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


X The Best: Make The Music Go Bang! (Elektra) 2cd 24.00

X unclogged (Infidelity/Sunset Blvd) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
This is the acoustic set recorded last year at SF's Noe Valley Ministry.

X DEATHSTAR X The Triumph (Life Sentence) cd 13.98

album cover X PLASTAZ Maasai Hip Hop (Out Here) cd 16.98
Included on the end of the Bongo Flava compilation (see AQL #216), X Plastaz are one of the biggest names in Tanzanian hip hop -- hence the release of this disc, a closer examination of their music. You'd never know to listen -- unless you can speak Swahili and Haya -- but the music of X Plastaz is steeped in social and political activism. Criticizing corrupt politicians, speaking out against violence, theft and unemployment. And while the Tanzanian hip hop scene in its infancy certainly owed much, if not imitated directly, the hip hop music coming out of the U.S., the Bongo Flava groups take just as many cues from dancehall, Indian film music and -- in X Plastaz case -- traditional Maasai chanting. The latter is what makes X Plastaz stand so far out from the Bongo Flava crowd: including in their crew a Maasai warrior on vocals. The Maasai are rural people, who still live in tight knit villages and follow age old traditions long since foresaken by the modernized urban Tanzanian population. Further, the Maasai are seen as backward by the urban Tanzanians. So along with being looked down upon by older, more conservative Tanzanians for partaking in this "degenerate" musical form, they stand apart from their young, urban counterparts. Pretty damn punk rock when you consider it. As a bonus, two videos of X Plastaz are included on the disc.
MPEG Stream: "Masimu Kwa Msimu"
MPEG Stream: "Ushanta"

album cover X RAY POP Ding Dong Songs: 1984 >>> 1989 (B-Music) cd 13.98
The third collection of X Ray Pop tracks in as many years finds this duo of frenetic eighties French synth-poppers in their later era (1984-1989) with catchy songs pulled from lps and cassettes that while still as zany and edgy as the music on the earlier collections, also shows both more polish and dreaminess with more complex instrumentation and arrangements. Their first two collections showcased both their demos in minimal synth-wave form and their full-length releases with a hyper-punkier edge. This collection reminds us even more of French pop groups like Les Rita Mitsouko and Stereo Total with a richer poppier sheen that's effervescent and bubbly but still very weird. Includes bonus material of early demos of their classic songs like "Alcool" and "L'Eurasienne" sung by male member Doc Pilot. This is fast-becoming our favorite of the three collections!
MPEG Stream: "Ding Dong"
MPEG Stream: "Dream of A Shadow"
MPEG Stream: "Louche"
MPEG Stream: "Le Bateau Cellulose"

album cover X RAY POP Pirate! (Finders Keepers) lp 25.00
A few weeks back we listed an amazing French synth-pop rarity on the Dark Entries label called The Dream Machine by duo X Ray Pop, a compilation of early singles and demos that was equal parts Les Rita Mitsouko, Mo-dettes and Stereo Total. Now Finders Keepers follows that up with a reissue of the band's first full length, Pirate!, from 1985. Pirate! was originally released on cassette in a small edition of 100 copies, so it went down the rabbithole of obscurities pretty quickly. So it's awesome that it's getting reissued! We did notice that 5 of the tracks on both releases were the same, but then a glance at the subtitle on this release, The Dark Side Of The X, clued us into the fact that while the songs are the same, they are VERY different versions. The Dream Machine demos were more stripped down and gave a lighter touch to the French pop created by vocalist Zouka Dzaza and instrumentalist Doc Pilot. On Pirate! however, the songs have more overdriven synthesizers creating a much darker Suicide-ish feel heightened by the rapid-fire drum machines. Still catchy and cool, but closer to the cold wave of Deux and Gina X on this go round than the way they were to Pizzacato 5 and Stereolab was on the last one.
MPEG Stream: "Nous Sommes"
MPEG Stream: "Nana Electronique"
MPEG Stream: "L'Eurasienne"
MPEG Stream: "Un Petit Plume"

album cover X RAY POP Pirate!: The Dark Side of The X (Finders Keepers) cd 16.98
A few weeks back we listed an amazing French synth-pop rarity on the Dark Entries label called The Dream Machine by duo X Ray Pop, a compilation of early singles and demos that was equal parts Les Rita Mitsouko, Mo-dettes and Stereo Total. Now Finders Keepers follows that up with a reissue of the band's first full length, Pirate!, from 1985. Pirate! was originally released on cassette in a small edition of 100 copies, so it went down the rabbithole of obscurities pretty quickly. So it's awesome that it's getting reissued! We did notice that 5 of the tracks on both releases were the same, but then a glance at the subtitle on this release, The Dark Side Of The X, clued us into the fact that while the songs are the same, they are VERY different versions. The Dream Machine demos were more stripped down and gave a lighter touch to the French pop created by vocalist Zouka Dzaza and instrumentalist Doc Pilot. On Pirate! however, the songs have more overdriven synthesizers creating a much darker Suicide-ish feel heightened by the rapid-fire drum machines. Still catchy and cool, but closer to the cold wave of Deux and Gina X on this go round than the way they were to Pizzacato 5 and Stereolab was on the last one.
MPEG Stream: "Nous Sommes"
MPEG Stream: "Nana Electronique"
MPEG Stream: "L'Eurasienne"
MPEG Stream: "Un Petit Plume"

album cover X RAY POP The Dream Machine (Dark Entries) lp 15.98
Obscure French synth-pop duo of Doc Pilot and Zouka Dzaza, aka X Ray Pop, are rescued from the lost cassette / 7" single graveyard of the mid-eighties and finally have their early recorded output see the light of day, via Dark Entries, and what a treat! Like Nini Raviolette or Deux, this is our favorite kind of French minimal wave, with seductively blase female vocals and eccentric upbeat songs. Made with a economic setup of synths and drum machines, the songs are nevertheless super catchy and hook-laden, like a stripped down Les Rita Mitsouko or as an early reviewer from the mini-zine included with this lp compares them to a French Mo-dettes. Very cool! The first side consists of their early 7" singles released between 1984 and 1986 and begins perhaps with our favorite track, opener "La Machine A Rever". The B side is the 1984 demos originally released on cassette. Here they even do a stripped down version of Serge Gainsbourg and Bridgette Bardot's "Contakt". While it may not trump the original, it still beats the Wooden Shjips version. But seriously, fans of the cooler French minimal wave or even Stereolab, Stereo Total, or Pizzicato 5 will dig this thoroughly!
MPEG Stream: "Alcool"
MPEG Stream: "Playgirl"
MPEG Stream: "L'Eurosienne"

album cover X, RICHARD Presents His X-Factor Vol. 1 (Astralwerks) cd 16.98
Astralwerks is betting a considerable amount of money that the 'bootleg' phenomenon that raged during the summer of 2002 hasn't completely died out, as they have obviously invested a considerable amount of money for Richard X to license all of the samples that land on his debut album "Richard X Presents His X-Factor Vol. 1." The bootleg or 'mash-up' aesthetic was a seemingly simple one, as an artist would take the a capella track of some overplayed pop song and layer it on top of the instrumental track of an equally overplayed pop song. Done well, it's a wonderfully subversive play between appropriated texts. Done badly, it's clumsy ironic drivel. Given the overwhelming number of those bootlegs that were dreadful, this is an artform which demands much more panache than your average artschool ironist can muster. Hiding behind this enigmatic moniker as well as the semi-legit project the Sugarbabes, Richard X proved he was the best of the bootleggers, with his deadly perfect mash-up of "Being Boiled" by Human League and "No Scrubs" by TLC which gave the appearance that absolutely nothing was done to either track in order for the two melodies to come together.
With the crackdown from the RIAA on those evil pirates who download illegal music from the net (insert sarcastic facial gesture and eyerolling here), there is absolutely no way Richard X could get away with the schtick that got him his credibility. As a result "Richard X Presents His X-Factor Vol. 1" is something of a compromise record; however, it is a deranged pop masterpiece that is simultaneously a piss-take, a send-up, and a perfect homage to terminal fashion victims, electroclash trainspotters, and ravenous consumers of the mainstream entertainment industry. The album opens with a reprise of the "Being Boiled" mash-up; however, this time Richard commissioned the R&B group Liberty X for a rendition of the Chaka Khan classic "Ain't Nobody," and highlights include a very clever version of Burt Bacharach's "Walk On By" with Flying Lizards' vocalist Deborah Evans-Strickland offering the same deadpan vocal delivery she gave to the Lizards' new wave classic cover of "Money." Some of the references are a bit more obscure, delving into diva house territory with a pretty straight remake of Thelma Houston's "You Used To Hold Me So Tight." The one major dud on the album is the cornball crap track from electroclash dork Tiga, who breathily recites 'you better let me love you' at best sounding like a overly cologned playboy with only one sleazy pick up line, at worst like a date rapist. Overlook this one track, and you'll find that Richard X has done very well with the limitations set before him. It's certainly not the free world you might think it is.
MPEG Stream: "Being Nobody"
MPEG Stream: "Freak Like Me"

X-ECUTIONERS X-pressions (Asphodel) cd 15.98
Formerly known as the X-Men (name changed for obvious reasons), this Brooklyn quartet of world champion turntablists breaks out with first album. On their very own label, Audio Soul, a subsidiary of Asphodel.

