The After Becomes Before – A Review of ‘Cosmic World Mother’ by …AND OCEANS

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Seventeen years after their last industrialized offering Finns …AND OCEANS have reformed, and with a renewed focus on their original modus operandi – the fine art of devastating symphonic black metal. Is this good news? Yes it is. George Van Doorn (Vahrzaw) shares his thoughts below on their glistening fifth full-length, Cosmic World Mother.

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Today, I had a musical itch I couldn’t scratch. Not even Paul Simon‘s ‘Slip Slidin’ Away’ could satisfy my craving. That was until I pressed play on …and Oceans new album Cosmic World Mother. I was craving blast beat Black Metal!

Straight off the bat, …and Oceans aren’t afraid to cup your balls firmly in their collective hands and squeeze… hard. Cosmic World Mother has the fury of Panzer Division Marduk combined with the epic/emotive elements of Enthrone Darkness Triumphant. It’d be remiss of me if I didn’t mention that Dark Funeral are clearly an influence on …and Oceans too. And, much like Dark Funeral, the song structures on Cosmic World Mother are a little paint-by-numbers. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that; I like a bit of the old verse/chorus/verse/chorus song structure, but if I noticed it, it annoyed me slightly.

For the most part, this is straight-forward blast beat Black Metal done well. And, there’s enough diversity and symphonic elements here to keep the music interesting. As an example, the second song ‘Vigilance and Atrophy’ has a real Heaven Shall Burn… era Marduk feel about it, even down to the basslines. And as an aside, their bass player is a gun.

Now, before everyone thinks I’ve gone soft and am no longer king of the edgelords – fuck you. Not everything here comes up Milhouse. ‘Oscillator Epitah’, for example, should’ve been culled from Cosmic World Mother. The riffs on this song are pedestrian, at best.

RATING: 4.25 / 5

Cosmic World Mother is available now via Season of Mist.

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Purchase Cosmic World Mother digitally and on LP (cassette and CD sold out) from the …and Oceans Bandcamp HERE, or digitally and on CD, LP and cassette from the Season of Mist webstore HERE.

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Complete Human Obliteration: A Review of ‘To Crown All Befoulment’ by DEARTH

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By Ivan Gossage

(Order ov the Black Arts)

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From the rotting, stinking streets of Oakland, California arises the abhorrent entity known as DEARTH. Fueled by an acute misanthropic rage and revulsion for human filth (which the Bay Area uniquely provides), To Crown All Befoulment strives to take the throne for unremitting nihilism and sonic annihilation of 2020 with its infernal, terror-inducing and lethal combination of black metal, death metal, and bestial/war metal.  

Upon listening to To Crown All Befoulment, it becomes apparent that there isn’t really a weak element to the composition and execution of this violent, consuming monster. Ferocious vocals vacillate between spiteful black metal screams and terrifying, cavernous roaring. Rhythm guitars churn out catchy yet devastatingly oppressive riffs while the tremolo lead rips through the surface, grasping for the listener’s throat (particularly good in first single ‘Death Sown in Polluted Soil’). Pummeling and gloriously heavy bass guitar provides a solid foundation for all of this destruction as hammering percussion relentlessly drives the songs forward. 

Yet, although some tracks consist almost entirely of unrestrained aggression (‘Writhing in Cellophane Cage’, ‘Blight’), this momentum does not always consist of full-scale maelstrom and the album is peppered with other malicious tendencies as well. At times the timbre slows down into hateful, smoldering, almost doomish pacing (try the second half of ‘Autoasphyxia’ and parts of ‘The Reverence of Swine’). Additionally, albeit without a trace of beauty, To Crown All Befoulment is not void of atmosphere, with some areas writhing in a nauseating, almost hallucinatory whirlwind atop a substructure of consistent doublekick (‘Autoasphyxia’, ‘Anthropocene Through Burial Mounds’).

‘Death Sown in Polluted Soil’ is currently available to behold, and the entire tome of complete human obliteration is currently up for preorder through Sentient Ruin Laboratories, to be manifested in digital, tape, CD, and LP forms. It will be fully released upon the hapless world on June 19, 2020. Do not miss it.

