NOOTHGRUSH Failing Early, Failing Often (Emetic) 2lp 27.00
Available again, this killer compilation of early material from legendary Bay area slo-mo sludge/doom crushers Noothgrush, who recently reformed and are about to play a show with the also together-again East Coast doomlords Winter. Back in the nineties, Noothgrush were a ubiquitous presence, playing all the time, and releasing records at a crazy clip, splits to be precise, Noothgrush were the master of the split 7", sharing records with Corrupted, Gasp, Agents Of Satan, Deadbodieseverywhere, Black Army Jacket, Carol Ann, Wellington and more. And the interesting thing is the band never actually recorded a proper full length. In fact, the two 'albums' they released were both compilations, collecting all the comp tracks and singles. We reviewed Erode The Person, which is sadly now out of print again, which gathered up the later recordings of the band, and in the review we lamented the fact that this one was sadly out of print. Well it's available again, and is here to again remind the world, that there was some serious downtuned pummel and tarpit doomsludge creep happening LONG before Boris / SUNNO))) / Whitehorse and all the rest threw their dirge-doom hat into the ring. And like we mentioned before, Noothgrush were just about a decade too early. So Failing Early, Failing Often, originally released on Bay Area powerviolence/fastcore label Slap A Ham, is brimming with Sabbath-at-16rpm dirgery and creeping blackened crawls, loads of feedback, the drums a glacial stumble, provided by the cute and diminutive Chiyo (she most definitely a nineties SF metalhead crush), the vocals a howled raspy bellow, lots of samples too, from movies, and politicians, the sound crusty and blackened, with many of the tracks here from the WAY early days, old demos and cassettes, which means the sound on those is even more filhty and lo-fi and raw. Punishing and heavy as fuck, droned out and dreary and druggy and so good, even all these years later. Fans of the current crop of doomlords and dirge merchants, who somehow missed out on these guys (and gal) would do well to check this out. And if you loved Erode The Person, well this is the second part to what with EtP is essentially one massive compilation/career retrospective.
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NOOTHGRUSH Live For Nothing (Southern Lord) cd 13.98
Hot on the heels of the recent reissue of early material from Bay Area doom/sludge combo Noothgrush, comes this killer live record, collecting two live-on-the-radio performances, one from 1996 on KZSU Stanford, the other from 1999 on KFJC in Los Altos Hills, and both are just what you'd expect, heaving, downtuned heaviness, churning riffage, cavewoman drum pound, glass gargling vokills, all wound into a lurching lumbering doom juggernaut, the older stuff much more beholden to classic doom, featuring the band as a foursome with Matt Harvey (Exhumed) on second guitar, winding some mournful melodies into the groups dirgey plod. The sound is great, dense and crushing, the guitars massive and heavy, they even take on a Celtic Frost song and totally make it their own. The KFJC recording (introduced by aQ pal and longtime KFJC DJ Number 6), finds the band stripped back down to a trio, but the sound is just as epic, and in fact, it's a super strange recording, echoey and reverby, the drums SUPER loud, which makes everything, especially the drums, sound super dubbed out, with some of the slo-mo snare rolls sounding purposefully dubby, but all it does really is add a psychedelic vibe to the proceedings, the band unfurling another sick set of sonic tarpit misery, gloriously miserable and darkly depressive, the sort of stuff that should be heaven (or hell?) for fans of Corrupted, Whitehorse, Monarch, Eyehategod, Monument Of Urns, Khanate, Fleshpress, Bongzilla and the rest the slow and low doomlords...
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"Procreation Of The Wicked"
NORA Loser's Intuition (Trustkill) cd 13.98
This is easily one of the best new metal-core bands we've heard. We had a split cd of theirs a while back, but three songs wasn't nearly enough to realise what these guys were truly capable of. Certainly worthy heirs to the Coalesce/Converge/Deadguy throne. Super heavy and well produced. They actually kind of sound like a heavy metal Jesus Lizard. Distorted bass with lots of bass-and-drums breakdowns. Completely catchy and melodic rock n' roll parts nestled between bellowing, half-time chugging METAL. So good.
"My Bloody Clownsuit" RealAudio clip:
NORDHEIM s/t (Eerie Art) cd-r 8.98
"Spina De Mul"
NORDIC VISION #14 magazine 6.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Everyone's favorite metal magazine. Dodheimsgard on the cover, with Darkthrone, Immolation, Godflesh, and more. Ridiculously brutal reviews and bizarre nonsensical writing to the point of being surreal. Plus their newest and silliest feature; a 'sexy death goddess' will pose for readers per their suggestions (hopefully they'll heed my suggestion in a future issue and she'll dress up like a Hot Dog On a Stick girl!!).
NORDIC VISION issue #16 magazine 7.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. More "entertainment for maniacs" from this seminal Norwegian black metal magazine. Cover stars: Gorgoroth ("What an astonishing and Devilish album 'Incipit Satan' really is. That's what we think, and therefore Infernus and Tormentor had some questions to answer"), plus Notre Dame, Necromantia, Impaled Nazarene, Necrophagia, Carpathian Forest, and more. The Gorgoroth interview is demented, as they somehow answer all the questions in even more bizarre a manner than they were asked. And, as usual, there's a ton of reviews written in the now-infamous fucked up Nordic Vision vocabulary, as well as their dumb "Sex & Satan" pictorial feature, and the "Soundcheck" department where black metal celebs like Fenriz, Shagrath, Samoth, Maniac, and Frost rate current releases. Another eccentric, silly, fascinating issue of our favorite Norwegian metal magazine. Sample editorial comment: "We have dived into the Necro World of bands like Necrophagia, Necrodeath, and Necromantia."
NORDVARGR Helvete (Eternal Pride) cd 6.66
The return of black ambient darklord Nordvargr. A quick look at the aQ website reveals a long love and appreciation for the dark art of Henrik Nordvargr Bjorkk, from his early days in black ambient terrorists MZ412, to more recent guitar based dronemusik, to his collaborations with MZ412 Drakh, heck, Andee even released the last Nordvargr / Drakh disc on tUMULt. Needless to say, for folks into dark drones and ambient blackness, sinister soundscapes and bleak and abject sounds, it's hard to do any better than Nordvargr. While the last few discs have displayed a renewed interest in the guitar, with a much more song oriented approach, Helvete finds Nordvargr returning to the miserablist blackdrone world of his past, offering up some seriously intense and caustic brutality, a collection of grim, utterly hellish soundscapes, all crumbling low end, cavernous black rumbles, haunting mysterious blackness, a definite old school industrial vibe. This disc has been anxiously anticipated due to the fact that Leviathan's Wrest contributes vocals to one track, and his demonic croak is totally unmistakable. He growls and gurgles ominously over deep black drones and all manner of distorted crash and crunch, some seriously frightening stuff for sure. If you think stuff like Lustmord is way too lightweight, then this is definitely for you. "Dronevessel Part II" is a harrowing expanse of dense metallic low end buzz, sprawling like the roots of some gnarled black tree, impossibly heavy and suffocatingly black. "Part III" begins with a series of strange grinding metal klaxons, before slithering back into the pitch black from whence it came. Drakh offers up vocals on "Exit Cult, Enter Hell", a super distorted snakelike hiss, draped over a crumbling churning black sonic sea. The final track begins with almost a minute of near silence, before a raw metal buzz surfaces, stumbling blast beats, buzzing riffage, harsh demonic vocals, some full on lo-fi grim black metal for a brief moment, but it quickly blackens and slips back into sinister grimnity. But beyond that brief dalliance with the black blast, this is indeed a soul consuming black hole of sound. This is easily one of the darkest, heaviest, scariest black drone discs EVER. And we don't make that proclamation lightly. WAY recommended.