X-RAY SPEX Germ Free Adolescents (Virgin) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

album cover X-RAY SPEX Germ Free Adolescents - Expanded (Castle Music) cd 14.98
Woohoo! X-Ray Spex's punk rock classic Germ Free Adolescents album was first released on cd by Virgin Records. Then a couple of years ago Castle Music grabbed a hold of the baton and ran with it, releasing a (now out-of-print) double cd set called The Anthology which included the whole album along with the "Oh Bondage! Up Yours!" single and a heap of Spex rare odds'n'ends. Now sorta straddling the two previous releases, Germ Free resurfaces once more on a single disc, but mind you it's 'expanded'! Although it does include a bunch of extra stuff, it's not quite as definitive as The Anthology, but it does come pretty close. The eleven bonus tracks include their "Oh Bondage! Up Yours!" single along with seven tracks from their Peel Sessions (March 6, 1978 and November 13, 1978). Anyways, here's a summary of what former AQ owner Windy said about the 2cd version: In the last years of the '70s, X-Ray Spex, fronted by singer / songwriter Poly Styrene, were one of the most visible and artistically successful punk originals. Led by Poly Styrene who had charisma with a capital C, the British band's songs were super intense, noisy and ragged -- while simultaneously catchy, ridiculously melodic and hook-filled. Powerful, hundred-miles-an-hour drumming, wailing skronk saxophone, Poly's sandpaper yowl of a voice -- it all adds up. X-Ray Spex obviously influenced Sleater-Kinney (especially in the vocals -- if you're a SK fan you simply have to get this), as well as pretty much any grrl punk group you can think of, and, heck, a lot of male-led bands too. And along with the Raincoats and LiliPut, X-Ray Spex is THE foundation of the female vision of Punk.
Simply put, this is one of the best albums Punk ever produced (and one of Windy's all-time favorites). If you haven't already, you owe it to yourself to hear this record. YOU WILL LOVE IT.
MPEG Stream: "Oh Bondage! Up Yours!"
MPEG Stream: "Germ Free Adolescents (Peel Session)"

album cover X-RAY SPEX Let's Submerge: The Anthology (Castle Music) 2cd 22.00
Again?!?! Whoa, in the last five years we've had triple deja vu where X-Ray Spex cds are concerned -- specifically these British punk pioneers' Germ Free Adolescents album which was originally released (on vinyl and cassette, we assume!) in 1978 by Blue Plate / Caroline.
Back in 2001 we carried the GFA cd which was released by Virgin Records. Then in 2002 a double cd titled The Anthology was released by Castle Music. It included the GFA album as well as a whole extra disc packed with rarities. In 2005, Castle Music couldn't leave well enough alone and shook things up again, issuing Germ Free Adolescents - Expanded which fit the GFA album and some extras onto a single cd. Now only a year later we get Let's Submerge: The Anthology, a slipcovered two disc set containing a total of fifty-two tracks (the GFA album, John Peel Sessions, live recordings, early demos, and more).
Anyway, one more time with feeling! Here's what former AQ owner Windy said about the previous 2cd version (it totally still hold true for this release!): In the last years of the '70s, X-Ray Spex, fronted by singer / songwriter Poly Styrene, were one of the most visible and artistically successful punk originals. Led by Poly Styrene who had charisma with a capital C, the British band's songs were super intense, noisy and ragged -- while simultaneously catchy, ridiculously melodic and hook-filled. Powerful, hundred-miles-an-hour drumming, wailing skronk saxophone, Poly's sandpaper yowl of a voice -- it all adds up. X-Ray Spex obviously influenced Sleater-Kinney (especially in the vocals -- if you're a SK fan you simply have to get this), as well as pretty much any grrl punk group you can think of, and, heck, a lot of male-led bands too. And along with the Raincoats and LiliPut, X-Ray Spex is THE foundation of the female vision of Punk.
Simply put, this is one of the best albums Punk ever produced (and one of Windy's all-time favorites). If you haven't already, you owe it to yourself to hear this record. YOU WILL LOVE IT.
MPEG Stream: "Identity"
MPEG Stream: "The Day The World Turned Day-Glo (Alt Mix)"

album cover X-RAY SPEX The Anthology (Castle) 2cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
In the last years of the seventies, X-Ray Spex, fronted by singer / songwriter Poly Styrene, were one of the most visible and artistically successful punk originals. Led by Poly Styrene who had charisma with a capital C, the British band's songs were super intense, noisy and ragged -- while simultaneously catchy, ridiculously melodic and hook-filled. Powerful, hundred-miles-an-hour drumming, wailing skronk saxophone, Poly's sandpaper yowl of a voice -- it all adds up. X-Ray Spex obviously influenced Sleater-Kinney (especially in the vocals -- if you're a SK fan you simply have to get this), as well as pretty much any grrl punk group you can think of, and, heck, a lot of male-led bands too. And along with the Raincoats and LiliPut, X-Ray Spex is THE foundation of the female vision of Punk.
Simply put, this is one of the best albums Punk ever produced (and one of Windy's all-time favorites). If you haven't already, you owe it to yourself to hear this record. YOU WILL LOVE IT.
That said, this here reissue just might turn out to be the definitive anthology of X-Ray Spex's career. There's the entirety of their Germ Free Adolescents album, and the "Oh Bondage! Up Yours!" single. And even if you have Germ Free Adolescents already, here are some plum reasons to get this double disc set: an additional ten tracks of rough mixes, instrumental versions, a song never before released, a fantastically energetic recording of their second live gig ever (1977 at the Roxy) where Poly's voice is so shot by the end of the concert that it's totally cracking (in a good way) all over "Oh Bondage! Up Yours!", and last but not least, three (quite good) songs from their 1995 reunion. Also lyrics, photos and some hard-to-read liner notes. I'm taking this home right now and seriously so should you.
RealAudio clip: "Art-I-Ficial (Rough Mix)"
RealAudio clip: "Oh Bondage! Up Yours! (live)"
RealAudio clip: "Germ Free Adolescents"
RealAudio clip: "Cigarettes"

album cover X-TG Desertshore / The Final Report (Industrial Records Limited) 2cd 25.00
Long in the works, this last ever Throbbing Gristle project, which was to be a fully realized cover album of the legendary Nico record from 1970, has had more than its fair share of controversy and drama within the confines of the remaining members of the group (Chris Carter, Cosey Fanni Tutti, and Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson). Not only by the death of key member and project leader Christopherson, but also the decision of Chris and Cosey to continue the project on their own as a tribute to "Sleazy" sparking a widely publicized twitter feud with former Throbbing Gristle member Genesis P-Orridge. Already the name X-TG was christened due to P-Orridge's unwillingness to continue to tour with the reenergized Throbbing Gristle in late 2010, and the remaining members continued on, under the new moniker, with a desire to mold new sounds in the studio. The Desertshore album was in fact instigated several years before, back in 2006 for an art installation, but the results were unsatisfactory and thus re-recorded two years later. With Sleazy's death occurring before the project was finished, it became a tribute with vocals given to an array of familiar guests. What seemed at first like a dream project, has since been altered so far away from its original intentions, that while on one hand it's great to see a long involved project finally realized, we can't help but wonder what could have been.
The problem being that with so many guest vocals, it's impossible to be immersed into a singular sound world that the original Desertshore demands, as the changes among vocalists create an unwanted distraction. The sound that X-TG created for themselves is beautifully exquisite, and on some tracks, especially the Antony led, "Janitor of Lunacy", the total effect is mesmerizing. But between the bravado of Marc Almond, the tepidness of Sasha Gray, and the wildly fluctuating moods of other guests including Blixa Bargeld and Argentine cinema provocateur, Gaspar Noe, it's difficult to feel satisfied overall. The biggest question for us is why didn't Cosey just sing the whole thing? Her vocal contributions are among the best of the lot and might have led to the project having some much needed continuity. Perhaps perfect closure was too much of an unattainable goal in the post-TG world for us to expect.
Unlike the other declarations of finality, disc two in this double disc set is in fact The Final Report for the remnants of Throbbing Gristle. The sketches of The Final Report were mapped out during studio sessions from 2009 through 2010 up until Sleazy's death, with Chris and Cosey completing the album themselves. In many ways, it's a considerable improvement upon the Third Mind Movements by Throbbing Gristle from 2009, with flickering, mirage-like electronic tones and deconstructed samples sliding in and out of focus around the orbit of the lumbering rhythms. While the technology and the ability to use it has improved, the band continue to build from primitive pulses and scaffolding that are plastered with uneasy sounds, subliminal vocalizations, and mutant electronica -- all very much in keeping with the Industrial agenda of 1978, but with current technology. "E.H.S." sounds very much like what Throbbing Gristle revamped today would sound like, with unsettled vocalizations lurking at the perimeter of perception and Cosey's atonal guitar bursting through the cybernetic, lurching rhythm in chunky blocks of bent sound. "What He Said" is a noirish piece of futurist electronica with a heart-beat pulse gradually building in intensity with elongated coronet tones and skittered echoings of caustic noise bouncing throughout. The Final Report is pretty much a unified album, which is a strange thing to say about a Throbbing Gristle record, which in the past were known to be distinctly disjointed and multi-faceted. Here, the vision is consistent with a morose soot covering both man and machine alike. Let's hope the next Chris & Cosey record picks up where this one leaves off!
MPEG Stream: "Janitor Of Lunacy"
MPEG Stream: "Afraid"
MPEG Stream: "My Only Child"
MPEG Stream: "E.H.S."
MPEG Stream: "What He Said"

album cover X-TG Desertshore / The Final Report (Industrial Records Limited) 2lp 34.00
VINYL COPIES TOO, FINALLY BACK IN STOCK TO LIST!
Long in the works, this last ever Throbbing Gristle project, which was to be a fully realized cover album of the legendary Nico record from 1970, has had more than its fair share of controversy and drama within the confines of the remaining members of the group (Chris Carter, Cosey Fanni Tutti, and Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson). Not only by the death of key member and project leader Christopherson, but also the decision of Chris and Cosey to continue the project on their own as a tribute to "Sleazy" sparking a widely publicized twitter feud with former Throbbing Gristle member Genesis P-Orridge. Already the name X-TG was christened due to P-Orridge's unwillingness to continue to tour with the reenergized Throbbing Gristle in late 2010, and the remaining members continued on, under the new moniker, with a desire to mold new sounds in the studio. The Desertshore album was in fact instigated several years before, back in 2006 for an art installation, but the results were unsatisfactory and thus re-recorded two years later. With Sleazy's death occurring before the project was finished, it became a tribute with vocals given to an array of familiar guests. What seemed at first like a dream project, has since been altered so far away from its original intentions, that while on one hand it's great to see a long involved project finally realized, we can't help but wonder what could have been.
The problem being that with so many guest vocals, it's impossible to be immersed into a singular sound world that the original Desertshore demands, as the changes among vocalists create an unwanted distraction. The sound that X-TG created for themselves is beautifully exquisite, and on some tracks, especially the Antony led, "Janitor of Lunacy", the total effect is mesmerizing. But between the bravado of Marc Almond, the tepidness of Sasha Gray, and the wildly fluctuating moods of other guests including Blixa Bargeld and Argentine cinema provocateur, Gaspar Noe, it's difficult to feel satisfied overall. The biggest question for us is why didn't Cosey just sing the whole thing? Her vocal contributions are among the best of the lot and might have led to the project having some much needed continuity. Perhaps perfect closure was too much of an unattainable goal in the post-TG world for us to expect.
Unlike the other declarations of finality, disc two in this double disc set is in fact The Final Report for the remnants of Throbbing Gristle. The sketches of The Final Report were mapped out during studio sessions from 2009 through 2010 up until Sleazy's death, with Chris and Cosey completing the album themselves. In many ways, it's a considerable improvement upon the Third Mind Movements by Throbbing Gristle from 2009, with flickering, mirage-like electronic tones and deconstructed samples sliding in and out of focus around the orbit of the lumbering rhythms. While the technology and the ability to use it has improved, the band continue to build from primitive pulses and scaffolding that are plastered with uneasy sounds, subliminal vocalizations, and mutant electronica -- all very much in keeping with the Industrial agenda of 1978, but with current technology. "E.H.S." sounds very much like what Throbbing Gristle revamped today would sound like, with unsettled vocalizations lurking at the perimeter of perception and Cosey's atonal guitar bursting through the cybernetic, lurching rhythm in chunky blocks of bent sound. "What He Said" is a noirish piece of futurist electronica with a heart-beat pulse gradually building in intensity with elongated coronet tones and skittered echoings of caustic noise bouncing throughout. The Final Report is pretty much a unified album, which is a strange thing to say about a Throbbing Gristle record, which in the past were known to be distinctly disjointed and multi-faceted. Here, the vision is consistent with a morose soot covering both man and machine alike. Let's hope the next Chris & Cosey record picks up where this one leaves off!
MPEG Stream: "Janitor Of Lunacy"
MPEG Stream: "Afraid"
MPEG Stream: "My Only Child"
MPEG Stream: "E.H.S."
MPEG Stream: "What He Said"

