Review/Zeal and Ardor/Devil is fine

Zeal and Ardor takes bastard metal to a whole new level on “Devil is fine”; mixing bluesy spiritual chants with lo-fi black metal, samples and just a little bit of Beck and The White Stripes on top. If you think that sounds crazy, you’re absolutely right. This is crazy, crazy good.. And quite possibly unlike anything you’ve heard before.

This is the second full-length release from the one-man project by Manuel Gagneux from New York; having only released the self-titled “Zeal and Ardor” prior to this back in 2014. Having listened to the debut, it seems that Manuel has turned to the dark(er) side both music and lyric-wise since then.

In the time being, between the debut and the follow-up, Manuel has tied down some of the loose ends I found to be on the first album. Every idea seems much more integrated this time around, and he sees to have a greater idea about what the final output should be concept-wise.

 The lyrics is most about praising the devil and darker things in life, and they’re very well delivered, with the vocals changing between shrieks and the blues-like clean vocals. Don’t waste your time, trying to look up the vocal samples, as they are all written and performed by Manuel himself.

The musical arrangements are near impossible to describe; a mix of everything I mentioned in the beginning, and then some.. You’ll easily identify most  genres known to man if you decide to give the album a shot.

“a good lord is a dark one
a good lord is the one that brings the fire
the riverbed will run red with the blood of the saints and the blood of the holy
(the one that brings the fire)”

Should I choose to mention a few favourites from the album, it would have to be “Come on down”, “Children’s summon” and “Blood in the river”. Despite being very different compositions they all have a thriving riffs, catchy melodies and strong lyrics in common. If you only got ten minutes to check out an album, these gives a great impression of what to expect.

So, to sum up the above..  This is one of the most interesting things I’ve come across in a VERY long time, and the only bad thing I have to say about this album, is that it might just be a couple of tracks too short; Twenty-four  minutes playtime, from start to end is not much. That being said, this is a must-listen; whether this turns out to be your thing or not, this is not an album to miss out on. 

Being fresh and groundbreaking it deserves, at least, your honest opinion; one that’s only to be given, when you’ve heard it a couple of times. At some time, people will ask you about “that Zeal and Ardor thing” – better be prepared..

On the Zeal and Ardor Bandcamp page it says the following in the description:

“Zeal and Ardor is a project trying find new combinations of established components. The most important factor is a thematic coherence, not a musical one.”

Status: Mission completed, with excellence.

 

Video/Slægt/Beautiful and Damned

FanBoy Mode: ON

Inspiration hit me one day, and I decided to do a video for one of my personal favourites; The Danish black heavy metal band Slægt. The video I’ve made actually features two tracks off their latest release, the EP “Beautiful and Damned.”

First song in the video is the acoustic instrumental piece “Church of the night”, which is followed by the titletrack “Beautiful and Damned.”

It features footage from the movie “Hands of the Ripper”, which premiered back i 1971. The storyline focuses on the fictional story, of what became of Jack The Rippers daughter.

Hope you’ll like it..

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Review/Show Me A Dinosaur/Self-titled

You shouldn’t judge a book (or an album) by its cover – but if you choose to do just that, in this case, you will know just what to expect; something pretty..

The self titled album, is the second full length release from the four-piece Show Me A Dinosaur from St. Petersburg, Russia. The beautiful pastel colored painting on the cover is done by Andrey Gorshkov, father of guitarist Pavel Gorshkov, and in addition to just being a eye catching beautiful piece of art, it fits the music perfectly.

To be honest, I had never heard of this band before the unusual cover art caught my attention, when I was looking through my Facebook news feed one day. Among all the black and grey videolinks – this one stood out. So, whats hiding behind all those pretty flowers?

The band consist of the, before mentioned, guitarist Pavel Gorshkov, vocalist/guitarist  Artem Selyugin, the drummer Aleksandr Vershinin  and Anton Gataullin on bass. Anton is also a member of TRNA, which  Show Me A Dinosaur has just finished a short European tour together with.

The album kicks off with a scream. The opening track “Rakev” barely gives a hint of what’s to come; Artem Selyugin screams from the top of his lungs, as the blasting drums and thriving guitars picks up –  in an absolute post black frenzy.

The second track,”Vjuga”,  introduces the listener to the rest of the album. A much more complex, atmospheric and melodic experience, than you might have expected after hearing the first song. “Ochag” picks up from there; being the first of two beautiful slow paced  instrumentals. The instrumentals acts as perfect interludes, and doesn’t interrupt the story of the album, rather than binding it nicely together; emphasizing the diversity, in which the band excels.

Despite the strong ambient atmosphere throughout the 41 minutes playtime, these guys will kick you in the teeth numerous times, and it never gets boring with the constant change of intensity and pace.