For fans of: ARKHON INFAUSTUS, LUCIFYRE, EXCOMMUNION, PSEUDOGOD, KINGDOM, MUSMAHUU

To Crown All Defoulment releases June 19th via Sentient Ruin Laboratories. Pre-orders available now.

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Pre-order To Crown All Defoulment from the Sentient Ruin Laboratories Bandcamp HERE.

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Sentinels From Ciphers – A Review of ‘Declivities’, by GADIR

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Through the tunnel

Into an opening

I am coming home

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If you’re in the mood for something a little different, here’s a quick heads up: there’s only a few tapes of Declivities by GADIR left over at killer cult Italian label Xenoglossy Productions.

Who is Gadir? An anonymous collective hailing from the island of Pantelleria and part of the burgeoning Cossyra Tapes collective. What is Declivities? Their debut release, and it’s an intriguing one. Raw black metal that’s rawer than raw, the opening track ‘Horizon Sphynx’ sounds like someone’s playing ‘Transylvanian Hunger’ through a blown-out radio and recording it to tape. However, the interesting part is that the music often skips and jumps like that tape has been cut up and reassembled – just like William S. Burroughs or the Dadaist “cut-up method” of writing.

This avant-garde approach is fascinating to listen to, creating random glitches and loops in the hypnotic drone of the music that force your mind to strange places. This strangeness is reinforced by the lyrics themselves, often describing absurd and surreal occurrences that are extraordinarily unusual for the genre and even mildly unsettling to ponder in context. Take the lyrics of the opening track:

Not the usual black metal fare, right? Other tracks take an even more artistic point of view, speaking of sitting in an alcove and watching “island elders” or a knight losing a leg. Odd, and increasingly compelling the more you ponder them.

The flow of the tracks unfolds in curious fashion, too. After the first two Darkthrone-esque joints the main riff of titular third composition ‘Declivities’ sounds like if you were half deaf it could be a fucked-up cover of Satyricon‘s ‘Fuel For Hatred’ (not sure what the band would think of that comparison but just listen to the structure and tell me I’m wrong), then final track ‘Oneiric Square’ takes that even further and gets a little chunkier, even slightly deathly in its riffage.

Long story short, because time is of the essence here: when absorbed as a whole, Declivities creates a subtly unique journey that initially might sound like many things, but upon closer inspection is like nothing else on earth. A pleasing listen; hopefully it isn’t the last we hear from these enigmas. Now jump on one those last few tapes of this subversive piece of art before someone else does, or grab yourself a name-your-price download. You will not suffer regret. Hails.

RATING: 3.6 / 5

Declivities is available now via Xenoglossy Productions.

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Purchase Declivities on limited cassette and digital from the Xenoglossy Productions Bandcamp HERE.

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The Heart Of Everwinter – A Review of ‘Empathica’ by UNREQVITED

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By Ivan Gossage

(Order Ov The Black Arts)

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From the appropriately frigid region of Ontario, Canada comes UNREQVITED with a new winter-oriented album entitled Empathica, the fifth full-length release since 2016. Each recording possesses its own particular flavor and several releases are composed of ambient offerings only; but as for the full length albums, this anonymous composer known only as 鬼 consistently pushes the boundaries of what can be considered black metal proper, and typical descriptors such as “melodic” do not even begin to describe the immaculate, celestial magnificence of UNREQVITED’s God-tier blackened cinematic atmosphere. 

