into long stretches of hypnometal, sounding almost looped as they pound out mesmerizingly cyclical blasts of grinding blackened crush, or alternatingly letting the guitars spiral skyward unleashing frenzies of super dense melodic psychedelia, draped over the furious pounding blasts below, the whole thing an undulating ever shifting super complex and convoluted deathmetalscape, as likely to pummel relentlessly, as slip into some heavily effected blackened drift or trip out into some sort of death metal space rock psychedelic hybrid, finishing off the record with an extended ambient outro, all abstract guitars, strange twisted organs, buried industrial crunch, all smeared into a hazy sprawl of blackened otherworldly deathlike drift. AWESOME.
"Tetravirulence (Pestilentiam Intus Vocamus, Voluntatem Absolvimus Part III)" MPEG Stream:
"Trials" MPEG Stream:
MOAB Ab Ovo (Kemado) lp 21.00
MOCK s/t (Agonia Records) cd 16.98
MOEVOT Best Of (Sanity Muffin) cassette 5.98
Mutiilation, Vlad Tepes, Belketre, Torgeist... all groups that typically inspire a certain amount of reverence and awed respect in black metal circles, those outfits being the more well known members of Les Legions Noires, aka the Black Legions, a small underground group of black metal musicians, who came together in the late eighties / early nineties, and created a super distinctive, and extremely kult body of work. The Black Legions numbered maybe ten people, but in different configurations, those ten formed multiple bands and projects, and released super limited, and nearly impossible to get demos, from strangely named hordes like Vzaeurvbtre, Brenoritvrezorkre and Vermyapre Kommando. And while the sound was typically raw and primitive, black and buzzy, noisy and super lo-fi, there was another side of the Black Legions, groups who trafficked in a sound a bit more mysterious and moody, a black ambient strain that gave us outfits like Amaka Hahina and Aakon Keetreh. But by far, our favorite of those more black ambient Black Legions groups, was Moevot, aka Vordb Dreagvor Uezreevb, who also played in loads of other Black Legions outfits like Belketre, Torgeist, Brenoritvrezorkre, Vagezaryavtre, etc. Moevot conjure up a seriously grim and creepy sound world, brooding and murky, the sound fuzzy and low fidelity but somehow simultaneously lush and layered. The overall sound has a vibe much like current soundscapers like The Caretaker and Tim Hecker, but more home brewed, more raw and primitive, stripped down and skeletal in places, but almost noisy in others. Some tracks sound like black metal riffs, played with no distortion, slowed down and blurred into swirling streaks of pulsing mesmer, others are just voices, and sound choral / liturgical, haunting and hushed. Scattered throughout are field recordings of crackling fires, chirping birds, whispering winds all woven into softly whirring organs, gentle acoustic guitar strum, monk like chanting, and woozy spectral croons, long stretches of near silence, bleed into dreamily melancholic slow motion melodies, tranquil and soporifically hypnotic. Hushed, barely there drifts, float over distant sonic swirls, buried murky melodies unfurl throughout, there ARE raspy vokills here and there, but they sound so much more mysteriously abject when placed amidst the otherwise dreamlike blackened sonic landscapes. So gorgeous and otherworldly, a bleary, balearic sprawl of soft focus, creeping black beauty, a grimly blissful songsuite that's equal part slowed down nightmare lullaby and woozy atmospheric dreamdrift thrum. If this weren't a cassette that was LIMITED TO 100 COPIES, you can bet this would have / could have / should have been a Record Of The Week!
