Velvet Cacoon – Nightvines lördag, Sep 6 2008 

The Velvet Cacoon hype machine treads on with this seemingly authentic VC video that was posted on youtube one day ago without a word of it’s existance on any official sites. It is indeed beautiful, but it makes me wonder whether Atropine will be entirely composed of ambient ‘seadrones’ such as this track and Funeral Noir?

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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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Darkspace – Dark Space III (2008) torsdag, Aug 28 2008 

Since this album was rather untimely released in the middle of blossoming spring this year, I made sure I saved some of the Darkspace experience knowing well that revenge, champagne and kunsthall releases are all dishes best served cold under the starry starry sky. For new listeners, Darkspace is an ambient black metal project from the artist behind highly acclaimed Paysage d’Hiver. Evidently, Tobias Möckl and fellow Swiss don’t play around when it comes to band names; where PdH is as wintry as a snowball fight between Abbath and a polar bear, Darkspace is every bit the endless interstellar journey the name suggests.

Few bands can make use of subtlety in the wake of an unrelenting guitar attack the way DS does. Delicate synth flares twinkle on top of soaring tremolo riffs and carpet the more chugging passages nicely. This time less effort also is put into spacious ambient passages of Dark Space II, making III a summation of the previous two releases in more senses the mathematical. I have always seen parallels to 90’s-era Emperor in both Darkspace and Paysage d’Hiver. However, the approach of the latter bands is less baroque and ‘more’ minimalist (you might even say tasteful), but the grand crescendos and high-pitch vocals share a certain identity with Emperor’s early classics. If fans of modern techno are interested in a gateway into black metal, look no further than right here.

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Velvet Cacoon news tisdag, Aug 26 2008 

If we hadn’t already learn to expect the unexpected from Velvet Cacoon it seems that they are indeed coming out with a new release — only one titled neither P aa opal poere p.33 nor Anise royal and not featuring ”2”. The new album will instead be called Atropine (surprise: it’s a drug) and be a 2 cd release. In the vein of the infamous ‘dieselharp’ myth, the band will use drone tracks that were recorded two years ago and has since been buried beneath the earth… An ambient preview track called Funeral Noir was also made available. My tone might be cynical, but the truth is that my faith that the promised olive-flavoured red pill of sedation might actually appear from VC this year is increasing.

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

Eldrig – Mysterion video tisdag, Jul 29 2008 

Eldrig’s new album Mysterion is set to ship soon and here is a recently posted preview video. In my opinion, Eldrig’s latest works have not reached the artistic summit of Mr. van See’s first project Fanisk, particularly 02’s Noontide, but the music in this video is promising. Portland’s premier esotericist is promising a high artistic output in the next months with Mysterion, Fanisk – Insularum and Eldrig – Wyrd. Look for reviews on Mysterion and the classic Noontide in the coming weeks.

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Eldrig – 2007 – Kali

Eldrig – 2007 – Everlasting War Divinity

Have A Nice Life – Deathconsciousness (2008) tisdag, Jul 22 2008 

From the deep trenches of the American underground comes an album that will shurely tingle the spine of all who like their music to go with a ‘post-‘ prefix. Surging in popularity, the debut album of Have A Nice Life is very worthy of its praise. Epics like I Don’t Love, The big gloom and There is no food fit perfectly side-by-side with a palpable post-punk attitude that shines through on tracks like Waiting for black metal records to come in the mail and indie-pop gem Holy fucking shit 40 000. Though the lyrics deal mainly with religious themes and (you guessed it) death, there is a strong vibe of arty teenage escapism and new wave aesthetics, with wonderful guitar/synthesizer carpets and talented songwriting. Despite it’s lofi production, Deathconsciousness manages to sound very avant garde and relevant at the same time, and judging from its reception so far it might very well be regarded as somewhat of a milestone in a few years.

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Velvet Cacoon – 2 måndag, Jul 21 2008 

A few weeks ago, a preview track of the ever-elusive upcoming P aa opal Poere Pr. 33 album from black metal shoegazers Velvet Cacoon was posted on the Funeral Moon Productions forum by an account allegedly held by bandmember Angela. Now, Velvet Cacoon is a band surrounded by controversy after countless myths, rumours, fake tracks, made-up instruments and well-founded accusations of plagiarism. Coming into 08′ many, including myself, started to seriously doubt whether the promised follow-up to the submerged romanticism that was Genevieve would ever materialize. But lo and behold, the vocals on this track are indeed identical to their previous releases, and the track is the murky excavation of oceanic depths that VC have always have been fond of but this time there’s some more maturity, and a great riff of course.

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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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