‘Empathica I: Heart of the Spectral Mountains’ begins this winter journey. Brimming with noble medieval essence this is an “instrumental” track, so labeled because it lacks the idiosyncratic vocals and blackened aggression to come. Subtly martial pacing, whistling of mountain winds and synth create a surreal Atlantean timbre similar to GRAVELAND side project LORD WIND; a sound that isn’t particularly typical for UNREQVITED, but isn’t entirely foreign either. ‘Empathica II: Everwinter’ follows; melancholic acoustic guitar, lofty choruses, and easy percussion repeatedly building skyward towards precipices and then cascading over into characteristically massive, widescreen waves of brilliantly layered synth, soaring guitar lead and distinctive, dejected screams, the song finally concluding in some perfectly utilized double kick. The harsh vocals of this project are necessary to address: they are always removed from the forefront of the mix. In the cosmic/oceanic masterstroke The Stars Wept to the Sea (2018, and which cannot be recommended enough), they have the impression of being submerged, at times barely audible above the surface grandiosity; here, however, they are tempered in a different way, not submerged but… distant, as if echoing from aloof vistas. ‘Empathica III: Innocence’ is no less wondrous but feels less expansive and more intimate, almost subterranean but in the most magnificent way possible, like traveling through an immense, crystalline cave. Multiple clean vocal threads and synth that seems to mimic brass (trumpets perhaps) are distinctive features of this track, the steady pace carrying the listener through wondrous, cathedralic cycles of the aforementioned buildup and powerful catharsis.

‘Crystal Cascade’ is aptly titled, for instead of following the more typical formula of buildup-and-release, it begins at full speed, percussion and chunkier riffing at the forefront of an immediate, epic, and (relatively) aggressive symphonic onslaught. The reprieve is heretofore unheard synth tangents into 80’s sci-fi film score territory (reminds me a lot of the theme for Netflix’s Stranger Things), supported by swelling orchestration and fade-out into calming guitar, piano and rain. ‘Snowspirits of the Arcane’ is a nocturnal interlude which gives off a mysterious, unsettling, almost creepy vibe and always sort of feels like its building towards some sort of apex but never really gets there. ‘The Permafrost’, however, does get there. It starts off with an optimistic piano/synth/percussion combo that begins to turn a bit uneasy and apprehensive before exploding into a deluge of careening, doom-heavy progression with wailing synth or guitar (I can’t quite tell which) and anguished cries, plus welcome steady double kick. The finale ‘Dreamer’s Hideaway’, unique in that it features what sounds like xylophone, slowed piano, and a solitary clean voice, gives the impression of an isolation that is sad but which also emits a sense of peace, safety, and even wonder to close the album.

All told, Empathica is an exercise in radiant winter surrealism, a display of shimmering, brilliant soundscapes both pristine and vast, harnessing the particular elevating, epiphanic sorrow that only UNREQVITED can materialize.

Empathica releases May 22nd via Northern Silence Productions. Pre-orders available now.

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Pre-order Empathica on digital, CD and cassette from the Unreqvited Bandcamp HERE, or the Northern Silence Productions Bandcamp HERE.

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A Brief Study in Beauty and Decay – A Spotlight on KRAYL & FLEUR ROUGE

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By Ivan Gossage

(Order ov the Black Arts)

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Here to quickly report on a couple of recent releases from new Order ov the Black Arts member Svart Gulag, aka Svartblod: KRAYLMaladie Mortelle and FLEUR ROUGEBallades En Ville

Much of the time “atmospheric” black metal utilizes atmospheric synth as a background for metal-driven, riff-oriented progressions. In this case though, the roles seem to be reversed in that the black metal elements, honed to repetition, are the substructure and the atmospheric element really proves to be the more dynamic aspect of the songs. Burzum-esque synth melodies develop over a near constant foundation of guitar work, muffled blastbeats and routine cymbal crashes; while rasping, spiteful, choking vocals provide edge and lo-fi production helps to saturate everything in a blinding haze. Both of these projects seem to be utilizing this formula, however they differ in that the more established KRAYL is focused on a more raw/medieval aesthetic, while FLEUR ROUGE‘s debut is heading down a more post-black route.

Check out these full-streams below if the above has piqued your interest!

Maladie Mortelle is available now digitally, and will be available May 30th on CD via Wolfmond Production. Pre-orders available now.

Ballades En Ville is available digitally now.

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Pre-order Maladie Mortelle on CD from the Wolfmond Production Bandcamp HERE, or purchase digitally from the Krayl Bandcamp HERE. Purchase Ballades En Ville digitally from the Fleur Rouge Bandcamp HERE.