"In Einem Friedhof - Errance" MPEG Stream:
"Notre Pere" MPEG Stream:
"Oraison" MPEG Stream:
MOHO ...He Visto La Cruz Al Reves (Thorne) cd+dvd 17.98
By way of Madrid Spain comes Moho (mold in Espanol), a three piece juggernaut of dirt head rock fury so ferocious they give seasoned rockers like High On Fire, Electric Wizard, EyeHateGod & Grief a serious run for the (drug) money. "....He Visto La Cruz Al Reves" (loosely translates to "I Have Seen The Cross Of The Misfortune" or better yet "I Have Seen The Cross Inverted!") is a furious groovy sludge rock jam, a stoned stumble through the garden at midnight. Many of the songs start with big fat riffs, slowly building into some serious sludgy groove, drifting way off, gradually working up to a loping midtempo, before dragging it back down into the murk. Moho are fully capable of kicking it up a notch too, but on this release (their second outing), Moho tend to lay way back "in the pocket" and just bludgeon your blissed-out melon over and over again in a "let's-beat-these-instruments-to-death-till-they-are-destroyed -over-and-over-again!!!" kind of way, and at the same time, a furious throat-full-of-rocks vocalist is howling wildly right in your ear - in Spanish no less - so don't fight it, just GIVE IN to the supreme Hessian power of Moho! Comes with a DVD chock full of live footage of the band in small venues, "passing the pipe" and rocking out at a house party. They definitely look like they are a fun band to see play live... A great hard to pin down metal outfit you should most definitely check out!
"Semana Santa" MPEG Stream:
MOLEHILL Comfort Measured In Razored Lines (Rage Of Achilles) cd 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. UK label Rage of Achilles again dredges the depths of America's metal underground and comes up with a winner. Alabama's Molehill are slow and dirty and dirgy and ultra heavy. Oh, and did I say slow? Screamy slow-motion southern dirge-rock with plenty of feedback, rumbling bass and screamy vocals. Think Eyehategod, Noothgrush, etc.
MOLOCH Depression Of Surtr (Blackmetal.com) cd 13.98
Finally, the first proper full length from Ukrainian one man black metal horde Moloch. As we mentioned in our review of the split tape from a while back (the only thing we'd been able to get in sufficient numbers to list), we have been totally obsessed with Moloch, doing whatever we could to get a hold of everything and anything he's recorded. Which is quite a feat as he's released about 40 records, many of them box sets, and making it even more of a feat is the fact that most were limited to between 10 and 40 copies. Argghhh. Andee has even been emailing with Moloch about possibly releasing something on tUMULt, all in the interest of making these gorgeously grim sounds available to more than a handful of connected diehards. So in steps the fine folks at BlackMetal.Com, who have released Depression Of Surtr, a best of compilation, gathering up various tracks from a handful or releases, as well as a bunch of unreleased tracks (although since barely anyone has heard most of this stuff, they're essentially ALL unreleased). So what has got us all in a tizzy about this Moloch character? Hard to explain, but with most black metal, it's as much about vibe as it is sound, and these tracks, besides sounding amazing, are so weirdly haunting and mysterious, the guitars so saturated and blown out, the drums buried in the mix, more of a pulse than a beat, and the vocals, somewhere between Weakling and Silencer, howled and wailed and utterly anguished. So tortured and over the top, again simultaneously adding to the vibe and mood as well as the sound. But besides the vibe, which is about as harrowing and haunting and GRIM as can be, the sound is fucking epic, Burzum by way of Abruptum, mostly midtempo, even the blasts are only slightly faster, the guitars are super distorted and droney, the sort of trance-y buzz that has us immediately entranced. There are also some long stretches of black ambience, of shimmery drift and rumbling dronemusic, which makes sense, as Moloch has also released 10 or 15 entire discs full of ambient music, but here they nicely balance the blown out grimnity of the more buzzy blown out tracks. There's even a couple covers at the end, one a Burzum cover, all pianos and synths, lilting and minor key, the other a Darkthrone cover, which is totally bizarre, swooning synths over an awesomely cheesy drum machine (which sounds remarkably similar to the one built into the boom box in the back room). Not sure what to even make of it, so strange, and a little bit silly, but once you get immersed in it, it does seem to sound a bit more haunting. But only a bit. But then that's what we were talking about, the vibe, and the mood, and Moloch creates such a strange unpredictable vibe, with his skewed perspective on black metal, which is what makes his sound, and his records so amazing. And which is exactly why we're so obsessed...
