Tape Wyrm XXIX: Recent Releases Tape Wyrm XXIX: Recent Releases

The last Tape Wyrm article on proto-metal filled my heart with joy. This was compounded by the help I recieved from deathofthesun and ZeagleFiend. With friends in metal, few things can go wrong but a whole lot more can be amazing. After I breathe one more sigh of exuberance, I look around and notice that Summer is waning. Soon Fall will be upon us with the fast creeping of winter. The end of the year is looming in the distance. Things are getting more exciting as more and more metal releases are showing promise with even more poised on the horizon. 2012 is going to be a fantastic year. It I my genuine hope I find each year more interesting than the last. I hope I never become sour and hardened and mutter phrases like “This year was a bad year for metal.” I think if I ever found a year that was bad for an entire style of music, I would have to find something new to listen to. Perhaps I have not reached the level of indifference as I am still filled with boyish excitement for shrieks, cries, and growls.

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Hooded Menace – Effigies of Evil

We are starting here because this album is fantastic. Hooded Menace is a death/doom band obsessed with cult horror and slasher films. When I first encountered this band, they were on Razroback Records which allows for some silly antics. I did not think much about them at first. Now its 2012 and Effigies of Evil is Hooded Menace’s debut on Relapse Records. This group of horror nerds are still obsessed with scary movies yet their presentation has matured from adolescence to self sustaining adulthood. Effigies of Evil is wild and fun record given the right patience for slow death. Despite the vocals strained to a near gurgle the songs play like opera against a stage littered with broken glass and fire. This is mayhem at 10,000 frames per second. I feel Fall creeping in and I can not think of a better Autumn record. Hooded Menace speaks to a geeky side of my personality as their soundclips are pulled from obscure horror films. One in particular is from a 1971 lesbian themed vampire film called Twins of Evil. I can only imagine how that story unfolds. There is something unhinged about Hooded Menace as well as something coldly calculating. Listening to this record is just like watching a monster movie marathon.

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Abske Fides –  Abske Fides

Abske Fides. São Paulo Brazil. Black/Doom. Lyrical themes exposing the terror in existence and modernity. Pure post modern darkness. This came on me like a surprise. The cover for Abske Fides looks more like a film school final project than a black metal album. I think in its own way, Abske Fides’ war on civilization parallels the vague thesis of extreme metal. This self titled debut follows on the heels of nearly a decade of well received demos and EPs. From their beginning in 2004, the band has made it clear they have no use for traditions and pageantry of heavy metal. Though the music roots itself in black metal’s despondency, its focus and direction is contemporary. This is what is interesting. Black and doom metal used as a tool rather than a destination. With this genuine attitude the emotions and set against the music are visceral and real. The mixture of rasps and downtuned guitars on Abske Fides is haunting and exciting for close to an hour. I can think of few film school final projects that can say the same.

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Samothrace- Reverence to the Stone

2012 will be the year in which doom was welcomed into the arms of a greater audience. Perhaps it has been happening. Perhaps it has already passed. Perhaps Middle American families already speak the praises of Trouble and Witchfinder General. Perhaps this is old news. This year, Pallbarer, Conan, OM, and other have all released records to moderate and critical praise. Perhaps 2012 is the year when everything is slowed to a crawl. Enter Samothrace — a stoner doom band whose work in the genre is exemplary it is an engaging and challenging record for newcomers as well as seasoned enthusiasts.

Samothrace’s Reverence to the Stone takes the very familiar template of stoner doom and elongates it into a time warp. At times, Samothrace sounds like the never-ending jams of Earth but with the type of energy and excitement which makes it interesting. Reverence to the Stone continues stoner doom journey and rescues it from being a burned out genre which could have died in the late 90’s. This is stoner doom which is windblown and feral. It is dangerous and unpredictable. Samothrace continues the style into new decades. Godspeed you crazy psychonauts.

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Nachtmystium – Silencing Machine

I would be lying if I said I was not excited for this release. I enjoy watching black metal burn to the ground. I enjoy watching structures and new foundations erected ontop of cinders and ash. Nachtmystium began as a mild mannered black metal band before begging a long experimental journey. For the past few years Nachtmystium has shown a stable place where psychedelic rock and black metal could exist in harmony. No one knew this place existed nor was looking for it in the first place. Now that we are here, I do not want to leave.

Silencing Machine is the ending of a psychedlic arc which began in 2006 with Instinct: Decay. The crest of this arc was the first two volumes of the Black Meddle series affectionately named Addicts and Assassins. According to interviews with creator Blake Judd, Silencing Machine concludes Instinct: Decay and thus expands on more of a traditional black metal sound with experimental leanings. It succeeds in every single possible way. Regardless of concept and direction in terms of overall project, Nachtmystium once again has made an interesting and engaging record which allows accessibility without sacrificing emotion or craft. I would be lying if I said I was not rooting for Nachtmystium or smile whenever their albums are released.