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"Conjugation To Him"
NORDVARGR / DRAKH Infinitas In Aeternum (Cyclic Law) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. For now, the AQ list / site may not reflect it, but we have been MASSIVE, almost obsessive fans of the work of one Nordvargr, who we first discovered as the driving force behind the mysterious black metal dark ambient outift MZ412. He would later go on to record some of the most gorgeously bleak, martial ambient / drone musick as Folkstorm, Toroidh, and under his given name Henrik N Bjorkk. He is a modern master of dark ambient death drone. Most of his records have been really tough to track down, so we were super excited to be able to get enough of these to list. The name Drakh may be even less familiar to you than Nordvargr, but some of you may immediately recognize him as Nordvargr's partner in MZ412! So the hopes were quite high for what basically amounts to a new MZ412 record. And thankfully, you dark ambient death drone doom fanatics will not be disappointed. This is a crushing black souled threnody. Massive sheets of dark sound, shift and shimmer, disembodied voices crumble into sonic shards, oppressive walls of suffocating rumble, roll endlessly into the dark oblivion. But what sets this apart from other dark ambient / drone records is the guitars. Yep, guitars. About halfway in, bookended on either side by bleak shimmering lowend ambience, sirens wail, and drones creep slowly onward, as huge downtuned guitars unfurl slow motion riffs, lugubrious and lumbering, so distorted, and tuned so low you can hear the chords crumbling into pieces, while the whole thing lurches forward, through a cloud of black tar mist. It's like a Sunn 0))) track stuck in the middle of a Lustmord record. Like endless blackness being painted even more black. Like dropping a black hole into another even blacker hole...
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NORDVARGR / DRAKH The Betrayal Of Light (tUMULt) cd 11.98
By now we shouldn't have to go into too much detail regarding or massive love of all things Nordvargr, from the militaristic folk of Folkstorm, the martial industrial sounds of Toroidh, the bleak black ambience of BM legends MZ412, to the various recordings and sounds perpetrated under his own name, pretty much everything he's touched as turned to black gold. But no matter how much we love everything Nordvargr, our hearts will always belong to MZ412. When we first discovered that band we were totally thrown for a loop, we were loving the sounds of black metal by then, and here was a band with a cryptic monicker, amazing album design, burning churches on their record covers and the band members in full corpse paint. We were ready to be totally blown away, and we were, just not in the way we expected. Their sound was not metal, no buzzing guitars, no shrieking vocals, no blast beats, instead, theirs was a dark world of mysterious blackness, bleak and barren, frosty and and grim, and impossible JUST AS HEAVY as any of the other black metal we had been listening to. This was ambient music, but it was intense, and brutal, and scary. The band ceased to exist and Nordvargr moved on to the above mentioned projects as well as numerous collaborations and projects under his own name. Then a few years back, a strange thing happened, a record surfaced credited to Nordvargr and Drakh, who just so happened to be Nordvargr's partner in MZ412, and as far as we were concerned, it was the rebirth of MZ412 in everything but name. Several more releases followed, all delicately balanced between dark ambience and buzzing blackness, culminating in this, the brand new record from the duo that once was MZ412. The two have some dark chemistry together, weaving elaborate worlds of black sound, not just ambience, not just drone music, but songs, with parts, and riffs and melodies, lots of guitars, occasionally trudging glacially like some slow motion doom behemoth, other times buzzing like some disembodied ghost of black metal, and at others, glistening and drifting in vast expanses of shimmer and whir. The Betrayal Of Light was originally meant to be releases on several well known dark ambient labels, who all rejected the record for being too heavy, and that's all we needed to hear. Nordvargr, Drakh, too heavy, too much guitar.... Thus it ended up on tUMULt (run by our very own Andee), quite possibly where it belonged all along, fitting quite comfortably amidst a roster of black metal and drone music, embodying at least a handful of descriptors that seem to apply to most tUMULt releases, dark, droney, and fucked... The Betrayal Of Light is one massive sonic event, a black cloud of sound, separated into movements, the first, begins as a slow beautiful crawl, a murky soundfield supporting a delicate web of softly plucked guitar strings, until a wall of downtuned buzz swallows it whole, a massive mournful dirge, stately and majestic, classic old school funereal doom, but super dramatic, and strangely melodic, sounding a bit like Earth or SUNNO))) playing the procession at a funeral or the royal march for some ancient court. Minor key and so gorgeous, a lonely lament rendered in amp buzz and smeared riffage, but completely nestled amidst a sea of churning low end, and that ever present minor key guitar line... Not long after, the duo explode in a frenzy of buzzguitar, moving as close to black metal as they've ever gotten, after a slow building shimmer, the track coalesces into a furious buzzing riff, with what sounds like some buried demonic vocals, no drums, so it's a sort of unmoored black metal drift, the riff cycling hypnotically while all around low end roils and whirls and in the distance the landscape is peppered with reverberant subsonic booms, and low level rumbles... The album's centerpiece is the nearly eleven minute long "Vessel", a lengthy, meditative guitarscape, delicate minor key melodies unfurled over a web of strange whirs and buzzes, the melodies occasionally being overwhelmed by waves of oscillating industrial detritus, before drifting back to the surface where they are joined by rumbling guttural throat singing, or heavily reverbed monklike chants, all the while, a constant ominous drone, grinds and crumbles just below the surface, culminating in a bizarre symphony of processed guitars and grinding insectoid vocals, simultaneously epic and intense, and weird and disturbing. The rest of the record is a harrowing journey through the dark woods, through a warren of underground passages, through a vast wasteland of barren frost and black sun, thick coruscating guitars buzz and howl, sheets of thick riffs one after another, create an ever shifting wall of crumbling distorted sound, voices drift ghostlike beneath a murky swirl of distant feedback and warbling whir, tones and notes and bits of muted melody are stretched out and blurred into gorgeous hazy smears, pulses and barely audible throbs shift and shimmer just below the surface... everything creeping and slithering through a constant cloud of drifting damaged drones. Finally, the journey comes to an end, a gorgeous low end lurch, a thick serpentine shamble with gorgeous bits of backwards guitar, and shards of minor key melody. The low end is lopped and pulses like some mysterious machine, the low end growing in intensity, like some black star about to implode, dreamy backwards vocals drift in, like some reverse angelic chorus, until a deep voice, drenched in reverb and distortion, intones a mysterious apocalyptic warning, and then suddenly... it's done. An intense and overwhelming sonic journey, as heavy and brutal as it is delicate and beautiful. Doomy and blackened, drifty and drone-y, soft focus and hazy, dense and devastating... and of course, so so recommended.
"The Betrayal Of Light" MPEG Stream:
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NORMA JEAN O God, The Aftermath (Solid State) cd 14.98
NORTHSTREAM Time Of Triumphal Cleanliness (Total Holocaust Records) cd 8.00
**SALE **SALE* *SALE** Did some cleaning in the back of the store, found a stash of these that we reviewed back on list #187. So, last ever copies, marked down, get 'em while you can... Once again, another soul chilling blast of frosty grimness from Sweden's Total Holocaust Records (who were responsible for recent AQ black metal faves Blodulv and The One!). Northstream are from Russia and are just about as raw and primitive as it gets. Guitars buzz and hiss sounding alternately like a vacuum cleaner or a blender, only occasionally like an actual guitar, but those six shrieking strings wrapped in white noise evoke ambience of the darkest and grimmest sort. The buzzing blazing black metal is balanced by stretches of mid tempo 'doom', where you can almost hear the sounds of the frozen wastelands from whence Northstream come. But it's not your typical doom, it's 'doom' only in comparison to the Merzbowian blacknoise surrounding it, a blackened doom that's all brittle ear piercing guitars, primitively programmed beats and skull piercing shrieks. Interesting album title, by the way, did they just take a particularly refreshing shower?
