Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hails & Horns Reviews

These got published awhile ago, but in my search for the proper template for this month's reviews, I stumbled across the folder they were lurking in and, as a testament to my own cleverness (and foul mouth) decided to throw 'em up here for posterity.

GRIM KIM’S UNHOLY MASSACRE: Stripped, Raped, and Reviewed

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Grim Kim’s Unholy Massacre , the shortest, surliest review roundup this side of the Canadian-‘Merican border (big ups to Kevin Stewart-Panko and his indomitable Rimshots). This column was borne partly from my aversion to giving any new record that isn’t black metal, doom, old-school death or grind a fair shake, but mainly from my own seeming inability to submit reviews to my long-suffering editors on time and bullheaded unwillingness to stop writing them. Basically, this is my way of saying “I don’t have time to write 300 fucking words on every album that lands in my mailbox but really wanted to talk about how awesome a couple of them were anyway.”
Welcome to hell!

Absu – Absu (Candlelight)
Absolutely fucking amazing, viciously relentless melodic black thrash with the odd moment of atmosphere here and there. Seriously, if you enjoy black metal on any level, go buy this right now. The best thing they’ve done since Tara.

Millions – Gather Scatter (Seventh Rule)
Tightly-wound, frantic, noisy hardcore for dudes that dig Pissed Jeans and Wetnurse. Sounds like a faster Black Flag (circa My War), updated for 2009. Nice.

Bloodbath – The Fathomless Mastery (Peaceville)
Akerfeldt and Co. cleaned up their act, shined up their production values, got a little technical, and somewhere along the way, lost the old-school magic that their first album conjured up. A solid album (“Mock the Cross” rules), but no Nightmares Made Flesh. Come on, guys – where’s “Eaten Pt. II”?

16 – Bridges to Burn (Relapse)
The sludge/hardcore vets return with a bottom-heavy, crunchy collection of songs to drink whiskey to. The soundtrack to a rough night.

Throne of Katarsis – Det Iskalde Mørket (Candlelight)
A severely underappreciated bunch of black metallers that adhere strictly to the Norwegian style of the early ‘90s. Think early Darkthrone or Immortal, with the slightest hints of vintage Ulver –styled melodies peeking through. This one’s for the old guard.

Wino – Punctuated Equilibrium (Southern Lord)
Exactly what you’d expect a Wino solo album to sound like – spacy, mellow, bluesy, riff-worshipping stoner rock straight outta the ‘70s. Fire one up, kick back, and soak in the good vibes.

Rumpelstiltskin Grinder – Living for Death, Destroying the Rest (Relapse)
These dudes were playing old-school crossover thrash before it got cool again, and will still be tearing shit up onstage long after the freshly-minted hordes of newjack mall thrashers have hung up their high tops and moved onto the next trend. Catchy as fuck, tinged with black & death metal, and unabashedly fun, THIS is what thrash should sound like in 2009.

Gathiens – Nesh (Murkhouse)
Elegant, expansive, slightly experimental post-everything songs for fans of Russian Circles, Mouth of the Architect, Mono, and the soft-loud dynamic. Slow-burning and star-gazing.

Acid Witch – Witchtanic Hellucinations (Razorback)
Cheesy synth lines and B-movie samples aside, this album serves up a bubbling brew of fuzzed-out doom, psychedelic swamp fumes, subterranean gut vocals, and knuckle-dragging death metal; you can practically smell the resin oozing out of your speakers. Also, what’s not to like about a concept album that features such gems as “Witches Tits” and “Rabid Werewitch”? Clearly, this album rules.

Thyrfing - Hels Vite (Regain)
Atmospheric black metal that’s been lumped in with the “folk/Viking metal” crowd for far too long. No flutes, no fiddles, and no fucking around – simply dense, huge-sounding slabs of darkness that bring to mind recent efforts from like-minded souls Moonsorrow and Falkenbach. KILLER album.

Blut Aus Nord – Memoria Vetusta II – Dialogue With The Stars (Candlelight)
An immensely satisfying return to form for BAN, this album recalls the purposeful melodies and black metal thunder of their more straightforward early material, generally shying away from the jagged mindfuckery of their last few records. You seriously need to hear this.

Cobalt – Gin (Profound Lore)
The best black metal release of the year so far, hands fucking down. Enough said. Buy it and you’ll see what I mean.

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