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Leave No Tracks in the Dead Snow – A Review of ‘IIII’ by NEIGE MORTE

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By George Van Doorn (Vahrzaw)

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French experimental Black Metallers NEIGE MORTE are about to release their fourth album, cunningly titled IIII. Before I give this album a bloody good rogering of a review, there’s one thing I want to rant about and one thing I found interesting. The former is that there’s a god-awful trend in black metal at the moment to use the album (or song) number as the album (or song) title. Stop it! It’s as stupid as Adele using her age as an album title. The latter is that Neige Morte is French for “dead snow”, which is a great zombie movie. Moving on!

The first track on this 7-track album, ‘The Call’, is an intro comprised of static and rhythmic record-skipping sounds. Thankfully, it’s short. But wait, the “song” ‘Iceage’ repeats this motif as another interlude. The opening few notes of the second track, ‘Hlcst’, reminded me of Black Sabbath, which was nice. Neige Morte then get weird, which I also liked. But, blasting along doesn’t seem to be Neige Morte‘s strong suit. The blastbeats and kicker work are – how to put this delicately – less rhythmic than the limbs of two lepers falling off and hitting the floor during coitus. This is really quite strange because, at other times, the drumming is good.

Neige Morte are better when they do the slower Bloodlust and Perversion-era Carpathian Forest type stuff. As I said, there’s weirdness here that is cool in the first song, but there’s also droning repetition that grates on the listener. Sadly, parts of IIII are just flat-out terrible. The first minute or so of the title track is an example. Just bad. Really, really bad. Hard to listen to. Unpleasant. Have you ever been so drunk you spilled your beer in an ashtray? You don’t want to waste good beer so you swig the ashtray. No? Well, that’d be more pleasant than listening to some sections of this album. That said, other parts of IIII are good, and musically interesting. Other sections of the title track, for example, were quite cool. 

To wrap up, much like eating snails, this is a French delicacy that just isn’t for me.

RATING: 2.5 / 5

IIII is available now via Division Records and Atypeek Music.

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Purchase IIII on LP from the Division Records webstore HERE, or digitally from Bandcamp HERE.

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Spellbound By The Devil – A Review of ‘Siberian Heathen Horde’ by WELICORUSS

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By George Van Doorn (Vahrzaw)

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So, Russians WELICORUSS sent us three songs that we’re supposed to use to gauge the entirety of their new album, Siberian Heathen Horde. Given the limited material, I might review the video clip for the title track too (because it looks like they spent a couple of bucks on it).

So yeah. Umm. Welicoruss have been listening to a lot of Dimmu Borgir. A lot!!! The first song we’re provided with is ‘Spellbound’. Sorry. Sorry. That’s a Dimmu song. The Welicoruss song is ‘Spellcaster’. I’m not a fan of the clean vocals here, or elsewhere for that matter. They remind me of Japanese pop vocals; overly simple melodies that are annoying. Actually, I’m not a fan of any of the vocals except, oddly, the spoken word part at the start of ‘Spellcaster’. It’s in Russian and sounds ace.

The title track is next, so let’s go to the video. Fuck! The start could be ripped straight from a Dimmu song. Alright! I need to go on a rant here, because there’s something in this clip that’s pissing me off. Why do metal bands feel the need to portray women as chattel? It doesn’t make you appear hypermasculine. It makes you look like a weak, insecure piece of shit. Anyway, back to the music. ‘Frostbounded’ is the last song we’re given access to. It sounds like it could’ve been lifted from The Kovenant‘s Animatronic album. And yet another connection to Dimmu Borgir. For those who somehow don’t know, Nagash left Dimmu to form The Kovenant.

Alright! Let’s wrap this up. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these songs. It’s just that everything you’ll find here can be found on a Dimmu Borgir album. Well, except for the last Dimmu album which took 8 years to release and was a steaming pile of shit. Thanks for that Dimmu

So, yeah. If you’re looking for a cheap Dimmu Borgir knock off, then Welicoruss is for you.