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"Rise Of Your War"
NORTHWINDS Chimeres (Black Widow) cd + dvd 14.98
Lastest from these psychedelic French doomster weirdos.
NORTHWINDS Great God Pan (Black Widow) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Back in stock! Doom/psych fans: a few of you might remember this eccentric, underground French band from their second album entitled Masters of Magic that we reviewed a few years back. And anyone intrigued by the rather weird and melodic psychedelic-doom-metal-folk hybrid crafted by 'em on that disc ought to be interested in hearing their out-of-print first album Great God Pan from 1998, which we intimated was the superior record. Well, maybe it got repressed or someone found a stash of 'em in a closet or crypt or somewhere, but lo and behold, we've managed to get our hands on, like, ten copies of Northwinds' debut! So, if you're both a fan of Sabbathy doom metal and '60s/'70s styled heavy progressive psychedelia, you might want to grab this now. Assuredly not to everyone's taste, as Allan (who loves 'em) will freely admit and Andee (who can't deal with the French accented vocals) will attest...as we've said previously, Northwinds might be one of the most "twee" heavy bands ever what with the folky flutes, acoustic guitars, and those French vocals...yet the unique blend of proggy Paganism, soft '60s sike-pop balladry, and of course massive Iommi-worthy doom metal guitar riffage that intermix in these looong songs could also really make this a favorite find for a freaky few of you out there! With so much feeling, solid songwriting, and unexpected elements (wiggy studio effects and tape manipulations) they truly capture the spirit of pre-metal, pro-prog Black Sabbath (in fact, they cover the Sabs "A National Acrobat" on here) and others in that vein, not far from a warped version of early Cathedral, obsessed with Sabbath *and* Comus... If you dug the two other Sabbathy bands we reviewed recently, Witchcraft and Dragonauta, there's definitely a chance you could be a Northwinds fan too!
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NORTHWINDS Masters of Magic (Black Widow) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Northwinds did a record a few years ago called "Great God Pan" that came out of nowhere (well, France, actually!) to become one of Allan's all-time favorite heavy-psych-doom-metal discs. It might be out of print now but the band is back with a new, not quite as good but still cool effort entitled "Masters of Magic". Again they blend doom metal (Black Sabbath, Pentagram, Cathedral) with '60s heavy psych and '70s prog-folk, for a unique sound truly all their own. It's almost pop in places, with majestic refrains. The metal content is definitely only one element here (maybe 40 percent?). Northwinds are probably the most "twee" heavy band ever...so beware if your tolerance for flutes, French vocals/people, and trippy psych/prog is low. I guess you could say that they're one of the few modern "doom" bands whose Sabbath influence goes beyond the vocals of Ozzy and the riffs of Tony to include all the tripped-out pretty parts found on Sabbath LPs like "Sabotage" and "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath", the ones where Rick Wakeman of Yes was playing keyboards. For some reason, cult Italian metallers Death SS provide the intro and outro tracks.
"Lost Paradise" RealAudio clip:
"Entre Chien et Loup"
NORTT Galgenfrist (Avantgarde) cd 15.98
If we had to pick the ultimate doom outfit, the band that most embodies ultra depressive sonic misery, who is able to weave vast expanses of utter blackness, able to create vast soundscapes of both brutality and beauty, glacial waves of slow motion heaviness, it would be a tough call. There are the pure dronedoom outfits like SUNNO))) who create black energy with long stretches of static buzz, or the more sort of true doom combos, who wield riffs and write songs, and then there are the black metal bands, who play slooooooow and instead of buzzing maniacally instead crawl and slither, and then there are the ultra doom outfits, the ones we use many multiples of 'o's to describe, and somewhere in amongst all of those, but not quite fitting in any particular one, is the mighty Nortt. This one man band from Denmark, is a long time aQ fave, melding the black buzz of Burzum, with the regal abstract slow motion doom of Skepticism, the result, some otherworldy demonic trudge through barren landscape and moonlit skies. Nortt have always employed a deft hand in crafting their doomscapes, generously peppering record with as much tranquil blackened drift as lurching doomic pummel, but on this latest disc, Nortt have embraced the moodier more ambient side of their sound, with looooong stretches of drift and shimmer, sometimes almost whole songs, and while the heavy parts remain heavy, they seem to grind slowly to a halt, leaving just shadows and ghosts, soft traces and outlines of what came before, which are allowed to hover and float amongst black smears of sound, interrupted by rhythms spread out into occasional bursts of lugubrious slow motion. The disc begins with some dark delicate shimmer, that is downright dreamlike, deep resonant chimes, the washed out whir of softly struck bells, which quickly gives way to the disembodied doom of the second track, the riffs crumbling and stretched waaay out, the drums, an abstract plod, and in the background, warm streaks of high end, that drift throughout the entire record, even at it's heaviest, those keening tones, drift mournfully in the distance. Even the longest tracks here, spend most of their time in some blackened dronestate, rumbles and whirs, ghostly moans, flurries of low end piano, disembodied melodies, all blurred into grey sonic snowdrifts, occasionally, the guitars roar back in, but it's more like a passing storm, as it soon drifts off, leaving just the lilting black minimalism that came before. We joked in past reviews that Nortt played a minimal black doom that Bohren & Der Club Of Gore would like, but on Galgenfrist, it sounds more like a minimal black doom Bohren would PLAY! A similar sort of impossibly brooding blackness, a gorgeous lush creep, abstract and ambient, not as jazzy, but just as moody and minimal, murky and mysterious. As we mentioned in the past, this is the sort of black doom band that could totally appeal to non-metalheads, and might just be the gateway band so beware, but fear not, this is plenty grim and heavy and black for all the rest of you.
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NORTT Graven (Total Holocaust Records) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Our doomiest customer, "Rick from Thrasher", came in the other day to ask about an album he saw on www.doom-metal.com, some band called Nortt who were supposed to be amazing; so good in fact that according to that website, Nortt's label was almost justified in charging about thirty euros for their cd (an astronomical amount, like US$40)! We didn't of course have that absurdly-expensive opus, but we actually did have this, Nortt's previous album released for a much more reasonable price on a different label. And it is pretty darn good, if you're in the mood for some "Pure Depressive Black Funeral Doom Metal" as it says on the back cover. Nortt are a one-man band from Denmark in the black metal tradition (complete with corpse paint and everything), but their fuzzing, buzzing music is sloooowww and full of despairing piano intonations and distorted minor-key laments. The vocals and the guitars both sound like last breaths, dying gasps, exhalant spirits... It's a drone-hiss of massive, gothic proportions. Nortt definitely inhabit the same gloomy petrified forest as AQ-faves Skepticism!! Perhaps if you get this and it succeeds in bringing your most suicidal thoughts to the fore, you can make it through life a little longer by trying to search out that other incredibly expensive Nortt album... (By the way, that www.doom-metal.com website is pretty cool one, for doom-fans only of course, with info on hundreds of doom acts!)
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NORTT Graven (Red Stream) cd 14.98
Finally available again, one of our favorite slabs of doomy black buzz. Remastered, reissued and on a new label! Here's the review from when we first got this in: Our doomiest customer, "Rick from Thrasher", came in the other day to ask about an album he saw on www.doom-metal.com, some band called Nortt who were supposed to be amazing; so good in fact that according to that website, Nortt's label was almost justified in charging about thirty euros for their cd (an astronomical amount, like US$40)! We didn't of course have that absurdly-expensive opus, but we actually did have this, Nortt's previous album released for a much more reasonable price on a different label. And it is pretty darn good, if you're in the mood for some "Pure Depressive Black Funeral Doom Metal" as it says on the back cover. Nortt are a one-man band from Denmark in the black metal tradition (complete with corpse paint and everything), but their fuzzing, buzzing music is sloooowww and full of despairing piano intonations and distorted minor-key laments. The vocals and the guitars both sound like last breaths, dying gasps, exhalant spirits... It's a drone-hiss of massive, gothic proportions. Nortt definitely inhabit the same gloomy petrified forest as AQ-faves Skepticism!! Perhaps if you get this and it succeeds in bringing your most suicidal thoughts to the fore, you can make it through life a little longer by trying to search out that other incredibly expensive Nortt album... (By the way, that www.doom-metal.com website is pretty cool one, for doom-fans only of course, with info on hundreds of doom acts!)
