Sounds for the Psychotic
I’m always looking for stuff that surprises me and makes me remember it specifically, and I get a huge share of the obscure and unusual from all over the globe…stuff that I just really feel needs to be unearthed for others to discover as well. There’s too much good stuff being unheard and unrecognized in place of stale and recycled crap and revivals of classic styles (thrash, Swedish Death Metal,etc.) so I finally have the chance to continually bring you the sounds of the underground. Not the “underground” that’s synonymous with “grim”, “cult”, etc. and boasted by everyone these days, but the stuff that really does dwell in the soil and crust beneath, living in the dark and cold dampness. Some of it is completely psychotic, some of it is psychedelic and very surreal, some just pure evil and violent, but it’ll never be boring or a waste of time and covers a huge variety of extreme music styles in and around metal.
So here’s the first of a continual glimpse into “outsider” metal and stuff that’s influenced by or heavily influences the more extreme and fucked up end of the metal spectrum.
Hexentanz – Nekrokrafte (Agonia Records 2011/Fossil Dungeon 2004)
Nekrokrafte is giving us a rare glimpse into the experience of a medieval witches Sabbath with this re-release of their incredible debut. They actually use authentic medieval instruments and human bones along with modern synthetic sound manipulation to create something genuinely occult. Complete with church bells, Latin chants, satanic spoken ritual verses and some cinematic elements to give an experience that’s nothing short of a subliminal and inhuman glimpse into something long considered anathema of the human race. Everything about Nekrokrafte is forbidden, a dirge, a tribute to the primeval beast of humanity as it celebrates a bonding between the living and the dead, you actually feel as if you’re taking part in the ritual, it’s that convincing. Think In Slaughter Natives, Raison D’Etre, Desiderii Marginis.
Kraken Duumvirate – The Astroglyphs of the Ritual of Deluge (Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions 2011)
Here’s another dense and atmospheric dose of delirium from Finland that confounds the listeners sense of reality. It’s not metal in the pure sense, but there’s atmospheric black metal brooding and squirming beneath the heavy arctic fog that reminds me a bit of the melodic and raspy folk and black metal of Dormant (Beneath the Mighty Oak) with some washed out, but equally damned, airy, and isolationist funeral doom excursion like the Howling Void. There’s also dense synthetic, dark ambient textures that remind me of Raison D’Etre, Desiderii Marginis as the 20- minute title track comes out as some sort of organic and inhuman creation with angular guitar melodies underneath the cold streaming voices like an onset of psychosis and heavy sedatives at war for control of your perception.
AAP will always stand high in my mind as they brought the brilliant W.A.I.L. out again not too long ago, Spektr (Near Death Experience and Mescalyne) to LP, Ride For Revenge (The King of Snakes) to cassette and LP, Circle of Ouroborus (Streams) LP and always seem to pick the best of the unusual.
VII Batllón de la Muerte- El Liberatador (Frenteuorpa Records 2011)
I’ve had to write several drafts to get this one just right as this Argentine act completely defies classification, one moment it’s like pagan black metal with clean vocals, skeletal guitars and lot of 80’s haunting goth synth (“Gottesvogel”), the next it’s neoclassical/neofolk and I’m thinking of War Office Propaganda/Cold Spring/Ahnstern labels, then it finishes off with two Absurd covers (“Werwolf” and “Ashes to Ashes”) of raw and punkish black metal.
Somewhere in between all of that is a remarkable “El Libertador” with a skeletal black metal/post punk thing going on and this exotic guitar lead that sounds almost like a middle-eastern or Indian horn/flute for charming snakes. Then about 75% of the way through the album we get this instrumental horror/prog piece, “Liberate Tutemet Ex Inferis”, that leads into a nice horror/prog/goth piece with Spanish lyrics, “La Danza de la Muerte”, that brings to mind a punked/death rocked version of Antonius Rex or Jacula.
Set for release in 300 copies only on August 30, 2011, you’d better grab one quick, it’s not something you really want to miss if you’re into the unique blend of black metal with neoclassical/neofolk/horror/prog and even some post punk and touch of good Goth. This was also set for release back in 2008, so it’s been shelved until the time was right. There’s something unique and addicting to this bands sound, they keep the raw and ancient black metal roots alive with their razor sharp buzzing distortion, but they also create so much unusual atmosphere without cluttering their crude form. Check ‘em out at the links below.
They are also giving away free downloads of their tribute to Absurd, Der Grosse Tod:
Really amazing stuff!!!!!
The Beast of the Apocalypse – Henosis (Transcendental Creations 2011)
The surrealism of the atmospheres in each track, the combination of lo-fi and well produced/mixed sounds, the black shrieks buried in the hazy mix of a cinematic horror tale, and the unbridled hostility is astounding on here. “Visions of the Twelve Priests Before the Altar” leaves you with little breathing room as it overtakes you in it’s explosion of chaotic buzzing like a thousand maniacal chainsaws and the vocals come out from deep below as the sounds of fire winds, you almost can’t make out the vocals as vocals right away, they’re buried and part of this violent horror unleashing itself like an invisible and vehement plague.
