Tape Wyrm XLIV: Recent Releases Tape Wyrm XLIV: Recent Releases

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Concerning Ghost

Alright, before we begin. I feel strange putting Ghost in an introduction when I can just as easily talk about it in a regular section. I feel this occult rock group is somehow not as new or not as recommendation worthy as the other selections. I find this strange because the band’s first record, Opus Eponymous, was as fully entertaining as the undead coprse of Blue Oyster Cult or a satanic minion of Hall and Oates. Ghost’s second record, Infestissumam, was preceded by a long trail of near laughable bullshit which included a name change, claims the album art was too controversial, a box set sex toy combo, and a general nagging sense that this whole thing wasn’t cool anymore. Ghost had a lot against them and though the band maybe nothing more than an occult driven one trick pony, they sure know how to dress that pony up well.

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370723Altar of Plagues – Teethed Glory and Injury

This one caught me by surprise. This one caught me by surprise because I found Altar of Plagues’ second release Mammal decent but not surprising. In fact, I found this Irish atmospheric black metal outfit to fall third or seventeenth in a long line of third wave black metal which placed organic transcendentalism over second wave hatred. This is different. This is something more interesting. Whatever happened after 2011, and right now at this moment, has been for the better because this atmospheric black metal band has traded in odyssey track lengths for slim experimentation with twice the kicking power. Where contemporary trends used to inhabit, only artsy angles remain and Teethed Glory and Injury is the most arresting record of the band’s career, and — shit, fuck it, I am saying it right now — one of the most interesting black metal records of the year. Yes, I know, it’s not even June. Hopefully the rest of the year isn’t filled with more records.

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366724Light Bearer – Silver Tongue

I have been following this British based post metal group since their 2011 debut Lapsus. I found their execution of biblical themed post metal to be as fascinating as it was entertaining. I also found their album art, penned by the vocalist, to be fitting with their style of somber reverence. These were clerics who had been consumed with dark emotions. As in past Light Bearer releases, Silver Tongue splits its time between contemporary post rock and ripped from the late 90’s hardcore. In fact, the product is still slightly separated and does not retain the fine blend as Lapsus. Post rock is here. Metal is there. And in between is jolted cries. The result is odd at times but at others makes for an exquisite retching of bare emotions. This makes the structure of near 20 minute track lengths to be exquisite and wrought with peril.

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368112Windhand / Cough – Reflection of the Negative (Split)

What in the goddamn hell is going on in Richmond these days? Cough’s 2010 Ritual Abuse was probably one of the only black/stoner sludge combinations that could pull off such a strange cocktail. It was hazy and downright evil. It was also wretched and draped itself over infinite track lengths. Windhand on the other…hand…is doing just fine being the reanimated corpse of Sabbath just more evil and more psychedelic. Also with more purple album covers. I mean everything I just said with utmost respect. The two backwoods sociopaths have pooled their resources to create a retelling of 1969 just with modern sensibility. The occult is more vivid, the hatred more palatable, and the riffs are near suffocating. Is this what Sabbath sounded like to a generation who had never heard metal before? Was it this stifling? What in the hell is this dark cloud that hangs over Richmond?

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374335Death Fortress / Axis of Light – Split

Now here is something I enjoy. Black metal with an insatiable groove. I have been singing the praises of Fallen Empire for months because of their dedication to distributing low cost and lo-fi black metal of surprising quality. Both Axis of Light and Death Fortress were on the Svn Okklt compilation released earlier this year. The pairing of the two bridges Atlantic waters and this New Jersey one piece and British two piece have come together to celebrate black metal wrapped in shivering blankets of formidable fog. You see, I joke about the grooves because they are there, it is just way in the back.

Axis of Light’s opener “Illuminating the Temple / Secrets of the Tomb” has such a distinct and groovy drumbeat I almost expect a crossover with old rock and roll. I am still putting my money on black metal crossing over with rockabilly in the near future. The attitude of “Illuminating The Temple” contrasts quite effectively with the open wound atmosphere of lo-fi black metal. Oh, also, things get a little bit more real when they get to the tomb. I imagine this is just like an adventure pulp, just obscured by blankets of formidable fog.