RATING: 2.5 / 5

Siberian Heathen Horde is available now via El Puerto Records.

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Purchase Siberian Heathen Horde on LP or CD from Bandcamp HERE, or from the El Puerto Records webstore HERE.

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Recurring Visions – A Review of ‘Helfró’, by HELFRÓ

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By George Van Doorn (Vahrzaw)

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HELFRÓ‘s brand-spanking-new self-titled debut album has just been released on Season of Mist. 100% completely new material that has never been released before. Oh! Except for that time in 2018 when Helfró released 7 out of the 8 songs here independently as their debut album. Nice try cunts! I’m onto you. Given this information, it’s only fair that I compare and contrast versions.

So, let’s see, what are the differences between the 2018 and 2020 releases? Well, the artwork is different. It is much, much better on the 2020 View From The Coffin version. You can check the original out on Encyclopedia Metallum if you’re interested. The other glaring difference is that Helfró tacked a new song onto the start of the 2020 version. Two years and they wrote one new song! One! In 2 years! Lucky for Helfró, ‘Afietrun’ is a fucking kickass song. But, we’ll get to that in a moment. There are subtle differences between the two albums too. A remix or remaster perhaps? And a short intro to one song has been deleted.

But what about the music? In short, fuck me sideways! This is a blistering fucker of an album. Angry. Angry music. It reminded me of Myrkskog at times, while other parts reminded me of Arcturus. These guys know their way around their instruments, and they know how to write a song. There’s not a lot that I can criticise here. I wasn’t a fan of every piece of clean singing, but that’s a very minor concern. For the most part, the clean vocals are good.

Given Helfró tried to pull the wool over my eyes – cheeky fuckers – they’re lucky this is a cracking album.

RATING: 4.5 / 5

Helfró is available digitally and on mail order now via Season Of Mist. Shop pre-orders for physical copies release June 5th.

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Purchase/pre-order Helfró on digital, tape, CD and LP from Bandcamp HERE, or from the Season Of Mist webstore HERE.

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The Dawning Decadence of Despair: A Review & Interview for ‘Tome: 1’ by DISMALIMERENCE

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By Ivan Gossage

(Order ov the Black Arts)

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Romanticism was an artistic, philosophical, and cultural movement which arose during the 1800’s and held genuine emotional expression as the pinnacle of artistic authenticity. With motifs centered around individualism, the past and nature, Romanticism eschewed arbitrary rules and expectations and valued above all the undiluted, unique, liberated, creative representation of the artist’s feeling or passion. With this in mind, it is easy to comprehend how Tome: 1, the debut album from Chicago’s DISMALIMERENCE, can and should be considered romantic in the most technical sense. For Tome: 1 is not just an emotional piece… from the lush melancholic atmosphere, to the lyrics which revolve around recurring themes of devotion, loss, nostalgia, pain, sorrow, and suicide, it is indeed saturated in emotion. 

Written and recorded by songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist, lyricist and vocalist Elijah Cirricione (assisted by Craig Hamburger on bass, Joey Casillas on drums, and Nicholas Coughenour on guitar), the album is a beautiful and haunting account of memory and dysphoria, frequently rooting sorrow and reminiscence in natural metaphors such as the moon, lakes, rivers, gardens and wind. Furthermore, although Tome: 1 generally has black metal as its foundation, it sits on the fringes and defies many expectations of the genre so a succinct description of its timbre is not easy to pin down when looking for specifics. Musically DISMALIMERENCE proves to be a harmonious mix between the naturalist tendencies of Cascadian black metal, the warmly radiating melodicism of atmospheric post-black, and the raw emotional content and impact of DSBM. 