"Ljosalfaheimr" MPEG Stream:
"Throught Halo Of Fire-Brands" MPEG Stream:
"En As I Dype Skogen (Darkthrone Cover)"
MOLOCH Illusionen Eines Verlorenen Lebens (Glorious North) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Illusionen Eines Verlorenen Lebens is the latest from ridiculously prolific Ukrainian one man black metal horde Moloch, one of THREE new full lengths in 2011, so far! Thankfully, everything we've heard from Moloch has been pretty incredible, and perhaps in this case also thankfully, of the SEVENTY ONE releases since 2004, we've only managed to get a tiny handful, so it's still exciting to get our hands on anything new from Moloch, whose sound is a dark, depressive mix of haunting dark ambience, and murky buzz drenched blackness, definitely the sort of thing that should appeal to fans of Xasthur, I Shalt Become, Burzum, Striborg, Nortt, Velvet Cacoon, which we would imagine is probably a whole bunch of you. And if you've yet to discover Moloch, this is as good a place to start as any. Beginning with a mournful ambient drift, all swoonsome strings, haunting piano and softly layered chordal thrum, very cinematic and quite beautiful, which leads directly into the first half of "Ein Dusterer Winter Kommt", the swirling synths carrying over from the last track, here drifting over big drums, with strange spoken vox, and a slowly intensifying black buzz, the song never truly exploding, instead, pounding along hypnotically, with the vocals becoming more and anguished. It's the second part of the song where the buzz is let loose, the song still a meandering creep, but wreathed in some seriously thick crumbling superdistorted buzz, which is the MO for the next few tracks, the songs lumbering and lurching, through clouds of corrosive buzz and strange vocals, on "Weg Von Dieser Welt Voller Traurigkeit", the riffing grows distinctly blacker, frantic picking, soaring majestic melodies, but still wrapped around Moloch's depressive doomy plod, with some of the most hysterical vocals on the record so far. Two brief ambient interludes, all synths and strings and whirring shimmering droney drift, lead into the 22 minute closer "Abgrund Meines Wesens", which one might expect to be a crushing buzz drenched finale, but instead is something much more subtle, a sprawling synthscape in multiple movements, like some lost soundtrack for some old art film, lush chordal swells beneath streaks of muted melody, deep sonorous thrum and hushed washed out shimmer, there is a stretch, where the ambience is augmented by a thick layer of buzz, but beyond adding some heft, it doesn't blacken the sound so much as make it more intense. The sort of soundscapery that can easily whisk you off to some other world, some alternate universe. Gorgeous stuff. Definitely heavier on the atmospheric drift than on black buzz, but overall, a pretty fantastic slab of ambient blackness...
"Ein Dusterer Winter Kommt I" MPEG Stream:
"Ein Dusterer Winter Kommt II" MPEG Stream:
"Dissonanz Tropfen Eines Gluhenden Schmerzes"
MOLOCH s/t (Choking Hazard) cd 13.98
Not to be confused with the Russian black metal Moloch, this Moloch is something much grimier and grittier and doomier, treading a path closer to Eyehategod, and of course the current crop of ultra doomlords like Moss, Bunkur, Monarch, and of course Noothgrush and Corrupted. In fact, if it sounds like we just described your collection, you might as well stop right now and grab one of these, cuz if sloooooow, ultra heavy, doomic crush is your thing, then Moloch will definitely hit the spot. Four songs, 25 minutes, this UK foursome offer up some pretty fearsome heaviness, slipping easily from plodding lumbering slow motion, to swinging stonery groove and back again, the guitars thick and viscous, the drums pounding and pummeling, the vocals a wild shriek. The more we listen to this we're also hearing plenty of Grief and Bongzilla, the riffs like 16rpm Sabbath, the band's crawl druggy and dissonant, but laced with some super swinging NOLA-esque grooviness, and some surprisingly Pantera-ish vox, which makes some of this sound like Down, but only if Down were WAY crustier and filthier and DIY and lo-fi. Which is most definitely not a bad thing. Heartily recommended for you drugged out, stoner rock, ultra doom, slow and low misfits, some seriously crushing black hole brutality, with just enough swing to keep it interesting. Released on the same label that did that kick ass Ghast / Yoga split!