The one man New Jersey act Death Fortress has a distinct use of drum machine that occupies the foreground like a big heavy wheel. Death Fortress’s production was one of the qualities of “Pulling Ancient Stone” which first held interest on the Svn Okklt compilation. Though the sound of “From The Immortal Thrones” rarely ever changes, the charm of Death Fortress is in his ability to create all of the chaos in the low end. After the head swirling madness of Axis of Light, most of the vile and putrid qualities from Death Fortress comes from the low vocal rasps and the near doomlike riffs. I say vile and putrid with the utmost respect. This split is only 19 minutes but it is worth so much more than its low price. We are not done yet Fallen Empire.

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TWlogo3From the Desk of Nahsil

I have known Nahsil for quite sometime just under different names. We wrote in for the same publication for years. i first noticed him for his ABC article on traditional heavy metal. Now he is here because our other publication has burnt to the ground. We are in the process of salvaging the wreckage and piece together his 80’s speed metal article but things do not look promising. For now he writes about three albums that caught his attention in 2013. Trust me. He comes from good stock. You see I say that know then he will end up being an informant and this whole racket is going to crumble from the inside.

– Kaptain “take my word, he’s not a cop” Carbon

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374115Plaga – Magia Gwiezdnej Entropii

I’ll admit, I was bored with black metal for a while. I don’t completely blame black metal, because it was my own failure to find the shit that wasn’t lifeless second wave worship, which brought on my waning interest. And then I heard Peste Noire’s La sanie des siecles… and realized that the genre wasn’t dead, that it wasn’t tired, and that I just hadn’t looked hard enough (or in the right places). Let’s pretend I’d sworn off black metal until recently, and then heard this new surge of Polish black metal from the likes of Mgla and Plaga. Pretty sure it would’ve been the same story as hearing Peste Noire. In other words, this is good shit. Plaga may not be on the level of instant-classic that so much Mgla material has achieved, but if this album is any indication, they’re definitely in the upper echelon of active black metal bands doing interesting and creative things without being, you know, lame about it. No gimmicks, just a fresh take on the old game. Top-notch songwriting and musicianship, innovative use of melody and rhythm, and compelling atmosphere. Definitely a band to check out and follow in the future.

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Tribulation-The-Formulas-of-DeathTribulation – The Formulas of Death

A lot has already been said about this album. No, it’s nothing like The Horror; yes, it’s more out-there, has prog tinges, and is more “ambitious” in terms of experimentation than the debut, which was excellent in a different way. Some love the change in direction and some wish they would’ve kept making the brilliant death/thrash they were initially known for. I’m torn, really, because Tribulation are good at both enterprises. It’s like Enslaved-as-atmospheric-black-metal versus Enslaved-as-prog-black-whatever-stuff. That’s actually a terrible analogy because I like their mid-era material best, Blodhemn and Mardraum…but I’m sure you get the point; unless you hate later era Enslaved, in which case this might not do much for you either, although it’s not as experimental or genre-bending as something like Below the Lights. Anyway, I like this album. I wouldn’t really venture to compare it to the debut. They’re both great at what they set out to do. I’d encourage fans of the debut to hear it just to see what they’re up to these days, and in case the drastic change in style doesn’t put them off, and I’d definitely encourage fans of slightly prog black or death to give it a listen as well.

NOTE: Streaming available on Spotify and here as of now. Otherwise enjoy their 2009 record below

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VorumCover_webVorum – Poisoned Void

The easiest way to describe this album would be to list the bands and styles it sounds like and takes influence from. I’d rather just say it’s got big balls (and bigger riffs). It’s filthy, violent, and riff-oriented with only the best kind of melodic touches (otherworldly and occultish). Okay, I tried. It’s got that Weapon melodic black/death thing going on, but with more straightforward songwriting and similarity to the OSDM revival of late. Yeah, that cavernous, crushing, rotting cathedral vibe. Throw in a grimier The Wakedead Gathering approach and you’d be getting close. Not the best album of the year, but a solid entry for fans of the bands and movements I’ve mentioned.



One Response about “Tape Wyrm XLIV: Recent Releases”

  • Nahsil says:

    Yeah! I’m friends with Mike and Spitty by the way, the guys behind Fallen Empire/Svn Okklt.