album cover XABEC Feuerstern (Drone) 7" 6.00
Last copies! Sale priced...
Another installment from Germany's drone records, as always gorgeously packaged, super limited, and some of the deepest, darkest, loveliest and most mysterious dronemusik around.
This one comes from a group called XABEC, whose installment comes pressed on thick maroon vinyl, and housed in a gold embossed 7" cardboard box, with a printed cardstock insert. As always, it's a first edition and is thus limited to only 300 copies.
The A side begins as two simultaneous drones, one soft and shimmery and static, the other more buzzy and distorted, a hissing rumble, wrapping itself all around the main drone. Later on, creepy footstep-like percussion drifts in, and distant keening metallic melodies. Whirring distortion underpins bits of clatter, and various random sounds, all woven into a darkly undulating sonic tapestry.
The B side is a piece from a performance based on music and fireworks, and thus ends with field recordings, captured by Mnortham, the track opens with a flurry of fireworks a cloud of skittery pop, like an army of tiny machine guns, quickly giving way to a wash of deep resonant metallic drones, and a strange alien groove over the top, some sort of squeaky looped rhythm that sounds a bit like Drone meets Kompakt. Weird but quite cool.

album cover XARKRINUR Dark Rituals (Psalm 88 / Acephale Winter Productions) cassette 5.98
One of two new releases on the newly launched Psalm 88 label, an offshoot of local black metal cassette label Acephale Winter, and the first we've heard from Xarkrinur, a FIFTEEN YEAR OLD one man (boy?) black metal band from Bangladesh (!), whose warped, home-brewed, weirdly produced depressive black buzz immediately reminded us of late great weirdo black metal horde Benighted Leams. Similarly stumbling and damaged, the guitars brittle and buzzy, the programmed drums machinelike and robotic, the rhythms stiff and strangely static, but it's the vocals, a raspy, whispery growl, that seal the deal, WAY up in the mix, eclipsing the music with every foul utterance, we're also reminded of local lo-fi sort-of-black-metal wacko Fastest, a similarly delivered, super dramatic hushed vokill style. But Xarkrinur conjure up a seriously stunning atmosphere, the second track, slows things down, and gets super atmospheric, with some strange harmonic overtones, and a murky, melancholy main riff, the vocals shift too, becoming more hissy and feral, but the music, super emotional and darkly lovely, sans black metal affectation, could be some tripped out lo-fi post rock. The other two songs here are similarly split, the third another brittle blast of raw primitive buzz, while the closer is a smoldering doomic creep, with thick crumbling chords (that sound like an organ almost), the vocals more wasted and weary, a harrowing sprawl of depressive downer doom that we are digging a LOT. For sure need to hear more from this guy.
LIMITED TO 88 COPIES!!
MPEG Stream: "Forest Of Mist"
MPEG Stream: "When Angels Cry"

album cover XASTHUR 2005 Demo (Hydra Head) cd ep 10.98
Recorded back around the time of Subliminal Genocide, Xasthur's debut on Hydra Head, which was a momentous occasion in the BM underground for sure at the time, with many of the troo grim hordes crying foul, an underground black metal icon signing to a very UN-underground label, but it worked, SG was incredible, murky and intense and epic and grim as fuck and no one could really argue with the Xasthur / Hydra Head union at that point. Things quickly changed though, the next few records found Xasthur mixing it up, once again to the chagrin of the same haters whose feathers were ruffled before. Personally, we loved those records too, we even dug the eventual switch to real drums, we've yet to really hate a Xasthur disc. Although as far as we're concerned, nothing will ever touch Nocturnal Poisoning, the first and still maybe best Xasthur record, and the 3 records that preceded the Hydra Head debut are nearly as good, The Funeral Of Being, Telepathic With The Deceased and To Violate The Oblivious. So this demo comes right after those records, and just before Subliminal Genocide, and sounds like it, it may be designated a 'demo' (although with Xasthur, it's hard to really imagine there's much sonic polishing that goes on from the demo stage to the record proper stage), but essentially it's a couple unreleased Xasthur jams, vintage Xasthur, and that's all we need to know.
The first track is a pounding, super distorted murkscape, the buzzing riffage laced with arpeggiated clean guitar melodies, those anguished howls, drums BURIED in the mix, a seasick ebb and flow, woozy and warped, and gloriously low fidelity, lumbering through thick fields of haze and buzz, a weirdly washed out ambient vibe, even at it's fiercest moments. The second track is way more mellow, a dreamy blurred doomic plod, the guitars muddy and WAY out of tune, which only makes the music that much more twisted and atonal and grim, this finds Xasthur at his most Striborg, creating mournful blackened dirges behind a constant wall of smeared fuzz, lo-fi hiss, and tangled gnarled riffage, occasionally slipping into weirdly melodic interludes, only to stumble back into the buzzy fray. There are some awesome sort-of-leads, flanged and seriously psychedelic, totally druggy doomy bleak buzz. So good. Fans will want this for sure, maybe not the place to start necessarily (that would be Nocturnal Poisoning or Subliminal Genocide) although this does make a pretty tempting two song teaser of muddy murky grim black genius. If we weren't already fans, this might lure us to the dark side for sure...
MPEG Stream: "Untitled 4/05"
MPEG Stream: "Untitled 5/05"

album cover XASTHUR A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors (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.
Finally the amazing debut from Malefic and his one man suicidal black metal outfit Xasthur gets reissued. Originally released as a super limited (100 copies!) cd-r edition, this re-release sees the original remixed, and reworked with a whole mess of bonus stuff from the same time period (2000-2001), demo tracks, extra tracks, covers (Mutiilation, Burzum). The sound on "...Bloodstained Mirrors" is as dark and grim and melancholy as it gets, Buzzing riffs, rumbling bass and pounding drums are all fused into one huge organic whole, a writhing, twisting black metal beast, that swings wildly from thrashing chaos, to waltzing minor key dirges, to creepy dark ambience. The vocals are so low in the mix they just sound like another layer of fuzz, adding to the swirling roiling madness. This is everything black metal is supposed to be, intensely personal, singular in vision, utterly bleak and crushingly dark, buzzing and throbbing, hypnotic and heavy as fuck. Lots of sonic weirdness and a bizarre, very lo-fi production (tape hiss, drop outs, etc...) just add to the overall madness.
MPEG Stream: "Moon Shrouded In Misery (Part 1)"
MPEG Stream: "Dwelling Beneath The Woods"

album cover XASTHUR A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors (Hydra Head) 2cd 14.98
By now, Xasthur is practically a household name. Assuming your house is a cave, or painted black, or lit by torches, or painted black with the blood of your enemies, or filled with bones and skulls and a stereo pumping nothing but black metal. And actually, Xasthur, maybe more than any other one-man black metal outfit, has crossed over into the sort-of mainstream. His washed out blurred blackmetalscapes, definitely predicting the so-called "metalgaze" movement to come. His strange murky buzz, as blissed out as any of the current crop, albeit much more muddy and moody and subtly fucked up.
Finally, Xasthur's debut gets the deluxe reissue treatment, via the fine black souls at Hydra Head. Now repackaged in a spiffy deluxe gatefold, with all new artwork, improved sound, and most importantly, a whole bonus disc, the legendary Darkened Winter Promo 01, which almost no one we know has ever actually heard, which makes sense as it was limited to about ten cd-r's handed out to friends.
First the record itself. A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors was not in fact our introduction to Xasthur, that honor belongs to Nocturnal Poisoning, a record we still consider to be one of the all time greatest black metal records EVER. Released in 2002, that record was nearly perfect, a buzzing melancholy epic, as much about texture and timbre as songs and riffs. Atmospheric and intense and beautifully blackened.
A Gate Through Bloodstained Mirrors was in fact, the first full length Xasthur recording, never properly released until much later on Total Holocaust in 2004. And while it shares sonically a lot of what we love about Nocturnal Poisoning, it's much more raw and immediate. Less cohesive maybe, more chaotic, the recording lo-fi and way more murky, this is as dark and grim and melancholy as it gets, Buzzing riffs, rumbling bass and pounding drums are all fused into one huge organic whole, a writhing, twisting black metal beast, that swings wildly from thrashing chaos, to waltzing minor key dirges, to creepy dark ambience. The vocals are so low in the mix they just sound like another layer of fuzz, adding to the swirling roiling madness. This is everything black metal is supposed to be, intensely personal, singular in vision, utterly bleak and crushingly dark, buzzing and throbbing, hypnotic and heavy as fuck. Lots of sonic weirdness and a bizarre, very lo-fi production (tape hiss, drop outs, etc...) just add to the overall madness. The extra tracks on the THR reissue (not on the original demo) are included, demo tracks, extra tracks, covers (Mutiilation, Burzum). It would be worth it already, but then there's a whole extra disc...
The bonus disc, the Darkened Winter Promo 01, is a snapshot of Xasthur's early sound, as it was developing into the expansive epic miserable bleak beauty it would eventually become. And actually hearing this now, it's almost there, structure-wise, riff-wise, it's WAY more lo-fi, muted and muddy and smeared into blurred blackness, but all the things we love about Xasthur are already present, those mournful arpeggiated melodies, the warbly black ambience, the vocals buried in the mix, the songs heaving roiling seas of bleary black misery. The fifth track, sounds like it's from a different session, the guitars much louder, a lilting clean sound, the riffs effected, the drums a muted skitter beneath the cascading minor key chords. The final track is the heaviest, and most traditionally black sounding Xasthur recording we've heard. A definite practice space sound, the drums big and boomy (and real, not a drum machine!), the guitars crunchy and thick, the song swinging from midtempo plod to brutal black bursts, with stumbling blast beats, almost sounds like a blackened noise rock band. Almost like the Dead C covering Burzum.
What else is there to say, it's Xasthur, it's a black metal classic and there's a whole disc of unreleased material. Essential and fucking awesome.
MPEG Stream: "Moon Shrouded In Misery (Part 1)"
MPEG Stream: "Dwelling Beneath The Woods"