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NORTT Ligfaerd (Total Holocaust) cd 14.98
Fresh off their killer split release with Xasthur last year, Danish black metal funereal doom lords (or lord, really, since it's just one guy) Nortt offer up a full length for your pleasure...if you can deal with the depression!! If you haven't heard Nortt before, they're a bit like Skepticism meets Burzum. SOOOO doomy and atmospheric. Ligfaerd is a sinister expanse of spooky soundtrack ambience bombarded (at relaxed intervals) with boulders... No, not boulders -- fuzz-distortion depth charges, dropped deep and echoing in the abyss, wherein dwell the cave-blind creatures that make Nortt's music... or so it would seem from this disc's raspy, weary vocal exhalations and monstrous awakenings. The thudding percussion could be gigantic footfalls amidst the droning, morose melodies, that insinuate themselves slowly into your consciousness, as there are lots of quiet passages on this depressive, lethargic record. We bet Bohren and Der Club Of Gore would love this band! We sure do. Definitely one of the exclusive several doom and/or black metal acts that we think non-habitual listeners to such musics might appreciate, if such extremes of feeling and weirdness as described above are more than tolerated.
"Ligpraedike" MPEG Stream:
NORTT Ligfaerd (Viva Hate) lp 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Now available on vinyl as a super deluxe, super grim and of course ridiculously limited (500 copies) PICTURE DISC!! Fresh off their killer split release with Xasthur last year, Danish black metal funereal doom lords (or lord, really, since it's just one guy) Nortt offer up a full length for your pleasure...if you can deal with the depression!! If you haven't heard Nortt before, they're a bit like Skepticism meets Burzum. SOOOO doomy and atmospheric. Ligfaerd is a sinister expanse of spooky soundtrack ambience bombarded (at relaxed intervals) with boulders... No, not boulders -- fuzz-distortion depth charges, dropped deep and echoing in the abyss, wherein dwell the cave-blind creatures that make Nortt's music... or so it would seem from this disc's raspy, weary vocal exhalations and monstrous awakenings. The thudding percussion could be gigantic footfalls amidst the droning, morose melodies, that insinuate themselves slowly into your consciousness, as there are lots of quiet passages on this depressive, lethargic record. We bet Bohren and Der Club Of Gore would love this band! We sure do. Definitely one of the exclusive several doom and/or black metal acts that we think non-habitual listeners to such musics might appreciate, if such extremes of feeling and weirdness as described above are more than tolerated.
"Ligpraedike" MPEG Stream:
NORTT / XASTHUR A Curse For The Lifeless (Southern Lord) 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 went out of print almost as soon as we got the original Total Holocaust import version in four or five months ago but has now been resurrected and re-pressed domestically thanks to the dark souls at Southern Lord, who apparently like this stuff as much as we do. Here's what we had to say about it first time around: We barely even have to review this. Just the names of the two artists should be enough. Nortt, whose "Pure Depressive Black Funeral Doom Metal" was a massive favorite around here, and of course Xasthur, who rivals Leviathan as perhaps the most brilliant and important of the modern USBM hordes. Nortt offer up four tracks of miserable drone dirge, with mournful piano over a swirling abyss of black riffs and simple drumming, each chord slowly dissipating into nothingness before the next chord hits. Depressingly gorgeous and wrist slittingly sorrowful. Reminiscent of Corrupted's Llenandose, albeit way more grim and dismal! Xasthur gives us three tracks, equally depressive, but here, instead of tarpit tempos and drone-like dirges, the depression and misery is communicated through creepy minor key riffing, mournful melodies and what sounds like clean chant-like singing, almost choral, but buried so low in the mix it almost sounds like just another instrument. Xasthur has totally perfected the swaying seasickly black metal waltz, with relentless double kicks, anguished vocals struggling to communicate from beyond, and warm and woozy, arpeggiated guitars. So good.
NORTT "Glemt" MPEG Stream:
XASTHUR "A Curse For The Lifeless"
NORTT / XASTHUR Hedengang / A Curse For the Lifeless (Southern Lord) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. You're probably getting as tired of hearing this as we are saying it, but it has to be done. THIS IS SUPER LIMITED!! IN FACT, IT'S ALREADY OUT OF PRINT!! (Arghhh. Why lablels just don't press more when they know they can sell them still makes no sense to us...) SO, ONCE THESE ARE GONE, THEY ARE GONE FOR GOOD!! SO ACT FAST! Here's what we had to say about the cd version a while back: We barely even have to review this. Just the names of the two artists should be enough. Nortt, whose "Pure Depressive Black Funeral Doom Metal" was a massive favorite around here, and of course Xasthur, who rivals Leviathan as perhaps the most brilliant and important of the modern USBM hordes. Nortt offer up four tracks of miserable drone dirge, with mournful piano over a swirling abyss of black riffs and simple drumming, each chord slowly dissipating into nothingness before the next chord hits. Depressingly gorgeous and wrist slittingly sorrowful. Reminiscent of Corrupted's Llenandose, albeit way more grim and dismal! Xasthur gives us three tracks, equally depressive, but here, instead of tarpit tempos and drone-like dirges, the depression and misery is communicated through creepy minor key riffing, mournful melodies and what sounds like clean chant-like singing, almost choral, but buried so low in the mix it almost sounds like just another instrument. Xasthur has totally perfected the swaying seasickly black metal waltz, with relentless double kicks, anguished vocals struggling to communicate from beyond, and warm and woozy, arpeggiated guitars. So good.
NORTT "Glemt" MPEG Stream:
XASTHUR "A Curse For The Lifeless"
NOSTALGIE The Early Years (Misanthropic Art Productions) cd 13.98
NOTRE DAME Abattoir, Abattoir du Noir (Osmose) cdep 8.98
As if two simultaneous full-length releases were not enough, our favorite horror-show "black metal" band spits out this two-track ep. As always, with as much humor as horror. "Give Blood...Save Lives."
NOTRE DAME Nightmare Before Christmas (Osmose) cd 14.98
One of two recent, simultaneous releases by this amazing theatrical "black metal" band... "When you wish upon a star your wish is granted here they are..." The concept here? An end-of-the world Xmas record, combining holiday cheer with apocalyptic Y2K doom, somehow referencing both Nostradmus and Scrooge. Notre Dame is ridiculous twisted genius, there's no denying it.
NOTRE DAME Vol. 1: Le Theatre Du Vampire (Osmose) cd 14.98
Absolutely one of our new favorite "black metal" bands! One of two recent full-length releases (the other being a Xmas album!). Masterminded by Snowy Shaw (ex-King Diamond, Memento Mori, etc.) with female vocalist/dancer "Vampirella" as well as the De Sade brothers (Jean Pierre and Mannequin). Yes, it's silly. But it's also weird, surprising, catchy, and really well-executed, right down to the horror comix artwork and clever graphic design. The music is best likened to an even more over the top, operatic Cradle of Filth, with influences from '70s Italian prog-horror bands like Devil Doll and Goblin. And, I suppose, a touch of White Zombie. If the Addams Family were a metal band, they'd be Notre Dame! We're not usually a fan of metal that's so obviously tongue in cheek, but this is so genuinely great we can't help but love it.