The production is crystalline and expansive with all instruments audible and given plenty of breathing room, soaring guitar lead and rasping vocals taking center stage over full bass and driving percussion, accentuated by synth. The listener is presented with a near perfect balance of musical aggression and tenderness as meandering, pensive, sometimes apprehensive sensitivity repeatedly succumbs to distorted anguish and/or rage and vice versa. Even this description is not adequate, however, as the album also includes an array of interesting additions such as piano progressions (‘Crimson Glow’ and ‘Vale Armor’), acoustic guitar (‘Destined for Solitude’), harps, choirs, and other synth (‘Crimson Glow’, ‘Pragma’, ‘Vale Armor’), surprisingly seamless and effective moments of powerful metalcore-esque breakdowns (try the middle and end of ‘Crimson Glow’ and 90 seconds in on ‘My Only Love’), and guitar solos that come delightfully close to progressive rock psychedelia (‘Orchid’s Reverie’ has a good example of that). 

But enough of this outside analysis. As German Romantic painter Casper David Friedrich summarized, it is not the ruminations of the observer who determines the characteristics of art; “the artist’s feeling is his law.” Thus, it is with good fortune that I was able to correspond with Mr. Cirricione to get his own, essential thoughts on DISMALIMERENCE’s firstborn opus… read on.

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Hello, and thank you so much for taking the time to speak to me. Although I would like to pretty quickly try to tread into deeper waters, I feel like it is expected of me to at least initially ask some more typical questions. How are you feeling about the upcoming release of Tome: 1?! I noticed that you wrote many of these tracks between 2011 and 2014 so it seems that this has been a long time coming!

– I’m feeling extremely excited about this release, especially because it took so long to make happen. But I’m happy that it’s happening now instead of even later. With these songs being fairly old for me, it feels like a weight off of my shoulders. 

Congratulations on your contract with Transcending Records. This has been and will continue to be a fruitful relationship for DISMALIMERENCE I hope?

– Thank you. These are the best people to be involved with. I love these guys and everything they have done for artists over the years. I already had a relationship with them a few years ago, so this really fell into place nicely.

Something that stands out for me particularly with this album is the fantastic songwriting and depth which is on display. It seems VERY mature for a debut album. Considering that there has been so much time that has elapsed since these tracks were initially written, have they undergone a lot of revision and editing, or is what we are hearing now very similar to how they were initially formulated?

– Well thank you very much for that! With all the years just setting this album behind and other priorities pushing it back, I didn’t have much time to revisit the record. But the only things that have definitely changed was when I started including members to the band in 2018. My friends Joey Casillas, Nicholas Coughenour, and Craig Hamburger made their presence known on this album. Joey definitely put his feeling into this album and made the drums feel more natural and comfortable to the ear. The original drums I wrote were extremely overbearing and tech-death influenced. Nicholas left his impression with a few lead sections and added his own creative liberties to them. He can be heard on ‘Pragma’, ‘Negligence of the Forgotten’, and ‘Destined For Solitude’. Craig stuck close to what was written but I started to notice how wonderful his mind works when he was tracking all of his parts. Many things that he added to the album are things I never imagined would happen and I’m so happy with what he brought to the table. Other than what they brought to the table, this is a very close version of what I intended on. 

After listening to the album all of the way through about a half-dozen times, and carefully reading the lyrics, I have to ask: are you doing okay? Or, to ask the question in another way: do you live the torment that this album depicts? Or, has this creation been a cathartic experience, allowing you to live a life that is happier than what is being expressed within Tome:1?

– Considering these lyrics are so old, I’m definitely not in the same headspace I was back when this was written. A lot of what was going on back then is too difficult to explain, because of so many moving pieces to my life back then. But I live with manic-depressive bipolar disorder and I use music to cope with the many things I can’t control. So, there are a lot of personal events and feelings I am communicating on this album. 

One of the initial impressions that I got when listening to Tome: 1 and reading the lyrics was an alignment with Romanticism, particularly in that Romanticism elevates the authentic emotional component of art above all other elements. Clearly the lyrics are saturated in these themes, but I’m curious about how emotional energy plays into the writing, recording, and performing process for you.