album cover XASTHUR All Reflections Drained (Hydra Head) 2cd 14.98
Originally released on cassette, then on vinyl, now finally available on cd, including a bonus disc of unreleased tracks and sonic experiments. Packaged in a cool dvd style digibook. Here's what we had to say about the album proper, skip to the end for more on the bonus disc...
FINALLY, a new record from Xasthur, aka Malefic, a one man doom-ed depressive black metal machine, whose last release, Defective Epitaph was a huge hit around these parts, due in no small part to the shift from drum machine to actual drums, no programmed beats, actual kit bashing rhythms courtesy of Malefic himself, and the result was pretty stellar, creating a sound even more raw and murky and lo-fi than past efforts, but no less bleak or introspective or amazing. So now comes All Reflections Drained, and it's very much a continuation of Defective Epitaph, from moment one, the sound boomy and reverb drenched, echoey and WAY lo-fi, loping doomy guitars, stumbling midtempo drums, and then WOAH, the sound shifts, and the drums double time it under a layer of thick low end dramatic piano, creating some strange Skepticismy drift, over the relentlessly buzzing blackness below. The mix is REALLY weird, fractured and gloriously fucked up, the sounds shifting and merging into one another, the songs too, woozy and warped and seasick sounding and a bit waltzy, the drum sound super raw and distant and for the most part buried in the mix, minus some flurries of kick drum that practically explode. The guitars are washed out and melancholic, lumbering doomily through hazy clouds of muted buzz and soft focus hiss, lots of creeped out ambience, and dark soundscaping, way less of a focus on vocals, in fact several songs in, and we barely noticed any, minus some far off clean crooning and some rumbled mutterings, the usual blackened harsh rasps seemingly lost in the swirling off kilter mix.
If anything this record is a logical extension of the direction Malefic had been taking the sound of Xasthur, like a Defective Epitaph part two maybe, but somehow quite a bit doomier, and WAY weirder, more spaced out and experimental, with a serious focus on dark brooding non-metal parts, hints of slowcore and drone abound, some parts are downright orchestral, and the sound is definitely even murkier and mysterious than ever, dripping with buzz and tape hiss, blown out low end (that sounds like a tuba or something similar) and thick crumbling distortion, but fear not troo grim hordes, it's still plenty depressive and dolorous, minor key and epic, miserable and moody, gorgeously buzzy and bafflingly brilliant.
It's unclear exactly what the material on the bonus disc actually is, or where it came from. The booklet only offers these cryptic words: "This is simply a bonus disc. Nothing more. It has very little to do with the album 'All Reflections Drained.' Experimenting in between the chapters... that's what these songs are. Sme are literally exclusive. Some are not." Okay then. To our ears, it sounds like the perfect addendum to All Reflections Drained. Still murky and muddy and buzzy and blurry and doomy, a few of the tracks are weridly crunchy and gritty, one has what sounds like strings, making it sound like some weird black metal Sigur Ros or something, but then of course quickly crumbles back into filthy blackness. There's some cool acoustic ambience, very cinematic and soundtracky (this stuff would make a KILLER soundtrack for some avant horror thriller!), there's a bit of practice space pound, all stumbling lurching minimalism, some seriously creeped out guitarscapery, and more of that blackened post rock that has been creeping into more and more Xasthur jams. It almost plays like a proper disc 2, as in, not a bonus disc of odds and ends, and more a second half of All Refelctions Drained, and there are at least a couple of songs here that sound as good as if not better than anything on the first disc. Which means, everyone who bought the tape, or the 2lp, are probably gonna have to buy this too...
MPEG Stream: "Dirge Forsaken"
MPEG Stream: "Maze Of Oppression"
MPEG Stream: "Concealed Barren Thoughts (Bonus)"

album cover XASTHUR All Reflections Drained (Hydra Head) 2lp 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Originally released as a super limited cassette, now available as an equally limited and even more deluxe double lp, housed in an unbelievably swank and ultra thick gatefold jacket, with printed inner sleeves and pressed on super heavy vinyl! WOW.
But packaging aside, FINALLY, a new record from Xasthur, aka Malefic, a one man doom-ed depressive black metal machine, whose last release, Defective Epitaph was a huge hit around these parts, due in no small part to the shift from drum machine to actual drums, no programmed beats, actual kit bashing rhythms courtesy of Malefic himself, and the result was pretty stellar, creating a sound even more raw and murky and lo-fi than past efforts, but no less bleak or introspective or amazing. So now comes All Reflections Drained, soon to come on double lp, and we would assume cd, but for now available only in the very old school, very metal, and very kult kassette format. And it's very much a continuation of Defective Epitaph, from moment one, the sound boomy and reverb drenched, echoey and WAY lo-fi, loping doomy guitars, stumbling midtempo drums, and then WOAH, the sound shifts, and the drums double time it under a layer of thick low end dramatic piano, creating some strange Skepticismy drift, over the relentlessly buzzing blackness below. The mix is REALLY weird, fractured and gloriously fucked up, the sounds shifting and merging into one another, the songs too, woozy and warped and seasick sounding and a bit waltzy, the drum sound super raw and distant and for the most part buried in the mix, minus some flurries of kick drum that practically explode. The guitars are washed out and melancholic, lumbering doomily through hazy clouds of muted buzz and soft focus hiss, lots of creeped out ambience, and dark soundscaping, way less of a focus on vocals, in fact several songs in, and we barely noticed any, minus some far off clean crooning and some rumbled mutterings, the usual blackened harsh rasps seemingly lost in the swirling off kilter mix.
If anything this record is a logical extension of the direction Malefic had been taking the sound of Xasthur, like a Defective Epitaph part two maybe, but somehow quite a bit doomier, and WAY weirder, more spaced out and experimental, with a serious focus on dark brooding non-metal parts, hints of slowcore and drone abound, some parts are downright orchestral, and the sound is definitely even murkier and mysterious than ever, dripping with buzz and tape hiss, blown out low end (that sounds like a tuba or something similar) and thick crumbling distortion, but fear not troo grim hordes, it's still plenty depressive and dolorous, minor key and epic, miserable and moody, gorgeously buzzy and bafflingly brilliant.
MPEG Stream: "Dirge Forsaken"
MPEG Stream: "Maze Of Oppression"

album cover XASTHUR All Reflections Drained (Hydra Head) cassette 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We almost sold out of these after only a few days, without even reviewing / listing it, but then it IS a new Xasthur record, and it IS a super limited (500 copies) cassette version, and cassette means cult, in a cool oversized clamshell case, with original artwork by Hildolf from Draugar, and inside, it also contains a photocopied booklet, 3 pins and a patch! So yeah, no real surprise that those flew out of here. We did manage to get a handful more of these, but seeing as how these have been selling pretty much nonstop, who knows how long they'll last.
Beyond all that stuff, we're pretty psyched for sure. Finally, a new record from Xasthur, aka Malefic, a one man doom-ed depressive black metal machine, whose last release, Defective Epitaph was a huge hit around these parts, due in no small part to the shift from drum machine to actual drums, no programmed beats, actual kit bashing rhythms courtesy of Malefic himself, and the result was pretty stellar, creating a sound even more raw and murky and lo-fi than past efforts, but no less bleak or introspective or amazing. So now comes All Reflections Drained, soon to come on double lp, and we would assume cd, but for now available only in the very old school, very metal, and very kult kassette format. And it's very much a continuation of Defective Epitaph, from moment one, the sound boomy and reverb drenched, echoey and WAY lo-fi, loping doomy guitars, stumbling midtempo drums, and then WOAH, the sound shifts, and the drums double time it under a layer of thick low end dramatic piano, creating some strange Skepticismy drift, over the relentlessly buzzing blackness below. The mix is REALLY weird, fractured and gloriously fucked up, the sounds shifting and merging into one another, the songs too, woozy and warped and seasick sounding and a bit waltzy, the drum sound super raw and distant and for the most part buried in the mix, minus some flurries of kick drum that practically explode. The guitars are washed out and melancholic, lumbering doomily through hazy clouds of muted buzz and soft focus hiss, lots of creeped out ambience, and dark soundscaping, way less of a focus on vocals, in fact several songs in, and we barely noticed any, minus some far off clean crooning and some rumbled mutterings, the usual blackened harsh rasps seemingly lost in the swirling off kilter mix.
If anything this record is a logical extension of the direction Malefic had been taking the sound of Xasthur, like a Defective Epitaph part two maybe, but somehow quite a bit doomier, and WAY weirder, more spaced out and experimental, with a serious focus on dark brooding non-metal parts, hints of slowcore and drone abound, some parts are downright orchestral, and the sound is definitely even murkier and mysterious than ever, dripping with buzz and tape hiss, blown out low end (that sounds like a tuba or something similar) and thick crumbling distortion, but fear not troo grim hordes, it's still plenty depressive and dolorous, minor key and epic, miserable and moody, gorgeously buzzy and bafflingly brilliant.
Again, LIMITED TO 500 COPIES!!! And these will probably disappear FAST... To be sure, there will be a vinyl and perhaps cd version coming out eventually, but they won't be as kvlt as this!
MPEG Stream: "Dirge Forsaken"
MPEG Stream: "Maze Of Oppression"