The Beast builds up the feeling of anarchy, like actually watching Hell break loose and people scramble as limbs and bodily fluids paint the air like a Jackson Pollack painting. There’s a sinister occult theme underlying the album throughout, and the mood continually shifts back and forth between all out chaos like the breaking out of a nuclear war and the awkward dreamlike trance of surviving and trying to make sense of absolute destruction and never regaining a grip on reality, past or present. The Beast really rips your head off your shoulders taking the spine with it, fully intact, and watches your limp remains fold like a wet towel.
The low-end rumbling in tracks like “An Enlightened Acon” remind me of something in the neighboring sty of black death vomit that is Profanatica, then lightened in weight to a misty crimson plume unveiling a massive cluster fuck of treble skuzz and some slow dirge moments thrown in to draw the massacre out a bit longer. There’s also some angular and off key melodic sound to the guitar, a little taste of Twilight’s swampy and thick scorching black psychedelia metal, screeching vocals that remind me of early Gorgoroth, and this killer power electronic distorted diesel-engine/ power tool hum and buzz effect on the guitar throughout the entire album that continually fuels the turmoil.
Absolutely essential for fans of stuff like Gnaw Their Tongues, early Deathspell Omega, Twilight, Nekrasov, and the glorious sadistic and perverted neoclassical by means of a cold day in Hell of In Slaughter Natives.
Skullfuck – The Supreme Ugliness (Bestial Burst)
A few years back I had to buy this thing based on name and cover art alone and was anything but disappointed when I finally got to hear it. It’s supposed to be a raw black metal album according to description, but has more of a belligerent war mongering sludgy Beherit feel to it, almost like gutter punk skeletal sludge with hints of early death metal (Autopsy) and great vomiting vocals. I will never have any regrets about buying this release or thoroughly enjoying it’s crassness and abrasiveness because it just slams your head in the car door like a thumb, it’s just devastating and so low-end that it really is filth and fury.
This is a must if you’re a fan of Beherit, Autopsy, Ride for Revenge, Irritate, Sacraphyx, W.A.I.L., HAIL, obscure and generally unique Finnish creations, and that doomy vibe rubbed raw mixed with gutteral punky death metal crust and vomited up for your listening pleasure. There’s definitely some crust influence underneath the heavily drenched in distortion guitar onslaught and even some classic brutal thrash (opening riff to “Beast and Prey”). I think these guys just had a few beers and created this stuff one day/night and just let their instincts take them wherever they could be led and it just happened to be recorded.
Again!!!! If the raw crusty/punky oldschool death metal sound is what you dig then Skullfuck is an essential, so ignore the new wave of Swedish Death Metal and post Deathspell Omega clone bands and stay true to the hideous and ugly where you belong.
Don’t do a Google search, check out Aquarius Records: http://www.aquariusrecords.org/bin/search.cgi
Where it’s still in stock, or so it appears to be, or
Bestial Burst: http://koti.welho.com/zdiamo/
Although a Google search is hilarious because it brings up stuff on actual skull fucking and necro sex stuff, so consider yourselves warned and somewhat enticed to do so.
Nachtvorst – Stills (Black Devastation Records)
Nachtvorst is not at all shoe-gaze black metal, it’s possibly fitting into the “outsider black metal” label, but there’s so much more to the album Stills than a label can describe. Take “Murmurs” for example, it has this industrialized sludge intro that’s raw, filthy, muddy, and abrasive, yet addicting and enticing which goes on for about a minute before this siren sound goes off and a flood of grey smoke guitar chords, dense with soot suffocate you until your lungs are permanently filled with grit and coated black. There’s definitely an industrial meets heavy and very demented dark psyche in this one like a wall of sound that literally bears down on you in slow and cascading riffs of distortion and brings about the sense of drowning in the electronic haze.
“Dawn of End” comes off as a classic skeletal Nordic black metal track, with the punkish treble guitar tones, aggressive and melodic riffing and the haunting throaty vocals behind the mix. A great way to start off the album, it makes you expect something before throwing you into dark territory that deviates from tradition rather quickly. Early Emperor, Immortal, Darkthrone come to mind with a lighter and steady drumming versus the apocalyptic style usually expected.
“Wandering” is another unusually amazing track, that seems like standard, not so evil and insidious black metal, with melodic and pagan leanings, but don’t be fooled. This one wastes no time in unleashing it’s full force on you through its throaty shrieks and chugging riffs and artillery fire drums, but the best is yet to come when suddenly underneath the trebley guitar layer on top of the mix is this really incredible folk metal (non-acoustic) melody that plays, all ragged and jagged like a hacksaw blade, before the guitar film clears and the folk guitar stands alone for a brief moment of glory. The vocals come in again with heavy echo and are very moody, and then I’m thinking of majestic pagan atmospheres like Blut Aus Nord (Memoria Vetstutta) with that melodic underbelly.
