Ufomammut – Idolum (2008) lördag, Jan 3 2009 

ufomammutJag föreställer mig att det här med att spela monoton psykedelisk doom inte är helt lätt — alla riff håller ju liksom inte för att spelas i mer än fem minuter. När Italiens Ufomammut i sina bästa stunder (Stigma; Stardog; Ammonia) pulserar i precis lagom otakt med ens blodomlopp och obevekligen pokar en strax över den centrala tyngdpunkten finner man sig till slut ofta med höfterna i någon sorts primaldans och pupillerna i bakhuvudet. Att Idolum som helhet sen inte lämnar något bestående intryck, minne eller mersmak är väl kanske bara som vilken god ritual som helst.

Och så är ju det här med bandnamn mycket viktigt.

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Sunn O))) – Dømkirke (2008) tisdag, Nov 18 2008 

splash2Sunn O))) wasn’t the first to play virtually rythmless music with droning guitars, but they are definitely the most famous, and arguably the cutting edge of the genre today. What is interesting is that the way they push the envelope for their sound isn’t by becoming more extreme and inaccessible. What Dømkirke is a prime example of is how successively adding conventional elements such as (clean) vocals and acoustic instruments to their perfected mauling distortion have created a whole new monster. This latest offering is recorded in the cathedral of Bergen, Norway, and makes use of the church’s resident organ.

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Electric Wizard & Reverend Bizarre – Split (2008) onsdag, Sep 17 2008 

Sometimes I get a feeling that every time Electric Wizard is releasing a new album or merch design, there is an entrenched discussion about whether it should feature: a bong, a cross, a goat, robed figures, nuns, nudity or zombies — usually resulting in half the list being included. Still, there is no question of how good ‘Wizard are at their craft. Records like Dopethrone, We Live and last year’s Witchcult Today are in their groovy stoner-haze splendor perfect examples of the difference between playing the guitar and playing the guitar — as shown by Jus Oborn and Liz Buckingham. Now The House on the Borderland — which is their contribution to this split with equally traditionalist Finnish band Reverend Bizarre — does not stand up very well to the quality of EW’s back-catalog, but is still a solid track. On the other hand, RB’s cover of classic Finnish black metal act Beherit’s The Gate of Nanna is an amazing vinyl-smelling retrotrip complete with cheesily spoken vocal passages and Omen choirs. It really warms my heart that there are people who persist in their quest of recreating the 70s, honoring Sabbath and find the riff.

Reverend Bizarre myspaceElectric Wizard myspaceDownload the SplitBuy it

Pentemple – O))) presents… (2008) söndag, Aug 31 2008 

On the 7th of may last year Stephen O’Malley, Greg Anderson, Attila Csihar, Oren Ambarchi and Sin Nanna gathered for a one-off improv show in Melbourne Australia, and as evident by this recording of the event, the result was quite intense. Sunn O))) — the band that Pentemple is an offshoot to — is really moving in the right direction with their latest releases, last year’s Oracle was brilliant and the permanent addition (it is right?) of Attila Csihar’s haunting voices to their line up has evolved their sound to a less guitar-based approach. What really stands out with this live recording though is the stunning and totally unexpected performance by Sin Nanna — previously known for playing primitive depressive black metal under the moniker Striborg. During the hour-long improv, here divided into two tracks called Pazuzu 1 and 2 (the demon from the The Exorcist movies remember?), he manages to conjure some highly technical and ritualistic drumming that adds a whole new dimension to Sunn O)))’s psychedelic sound, making this Pentemple release most likely the best output of the social sphere of Sunn’ and their many collaborators this year.

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Nadja – Long Dark Twenties (2008) and more lördag, Aug 16 2008 

This is another Nadja EP from earlier this year that I think really shows how much Aidan’s vocals add to their music. Long Dark Twenties is one long track featuring muddled singing that brings a soft melancholic atmosphere to the entire piece — similar in many ways to their previous cover of Swans’ No cure for the lonely. Also there is a new track up on their myspace called Alien in my own skin that I highly recommend. Finally, for those not yet convinced of Nadja’s excellence here is an independent ‘tube version of Stays Demons:

Nortt – Galgenfrist (2008) söndag, Aug 3 2008 

Earlier this year, Danish artist Nortt returned with another unfreshly dug grave for us all to lie in. One of the most conceptual bands on the Funeral Doom scene, Nortt takes the listener to an otherworld of eerie chimes, haunting riffs and undead vocals. Galgenfrist features some very ethereal guitar work in their trademark ultra-slow fashion and definetely surpasses last years rather disappointing Ligfaerd. Still, none of Nortt’s later efforts have touched the absolute masterpiece that was 1999’s Graven in my eyes, an album whose low production values did nothing to lessen the brill… ahum… darkness of it’s composition. Sadly, Galgenfrist is inconsistent, with some tracks – like my favorite: ”Af Døde”- bringing back the riff-driven style of Graven and Gudsförladt, while others the more ambient-based from Ligfaerd. Also, I get a feeling that Nortt has gone for more of a burial-by-sea atmosphere rather than the usual subterranean mood this time around, most obvious in ”Havet Hinsides Havet”. Though many that are unacquainted with this sort of death-worship will perhaps find it depressive, know that in the nihil void that Nortt projects there should be no sadness or fear, only the comfort of knowing that all is already lost.

”fulgte tavse klokker

gik i natten


øjnene til ravnen

skyggen til mørket

støvet til vinden

tiden til evigheden


rakte efter afgrunden

rørte aldrig himlen


– skrevet af døde”


Galgenfrist part I

Galgenfrist part II

Graven

Nadja & Black boned Angel – Christ Send Light (2008) måndag, Jul 21 2008 

In their ninth release of ’08 (a live DVD not included), Canadian ambient drone duo Nadja presents an absolutely stunning collaboration with New Zealand’s Black boned angel. Nadja’s occasional strides into the more blissful side the droney spectrum have been few but unparalled in the genre, surpassing the recent productions of more well-known shoegaze metallers Jesu with ease (best represented by the sensuality of Stays Demons from their debut). In this EP they add the crushing backdrop of BBA’s uncompromising guitar tectonics to their patented pink pillows of fuzzy drone, but cram it into a choral setting previously unheard of from either band. The song is basically a half-an-hour chorus, with the expected monotony of the genre accentuated by unreal guitar flavours, courtesy of that someone in BBA that is capable of alternately making their instrument sound like a church organ and a puppy with a gunshot wound, within a twinkling of time. Track of the year so far, without a doubt.

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