album cover XASTHUR Defective Epitaph (Daymare) 2cd 29.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
With music, as far as we're concerned, when it comes right down to it, it's all about the vocals and the drums. Sure bands have kick ass guitarists and amazing bass players, but the thing about singers and drummers, if they suck, they can drag down a band that is perfect in every other way, and if they are amazing, they can rescue an otherwise forgettable group. So many times, we've seen bands play live, only to have the drummer hit super soft, or play to slow or too fast or too sloppy, and remove any sort of energy or power the band would otherwise exude. Singers are worse. How often have you heard a band, and thought "Shit, this band is amazing" until the vocals come in and no matter how great the band was before, a shit vocalist makes all that moot.
In black metal, the vocals aren't as make or break, sure some folks prefer the classic demonic rasp, others the monstrous growl, still others the hysterical shriek, but for the most part, most BM vocalists fall somewhere between all three, and rare is the black metalhead who absolutely can't stand one of those…
Drums are a different matter. Black metal is all about the drums. As much as the buzzing riffage, it's the drums that define the sound, whether it's a the plodding beat of a midtempo Burzumic dirge or the blazing blast beats behind a burst of furious grimness. The strange thing is, at least around these parts, we have to redefine 'bad drummer' when we're talking about black metal. One man black metal bands are du rigeur these days, but its not uncommon to notice in the liner notes, that while that one man did everything else, some other person played the drums. That's because the guitar, the bass, those are related, synths and vocals are much easier to figure out or fake, but the drums, that black house of cards could easily tumble to the ground with terrible drumming as the foundation. But there are exceptions, and kudos to those one man bands who decide to tackle the drums themselves. In some cases it makes perfect sense, Leviathan for example, Wrest was a drummer first, so the drumming on Leviathan records is amazing. The more midtempo bands, well it's not nearly as hard to drum a simple 4/4 as it is some insanely complicated blast beat. But some groups, the drums struggle and stumble, the tempos waver, but as we mentioned above, in BM that's not always a bad thing, Graveland, Woodtemple…the sound of those bands for some reason is enhanced by the off kilter drumming, just like in some crazy artrock bands it's not about precision or perfection, it's about feel and emotion, and a drum part that is stumbling wildly is sometimes way more suitable than a super straight locked in rhythm.
So what the fuck does this all have to do with the new Xasthur record? Well, if you must know, it's that Defective Epitaph is the first Xasthur record to feature real drums. No more programmed drums, this is the sound of Malefic behind the kit, and while the sound is different, it's not half bad. In fact if anything it makes the sound more raw, more live, due in no small part to the murky lo-fi production. The drums definitely have that sort of rehearsal space quality to them, but they do suit Xasthur's murky muddy soundworld. And there's only one track that requires a serious blast beat and even then it's only briefly before the song reverts back to a loping dirge.
But beyond the drums, Defective Epitaph is just another step in Malefic's slowly evolving descent into darkness. All of the usual sounds are present. And a quick listen, you probably wouldn't be hard pressed to immediately pick this out as a Xasthur disc. But it's not just the drums, or the presence of real cello, also played by Malefic, the songs are generally slower, the chords more dissonant, sometimes to the point of sounding detuned. It's almost as if Xasthur is transforming from a black metal band into a funeral doom band. Which is definitely not a bad thing.
"Purgatory Spiral" on first listen was really atonal, and the most out of tune sounding of the batch, but repeated listens reveal some strange masterplan, the music becoming more twisted and gnarled, more woozy and sick than out of tune. The cello moaning way down in the mix, the drums a super simple plod. "Cemetery Of Shattered Masks" is more classically Xasthur sounding, but the recording is really strange, cavernous, very much like a rehearsal recording, not just the drums, as if everything was recorded on a single mic in the corner of the room. Once again, it's not bad, just strange, but like the rest of the disc, it grows on you, taking on a sort of washed out blurred vibe as if the record was recorded by Tim Hecker or something. Then there's "Malignant Prophecy", which launches out of the gate thick and distorted and corrosive, the guitars loud and crumbling, again slightly atonal, but heavy and thick, until about halfway through, where it reverts back to that booming practice space sound, as if two separate tracks were pasted together. Weird but still pretty cool. And actually a lot of the record sounds like that, as if maybe all the tracks were super raw and lo-fi, recorded with a few mics, but then some got guitar overdubs adding that super intense buzzing immediacy.
There are long stretches of near ambience, and moody murky interludes, and even bits of the song proper change in timbre and sound like haunting breakdowns, the cello, sounds less classical and more like an abrasive drone, but it suits the rawness of the overall sound.
This record has been pretty polarizing. Lots of folks have absolutely hated it, lots of folks love it. It seems hard to believe if you were a fan of Xasthur, that you could totally hate it, but it is weird, and definitely takes some warming up to. For us, since we're into the damaged and demented, the fucked and far out, well if anything, this Xasthur record is more of all of those things, so it's probably easier for us get into. But folks of a similar mind will most likely feel the same. Nocturnal Poisoning may still be our favorite Xasthur record ever. Subliminal Genocide might be a close second. But Defective Epitaph, while currently in third, is just fucked up and unique enough that it might move up to second any time now…
We do carry the Hydra Head version, but the Daymare Japanese import version comes with an entire extra disc of unreleased tracks, nearly 40 minutes! So we figured anyone into Xasthur would probably want the extra disc as well. So here it is, five tracks, all unreleased, a couple alternate early versions of songs on the record proper, a couple untitled tracks, a pretty cool sort of coda to the record. From a long drawn out doomy synthscape, to a classic old school buzzing Burzumic dirge, complete with chanting monk like vocals and a killer overblown riff, to an epic buzzing black doom jam, that morphs from creepy crawl to blasting buzz…It's cool to hear some of the alternate versions, with the fucked up edits, and weird segues, all left in (hence the subtitles "First Attempt", "Second Attempt").
As with all Daymare releases, the packaging is gorgeous, a miniature lp style gatefold, Japanese obi, and a foldout insert with tons of liner notes (all in Japanese).
MPEG Stream: "Souless Elegy"
MPEG Stream: "Purgatory Spiral"
MPEG Stream: "Cemetary Of Shattered Masks"
MPEG Stream: "Unblessed Be..."

album cover XASTHUR Nocturnal Poisoning (Blood Fire Death) cd 11.98
Xasthur is a one-man, home-recorded black metal outfit delving into the distortion-washed realm of Burzumic bliss, and is a favorite of both tUMULt's black metal master Leviathan *and* the Jewelled Antler/Thuja crew, so you know it's beautifully primitive and droney stuff, with majesty undying. The music is all shades of grey, like the packaging, with strains of melody obscured in mists of mostly mid-tempo metallic mayhem a la ancients like Darkthrone and Burzum, achieving, even at speed, a trance-inducing dirge quality. It's truly "A Walk Beyond Utter Blackness" in the "Forgotten Depths Of Nowhere", as per two of the song titles. If you like cultish black metal that verges on experimental drone (or vice versa), Xasthur should please you greatly, and offers more proof (along with Weakling and the aforementioned Leviathan) that even "sunny" California can produce black metal to rival that from Nordic climes. From the same label that just brought us that Lugubrum "De Totem" reissue we recommended recently, this has been a sleeper hit here at the store, and we're happy now to have enough in stock to give it a listing.
The guy behind Xasthur goes by the name Malefic, which leads to a little Andy Rooney question I've got: why do folks need to make up two names when one would do? why not call your band (ahem) Malefic? Although, his contact address is c/o "Scott" so we can see the need for at least one pseudonym in order to maintain the aura of grim darkness that his music deserves.
MPEG Stream: "Soul Abduction Ceremony"
MPEG Stream: "A Walk Beyond Utter Blackness"

album cover XASTHUR Nocturnal Poisoning (Southern Lord) lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Finally the world is becoming more and more aware of the burgeoning West coast black metal scene (Leviathan. Draugar, Xasthur, Crebain, etc.) and thus Southern Lord has deigned to release this classic slab of fuzzed out blackness on VINYL!! Be aware this is VERY LIMITED!! Not sure how long we'll have these. Here's what we had to say about the cd:
Xasthur is a one-man, home-recorded black metal outfit delving into the distortion-washed realm of Burzumic bliss, and is a favorite of both tUMULt's black metal master Leviathan *and* the Jewelled Antler/Thuja crew, so you know it's beautifully primitive and droney stuff, with majesty undying. The music is all shades of grey, like the packaging, with strains of melody obscured in mists of mostly mid-tempo metallic mayhem a la ancients like Darkthrone and Burzum, achieving, even at speed, a trance-inducing dirge quality. It's truly "A Walk Beyond Utter Blackness" in the "Forgotten Depths Of Nowhere", as per two of the song titles. If you like cultish black metal that verges on experimental drone (or vice versa), Xasthur should please you greatly, and offers more proof (along with Weakling and the aforementioned Leviathan) that even "sunny" California can produce black metal to rival that from Nordic climes.
MPEG Stream: "Soul Abduction Ceremony"
MPEG Stream: "A Walk Beyond Utter Blackness"

album cover XASTHUR Portal Of Sorrow (Viva Hate) cd 14.98
Back in print and available again, and yeah, we did actually relist this a few lists back, but what we forgot to mention then was that there are in fact BONUS TRACKS! One totally unreleased song, and one alternate version with REAL drums instead of programmed drums. All housed in a spiffy new digipak version, now on Viva Hate (after originally being released on Xasthur's own Disharmonic Variations label). Here's what we said about this last year when we made it a Record Of The Week:
There are lots of remarkable things about this latest Xasthur disc. It was released on his own Disharmonic Variations label for one thing, instead of Hydra Head, his home for the last few records. It features the vocals of folk chanteuse Marissa Nadler quite prominently, which was definitely a bit of a surprise! Even more surprising is that according to Malefic, the man behind Xasthur, now referring to himself by his given name Scott, this is the very last Xasthur record. EVER. He's not giving up music, just black metal. Which might seem less surprising once you've heard Portal Of Sorrow. Whose sound is at once a continuation of the last few Xasthur records, but at the same time, a total departure. Right out of the gate, the title track, is all acoustic guitars, and cooing wordless vox, more some sort of ethereal depressive doomfolk than black metal. Haunting atonal chords, folky guitar strum, wheezing organs, everything warped and warbly and really quite beautiful. Some more 'metal' guitars enter into the picture but they just serve to add filigree to the folky gothic dirge. Pretty weird and fantastic for sure. And for sure to bum out legions of true grim black metallers. The second track is more black metal, but if anything it's WAY weirder than the first track, with what is either the worst, or best production yet, the guitars detuned and atonal, the drums insanely produced cardboard box thumps WAY up in the mix, Nadler's often wordless vocals again soaring and dramatic, while Malefic croaks along in the background, a gloriously stumbling bit of blackened freak folk buzz, moody and murky, with some serious chug part way through, but that chug is accompanied by PIANO, which renders it more some sort of blackened chamber music.
And so it goes, the whole record is not only strangely composed, but the sound itself is totally alien, it sounds accidental, but a sound this twisted and warped and idiosyncratic MUST be by design.
"Shrine Of Failure" begins with clean guitars and floppy bass, a constantly descending melody, the vocals singing right along, before the heavier guitars kick in, but instead of making the song heavier, they seem to float above the already in progress weirdness, adding a layer of distorted buzz, and alternately wild psychedelic squiggles of tangled lead guitar. "Stream Of Subconsciousness" is another washed out doomic dirge, driven by Nadler's angelic croon, and Malefic's warbly guitars, the swoonsome synths, leading to an ambient drift, and then more murky stumble. "Horizon Of Plastic Caskets" is all minimal drumming, swirling synths, distant vocals, a sort of black ambient post rock lope, peppered with Malefic's maniacal screams, which do nothing to take away from the track's haunting cinematic vibe.
"The Abyss Holds The Mirror" opens with some seriously lovely multitracked vocals from Nadler (she's credited with "choir, vocal flashbacks, vocal instrumentation") before the song proper kicks in, and it's a dirgey doomy deathmarch, with church organ, croaked demonic vocals, all set to a heartbreakingly melancholy melody, the whole second half is just organ and vocals, and is the last thing you'd expect to hear on a black metal record.
"Released From This Earth" is all struggling drumming, atonal piano pound, and more of Nadler's heavenly crooning, in some ways, this almost plays out like a Marissa Nadler record, with Xasthur as his band, no disrespect to Malefic, in fact, that's what makes this record so good, it's less about having some token guest vocals, and more about true collaboration, which is exactly what makes this record so fucked and far out and special. Even at it's blackest, it's about as far removed from black buzz and grim blast than you could imagine. Which is what keeps us from mourning the death of Xasthur, and instead has us anxiously awaiting the future rebirth, and phoenix like ascension of whatever comes next.
MPEG Stream: "Portal Of Sorrow"
MPEG Stream: "Broken Glass Christening"
MPEG Stream: "Shrine Of Failure"
MPEG Stream: "Stream Of Subconsciousness"
MPEG Stream: "Released From This Earth"