– There is definitely a romantic and even overly dramatic sense with these lyrics. I would say that every aspect of my emotional energy goes into Dismalimerence. I only like to write when I feel that I need to. That’s something I’ve grown to love a lot. Years ago, I would force myself to write for the sake of productivity within many bands. But it didn’t feel genuine or pure. So, this band has always been a simple and honest expression for me. There’re moments when I wish I had material to dive into in a quick instance, but I’m continuously writing and recording new music for this band. With these songs being so old for me, there’s times in a live setting where it feels a little redundant, since I’ve changed so much over the years, but it’s also an incredibly gratifying feeling to be able to perform these songs. 

Romanticism also values individualism and uniqueness of expression. Did you model your songwriting after any other bands or use music or other art to be a source of inspiration? Did you feel pressure to conform to any specific expectations? Do you consider the final product to be black metal, or do you feel it has somewhat transcended this sort of easy categorization?

– It’s really hard to say what it was that steered me into this, specifically. But I started listening to bands like Dimmu Borgir, Woods of Desolation, Opeth, and lots of other genres as well. But initially, my vocals really weren’t in the black metal category. At the time I was more efficient in lower toned and more mid-range. But I’ve never felt pressure to conform, so that’s why this music felt so freeing for me to pursue. I’d definitely say it’s in the black metal world. It’s not necessarily in the middle of the road for most black metal releases, but I’d say with the vocal style and many other aspects, it’s reflective of the black metal genre.  

It is easy to see that relationships have heavily influenced the themes of the album, but there is also a more nuanced focus on nature, with natural phenomena being mentioned in almost every song, and (most obviously) the stunning cover art. How much impact does nature have on DISMALIMERENCE

– Most definitely. It’s very cliché to say, but being surrounded in nature is beautiful to me, and it influences me to find a comfortable space to be in. I’d like to think there’s an untouched purity within the ideas of all-natural aspects in this world. Especially when it comes to this album, it’s definitely to help paint a picture of certain events in life, and give a larger look into some of my favorite places I’ve been too. It resonated well with me back then and always will now. 

Was the cover art something that you picked or something that you designed, and what symbolism can we find here? Specifically, what is the meaning of the bloodied book in the foreground?

– I definitely have to mention that the album art was something I’ve struggled with for years to imagine. I’ve made a handful of versions myself and commissioned many artists over the years. But I’ve scrapped all of those till just late 2019. Aghy Purakusuma is the artist that did our album artwork and he made all of it come true. He took every idea I had seriously and applied his own style to it. I’m in love with how that turned out. The book and the figure are one in the same and it’s something that I’d really like to unfold and reveal in the next record that I have. But the overall idea is that this was an autobiographical piece and the figure is fading away.

I also noticed that the logo got an upgrade recently! Very nice, and it seems to fit the project perfectly. Who penned that one?

– Oh definitely! I figured that a new logo would be refreshing and a cleaner slate for the band and hopefully give it some more justice. Ranjan Kumar (Casus Artem) is the artist that created the new logo! He gave me a few different variations to work with and I really enjoy the ones with the sketched clouds above the logo. 

My next question, ironically, was going to inquire about the title of the album suggesting that there will be multiple albums that continue on from the story of Tome: 1, but it sounds like that suspicion is confirmed! Feel free to elaborate on the overall progress, narrative, and plans for the immediate and/or distant future, but it’s also understandable if you don’t want to get too far ahead of the present moment.

– I can definitely share a few things! Before involving Matt Mifflin and Craig in the band, I was finishing up the third full length album as well. There are plenty of concepts I’ve explored within the next two records that are also relating to Tome: 1. Since Matt has joined the band, we’ve been on a writing spree, and I have full intention of pursuing this newest music before the other albums I’ve written beforehand. There’s just something very fresh and inviting about this new music we’ve done together. I’ve also just considered revisiting the other records I’ve written and possibly condense or rework a lot of the material for the time being. As far as plans go, I want to finish a single for a split album we’ve been involved in since last summer. Other than that, I’d love to get back to playing out with the band and meeting new people again. I can see us beginning the recording stages for our second full length within a few more months as well. 