"Thy Grief" MPEG Stream:
"Who Is This Who Is Coming"
MOLOCH / THOU Tears That Soak A Callous Heart (Perpetual Motion Machine / Feast Of Tentacles) lp 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Doesn't get much heavier than this. Louisiana sludgelords Thou matched up with UK ultradoom heavies Moloch (not to be confused with the Ukrainian black metallers Moloch). By now, like us, you're probably pretty obsessed with Thou, of the multitudes of practitioners of the incredibly slow and low, Thou probably come closest to capturing the spirit of the bands who got us into that sort of heaviness in the first place, Eyehategod, Bongzilla, Weedeater, Noothgrush, disEMBOWELMENT, Winter, Sleep, 16, Buzzoven, the Melvins, but they do it so well and they do it in a way that few others can, and that's by infusing some serious pop into their sound. Fear not, it's not obvious, not at all, and most folks might not hear it, but it's there, and it transforms their sludge entirely. The first track is the perfect example, sludgy and sour, everything wrapped in a warm distortion blanket. Great vokillz as always. The drums pounding away mercilessly, the guitars sounding like they're in slow motion, churning and chugging, the tone insanely corrosive and blown out, but then there are these intense chiming melodies, that change the vibe completely, some weird hybrid of the Melvins, Nirvana and Eyehategod, slipping from NOLA style Southern sludgey groove, to full on ultradoom plod, to what sounds almost like death metal slowed down to a crawl, to what sounds like their cover of Nirvana's "Sifting", which finally answers our prayers, whenever a killer band does a cover of another band, and it's amazing, and we can't help but wish there was just a band that sounded LIKE THAT, not just when they were covering songs by other bands, well, here you go!! The second track offers up more heavy bliss, opening with a riff like Sleep's "Jerusalem" before the rest of the band kicks in and things get all tense and dark before breaking out into some melodic serpentine riffery. So grim and doomy and sludgy but you can still hear all the definition of the song, before it eventually builds into an ultra depressive lament. Fuck yeah. Moloch counter with some of their own filthy crusty sludge. Opening with a glacial squall of barely moving but steady black buzz riffage. Hardcore vocals and Neanderthal drum pound and knuckle dragging amp buzz that rides out with seemingly infinite sustain, evolving into an abject midtempo sonic beatdown. The second track introduces some groove, but Moloch's idea of groove is way less groovy and way more menacing, the lurching lumbering crush laced with hateful throat shredding howls, and some super harmonic riffage. Super nice woodcut style packaging with a heavy printed inner sleeve and nice thick jacket, pressed on cloudy clear vinyl, LIMITED TO 1000 COPIES.
MOLOTH Scent Of Blood / Rehearsal 2003 A.B. (Lost Reich) cd 13.98
MONARCH A Look At Tomorrow / Mass Death And Destruction (Heathen Skulls) 7" 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Disclose and Discharge covers!! One sided, and etched!
MONARCH Dead Men Tell No Tales (Crucial Blast) 2cd 14.98
For a band who supposedly broke up, Monarch sure have managed to put out a whole bunch of music, post mortem. And while this is funeral doom and everything, we're not talking some Biggie Smalls / Tupac Shakur music from beyond the grave thing (although you never know!), it seems the announced breakup was premature, and lucky for all the doomongers among you, the Monarch is alive and (un)well. Avid readers of the AQ list should need no introduction to French downtuned slow motion sludge doom trio Monarch. A band truly worthy of many multiples of 'o's (dooooooooooooooooooooom), whose plod and crawl is so slow it often veers near static drone territory, and who also manage to deftly mix in a bit of subtle loveliness into their harsh metallic trudge, AND whose peculiar sense of humor, and album art, and unlikely front woman, definitely make them stand out in an increasingly crowded field... For those new to Monarch let's recap shall we? Quite possibly the world's only female fronted deathdoomdronedirge outfit. An unholy mix of Khanate, Corrupted, Bunkur and Moss, but with a petite young French woman on lead vocals, usually clad in Converse hightops, a skirt and a sweater, hair in a pony tail, no tattoos or spikes or leather, but when she opens her mouth, out comes the foulest demonic shrieks and hellish gurgles you have EVER heard. Certainly from a woman, maybe from ANY one, man, woman or beast. Then there are the