NOXAGT The Iron Point (Load) cd 13.98
Second Load release from this dark and weird instrumental band from Norway featuring our pal Kjetil Brandsdal, whom the more 'experimental' among you might know as a solo drone musician. But playing bass and baritone guitar in Noxagt he makes a much more *rock* racket. Actually Noxagt are hard to pin down, surely fitting in among the other Load label misfits while doing something unlike anyone else. That's because their sound has evolved from the short sharp 'Nor Wave' punk fuckery of their earlier releases into something...folky. But very heavy. The instrumentation is key. Along with Kjetil's bass, and the drumming of Jan Kyvik, what stands out is the viola (and violin and piano) played by Nils Erga. The Iron Point is an album his of cyclic string drones wedded to crunching, spronging bass and sometimes almost black metallish blasting drums. With sudden prog-rock changes, punk/metal urgency, and the aforementioned folkish melody...all instrumental except for the vocals of guest Hagbard Heien on traditional tune "Kling No Klokka" which is a fine surprise. Speaking of surprises, the disc concludes with Noxagt covering "Regions of May" by Tom Rapp of Pearls Before Swine! Gentle yet bomastic, it's lighter than what's come before yet totally fits in on an album that overall we think is Noxagt's best yet, wherein they've really developed into something more melodic, more 'folky' yet even heavier and more focussed than before. And, continuing a tradition begun on their last album, there's smart ass liner notes courtesy of noted British smart ass Stefan Jaworzyn (ex-Skullflower). Also, again production by noted producer Billy Anderson, who knows as much as anyone about heaviness. (Nice cover/design by the way -- you can tell Kjetil is a big record collector.)
"Acasta Gneiss" MPEG Stream:
NOXAGT The Iron Point (Load) lp 10.98
Second Load release from this dark and weird instrumental band from Norway featuring our pal Kjetil Brandsdal, whom the more 'experimental' among you might know as a solo drone musician. But playing bass and baritone guitar in Noxagt he makes a much more *rock* racket. Actually Noxagt are hard to pin down, surely fitting in among the other Load label misfits while doing something unlike anyone else. That's because their sound has evolved from the short sharp 'Nor Wave' punk fuckery of their earlier releases into something...folky. But very heavy. The instrumentation is key. Along with Kjetil's bass, and the drumming of Jan Kyvik, what stands out is the viola (and violin and piano) played by Nils Erga. The Iron Point is an album of his cyclic string drones wedded to crunching, spronging bass and sometimes almost black metallish blasting drums. With sudden prog-rock changes, punk/metal urgency, and the aforementioned folkish melody...all instrumental except for the vocals of guest Hagbard Heien on traditional tune "Kling No Klokka" which is a fine surprise. Speaking of surprises, the disc concludes with Noxagt covering "Regions of May" by Tom Rapp of Pearls Before Swine! Gentle yet bomastic, it's lighter than what's come before yet totally fits in on an album that overall we think is Noxagt's best yet, wherein they've really developed into something more melodic, more 'folky' yet even heavier and more focussed than before. And, continuing a tradition begun on their last album, there's smart ass liner notes courtesy of noted British smart ass Stefan Jaworzyn (ex-Skullflower). Also, again production by noted producer Billy Anderson, who knows as much as anyone about heaviness. (Nice cover/design by the way -- you can tell Kjetil is a big record collector.)
"Acasta Gneiss" MPEG Stream:
NUCLEAR DEATH WISH s/t (self-released) cassette 5.98
NUCLEAR DEATH WISH s/t (self-released) cassette 5.98
NUGENT, TED Double Live Gonzo! (Rock Candy) cd 17.98
"Yank Me, Crank Me" MPEG Stream:
"Wang Dang Sweet Poontang" MPEG Stream:
"Cat Scratch Fever"
NUGENT, TED Scream Dream (Rock Candy) cd 17.98
"Wango Tango" MPEG Stream:
"Scream Dream" MPEG Stream:
"Hard As Nails"
NUGENT, TED Weekend Warriors (Rock Candy) cd 17.98
"Need You Bad" MPEG Stream:
"I Got The Feelin'" MPEG Stream:
NUIT NOIRE Fantomatic Plentitude (Armageddon) cd 9.98
Faerical blasting punk rocker!!! France's new wave black crust dynamic duo Nuit Noire. We went nuts for this band the first time we heard them, expecting some sort of grim black buzz, seeing as they were signed to a black metal label, were distributed by black metal distros, etc., but instead we had our blocks knocked totally off, by their furious short sharp bursts of super tweaked angular riffing, flurries of chaotic drumming, and some of the most tweaked damaged whiny yelpingly brilliant vocals ever! All tangled up into a confusional blackened aggro metallic pop, part punk rock, part grim buzz, part no wave, part new wave. In the past we described Nuit Noire as sounding like a black metal Rudimentary Peni, but we're also hearing plenty of Christian Death, Joy Division, Crass and weirdly enough, on this new one more than ever, the Toy Dolls, mostly due to vocalist Tenebras' voice which is a dead ringer for the Toy Dolls' Olga. This new disc is half new tracks, half older classics recorded live. All of em fantastic of course. The new tracks are even shorter and poppier and more fucked up than before. Take the second track "I Am A Fairy", a crusty gloomy jam, with a killer main riff, streaks of high end new wave squiggle, and the vocals, just repeating the title over and over and over, super fast, then drawn out and crooned, while the music beneath shifts from hooky and poppy to blasting and buzzing. Or how about "I Love You", another furious eighties crust punk jam, but with some black buzz spread over the top, and a totally strange, but incredibly catchy vocal line, sung sort of like "I love yooooooooooooo, I love yooooooooooooou". The rest of the tracks range from loping eighties grooves to washed out dreamy murk to chaotic old school punk rock to full on lo-fi grim black metal, usually all in the same song. It's really hard to describe the sound, we're pretty surprised this stuff appeals to black metallers at all, there is some buzz and some serious riffing, but it's way more punk, and way more new wave, and the vocals are so strange and high and hysterical and freaked out and over the top, they sort of define Nuit Noire's sound, and are definitely the element that will make it or break it for you. The live tracks are awesome. And if we didn't know it would have been hard pressed to even realize they were live. Almost the exact sound quality (maybe they're just live in the studio, but then why re-record old songs?) heavy and buzzy and furious and catchy as fuck. Even a wicked version of their "Faeries Of Paper" a song we proclaimed to be one of "the best songs EVER" with one of the greatest catchiest weirdest riffs we've ever heard. A few of the other live tracks we hadn't heard before and are just as good, if not even better than the songs we already loved. Need more reasons to love these guys? Howabout the cool pencil drawings of the band members, one depicted as a huge monster-armed drumming demon, head cloaked in shadow, the other a faerie, in tunic and cape, big eyes and pointed ears, mic cable wrapped around a broadsword stuck in the ground. Or howabout the photo on the back of the cd, a very skinny, nearly naked band member, clad in a loin cloth and a cape, holding a guitar aloft in one hand, a sword in the other, cape spread out like the wings of a bat. C'mon!!! How much more perfect can a band be? So goddamn recommended.