album cover XASTHUR Portal of Sorrow (Kemado) 2lp 22.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
This Record Of The Week from last year, now available in the vinyl format, via Kemado! Limited. numbered, gatefold sleeve, download code. Here's what we said about the original compact disc edition:
There are lots of remarkable things about this latest Xasthur disc. It was released on his own Disharmonic Variations label for one thing, instead of Hydra Head, his home for the last few records. It features the vocals of folk chanteuse Marissa Nadler quite prominently, which was definitely a bit of a surprise! Even more surprising is that according to Malefic, the man behind Xasthur, now referring to himself by his given name Scott, this is the very last Xasthur record. EVER. He's not giving up music, just black metal. Which might seem less surprising once you've heard Portal Of Sorrow. Whose sound is at once a continuation of the last few Xasthur records, but at the same time, a total departure. Right out of the gate, the title track, is all acoustic guitars, and cooing wordless vox, more some sort of ethereal depressive doomfolk than black metal. Haunting atonal chords, folky guitar strum, wheezing organs, everything warped and warbly and really quite beautiful. Some more 'metal' guitars enter into the picture but they just serve to add filigree to the folky gothic dirge. Pretty weird and fantastic for sure. And for sure to bum out legions of true grim black metallers. The second track is more black metal, but if anything it's WAY weirder than the first track, with what is either the worst, or best production yet, the guitars detuned and atonal, the drums insanely produced cardboard box thumps WAY up in the mix, Nadler's often wordless vocals again soaring and dramatic, while Malefic croaks along in the background, a gloriously stumbling bit of blackened freak folk buzz, moody and murky, with some serious chug part way through, but that chug is accompanied by PIANO, which renders it more some sort of blackened chamber music.
And so it goes, the whole record is not only strangely composed, but the sound itself is totally alien, it sounds accidental, but a sound this twisted and warped and idiosyncratic MUST be by design.
"Shrine Of Failure" begins with clean guitars and floppy bass, a constantly descending melody, the vocals singing right along, before the heavier guitars kick in, but instead of making the song heavier, they seem to float above the already in progress weirdness, adding a layer of distorted buzz, and alternately wild psychedelic squiggles of tangled lead guitar. "Stream Of Subconsciousness" is another washed out doomic dirge, driven by Nadler's angelic croon, and Malefic's warbly guitars, the swoonsome synths, leading to an ambient drift, and then more murky stumble. "Horizon Of Plastic Caskets" is all minimal drumming, swirling synths, distant vocals, a sort of black ambient post rock lope, peppered with Malefic's maniacal screams, which do nothing to take away from the track's haunting cinematic vibe.
"The Abyss Holds The Mirror" opens with some seriously lovely multitracked vocals from Nadler (she's credited with "choir, vocal flashbacks, vocal instrumentation") before the song proper kicks in, and it's a dirgey doomy deathmarch, with church organ, croaked demonic vocals, all set to a heartbreakingly melancholy melody, the whole second half is just organ and vocals, and is the last thing you'd expect to hear on a black metal record.
"Released From This Earth" is all struggling drumming, atonal piano pound, and more of Nadler's heavenly crooning, in some ways, this almost plays out like a Marissa Nadler record, with Xasthur as his band, no disrespect to Malefic, in fact, that's what makes this record so good, it's less about having some token guest vocals, and more about true collaboration, which is exactly what makes this record so fucked and far out and special. Even at it's blackest, it's about as far removed from black buzz and grim blast than you could imagine. Which is what keeps us from mourning the death of Xasthur, and instead has us anxiously awaiting the future rebirth, and phoenix like ascension of whatever comes next.
MPEG Stream: "Portal Of Sorrow"
MPEG Stream: "Broken Glass Christening"
MPEG Stream: "Shrine Of Failure"
MPEG Stream: "Stream Of Subconsciousness"
MPEG Stream: "Released From This Earth"

album cover XASTHUR s/t (Moribund) cd ep 10.98
Xasthur may have flown the Moribund coop and ended up roosting in the spiffier Hydra Head henhouse, having just released the mind meltingly brilliant black classic Subliminal Genocide a few months back, but it seems that Moribund have a few blackened odds and ends left over, some of which they've now seen fit to release as this self titled ep. Three tracks, 24 minutes, an instrumental, an unreleased track and a track from 2005, it does sort of smack of cashing in, but we'll be the first to say it, Xasthur castoffs are better than 90 percent of other black metal bands best material, and this disc pretty firmly drive that point home. The opener, titled simply "Instrumental" is a seven minute sprawl of arpeggiated minor key guitars, bursts of stumbling double kick, fuzzy layers of black guitar and a haunting refrain that sounds either like processed vocals or keyboards. Thick and fuzzy and gauzy and beautiful. Actually, it sounds remarkably like an instrumental version of one of the songs off Subliminal Genocide. Which might bug the guys at Hydra Head and Malefic himself, but is not such a bad thing for the listener. For those of you who like the sound of black metal, but can't get around the howling shrieks, this track could very well be your gateway to all things black and grim. Without the vocals, it sounds even more like a more evil M83! The second track, "Bubonic Plague" is classic Xasthur, muddy and murky, and so so so buzzy, the melodies are cold and mournful, the guitars snarl and drone, the vocals are so buried in the mix that they just sound like another guitar, buzzing right along side the riffs. The rhythm plods and lopes like a death march, in fact more than ever, this is Xasthur in his doom metal in black metal's clothing guise. Mournfully miserable and blackly bleak. The final track starts off as fierce as Xasthur ever gets, a gloriously blown out black buzz, vocals harsh and up in the mix, the guitars sharp and jagged, the whole thing a swirling chaotic blast of grim fury, but before long the song unwinds into a blackened waltz, with more fingerpicked guitars, distant double kick, and a wooozy hazy ambience, culminating in a stripped down clean guitar and drum coda. So good.
Killer artwork too, some monstrous looking cave formation on the front, a milky white dripping stone beast, and on the back a field of stalactites looking like some ancient torture chamber.
MPEG Stream: "Instrumental"
MPEG Stream: "Bubonic Plague"

album cover XASTHUR Subliminal Genocide (Hydra Head) cd 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
What a long strange trip it's been for Malefic and Xasthur. What's even stranger it seems, is that he ended up finding a new home on the very hip indie label Hydra Head. Sure HH has released its share of dark heaviness, but black metal, especially of the ultra personal, cult and grim kind, is so concerned with staying true, and not selling out. So it's a bit of a coup that HH nabbed Xasthur. Especially after a whole mess of records on Moribund, Total Holocaust Blood Fire Death, Profound Lore and Southern Lord. There has apparently been a bit of a backlash in the true cult BM underground. But fuck 'em. Hydra Head is a killer label and Malefic probably just got tired of being screwed left and right. Plus, oh what a joy it is to watch the true grim warriors weep at the loss, their corpsepaint smearing in long grey streaks. But it really is their loss more than any one 'cuz damn if this isn't the best Xasthur record since Nocturnal Poisoning. And that's saying a whole lot considering how much we've loved pretty much everything he's ever done.
The thing With Nocturnal Poisoning is that it was this perfect mix of sorrowful melancholia and black buzz, the sound was murky and muddy and fuzzy, but above it, were delicate melodies, dreamlike minor key filigree over a bottomless black pit. It was that strange juxtaposition that made it so special. Take that pretty element away, and you're left with just another black disc of Burzum worship. It's a little like the oil paining on the cover. You could see the texture of the canvas and the individual brushstrokes beneath the art. And with the music, it was the same thing, you could see the various elements, feel their texture, see the thick grainy backdrop upon which Malefic placed all of his dreamlike melodies and murky anguished howls.
Every record after that contained similar elements, and amazing songs, but it seemed like the recordings got more brittle, lots of high end buzz, not so much of that glorious malefic murk.
Subliminal Genocide almost sounds like it was recorded right after Nocturnal Poisoning and shelved for the last few years. It's THAT heavy and dreamy and melancholy and murky and goddamn beautiful.
There's not a lot of black metal that you might consider truly beautiful, but the songs on Subliminal Genocide, aren't just blasting thrashing metal, they are gorgeous lilting laments, epic and majestic and minor key. Taken out of a black metal context, they'd sound like some sort of super emotional epic post rock, but as they are, buried under thick layers of blackened buzz and wrapped in huge swaths of fuzzy sonic fog, they become even darker and more desolate, lonely and mournful. Almost none of the record is faster than a loping midtempo, about half the tracks are slow motion dirges, downright doom, with the double kick coming in more as a thick black low end cloud than any sort of actual blast, and a handful of tracks are nothing but swirling whorls of sad black ambience.
And because of the fuzzy indistinct production, and the thick murky halo around every track, lots of Subliminal Genocide sounds like some bastardized black metal version of M83, or Tim Hecker, or a little like Jeck and Marclay spinning old scratched up Burzum lps slowed waaaaaay down.
This record is simultaneously so dark and depressed and utterly evil sounding, but also fuzzy and psychedelic and totally blissed out, it's sort of hard to imagine, especially listening to this right now, that there could ever possibly be a better combination.
MPEG Stream: "Prison Of Mirrors"
MPEG Stream: "Beauty Is Only Razor Deep"
MPEG Stream: "Trauma Will Always Linger"