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“Wojna” is the powerful closing track, and if you haven’t been won over by then, you propably won’t, because this is not for everybody. Trust me. Every trve kvlt’ivist in town will let you know that this has NOTHING to do with black metal. On the other hand, fans of post blackened shoegaze like Deafheaven and Ghost Bath will be in for quite a treat.

If you’re among the  last mentioned group of fans, then make sure to pick up this masterpiece on their Bandcamp, where tapes, cd’s and a “pay what you want” download are available.

…and if you don’t like it – I’ll just keep them to myself.

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Review/Naðra/Allir vegir til glötunar 

Naðra is the latest band from Iceland to catch my attention, and I need to share a few words on their debut “Allir vegir til glötunar” (All roads to destruction)

Consisting of members from Misþyrming, Carpe Noctum and Ophidian I, this is most probably to be considered a side-project – but what a great one. Before mentioned Misþyrming has been making headlines the last years, and among others, paved the way for what seems like an ever-growing scene in Iceland. With that in mind the big question is, whether it’s about time we turn our attention away from the volcano island? The answer should be given below.

Spoiler alert: It’s not.

“Fjallið,” is the first, and shortest, track of the album; neo-classic blackened metal with it’s fair share of hardhitting blastbeats. A promissing start, that does not give it all away in an instant.

There is indeed much more to come; nice harmonies  and solos erupts from the massive walls of guitar-driven chaos, choirs kick in numerous times, and the pace is ever changing throughout.

The standout of the album is, in my opinion, the the fourteen minute long “Falið.” What it brings down in pace – it picks up in intensity. This track creates pictures in my head of someone, in the deepest of agony, screaming/crying back at life it self.

The album contains three more tracks, than the above mentioned, and when the last tone of the closing track “Fallið” rings out, it’s a instant push on the replay-button. It’s been like that for the last couple of weeks; My nine year old girl asking me in the car, on our way to school, “So, it’s still that Icelandic band..?”

So to sum up, it’s less disturbed and more “user-friendly” than the related Misþyrming, but still without lacking nerve and intensity. On top of the controlled rhythmic chaos, Vocalist Ö channels the beautiful roar of mother Iceland herself. This guy could probably give me the chills just citing nursery rhymes.

Naðra is not just another Icelandic black metal band, nor should this be passed off as “yet another” black metal record. They don’t deny their obvious heritage; there’s recognisable elements from the members other bands, but this album grows with every listen; Layers and harmonies surfaces with every listen, and you should definitly go ahead and check it out on Bandcamp.

Under a pale Icelandic sky, they shall arise. Guess you shouldn’t turn your back on Iceland just yet..

Naðra Bandcamp

Support the band, by paying whatever you feel like for the album. I suggest you pay them handsomely..

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Review/Zuriaake/Gu Yan

There’s a first time for everything, and when it comes to writing a review of an album – this is my debut..

Artist: Zuriaake (China)
Title: Gu Yan

Despite being formed all the way back in 1998, and already having released a couple of EP’s and another full-length album, “Afterimage of autumn,” this is the the first time I have heard about this band.

I was goofing around Bandcamp one day when these guys caught my attention, and due to the fact that “Gu Yan” has been the soundtrack to my life, for the last month, I guess it’s about time to write a proper review.

So, what does it sound like? Zuriaake should probably be described as “Atmospheric blackmetal” – but it’s a lot more that that; they mix the use of disorted harmonics, keyboards and blastbeats with traditional chinese instruments like strings, flutes, chimes and percussion.

The album starts of with a long intro, that sends my mind on a trip to a world of horseback riding chinese warriors and big battles in ancient China. Track two gives a hint of what to come as it drags along in a almost doom-like tempo; still no trace of blastbeats and true blackened metal. The third track (celestial/heaven) begins the soothing sound of waves hitting the shore – only to have turned itself into utter angst-ridden chaos a couple of minutes later. Put all doubt aside, this track justifies the “blackmetal” label.

The fourth track, the twentyfive minute long “Sleepwalking,” sums up all of the above elements and it all comes together, as one of the most epic songs I’ve ever heard; the everflowing guitar harmonies, Behemoth-like horns, strings, screams, the constant change in pace, and the fact that it’s almost hypnotic in all it’s monotonous beauty. I love this song, and should you choose to listen to only one song of this album – this should be it.

I’ve chosen not to write about the final three tracks – the ones above, pretty much tells the whole story about what to expect from this album.

Zuriaake-fanboy..? Indeed – and I’ll be in the front row wearing a conical hat when they, hopefully, hit a stage in Denmark someday. Until then, I’ll make sure to promote them in every possible way. Zuriaake – because you are worth it…

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