"Les Fees Volent Dans La Nuit" MPEG Stream:
"I Am A Fairy" MPEG Stream:
"Fantomatic Plentitude" MPEG Stream:
NUIT NOIRE Infantile Espieglery (Todestrieb) cd 12.98
We love this band so much. We were never able to get enough of their last record to list, but now that the new one is here, it's time to finally share our crazy love of this band with the loyal AQ faithful. Ostensibly a black metal band, but sonically anything but. Imagine a super lo-fi, sort of new wave, gothy crusty punk rock band but with buzzing insectoid riffing and occasional furious blast beats. Sort of like a black metal Rudimentary Peni, with a vocalist who sounds a bit like a cross between Roz Williams of Christian Death and Mark E. Smith from the Fall. Whiney and snotty, super dramatic and over the top, even at their most buzzing and black, the vocals kick in and the band is transformed back into some crusty black new wave weirdness. And the guitar parts are super weird, strange harmonies, a little new wave, but a little NO wave as well. But the band themselves don't consider their music to be black metal anyway. A quick look at their website reveals the fact that they consider themselves "faerical blasting punk!" Just check out the note from the band on their website: "Nuit Noire is the only faerical blasting punk band in the world. The music comes directly from the depths of the night, where the fairies stay hidden from the humans. We love them and they love us." Woah. Just one more reason to love these guys. Weird angular guitars, fucked up arrangements, damaged new wave riffing, some black blasts, a demonic shriek here and there, all that and faeries too!!
"Creatures Of The Night" MPEG Stream:
"Are You Ready For The Night?" MPEG Stream:
"Turn On Your Light" MPEG Stream:
NUIT NOIRE Lunar Deflagration (Creations Of The Night) cd 12.98
Back in January, we reviewed the most recent record from new wave black metal crustpop forest faeiries Nuit Noire, and that record, Infantile Espieglery, while touted as a black metal record, was anything but, a gorgeous chunk of angular gothy new wave black punk, with buzzing guitars and thrashing drums, haunting howled and wailed vocals, and some of the most amazing riffs and hooks ever. We had been trying to get NN's first record for ages with no luck, until now. We got what appear to be the very last copies direct from the band, so once these are gone, there's a very good chance we won't be able to get more. So quick on the trigger wins the prize. We have about 25 of these, so act fast... Lunar Deflagration is just as amazing as Infantile Espieglery, and if anything it might be a little bit heavier and punkier, with some super fast blasting, and some furious riffing, but the heart of both records is the weird angular new wave guitar melodies, that end up drifting solo over a sea of amp buzz, before the band inevitably stumbles into motion and wraps those angular melodies around a careening riff and explodes into an awesome thrashing frenzy. And again the vocals are a whiney new wave sneer, more Mark E. Smith or Roz Williams than any black metal mouthpiece we can think of, scrambling over the riffs and chaotic blast beats while the drums pound away and the bass throbs and slithers. The sound is super lo-fi as well, perfectly complimenting the sound and songs. Like we mentioned before the best comparison we can think of is like a more black metal Rudimentary Peni. Which if you really even need to ask, is about as awesome a sound as we can think of! Just check out "Fairies Of Paper", one of the best songs EVER. Yeah, you heard us, not just on this record, or best crust black pop song ever, but just one of the best songs EVER. With an opening and recurring riff that TOTALLY DESTROYS. And the record is packed with songs like that, the classic L.A. punk sounding "Ton Stupide Chemin", the galloping goth new wave of "Voice Of The Night", every song is a catchy should have been classic. It still boggles the mind why these guys were ever pegged as black metal, sure there's plenty of buzz, but if you ask us, punk rockers and crusties everywhere should be busy sewing Nuit Noire patches onto their vests right there alongside Rudimentary Peni, Crass and all the others...
"Magical Blast" MPEG Stream:
"Fairies Of Paper" MPEG Stream:
"Ton Stupide Chemin"
NUIT NOIRE / CIRCLE OF OUROBORUS split (Insikt) 7" 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Every once in a while, someone out there is thinking just like us. It's a little scary, sure, but we gotta love it. Of course -WE- think that the buzzing blackwave of French outfit Nuit Noire is the perfect match for the confusional acoustic depressive black metal of Finnish duo Circle Of Ouroborus. But to see it finally happen. It's the metal music nerd version of fantasy baseball, when that team that you made up but could never happen in real life does... And so it is with our league of fantasy black metal. These two bands have very little in common, except for the fact that they are about as unconventional as black metal can get, so much so that most "true" black metallers probably wouldn't consider either to actually be black metal, or metal at all for that matter, and the fact that both bands completely and utterly rule. It's a pricey one, this 7", due to high manufacturing costs, and the ever worsening dollar, but this is most definitely a $12 single. We've shelled out $2 for singles in the past and felt ripped off, but once we got our ears on these tracks, money was no object! Nuit Noire return with their bizarre blackened new wave buzz, a sort of Darkthrone meets Rudimentary Peni, or Immortal covering the Toy Dolls, a killer snarling hook filled blast of whiney vocals, queer guitar melodies, furious blast beats, all swaddled in loads and loads of buzz. Recorded during the same sessions that yielded the AQ fave Infantile Espieglery, these two tracks are blinding blasts of punk rock sped up and painted black, thrashy, and blasting, simple and hypnotic, with stretches of just guitar and drums and some outrageously melodic bits nestled right there amidst the furious fuzz, all peppered with strange squiggly licks and clouds of spacey FX and those perfect wailing about-to-crack vocals. So goddamn good. And as if that weren't enough, Finland's Circle Of Ouroborus just keep getting better and better and more musical and melodic, which would normally spell doom for most of the bands we love (and we don't mean the good kind of doom), but these guys manage to retain all the fucked up-ness that made them so special, while continuing to forge ahead. A plodding depressive buzz, moody and melancholic, loping rhythms, and super weird Joy Division-esque vocals. Swooping majestic guitar leads and spidery guitar lines sprawling everywhere. They still sound a bit like a black metal Fall, but here they sort of sound like a more lo-fi, slightly less melodic Katatonia, which is of course a very good thing. Has us chomping at the bit for new records from both bands. But for now, repeated plays of this seven inch will have to hold us over. Nice thick full color jacket, thick cardstock inner sleeve, printed liner notes / lyric sheet. Not sure how limited, but with stuff like this, it's usually safe to assume VERY VERY!
NUIT NOIRE / HIS ELECTRO BLUE VOICE split (Avant!) 7" 7.98
The return of our favorite masters of faerical blasting punk! Who else could it be but Nuit Noire? We just raved about their most recent disc, the brilliantly titled Fantomatic Plentitude, and were already hankering for more when what should show up, but MORE! This split 7" matches up Nuit Noire with Italian noisy new wavers His Electro Blue Voice, who end up being a perfect match for the Nuit Noire. What can we say about Nuit Noire that we haven't said before. A blackened buzz wrapped around spiky crusty new wave-d punk rock. A blackened Rudimentary Peni. The guitars kinetic and buzzy, the drums rapid fire and frenetic, the vocals a wild caterwaul. These two new tracks are awesome. Crusty and catchy, lo-fi and super rocking. The opener is mostly instrumental, an epic extended intro, leading up to what could very well be the NN theme song: "Faerie Punk", ultra catchy and with some of the best lyrics EVER: Stardust all around the drums Stardust all around the guitar Stardust blown away from the high speakers Stardust everywhere on stage Faerie punk in the moonlight Faerie punk in the starlight Faerie punk far in the night Faerie punk on stage tonight Hell yeah! The lyrics just reaffirm what the music is already saying. Wild forest faerie freaked out black new wave crusty punk pop madness. So who could possible share a split with these guys? His Electro Blue Voice are up to the challenge, and are a pretty good match, their moody bass heavy new wave post punk, perfectly balancing NN's high end howl. Their sound is very 45 Grave, like some band you might have seen play the Scream in LA in 1985. Murky Joy Division riffing, wrapped around lugubrious Cure rhythms, the vocals a throaty gothy croon, the first track playing out lie a more metal Smiths, the second, some sort of dark doleful surf rock, with a Dick Dale riff stretched across and expanse of moody melancholia.
NUNCHAKU Best of 1993-1998 (Howling Bull) cd 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. More metalcore. This time it's a weird mix of shrieking hardcore and old school Suicidal Tendencies style funkiness. Weird but cool.