album cover XASTHUR Subliminal Genocide (Hydra Head) 2lp 28.00
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. Ultra deluxe gatefold jackets, printed inner sleeves, new artwork, and super thick vinyl. And as with all these things, once these are gone we probably won't be able to get more...
What a long strange trip it's been for Malefic and Xasthur. What's even stranger it seems, is that he ended up finding a new home on the very hip indie label Hydra Head. Sure HH has released its share of dark heaviness, but black metal, especially of the ultra personal, cult and grim kind, is so concerned with staying true, and not selling out. So it's a bit of a coup that HH nabbed Xasthur. Especially after a whole mess of records on Moribund, Total Holocaust Blood Fire Death, Profound Lore and Southern Lord. There has apparently been a bit of a backlash in the true cult BM underground. But fuck 'em. Hydra Head is a killer label and Malefic probably just got tired of being screwed left and right. Plus, oh what a joy it is to watch the true grim warriors weep at the loss, their corpsepaint smearing in long grey streaks. But it really is their loss more than any one 'cuz damn if this isn't the best Xasthur record since Nocturnal Poisoning. And that's saying a whole lot considering how much we've loved pretty much everything he's ever done.
The thing With Nocturnal Poisoning is that it was this perfect mix of sorrowful melancholia and black buzz, the sound was murky and muddy and fuzzy, but above it, were delicate melodies, dreamlike minor key filigree over a bottomless black pit. It was that strange juxtaposition that made it so special. Take that pretty element away, and you're left with just another black disc of Burzum worship. It's a little like the oil paining on the cover. You could see the texture of the canvas and the individual brushstrokes beneath the art. And with the music, it was the same thing, you could see the various elements, feel their texture, see the thick grainy backdrop upon which Malefic placed all of his dreamlike melodies and murky anguished howls.
Every record after that contained similar elements, and amazing songs, but it seemed like the recordings got more brittle, lots of high end buzz, not so much of that glorious malefic murk.
Subliminal Genocide almost sounds like it was recorded right after Nocturnal Poisoning and shelved for the last few years. It's THAT heavy and dreamy and melancholy and murky and goddamn beautiful.
There's not a lot of black metal that you might consider truly beautiful, but the songs on Subliminal Genocide, aren't just blasting thrashing metal, they are gorgeous lilting laments, epic and majestic and minor key. Taken out of a black metal context, they'd sound like some sort of super emotional epic post rock, but as they are, buried under thick layers of blackened buzz and wrapped in huge swaths of fuzzy sonic fog, they become even darker and more desolate, lonely and mournful. Almost none of the record is faster than a loping midtempo, about half the tracks are slow motion dirges, downright doom, with the double kick coming in more as a thick black low end cloud than any sort of actual blast, and a handful of tracks are nothing but swirling whorls of sad black ambience.
And because of the fuzzy indistinct production, and the thick murky halo around every track, lots of Subliminal Genocide sounds like some bastardized black metal version of M83, or Tim Hecker, or a little like Jeck and Marclay spinning old scratched up Burzum lps slowed waaaaaay down.
This record is simultaneously so dark and depressed and utterly evil sounding, but also fuzzy and psychedelic and totally blissed out, it's sort of hard to imagine, especially listening to this right now, that there could ever possibly be a better combination.
MPEG Stream: "Prison Of Mirrors"
MPEG Stream: "Beauty Is Only Razor Deep"
MPEG Stream: "Trauma Will Always Linger"

album cover XASTHUR Suicide In Dark Serenity (Total Holocaust) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Xasthur may just turn out to be the black metal Acid Mothers Temple. Seems like there's a new release every week. Of course, we're not complaining. Not at all. A world like ours needs as much bleak, suicidally depressive, magnificently brutal and buzzing, totally personal and painfully intimate black metal brilliance it can get. And Xasthur (along with his spiritual / sonic compatriots Leviathan, Draugar, etc.) is well up to the task. Suicide In Dark Serenity was previously released on vinyl in an extremely limited edition several years back and is now available on cd for the first time. And it's everything we've come to expect from Malefic, who is Xasthur. Epic tracks of dense, minor key metal misery: buzzing lightning speed blasts become mournful soul shearing blurs, sludgy midtempo dirges become musical death marches, fuzzed out guitars and anguished wails populate a barren, desolate landscape, grim and bitter. If that weren't enough to convince you that this is an essential purchase, then know this: there is a single bonus track, a totally immense, epic 16 minute rehearsal track from Xasthur's masterpiece Nocturnal Poisoning, that is almost worth the price of admission alone.
MPEG Stream: "With Hate Freezing My Veins"
MPEG Stream: "Storms Of Red Revenge"

album cover XASTHUR Telepathic With The Deceased (Moribund) cd 14.98
The blackened California onslaught continues... When one looks at the state of metal today, you could be forgiven for thinking California was the last bastion of true, evil, completely fucked up black metal genius. Norway? Sweden? Pfah! The new Leviathan is easily one of the best black metal records of the year. The forthcoming Draugar threatens to be the weirdest. And then there's this, the excellently-titled Telepathic With The Deceased, the latest chapter in suicidal sonic blackness from Xasthur. Hailing from Southern California, Xasthur is Malefic, another tortured one man band, who unlike his blackened brethren, focuses less on 'shredding', strange song structures, or bizarre parts, and more on mood and ambience, which is why Xasthur more than anyone, comes closest to the simple fuzzy midtempo buzz of nordic legend Burzum. Where Leviathan rules some fiery pit, and Draugar is floating around a black star in the ether, Xasthur howls in agony from a damp and filthy, cramped basement, bitter memories and unknown horrors piled high around him, a four track the only outlet for his misery and anger. Sonically, Xasthur also stands apart in his unique and unlikely method of mixing/recording that somehow involves burning cd-r's of multiple tracks and re-recording the cd-r's back onto the 4 track! Lending the finished product a burned out, fuzzed out decayed veneer. Definitely one of the best black metal records of the year!
MPEG Stream: "Slaughtered Useless Beings In A Nihilistic Dream"
MPEG Stream: "Abysmal Depths Are Flooded"

album cover XASTHUR Telepathic With The Deceased (From Beyond / Moribund) 2lp 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Now on gatefold double vinyl! And very limited of course. With three bonus tracks on Side D: two rehearsal recordings and a Judas Iscariot cover.
The blackened California onslaught continues... When one looks at the state of metal today, you could be forgiven for thinking California was the last bastion of true, evil, completely fucked up black metal genius. Norway? Sweden? Pfah! The new Leviathan is easily one of the best black metal records of the year. The forthcoming Draugar threatens to be the weirdest. And then there's this, the excellently-titled Telepathic With The Deceased, the latest chapter in suicidal sonic blackness from Xasthur. Hailing from Southern California, Xasthur is Malefic, another tortured one man band, who unlike his blackened brethren, focuses less on 'shredding', strange song structures, or bizarre parts, and more on mood and ambience, which is why Xasthur more than anyone, comes closest to the simple fuzzy midtempo buzz of nordic legend Burzum. Where Leviathan rules some fiery pit, and Draugar is floating around a black star in the ether, Xasthur howls in agony from a damp and filthy, cramped basement, bitter memories and unknown horrors piled high around him, a four track the only outlet for his misery and anger. Sonically, Xasthur also stands apart in his unique and unlikely method of mixing/recording that somehow involves burning cd-r's of multiple tracks and re-recording the cd-r's back onto the 4 track! Lending the finished product a burned out, fuzzed out decayed veneer. Definitely one of the best black metal records of the year!
MPEG Stream: "Slaughtered Useless Beings In A Nihilistic Dream"
MPEG Stream: "Abysmal Depths Are Flooded"

album cover XASTHUR The Funeral of Being (Blood Fire Death) cd 14.98
We listed this last time, but we just managed to get a handful more, and thought we'd relist it alongside the Xasthur split with Acid Enema that's also on this week's list. Newest release from AQ black metal favorite Xasthur, who was responsible for the godlike Nocturnal Poisoning album a couple years ago which was a buzzy droning slab of Burzumic grimness that rivalled almost any black metal we had heard. Xasthur is just one man, a misanthrope called Malefic, who carves bleak crushing black metal buzz-scapes from sheer wells of blackness and despair. While Nocturnal Poisoning was a monochromatic wash of midtempo Norwegian style blur, with lots of sonic murk and low end rumble, The Funeral Of Being adds more uptempo numbers and a lot more treble. Yep, treble. Harkening back to ear shredding classics like Ulver's Nattens Madrigal and any old Darkthrone, this is a drill to the cranium of high end mosquito swarm guitars, splattery buried-in-the-mix drums, and barely audible anguised howls. In fact the production is really quite strange, considering how weirdly lush the first record was. It's as if Malefic thought that Nocturnal Poisoning was *over produced* and prurposefully set out to make this new recording as RAW as possible. And raw it is. Even the ghostly keyboard breakdowns are under a fuzzy layer of hiss. But the production only enhances the beautiful grimness of The Funeral Of Being. Rarely is an artists tortured soul so perfectly laid bare by the cacophonous sound of his instruments but then Xasthur is indeed a rarity.
MPEG Stream: "The Awakening To The Unknown Perception Of Evil"
MPEG Stream: "Tyrant Of Nightmares"

album cover XASTHUR To Violate The Oblivious (Total Holocaust) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Finally, a new release from the mighty and mysterious black metal entity Xasthur. After a recent spate of reissues, all of them amazing and essential, Malefic, who alone IS Xasthur, has finally deigned to unleash this blackened beast into the world. And in a world like this, we definitely can't get enough music this abject and lonely and dark and personal. As always, Xasthur's world is a bleak and depressive one, pinned beneath a thick, smothering sonic blanket of Burzumic riffing, midtempo mournful melodies, insane double kick drumming and this time around, grand and melancholic keyboards, adding a much more epic and dramatic darkness to the proceeedings. We always end up comparing every Xasthur record to his debut masterpiece Nocturnal Posioning, for the obvious reason that it's one of the best black metal records ever, but thankfully, To Violate The Oblivious takes a lot of what we loved about that record and moves forward, instead of just making Nocturnal Poisoning part two. Present are the gut wrenchingly minor key melodies, the fuzzy wall of blackened riffs, the loping midtempo rhythms, but the keyboards somehow manage to make everything that much more mournful, and the songwriting is more introspective and melodic, making this almost a doom metal record in black metal clothing. It's depressingly glorious to listen to the blackend fruits of Xasthur's labor of love (hate?) as he sinks further into cultish oblivion and obsessive loneliness.
MPEG Stream: "Xasthur Within"
MPEG Stream: "Dreams Blacker Than Death"

album cover XASTHUR / ACID ENEMA split (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.
In addition to getting the brilliant new Xasthur full length back in (see elsewhere on this list), we finally managed to get copies of this amazing split (now out of print!) between AQ black metal fave Xasthur and the unknown to us and now defunct Acid Enema. Xasthur offers up more of his grim, bleak, depressive blackness: buzzing guitars churning in a murk of tape hiss and amplifier grit, barely audible anguished howls, relentless drumming, all weaving melancholy melodies and dark fugues into epic and harrowing soundscapes of abject misery and soul ripping hatred. Blasting Burzumic squalls give way to loping melodic breakdowns with finger picked guitars and mournful keyboards. So gorgeously grim. Seems everything Xasthur touches turns to black. The Acid Enema tracks take the buzz and dirge of Burzum and Darkthrone and add some industrial weirdness and damaged brutality. Razor sharp speaker shredding guitar tone and big boomy drums underpin some seriously demonic howls. A whirling, blood-red pool of sonic chaos, threatening to crush and blacken your ears and your heart and your soul. Some weird melodic ambience and then a DHR worthy industrial cover of Mayhem's "Deathcrush" with rigid hyper-distorted beats and punch-to-the-skull machine gun rhythms. Now out of print, so when these are gone, they're gone for good.
MPEG Stream: XASTHUR "Doomed By Howling Winds"
MPEG Stream: XASTHUR "The Eye Upon The Throne"
MPEG Stream: ACID ENEMA "Holocaust Reborn"