record covers, always covered in grade school like doodles of cute big eyed skulls, puffy ghosts, burning churches, and hearts all over the place. They're like a Sanrio doom band. And not surprisingly are obsessed with Hello Kitty (their email address is sanriosabbath!!). But eyes closed, and these guys and gal can most definitely hold their own amongst the slow motion elite. With the added bonus of a singer who can actually sing and does occasionally, adding a definite creepy melodic moodiness to the music. So this double disc collects two ultra limited lps (the band seem to lean toward lps, AND double cds, with songs clocking in at 10, 20, sometimes 30 minutes), one that we carried a while back and sold out in the blink of an eye, the massive and amazing Speak Of The Sea, and weirdly enough, another 2 song lp, that's not really out yet entitled appropriately enough Die Tonight. So what has us so smitten with Monarch? Besides the above that is? Let's start with Speak Of The Sea, a massive pummeling wall of headsplitting ultra doom, an impossibly glacial plodding thud wrapped in ear shredding sheets of corrosive feedback that will tear your insides out and fill your ears with black tar. A gorgeously dense. ultra caustic and corrosive funereal doom that manages to be dreamy and darn near pretty while it's pummeling you to death. Easily one of the slowest heaviest dooooooooom records ever, three looooong tracks. Each so slow it's almost ambient. It's a bit like listening to SUNNO))) or Earth 2 when some caveman drummer decides to crash the party and start drumming slowly along. Riffs stretched out into huge droning smears of black rumble, ringing and reverberating, pulsing and wavering unsteadily before the next ten ton riff drops. Each track is a slow plodding ultradoomscape, like the ultimate doom metal intro stretched into actual songs, smeared across nearly an hour. The vocals don't even come in until the first song is almost over, a shrieking black coda, after twenty minutes of slow burning doom drone tension. The second track features some distant Ozzy-like crooning way off in the distance before the scowling growl kicks in. So slow and heavy. On the AQ doooooomscale, this ranks more O's than we could possibly include in this review! And for the cd release, they've tacked on a whole 'nother song to the first disc (album), a creepy, pretty near ambient crawl, nothing but the sound of the surf crashing on the shore, a thick hissy staticky sound, slowly swelling and drifting, very meditative, with hushed urgently whispered vocals hovering above the crashing sea, very strange, but quite nice. Then we get to Die Tonight, a record most of us (if not all of us) have not heard until now. And if anything it's everything Speak Of The Sea was and MORE. Heavier (as if that were even possible), slower (ditto) and more blurred out, buzzy and dronelike, with bits of the song so blissed out, the drum hits and chaotic crashes are so far apart, you can almost forget you're listening to a doom band, wallowing in the glorious shimmering drones of the drawn out chords, before a howled shriek and a massive crunch knocks you near out of your seat. There's also more singing, with gorgeous drifting vocals that hover alongside long stretches of buzzing guitar making for haunting harmonies, giving the proceedings brief moments of surprising tranquility. And the vocals continue to twist and turn, from hushed and whispery, to girlish and sing songy to inhuman demonic screech, all the while, the band trudging along dronelike, weaving impossibly pretty soundscapes from downtuned crunch and skull cracking thud. This is absolutely essential doom. If you like Esoteric, Boris, Moss, Bunkur, SUNNO))), Earth, Esoteric, Skepticism, Eyehategod, Marzuraan, Atavist, Catacombs, Khanate, Pale Horse, Monument Of Urns and you NEED this! And the drifting drone element is in full effect, so those who have yet to dabble in the doom pool, might check this out, the long drawn out shimmers and Niblock like layers of guitar rumble might hit the spot and have you digging deeper for more and more dooooom. Gorgeously packaged in a black gatefold, printed in silver ink, decorated with big eyed ghosts, a sailing ship with upside down crosses and a heart on the sail, lots of stars, some cute birdies, and an anchor with a heart on it. Inside are two silver on black printed inserts, with all the lyrics, the liner notes and a thanks list that says it all: Moss, Noothgrush, Otesanek, Corrupted, Bastard Noise, Rainbow Of Death, Nuit Noire and of course "our lucky stars"!
"Speak Of The Devil, Speak Of The Sea" MPEG Stream: