Friday, 28 June 2013

Shining - One One One

“One One One” is the third release in Norwegian band Shining’s “Blackjazz” trilogy, following on stylistically from “Blackjazz” and “Live Blackjazz”. Successfully fusing black metal and jazz on these two “Blackjazz” releases indicated that Shining had created a sound they could confidently call their own. Metal, punk and jazz fusions have been flourishing in the works of experimentalists such as John Zorn for a number of years, but what Shining have created is a mutant hybrid that dispenses with the gravity often associated with the jazz genre and reintroduced the element of excitement and animation. The first single from this album, ‘I Won’t Forget’, is a raucous, riff-laden romp through straight-ahead stadium anthem territory whilst intermittently taking a break with outbursts of free jazz and mathematically abrupt progressive chord progressions. Despite this incongruous mix of styles, the listener is left with riffs and hooks that stay rattling around the psyche.
Shining – One One One

Having set the listener on course with ‘I Won’t Forget’, the momentum continues for ‘The One Inside’ and ‘My Dying Drive’. These tunes exude vigour and joie de vivre whilst still retaining their intellect and complexity. The hostility and intensity is forefront on tracks such as ‘Blackjazz Rebels’ and ‘The Hurting Game’ whilst ‘How Your Story Ends’ loses none of the strength and pushes forward on those distinguishing angular chord progressions. Opportunities for extended passages of distressed saxophone from Jorgen Munkeby are limited, and may prove a disappointment for lovers of experimental jazz, but those opportunities are more than made up for by nine tracks of contagious and authoritative composition....

Monday, 24 June 2013

Orphaned Land - All Is One album review

Orphaned Land - All is One

Three years since the release of their Steven Wilson produced “The Never Ending Way of Or Warrior” album and Israeli Orphaned Land have created another collection of songs that are serving to introduce music from the Middle East to a wider audience.

In 2012 an online petition was created to help promote a nomination for the band for the Nobel Prize to recognise the work they have done in breaking down musical and cultural barriers throughout the world. Vocalist Kobi Farhi has noted in the past that Orphaned Land have attracted audiences from communities that have often being in conflict but have been brought together in their love of the music,

“If we do a show in Istanbul, Turkey – which is the only Muslim country where we’re allowed to play – people come all the way from Iran, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan just to see us. These are enemies that are fighting each other coming to see us as one group of people. I’d say that historically the Jews and Arabs are brothers because we are all descendants of Abraham, but the conflict and the differences are so big that we’ve forgotten that. Discovering the fact that our music is the instrument to remind people that we are all one is shocking to me. I never imagined that blood enemies would open their eyes because of it. That’s why the title of the album is All Is One.”

Orphaned Land – All is One

“The Never Ending Way of the Or Warrior” has been criticised contemporaneously for being excessively lengthy and overexcited in its production, and bearing in mind the 6 year gap since the preceding release, more of what had previously been heard. Close followers of the bands output may then be aware of a maturity in their latest release that highlights their ability to develop stylistically...

Read the full review here...

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Dementio13 – Imperial Decimal review

With a musical name that sound suspiciously like a 1963 horror film by a young Francis Ford Coppola, Cardiff based Dementio13 has a further release to add to the collection of sound manipulation based compositions. “Imperial Decimal” utilises the influences heard on previous works and adds into the mix a subtle sense of the hauntalogical.  The opening “Application of Number” in particular gives the listener the slightly disconcerting yet secure sense of their own past, and of memories not quite yet forgotten, but not quite fully remembered. A track such as “Taupe” has qualities that are consoling yet sinister, and conjure up pastoral horror film imagery.   The same can be said for “Known in Hell” which utilises instrumentation and sound qualities that bring to mind half remembered melancholies. There is a sinister, driving element to “Known in Hell” which feeds into a love of repetition based music that is inherent in us all. “Nobutaku”, “The Mains” and “Nought Point Seven” are tender swirling accumulations of electronics and fog, which continue the theme of “unsettling”, whilst “Jester” is a bright and idiosyncratic piece of sound management set to broken beats, producing the rarely heard genre of mutant dance floor music. Fractured passages of incomprehensible speech punctuate “Know Your Place” which otherwise melts along on swathes of keyboard and is somehow reminiscent of an imagined love theme from some late 1960’s or early 1970’s science fiction drama. Subliminal delirious speech and discordant passages feature heavily on “Filed Away” before the hallucination is broken with unyielding percussion.

A track such as “The Data People” features elements and phrases that bring to mind electronic music in the UK in the 1970’s and 1980’s, but not in the sense that these pieces are mere reproductions of that style but more in the sense that they form a tribute to the composers who were producing music at that time with limited amount of resource. “Our Policy on Swearing” begins absurdly with an instructional guide to swear words that are “appropriate” in the workplace; the comedy soon descends into trepidation however, as the words become more unacceptable, and the music that underlies the narrative more disharmonious. Far more than simply a novelty addition as a coda to the main album, “Our Policy on Swearing” is characteristic of how Dementio13 can manipulate mood and outlook within a single piece. “Imperial Decimal” is yet another absorbing collection of compositions and sound sculptures which suggest both the interests and influences of Dementio13.  And one which may, hopefully, encourage the casual listener to follow the lead.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Mumakil - Flies Will Starve album review


Named after the six-tusked, one hundred feet tall, elephant-like creatures created by Tolkein, Swiss Mumakil release their second album for Relapse, the first in four years since Behold The Failure, and prove that although they may not be extending the margins of grind core in the way that Agoraphobic Nosebleed or Pig Destroyer may be in the process of doing, they are making blast beats and flailing guitar their own. Apparently motivated to get together to play in 2004, “…to have fun and play without any stress” there is evidence on this release suggesting the album was shaped with that mantra in mind.
Recorded by the band themselves in Geneva, an image in itself that destroys any idyllic metaphors associated with that location, Flies Will Starve features twenty four tracks, averaging at ninety seconds to two minutes in length, of devastatingly intense, yet clinically precise, grind. Recording the album, it seems, was a lengthy process due to the fact that their original bass player left due to personal reasons, and a recurrent wrist injury, suffered by drummer Seb, who was also eventually replaced. The apocalyptic cover, designed by Remy Cuveillier of Headsplit Design, is the ideal image to set up the listener for the cacophony within. Tracks such as ‘War Therapist’, despite being disturbingly fast, are propelled forward on a torrent of precision percussion and mathematically exact guitar riffs. Devotees of technical showmanship will be astounded by ‘Fucktards Parade’, whilst listeners who enjoy their grind core with a trouncing edge will be happy with ‘Piss Off (Part 2)’, ‘Army Of Freaks’ and ‘Waste By Definition’. That tightness is unrelenting throughout the whole of Flies Will Starve and will be a summer treat for anyone who enjoys being assaulted by technical wizardry and devastating drum blasts in the way that stable mates Blockheads, Brutal Truth and Rotten Sound excel...

Read the full review at Ghost Cult here

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Coilguns interview for This Is Not A Scene

Jona & Louis Of Coilguns Talk To ThisIsNotAScene

After experiencing their intense live show last year and being blown away by their first full length album “Commuters” earlier this year, ThisIsNotAScene‘s John Toolan had a few questions to put to Coilguns. Jona and Louis took time out of their busy touring schedule to answer them as fully as they could. They talked about the album, recording ‘live’, tour funding and much, much more…

What is the premise behind the tracks (and album in general) “Commuters”?

LOUIS: This record addresses ourselves as commuters; active people constantly travelling from a point A to another one called B. Somehow we, touring musicians, do the same. Point A being here the club we leave in the morning and B the one we discover at the end of the day. It may be a different club, city, country, it’s still a club. Just like these commuters, we’re part of a tribe of nomads, an informal population of rootless monkeys. And yes, we’re proud of our job.

What we usually forget is how static we actually are. We all end up spending most of our time in traffic jams, highways, petrol stations, motels, backstages. This is our C point, the one that’s not our destination but the whole way leading to it. C is the no man’s land.

Ever had the impression that your train is not really moving, but that it is the landscape itself that is moving instead? Well, touring is static. Our house is our bus and you are our visitors, not the contrary. Distances don’t get smaller, they just don’t exist for us. We make friends, they come to our show (they even bring a bottle or two) we entertain them, and they get back to their normal life. Nothing changes for us, we’re still on the road.

I made a few references to late 60′s architecture utopias. First of all because it is trendy and fun, but also because they crystallised the condition of the commuters. Plug-in Cities, No-stop Cities, Continuous Monument. This is how it feels touring the world nowadays, rock ‘n’ roll clubs are a continuum of standard equipment. Wherever we go, we’ll be sure to find what we need to survive and communicate. We’re the new nomads, and our life isn’t that far from what these architects predicted. Our tour van is our private life cell, e-mail English is our Esperanto, the world wide web is our monument.

The artwork makes it obvious : circular shapes, standard subway map colours, ocean tides, didn’t we realize the earth was round staring at the sea horizon ?

I wrote a first text named Minkowski Manhattan Distance and took it as a basis for these songs. I picked a sentence or two per track and paraphrased it into a new proper song. They all share the same theme: distance versus time, urban spaces, human relationships and so on. The usual blah blah. At the same time, these are just songs, you know, raw punk poetry to scream along heavy riffs and frantic drumbeats, there’s not so much space for clever thoughts. Don’t freak out too much if it seems absurd; it is probably meant this way.

What music has helped to inform the sound of Coilguns over the years?

JONA: At The drive-in, Botch, Breach, Deftones, Converge, Dillinger Escape Plan, Don Caballero… For some of these bands we are talking about the riffing, for some others about the production, the way they record their album (or recorded) and the way they play their instrument. Listen to any Breach record and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

The Coilguns sound is incredibly complex yet abrasive and, particularly when experienced live, almost feral in nature. How does a typical Coilguns piece come about?

JONA: I usually come up with a couple of riffs, a draft of a structure.  I record them, send them to Luc and after a week we meet in the room and start working on it. Then we go with the flow. Luc’s really involved in the song writing at this point. He’s a good guitar player and he gives me his opinion from a drummer point of view and since I don’t know how to count he often straightened my fucked up riffs and makes them more efficient. The very first riff of the very first song ever recorded for this band (Mastoid) was Luc’s riff. We spend a lot of time both seated in the living room with 2 guitars gathering ideas on how to improve the songs.

A good example would be “Commuters Part 2”. At first I had written this song that had this kind of “At The Drive-In” vibe to the main riff (that you can actually hear on Commuters Part 1) and the rest of the song was quiet melodic. It was pretty short with a proper A, B, A, B, C, B kind of structure…But eventually, Luc decided that it was too gay and that we should focus on these 3 chords that were a simple transition. We started jamming them out, looping different guitar lines and these 3 chords ended up being 11 minutes of an unbearable build up.

So we discuss everything and we also record pre-productions. Then we listen to them and meet the next day and share our feelings about them. When we’re happy we just send it over to Louis (who never ever rehearse with us) and he lays down his vocals. Sometimes he asks us to make one part longer or shorter but usually he’s fine with whatever we do.

With the release of the full length “Commuters” do you feel the sound of the band has developed in any way?

JONA: It surely did. All the obvious influences have been well digested I think. They’re still there, but much more diluted, it’s more subtle. Then we naturally went through this unconscious process of pointing at what made us sound like any other band and what sounded like us. We then focused on the latest option and after 3 ep’s, we can say that we wrote the album that will serve as a solid base for what this band will be in the next couple of years. This apply to the song writing as well as the production. We’re just at the beginning of where we wanna lead this band to but I really think that there is a strong identity in “COMMUTERS” and the way we’ve defined COILGUNS with this album leaves us a lot of room to experiment BUT still sound like COILGUNS you know what I mean?