Wow, that’s a ton of material you’ve got already! I know that Tome: 1 won’t be released until late June, but how are you feeling about finally having it out for the world to hear? How has the reception been for the first single ‘Negligence of the Forgotten’? I hope that preorders are doing well, I’ve certainly seen some reassuring chatter about that gold marble LP!

– In all honesty, I feel very anxious. Obviously, it has taken me a long time to make this finally happen, and for a while I felt like this album would fall on deaf ears or not carry the same weight that it does for me. For a few years it seemed like I was destined to never release this record. There were so many issues with recording, members, devastating personal matters, etc. I’m just so thankful it’s finally coming to fruition. With that in mind, the reception of ‘Negligence of the Forgotten’ left me speechless for the first day. I had no idea I’d receive so much love and so quickly. I’m so incredibly thankful for all of it and I hope this carries into the official album release. The pre-orders have been absolutely insane! I’m in awe with how many people from across the world ordered something on the first day. From what I’ve heard from Transcending, we’re absolutely killing it with the physical pre-orders! I know that the digital pre-orders have been fantastic too. I think that gold marble is a big reason why the vinyl sales are doing so well for us. I’m really excited to finally be able to hold this album in my hands. 

So am I! Do you have any final thoughts or messages you would like to express?

– If anything, I’d just like to say thank you to anyone who reads through this conversation, and hopefully takes some time to check out the music. This has been such a journey already and the album isn’t even out yet, so I’m completely enamored by any and all support for Tome: 1. Thank you for providing me a wonderful list of questions that I could really get personal and in-depth with! I appreciate you listening to the album and giving me this opportunity to talk about it. 

My pleasure, and thank you so much for allowing me the time and candor for this interview. Best of hopes for you and your creations! May thy will be done.

Tome 1 releases June 26th via Transcending Records.

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Pre-order Tome 1 digitally from the Dismalimerence Bandcamp HERE, or on LP and CD from the Transcending Records webstore HERE.

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Altered States – A Review of ‘Wyrzyny’ by KŁY

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By George Van Doorn (Vahrzaw)

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A Polish black metal album inspired by psilocybin and shamanism?! I’m in! I haven’t had any experience with magic mushrooms, but I’ve heard they can mess you up. A friend of mine, let’s call him William Scotts to protect his good name, told me that he once saw X-Men jumping out of his cereal whilst on the shrooms. Long story short, KŁY‘s Wyrzyny better get pretty weird or I’ll be disappointed.

It all begins with some music bowls and bells. OK. A little derivative, but it’s just a short intro. Moving on. The vocals are – how can I say this delicately – they sound like a hippy in a tie-dyed shirt yelling at people at a Polish Taco Bell for eating meat. They’re underwhelming. There are some cool bits in the opening track, but they’re few and far between. KŁY also manage to get some cool sounds out of their instruments. About halfway through ‘Burza’ there’s a really nice guitar tone, and a pretty cool section of music. The bass sound is nice too. In fact, the bass player is a highlight here.

Track 2, ‘Nadwołkowyjskiej nocy liczba pojedyńcza’, is better than Track 1. It’s slow and plodding, has a simple song structure, but is more interesting than ‘Burza’. It’s nice and is my favourite song on Wyrzyny. Well, it’s nice except for the vocals. I can’t stress how much I dislike the vocals. And, they’re so high in the mix that you can’t ignore them.

A problem with Wyrzyny is that many riffs are, what I’d call, Chaos AD era Sepultura riffs in that they revolve around two or three notes. This gets old fast. And, the guitar melodies aren’t particularly interesting. That said, there is an interesting bit early in ‘Trojzab’ where the melody continues to play even though the riff beneath it changes considerably. So, there are some interesting ideas here, but they don’t always work.

Anyway, stay off the drugs kids. You’ll have the horrific experience of creating dull, uninspired music peppered with some cool ideas. Maybe I needed to be tripping balls in order to appreciate Wyrzyny.

Rating: 2 / 5

Wyrzyny releases 8th May via Pagan Records. Pre-orders available now.

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Pre-order Wyrzyny on CD or LP from the Pagan Records webstore store HERE.

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  • No online presence.

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