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Deathmøle – Advances

I enjoy tracing metal outside traditional boundaries. I love seeing how people respond to the sound and employ it within their own circumstances. Deathmøle started out as a fictional band in the webcomic Questionable Content. Alright there is that. Deathmøle is also the moniker in which the artist,
Jeph Jacques, releases his own instrumental metal jams. Advances takes various aspects of post metal, VGM, Djent, and melodic death to construct a suprisingly enjoyable record. Perhaps not surprising for him rather me who has just stumbled upon this project.

The same spirit which guided Buckethead’s 2004 Cuckoo Clocks of Hell is present in this guitar heavy futuristic virtual metal release. Advances has thick artificial atmosphere which constructs its very essence. The guitar tone, production, and artwork feel like they have a direct mainline into digital sofware. This is a release without any sense of organic nature or construct. Certainly this could be construed as a negative but for all intents and purposes it works — the majority of the time.

Maybe it is because I love heavy instrumental music or have an interest in projects which straddle the boundaries of reality and fiction. Regardless Deathmøle is enjoyable and rewarding for certain people that are willing to give it a chance. It is also only 5$ on bandcamp so I do not know why you are complaining. Stop crying.

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Winterfylleth – The Threnody Of Triumph

Great, another strong black metal release that I now have to sort through amid all of these other fantastic black metal albums. Assholes. Winterfylleth is English thus continuing the small existence of British based black metal. Yes, I realize the pioneering act Venom is from England but it really gets rocky after 1986. England and the rest of Europe is currently experincing a small surge in bands with dramatic releases. After a strong two records, Winterfylleth returns with The Threnody Of Triumph a remarkable achievement in the arena of atmospheric black metal.

Winterfylleth, much like their countryman Wodensthrone, bases their lyrical structure around the lore and glory of Anglo culture. Alright. Cool? While the previous statement will undoubtly lead to silent questions of radical philosophy, Winterfylleth is not a political band and does not claim residency within the dark NSBM realm. The Threnody Of Triumph should be evaluated for its musical merit rather than any lyrical interpretation. Winterfylleth possess the ability to combine ferocity and harmony which run like ancient winds through even older forests.

I am going to have a difficult time whittling down all of these black metal releases. The Threnody Of Triumph has the same spirit which initially drove me to Wolves in the Throne Room, Wodensthrone, Woods of Desolation, and Wilds Forlon. I now realize they all have W names and am thoroughly intrigued at any possible conspiracy.

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Assembly of Light – Assembly of Light

And this maybe the most non metal thing I have heard that still inhabits a metal universe. I thought Worm Ouroboros or the new Earth record would have done it but Assembly of Light is stepping up to be flag bearer for para-metal. By god they really made choral chanting apart of the metal world.

Assembly of Light is a 20 member women’s choir who appeared in tandem with fringe metal act The Body. The self titled debut attempt to push what has traditionally been perceived as harmonious and polyphonous music into the realms of dissonances and horror. The result? A harrowing journey through the netherworlds on wings of demons and rouges. This shit is terrifying and above all else glorious. It is also relatively short which by midway point you will thank the greater gods for the reprieve. Bravo ladies. You have terrified my inner being.

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Blacklodge – MachinatioN

Alright, come on and sit down. I feel my attention to industrial black metal is only spurred by wife who loves it like a child loves chocolate milk. Seriously, she is dancing right now. Black industrial, while somewhat rare, is a seamless fusion. Both styles share similar feelings of despondency and compliment each other when combined. I feel the black metal half becomes a little bit more sociable while the industrial side becomes more likable. With the distinct black metal rasp combined with heavy artificial beats, the combination sounds like an armor-plated demon intending to deliver justice. Blacklodge is French and is not new to this whole style. With such titles as LogiN:SataN and Solorkult, the band has been to Hell and back many times. In this case, Hell is a foundry in which the steel demon is forged. You got it. Just wanted to make sure.

From the opening drum roll of “TridenT” to the closing warbling soundclips of “the Other Side,” MachinatioN is everything you expect and could desire in a somewhat accessible black industrial album. The typecases are random, the effects are many, and all we can offer you is entertainment.

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Ufomammut – ORO: Opus Alter

Ohhh shiiiiiiiiiiiiit. Here we have it. Personally, I have been waiting for this record the most out of any release during the Fall. I fell hard for Italian cosmic doom prophets Ufomammut with their earlier 2012 record ORO: Opus Primum. I enjoyed it immensely as I knew there would be a second release in the future. Here we have it and to my great pleasure and excitement, the album art is complimentary. Without even listening to the release, Ufomammut has already scored a passing grade. Musically, Opus Alter lives up to the intensity of its first half thus completing the circle of neckbreaking doom.

Ufomammut possess a unique talent in translating pressure within music. Throughout their records is the constant feeling of weight and enclosing structures. This is what made ORO: Opus Primum, surprisingly so enjoyable. ORO: Opus Alter , while still retaining the natural inclinations of doom, exhibits a more open atmosphere. This of course allows the record more room to toss and throw the listener like a ragdoll before bringing down the familiar weight of doom. Both records, as a whole, is a remarkable achievement for 2012 which will hopefully will make it to the end of the year. My thoughts and prayers are with you Ufomammut.



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