NYCHTS / WEDARD split (Sun & Moon) cd 13.98
NYKTALGIA s/t (No Colours) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
O'MALLEY, STEPHEN Keep An Eye Out (Table Of The Elements) lp 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. This is the one everybody's been waiting for. We sold out of these some months ago, before we even had a chance to list them, and have been waiting and waiting for them to press more, and finally here it is, Stephen O'Malley of SUNNO))), Khanate, KTL, Aethenor, Thorr's Hammer, Ginnungagap, etc... with his contribution to Table Of The Elements' 'Guitar' series. And we're happy to report it's quite lovely, just acoustic guitar and oscillator, O'Malley weaves a gorgeous thrum of steel string shimmer, a softly swirling almost static stretch of deep surprisingly lush hum, very Niblock sounding for sure, a rich layered expanse of tones and overtones, subtly beating against each other, the steel strings emitting little clouds of almost-melody here and there, while throughout, subtle rhythms emerge from the miasma but just as quickly dissipate and drift off. It's almost like an acoustic, and largely riff-less SUNNO))), the same sort of expansive sonic sprawl, building a thick epic drone, that manages to sound dense and ominous, but also delicate and crystalline, soft focus and dreamy, exactly the sort of thing, that we could listen to for hours and hours. Even at it's most intense, the sound still manages to be soothing and hypnotic, the whole thing a gorgeous, languorous soundscape of ethereal buzz and drift. Pressed on orange swirl vinyl, one sided, the other side with an awesome etching by Savage Pencil, housed in a thick PVC sleeve, and of course, as always, VERY LIMITED!
O'MALLEY, STEPHEN & ATTILA CSIHAR 6°F Skyquake (Editions Mego) cd 17.98
SUNNO))) freeks, heads up! This here is a super limited recording, of a piece used in an art show by Banks Violette. You might remember Violette from a dvd we carry featuring an installation he did Norwegian black metal outfit Thorns supplying the sounds. We'd like to tell you more about what this piece is all about, but the description of the art, and the music, is in that insanely convoluted artspeak, so we'll just try to go it alone. Originally recorded in 2001, this piece features Stephen O'Malley (SUNNO))) et al) playing a Travis Bean guitar through a Fender Twin Reverb amplifier, and Hungarian vocalist Attila Csihar (Mayhem, Aborym, SUNNO))), Tormentor), this recording is a portion of the original lengthy recording and finds the two crafting some sort of blackened sinister liturgical ceremony. O'Malley's guitar is used mostly to make creaks and rumbles, piercing shards of feedback, crashing chordal fragments, but mostly it works as a tone generator, various bits of feedback allowed to stretch out and slowly shift, creating strange tonal variations and layered expanses of extreme sonics and minimal ambience. Csihar contributes vocals, haunting and mesmerizing, delivered in a deep monk like chant. Lots of reverb and natural delay, the result sounds ancient, like some middle ages church ceremony. Those two elements O'Malley's tones, and Csihar's vocals combined, sound a bit like Ryoji Ikeda jamming along to vespers. Not at all an easy listen, but definitely creepy and mysterious. Cool oversized sleeve with photos of Violette's art as well as band photos, and the lyrics printed in both English and Hungarian. LIMITED TO 500 COPIES.
O'ROURKE, JIM I'm Happy, And I'm Singing, And A 1,2,3,4 (Mego) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. There are those of us at this fine institution who wish to declare open season on Jim O'Rourke, and start blasting shotgun shells at him, his bunny suit, his 'post-irony' (whatever the fuck that is), and his chameleon-like approach towards all forms of music. Such a demonstrative proclamation would have been warranted on the basis of 2001's worst album, O'Rourke's "Insignificance." Given the prevailing atmosphere of hostility towards Jim O'Rourke , I (Jim) really wanted to hate this album. I mean I really wanted to give this a shitty review. But, in trying to be as honest as possible about the music that we carry, I can't. Promoted as his electronic glitch album, "I'm Happy, And I'm Singing, And A 1, 2, 3, 4" has been conveniently released on the Austrian electronic glitch label Mego. Just like Mego's uber talented Christian Fennesz, O'Rourke fuses elements of antique melodic signatures within a Powerbook generated disfiguration into complex networks of sound that retain the timbre and colour of the original sounds in spite of the digital glitch manifestation. Initially, this album is nothing more than another pleasantly playful recombination of the current glitch aesthetic. He applies the Supercollider treatment to an accordion to dislocate the souce material with a fluctuating system of interlocking repetitive samples sounding like a digitized update of Frippertronics or even Terry Riley's time lag generator. Nice, but is completely overwhelmed by the same idea found on the Keith Fullerton Whitman album "21:30 For Acoustic Guitar" He follows this up with some fey dinner jazz piano lines and summertime guitar picking run through gossamer digitalized syncopations. Again, nice but nothing that Stephan Mathieu, Ekkhard Ehlers, or Fennesz haven't done better. *However* if you were to stop listening to these two tracks, before getting to the 20-plus minute finale, you would have missed one of O'Rourke's finest moments alongside the criminally overlooked "Disengage" and slowly antagonistic "Happy Days." "And A 1, 2, 3, 4" (it appears that the song titles are just fragments of the album's title) is beautiful digital threnody with sombre violins passing through a Feldman like alternation through a harmonic series of notes. While it could be said that O'Rourke is *again* mimicking another artist, he does apply an ample amount of digtal signal processing (lots of warbled tremolo, granular dispersion, etc.) offering that which I've rarely heard from Jim O'Rourke: something "new."
"I'm Happy" RealAudio clip:
"And I'm Singing" RealAudio clip:
"And A 1,2,3,4"
OAK II (self-released) cd 9.98
OAK II (self-released) cd 9.98
OAKEATER Molech (Nihilist) lp 21.00
The band name definitely had us envisioning the tree beasts from Lord Of The Rings, wandering through the blackened forest, their hulking forms casting ominous shadows, their skeletal branches outlined against the moonlit sky. And you know, the music fits pretty well with that image. Oakeater is a blackened ritualistic 'power' trio made up of dudes from noise outfits the Coughs and Panicsville, but this is not noise music, well, at least not 'noisy' noise music. Instead the sound of Oakeater is dark and mysterious, abstract and black ambient. Primal and raw, primitive and ritualistic. There might be a drummer, and a guitar player, and even a bass player, or it could be three guys hunched over effects pedals on the floor, regardless, they conjure up some seriously evil sounding black sonic mojo. Almost the whole of side A is made up of whispery shimmer, hushed alchemical whirs, creepy voices way down in the mix, flickering fluttering melody, creaking industrial groans and moans, until nearly the end, when the various sounds coalesce into something more musical, but no less evil sounding. Big black resonant chords ring out, over a heartbeat like throb, the vocals a weary liturgical chant, the sound like some industrial abstract doom metal, but way more spacious and moody and minimal. The flipside follows a similar pattern, beginning all hushed and whispery, building gradually into a buzzing almost-song. But here the drone is much more pronounced, a buzzing layered Niblockian tone that seems to run through the whole track, while all around it strange fragments of melody and percussion drift and shimmer, the track looping and mesmeric, strangely hypnotic and almost pretty, drone-y and soft focus, only slipping into something slightly more sinister in the last few minutes, the tones becoming more and more warbly and atonal, until some more melodic organ drifts in and the record fades out more dreamy that dreary. Packaged in killer hand silk-screened sleeves, silver and black and grey ink on plain black jacket, with a silk-screened insert inside.