album cover XASTHUR / ACID ENEMA split (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.
In addition to getting the brilliant new Xasthur full length back in (see elsewhere on this list), we finally managed to get copies of this amazing split (now out of print!) between AQ black metal fave Xasthur and the unknown to us and now defunct Acid Enema. Xasthur offers up more of his grim, bleak, depressive blackness: buzzing guitars churning in a murk of tape hiss and amplifier grit, barely audible anguished howls, relentless drumming, all weaving melancholy melodies and dark fugues into epic and harrowing soundscapes of abject misery and soul ripping hatred. Blasting Burzumic squalls give way to loping melodic breakdowns with finger picked guitars and mournful keyboards. So gorgeously grim. Seems everything Xasthur touches turns to black. The Acid Enema tracks take the buzz and dirge of Burzum and Darkthrone and add some industrial weirdness and damaged brutality. Razor sharp speaker shredding guitar tone and big boomy drums underpin some seriously demonic howls. A whirling, blood-red pool of sonic chaos, threatening to crush and blacken your ears and your heart and your soul. Some weird melodic ambience and then a DHR worthy industrial cover of Mayhem's "Deathcrush" with rigid hyper-distorted beats and punch-to-the-skull machine gun rhythms. Now out of print, so when these are gone, they're gone for good.
MPEG Stream: XASTHUR "Doomed By Howling Winds"
MPEG Stream: XASTHUR "The Eye Upon The Throne"
MPEG Stream: ACID ENEMA "Holocaust Reborn"

album cover XASTHUR / ANGRA MAINYU split (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.
While we all wait patiently for the new blackened masterpiece from Southern California's one man blackdoomkult Xasthur to drop, here we've got a little blast of suicidal bleakness to hold us over, on this split. The sound is HUGE. A massive wall of black gauzy haze, murky ambience, and blistering fuzz. Two new tracks that give us a glimpse of what to expect from the upcoming full length as well as an older tune "Funeral Of Being, a creepy, Goblin-esque, almost romantic, minor key ambient dirge! Xasthur finishes things off with a buzzing midtempo Wigrid cover, pretty true to the original, but just tweaked enough to sound like it's all his. And Germany's Angra Mainyu are the perfect foil for Xasthur, with a creeping, plodding, wintery blackened doom very reminiscent of old Burzum. Occasionally songs erupt into a wash of blazing and buzzing and blastbeats but the majority of their half of the split is spent trudging along through huge drifts of black thoughts and utter despair, wrapped in a swirling fog of impenetrable buzz and finger picked minor key guitars. So cold and dismal, dark and creepy. And so fucking good.
MPEG Stream: XASTHUR "A Sermon In The Name Of Death"
MPEG Stream: ANGRA MAINYU "Der Drang Zur Resignation"

album cover XASTHUR / BLACK CIRCLE split (Turanian Honour) 7" 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Been trying to track these down for ages, and finally managed to get a handful. Two new tracks from longtime aQ fave Xasthur, and one from Swedish one man black metal horde Black Circle.
The Black Circle track is super simple, raw, old school, primitive depressive black metal, midtempo, murky muddy riffage, growled guttural vocals, simple drum plod, definitely a bit grim and frosty, but more sort miserable and moody.
The Xasthur tracks, both sound like fragments, maybe parts of a bigger, never realized epic, but they're pretty kick ass parts, if you've been digging the direction Malefic's been taking the sound of Xasthur lately. Washed out guitars in the background, everything woozy and warped, depressive and abstract, definitely less metal and more atmospheric, tangled atonal guitars, warm muted synths, soaring strings, croaked barely-there vocals (courtesy of new Xasthur member M.H.), everything ULTRA lo-fi, plenty of buzz and hiss, but that only adds to the atmosphere. The second Xasthur is actually a cover or interpretation of a song by Tiamat, but we couldn't tell, still sounded like a Xasthur jam to us.
Limited to 888 copies, each one hand numbered, they come from far far away, so when we do run out, we may not be able to get more, and even if we can, it might takes us a while to restock.

album cover XASTHUR / LEVIATHAN split (Battle Kommand) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
This kick ass record of the week from a few months ago is again back in stock:
We normally don't make "now available on cd" releases Record Of The Week. But there are plenty of reasons to do just that with this one! First off, C'MON! It's LEVIATHAN and XASTHUR! On the same disc! Two of the most important, and musically creative black metal one-man-hordes in the new wave of west coast black metal (NWOWCBM?) teamed up for the ultimate NWOWCBM one two punch. Singlehandedly (doublehandedly?) putting USBM back on the black metal map, and completely redefining the genre, grim and brutal and black for sure, but also totally bizarre and avant and experimental. Plus even you folks who picked up the vinyl versions will need this, as there are 4 bonus tracks, three of them are from Xasthur, a brand new unreleased track, a rehearsal track from 2004, and a Katatonia cover! The other bonus track is Leviathan's amazing version of Judas Iscariot's "Where The Winter Beals Incessant"! But even without the bonus tracks, this clash of the black titans is totally essential, some of the most beautifully blackened and furiously fucked up black metal you are ever likely to hear. Xasthur from Southern California and Leviathan from right here in SF are blackened brothers, both exploring similar themes of hate and misery, darkness and death, but coming at 'em from completely different sonic angles. Xasthur is more about mood and atmosphere, with thick swaths of fuzzy riffery, galloping drums, rumbling bass and agonised howls of despair, all dense and dark and claustrophobic. Leviathan is much more technical and a lot weirder, but no less moody, with ultra complex and bizarrely arranged parts, insane drumming, buzzing riffery, and hints of doom and progrock mixed into his bleak and blackened metalscapes. ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL!!
MPEG Stream: XASTHUR "The Eerie Bliss And Torture (Of Solitude)"
MPEG Stream: XASTHUR "Palace Of Frost (Katatonia cover)"
MPEG Stream: LEVIATHAN "Unfailing Fall Into Naught"

album cover XASTHUR / LEVIATHAN split (Profound Lore) lp 23.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The good news: we just got a handful more of these already out-of-print "vinyls" in stock! The bad news: they're more expensive, due to coming from a different supplier. But if you didn't get one already, get 'em now, 'cause they're just gonna be even more on eBay later...
It had to happen. It needed to happen. And now it finally has. Two of the most important, and musically creative black metal one-man-hordes in the new wave of west coast black metal (NWOWCBM?) team up for the ultimate NWOWCBM one two punch. Xasthur from Southern California and Leviathan from right here in SF are blackened brothers, both exploring similar themes of hate and misery, darkness and death, but coming at 'em from completely different sonic angles. Xasthur is more about mood and atmosphere, with thick swaths of fuzzy riffery, galloping drums, rumbling bass and agonised howls of despair, all dense and dark and claustrophobic. Leviathan is much more technical and a lot weirder, but no less moody, with ultra complex and bizarrely arranged parts, insane drumming, buzzing riffery, and hints of doom and progrock mixed into his bleak and blackened metalscapes. Obviousy absolutely essential!!
On clear vinyl only and housed in a printed inner sleeve!! And of course VERY VERY LIMITED!!

XBXRX Gop Ist Minee (5RC) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Mobile, Alabama's teen superstars are back with their second proper full length recorded in Chicago by Steve Albini. These five, fine young lads have been known to wreak havoc and make the young girls cry in their brilliant live shows: fireworks, costumes and wonderfully choreographed moves (complete with accompanying speedo-clad male dancer/cheerleader) to accompany a frantic, art-damaged garage rock stomp. Gop Ist Minee crams twelve untitled tracks in twenty blurringly scathing minutes, combining the raw energy of their live show with fucked electronic tweaking. Sci-fi b-movie r'n'r madness for your next no wave smackdown pajama party. If Arab On Radar or Six Finger Satellite tickle your funnybone, you might like this. Or you might not... Vinyl supposedly forthcoming.
RealAudio clip: "untitled (track4)"
RealAudio clip: "untitled (track 6)"

XBXRX Love Songs for the Blind (Anal Log) cd 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Mobile, Alabama, quintet of teenagers. The youngest is 15! Do you think he had to ask his mom if he could go on tour this summer? Donning plastic face masks and marching band pants, XBXRX literally spazz out all over the audience at their live shows, kissing, dancing, hugging, screaming and generally, like, breaking down that wall between audience and performer, duh. It's loud'n'nasty'n'fun garage punk with some synthy chords thrown in, it's snotty and weird and it's all over in a minute and a half. Excellent.

XBXRX s/t (Tapes) cd ep 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Another posthumous release from spastic Alabama dance maniacs/ kissing bandits XBXRX. The freaky harcore love is spread over 7 songs in 9 minutes, including an epic 3 minute track where XBXRX delve into (slightly) mellower, more melodic territory. Recorded by Ian Mackaye.
RealAudio clip: "2nd Song"
RealAudio clip: "4th Song"

album cover XBXRX Wars (Polyvinyl) cd 14.98
XBXRX's latest album Wars comes armed with plenty of spit'n'spurt spazz rock. It's sorta the aural equivalent of a teenager's highschool binder -- all filled with rumpled doodles, math exercises, and those three-ring looseleaf holders that you inevitably get your finger clamped in when you snap it shut. Less bratty than we remember them being, but still quite full of good natured bite and youthful pissiness.
MPEG Stream: "Center Where Sight"
MPEG Stream: "Here To Ruin The Party"

album cover XBXRX Wars (Polyvinyl) lp 14.98
XBXRX's latest album Wars comes armed with plenty of spit'n'spurt spazz rock. It's sorta the aural equivalent of a teenager's highschool binder -- all filled with rumpled doodles, math exercises, and those three-ring looseleaf holders that you inevitably get your finger clamped in when you snap it shut. Less bratty than we remember them being, but still quite full of good natured bite and youthful pissiness.
MPEG Stream: "Center Where Sight"
MPEG Stream: "Here To Ruin The Party"

album cover XBXRX / MISS PUSSYCAT / QUINTRON Mardi Gras (Gold Standard Laboratories) 7" 4.50
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Sadly enough, the spaz-bot combo known as XBXRX is no longer with us, but before their demise they did this collaboration with Miss Pussycat and Quintron, New Orleans' reigning art royalty - creators of the Drum Buddy, amazing, twisted puppet shows, and crazy, rad, fucked-up music - an obvious 3-way match made in heaven.

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