Garden Gnome, or how I learned to stop worrying and love dungeon synth

A tough love letter I was on the point of losing patience with dungeon synth entirely when I came across the oh-so whimsical project called Garden Gnome, who have just put out an album entitled ‘True Gnomewegian Dungeon Synth'. With a name and cover art that strain credulity, it appeared the genre had finally disappeared … Continue reading Garden Gnome, or how I learned to stop worrying and love dungeon synth

I like the beats and I like the yelling: Niadh, Nekromantheon, Ifrinn

Niadh: Our Victory is Eternal (2016) The debut LP from the Colombian black metal outfit known as Niadh is seeing a reissue on Eternal Death records this year. For straight-down-the-barrel black metal this is about as basic as they come. However, I would like to caveat this judgment before we make too much of the … Continue reading I like the beats and I like the yelling: Niadh, Nekromantheon, Ifrinn

On Spotify

“Loud and Clear” is the mission statement released by Spotify earlier this year. This was in response to mounting criticism of the payments that artists receive from the streaming platform. Payments that are famously insulting to artists. Spotify's statement has done little to quell its critics, who have rightly pointed out that the information on … Continue reading On Spotify

Ringare, Morticula Rex, Funeral Storm/Synteleia

Ringare: Thrall of Winter’s Majesty (2021) Somewhere between the ghostly shadow-music of Lustre, the out and out assault of static that is Paysage d’Hiver, and the excessive meanderings of Midnight Odyssey, lies Pennsylvania's Ringare. There is also – rather inevitably for contemporary atmospheric black metal – a distinctively Summoning groove to some of the percussion … Continue reading Ringare, Morticula Rex, Funeral Storm/Synteleia

More notes from the b-tier: Thou art Lord and 1349

By the mid-2000s, all the major branches of metal's family tree were drooping, weighted with creative fatigue. As the newest offshoot to establish itself, extreme metal was very much under the gaze of the mainstream. Albums were becoming larger, both in length but also texturally, with layers of complexity and orchestration being applied in ways … Continue reading More notes from the b-tier: Thou art Lord and 1349

I like the beats and I like the yelling: Ischemic, Gadunhas, Final Gasp

Ischemic: Ischemic (2021) 2021 is as good a year as any for a statement of personal intent. A time to take stock and declare our presence to the world. This is the subtext I’m reading into Ischemic’s self-titled second LP in any case. The fact that it’s self-titled implies a clarity of purpose, a degree … Continue reading I like the beats and I like the yelling: Ischemic, Gadunhas, Final Gasp

I like the beats and I like the yelling: N + Ehnahre, Spellforger, Nekkrofukk

N + Ehnahre: Jacob (2021) Bostonian experimentalists Ehnahre are joined by German drone guitarist Hellmut Neidhardt (aka N) for their latest album ‘Jacob’. It’s a lengthy hodgepodge of post hardcore, drone, ambient, and garden variety experimental offcuts. The result is another keyless foray into the limits of tone, essentially picking up where early Swans left … Continue reading I like the beats and I like the yelling: N + Ehnahre, Spellforger, Nekkrofukk

I like the beats and I like the yelling: Cisza, The Sombre, Bestial Entity, Celestial Sanctuary

Cisza: Ritual of the Wind (2021) The new single from the Polish outfit known as Cisza sees another tight blend of energetic black metal set against a subtle backdrop of post rock. ‘Ritual of the Wind’ carries forward the best elements of their debut EP ‘If It Is True What the Prophets Write’ (2017) and … Continue reading I like the beats and I like the yelling: Cisza, The Sombre, Bestial Entity, Celestial Sanctuary