OAKEATER / MAMIFFER split (Sige) lp 17.98
One of two new releases on Sige Records, the new imprint run by Aaron Turner of Hydra Head / Isis fame and his partner Faith Coloccia of Mamiffer, the other is the formerly-on-cd House Of Low Culture / Mamiffer split, and this, another Mamiffer split, this time teamed up with mysterious power electronics ambient drone trio Oakeater. Oakeater, whose Molech lp on Nihilist we dug big time, return again, with their usual UNusually arsenal of noisemaking devices: guitar, voice, percussion, tapes, modular synthesizers, feedback, electric piano and oscillators. Here they take their ritualistic dronescaping even further, ditching their noiserock background/pedigree almost entirely (Oakeater is members of the Coughs and Panicsville), to delve deeeeeeep into dark drifting drones and sprawling expanses of cinematic shift and shimmer. Slow and smoldering, lushly layered, hushed muted whirs and high end chimes, haunting melodies, all very dramatic and soundtracky sounding, before slipping into something else entirely, a long stretch of shimmering cymbals, lots of space, streaks of feedback, a weirdly meditative, subtly rhythmic, metallic dronescape, which is quickly subsumed by SUPER distorted synths, fuzzy and buzzy and blown out, the sort of low tones some dubstepper would KILL for, transforming the track completely into something way more spacey and tripped out. Mamiffer counters with one of the heaviest, noisiest tracks we've heard from her (aka Faith Coloccia), using just guitars, pianos, tapes and apparently jars, Coloccia weaves together and chaotic but strangely lovely bit of heavy, abstract guitar noise, some strange mix of SUNNO))) and Skullflower, chugging churning looped guitars, swooping backwards production, a thick corrosive buzz, a sort of static riffage, but those stretches of glacial buzz and howl and keen are stretched out into more avant drone directions, loads of overtones, subtle rhythmic shadings, still buzzy and heavy and metallic for sure, but wrangled into something impossibly melodic and meditative and downright pretty. There's hiss and static and crunch and buzz, and on the surface it's noisy and quite chaotic, but Colaccia manages to shape it all into a soft tangled swirl of psychedelic guitar noise, that is easily as entrancing as it is abrasive. LIMITED TO 300 COPIES. Each one hand numbered, packaged in super swank, ultra heavy silk screened sleeves.
OAKEN THRONE Number Five - Summer 2007 magazine + cd 7.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The same people who have been going on and on about the death of the record store, have also been heralding the end of print media. But you know what, screw them. Who wants to spend their whole life sitting in front of a computer? Listen to music at your desk, shop for mp3's, read that article on the laptop... whatever. Sure that stuff is convenient, and we all partake a bit, but nothing will ever replace your local record store, thumbing through bins of lps or digging through stacks of cds, just like a gorgeously designed and laid out magazine will never be replaced by a website. Especially a magazine as gorgeous and jam packed with black metal weirdness as Oaken Throne. Beginning life as a super strange, WAY oversized zine, impossible to ship, and difficult to display, but brilliant in its obstinacy, Oaken Throne has just gotten better and better, easily the best magazine devoted to underground black metal and strange heavy musicks. With amazing writing, great art, and some of the most stylish, but subtle layout and design of any magazine we can think of. The cover is always metallic silver on black, inside, the ads are often as striking as the illustrations accompanying the articles (which makes sense considering one of the two OT head honchos designs many of the ads as well). But Oaken Throne is not just another pretty corpse painted face. Nope, it's packed with articles and interviews on and with some of the most infamous artists in the black metal (and generally heavy) underground. This time around, a bunch of AQ faves: Asunder (featuring John from Weakling), Harvey Milk, Wold, Portal, Moss, Coffins, Caina, as well as some other amazing groups who have yet to get reviewed on the AQ site: Acrimonious, Adorior, Archgoat, Blacklodge, Cult Of Daath, Dapnom and Necromorbus... Tons of killer photos and yet another amazing illustration from AQ pal Justin Bartlett (whose art has also adorned a bunch of SUNNO))) and SUNNO))) related records). In addition to all that, there are a bunch of record reviews too... easily one of the best mags, metal or otherwise going today... This is the first issue that includes comes with a cd, containing tracks from each of the bands featured in the magazine, none of them exclusive or rare really (except maybe the Asunder track, recorded live on KFJC) but a pretty killer metal mixtape (er... cd) for sure... As always, totally recommended and essential.
OAKEN THRONE Number Four - Winter 2006 magazine 5.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Finally a new issue of the mighty Oaken Throne magazine, and they continue to gradually expand their scope, moving slowly and slightly further away from their position as thee ultra grim and ultra true "Elite Black Metal Skripture" and toward a much more varied and AQ like tome. We're certainly not complaining obviously, but there must be a whole lot of troubled true black metallers, as most of the two intros by editors Ben West and John Mincemoyer are spent apologizing for / explaining the lack of grim corpsepainted hordes and explaining the new shift. But as far as we're concerned, Oaken Throne just keeps getting better, focusing on black metal, but expanding enough to allow for other blackened musicks. This time around, the line-up reads almost like an AQ list: Black Boned Angel, Celestiial, Thralldom, Graves At Sea, Wolves In The Throne Room, Nachtmystium, Villains, L'Acephale, Temple Of Baal, Withered and Vorkreist. All the articles are super in depth are gorgeously laid out (as is the whole magazine), well written and interesting (one of the pieces, the Black Boned Angel one was written by our very own Andee) most with killer photos and/or amazing illustrations (including the most bad ass drawing of Wolves In The Throne Room by AQ customer Justin Bartlett). Also includes tons of reviews (also super varied and all over the map, from Solar Anus to Bone Awl to Dead Raven Choir to Mrtyu to Moss To Nadja!) and the cover is that immediately recognizable and super striking, silver ink on matte black paper, and once again, the Ben West designed tUMULt ad on the back cover (he also designed the I Hate Your Band poster!) looks so cool, it's almost nicer than the actual magazine cover! One of our favorite magazines and of course HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
OAKEN THRONE Number Six - 2009 magazine + cd 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. It's finally here, the latest issue of one of the best magazines going, Oaken Throne, specializing in the grim black metal underground, but gradually expanding their scope to cover all things dark and heavy and droney, definitely our kind of rag, and yours too judging from how many we sell, and how many emails we've been getting asking about this new issue. The latest issue has indeed arrived, and is mindblowing as always, bigger than ever, now a perfect bound 7" x 7" book style mag, the covers printed silver metallic ink on black cardstock, as always, a gorgeous tUMULt ad on the back cover (designed by OT designer Ben West) and inside tons of aQ faves and then some. Canadian black metallers Akitsa, French metallic post rockers Aluk Todolo (featuring members of Gunslingers and Diamatregon), Swedish black metal duo Avsky, long time aQ favorite, Dialing In, weird black doomscapers Gnaw Their Tongues, Polish black metal folk freak Dead Raven Choir, legendary death metallers Immolation, Swedish black metal supergroup IXXI (featuring members of Ondskapt, Lifelover, Dimhymn and Zavorash), Dutch brown metal weirdos Lugubrum, Nordvargr's black metal incarnation Vargr, legendary Polish black metallers Throneum, German blackened death metallers Necros Christos and Swedish death metallers Necrovation. The layout and design is fantastic, with illustrations by Justin Bartlett, Ben West, Adam Watson, Scott Langlais, Chris Parry, as well as tons of striking photography, plenty of reviews, and loads of ads for stuff you need. Pretty much ace all the way through. And as if the magazine on its own wasn't enough, it also comes with a cd featuring a track by every single band covered in this issue, two of 'em (for now at least) exclusive to this comp. The price of OT has gone up slightly, but holy shit is it ever worth it. This is the kind of magazine you'll save forever, that will sit on your bookshelf with the BOOKS, not in a pile with the rest of the magazines, OT is something you'll read over and over, and odds are, eventually you'll need to at least check out all the artists covered. So totally recommended. We're already looking forward to the next issue!