Although on the surface this sounds vaguely familiar, but it really does feel different as it unfolds quickly. Nactvorst feel like a band that has their own rhythms, melodies, and style. It’s raw, melodic, and intense sonic black metal that will appeal to fans of Wolves in the Throne Room and Nachtmystium (Instinct Decay) as much as Burzum (especially in the banshee wailing on “Epitaph”) and Satyricon (Dark Medieval Times). In fact “Epitaph” reminds a lot of Altar of Plagues’ White Tomb, which stunned me when it first came out and still has the same hypnotic effect on me with each listen today.
“Mumurs” along with “Dawn of the End” are available at the following link:
Rraapcek – 0407 (cd-r with full artwork courtesy of Frequency 13)
Thankfully this weird DIY label that melted my brain a few years back with their so-called True Sheffield Black Psychedelia will be releasing some more hideously ugly and brilliant noise in the next few weeks, but until then here’s one of theirs that still to this day grabs me by the hair and slams my face into a cement curb followed rapidly by scraping my skin off against it.
Rraapcek is more than likely a jarbled up spelling of Raperack (another Freq 13 jewel), whose creations combine black metal/dark ambient/post industrial/power electronics/sludge and “Fuck All” everything else you could want into one track, but whatever the Hell it is it’s essential regardless of how they spell their name.
My essential timeless favorite is “Cosmic Arryhthmias”, a 7 minute long dense blaster of thundering power electronic sonic riffs and low-end percussive blasts on top with underlying layers of black metal screams, and a funereal keyboard. This is a chaotic post apocalyptic inferno of industrialized psychedelia that’ll render even the most self disciplined individual to surrender themselves to the cyber chaos.
“Adept” continues this industrialized psychotic black chaos that continues to absorb you further into the void of infinity, which is the final sonic sensory annihilator of “We love a Slice”. The monstrous closer is over 20 minutes of power electronics in militaristic and deafening force. The rhythms cycle through themselves like a space shuttle being recorded during take-off, processed through a sound modulator and dowsed with an enormous amount of feedback and distortion. The entire 20+ minutes captures you in a trance as the fuzz and rumble scrambles your neurons into schizophrenic mode and you taste what you hear, feel what you see, and can’t tell up from down. If you’re into the unusual and heavy, like something with a deviant hallucinatory atmosphere and somehow outright murderous one moment and then throbbing and pulsing you into a trance the next moment, then get this one.
Can be purchased: http://www.crucialblastshop.net/search.php?page=0&numOfResults=0 for $5.98, which is a fucking steal compared to the years of enjoyment you’ll have twisting your mind around this one, and it won’t even require effort on your part, it just sucks you in, screws you up and spits you back out.
Skultroll – S/T (cd-r with full artwork courtesy of Frequency 13)
With stuff like this it’s almost impossible to summarize the sound in words. The tracks tend to be really groovy, from thick electronic bass lines on “Hideous Amplified World”, to the chaotic live percussion of “Doomed Burdens”, and the feedback/sonic manipulations humming and throbbing like an industrial migraine of low-end muscle to make the entire album infectiously catchy and utterly disastrous to an unsuspecting audience. I even refrain from blasting this one at work due its decibel strength, as this one will induce an Earthquake if played at the right volume near or on a fault line. It’s like really fucked up drum ‘n bass complete with real percussion, filthy and muddy sonic atmospheres of vaporized fungus, and a live experimental feel, and even live bass.
So if you love great rhythms layered thickly and electronic effects, but need it truly industrialized and perverted then you’ll be well advised to check out Skultroll. Think something like a less experimental Einsturzende Neubauten doing drum ‘n bass if that helps. It’s funky and yet ugly and fuzzed out perverted stuff. Power electronic, sludge, heavy psyche, post industrial, weird Finnish acts like (Ride for Revenge, Circle, Dead Reptile Shrine) and kraut fans will find this one to be a necessary listen. “Noxious Mysteries” is like a Ride for Revenge instrumental with a free for all kraut rock/Circle rhythmic feel, the bass tones really carry you through this one like surfing a tsunami.
Wormsblood – Mastery of Creations Demos (Barbarian Records)
Resembling black metal, with a very lo-fi and experimental take on the completely perverted and fucked up, and that’s only the surface.
First off, Wormsblood is comprised of members doing time in acts as far reaching in genres as: Hintergedanken (Psyche-dirge), Jex Thoth (psyche-doom, prog rock), and Burial Hex (industrial/noise), so expect a concoction of sounds unlike anything else and prepare to be anything but disappointed. While definitely as much black metal as acts like Dead Reptile Shrine, the Slaughtered Lamb, Welter in thy Blood, Akitsa, etc., there’s definitely a lot more to this collection than simply a similarity to being lo-fi black metal. As a whole this is a lo-fi hallucination into the depths of chaos and the bizarre with the mixture of decent melodies and dark folk on “The First Dim Shinings (Of those about to Awaken)”, to the basement/bunker exploits in analogue black metal full of treble in: “Hollow Cost Nothing”, “A Wolf in the Night”, “Through the veil of Birth”; and not to forget the inhuman and essential opener, a black metal psychedelic trip of “Fragments of the Witch”, with all it’s feedback and muddy glory. Although a collection of demos, this release is an essential experience into the depths of what can be created out there.