Heavydeath - Eternal Sleepwalker

Album Review: Heavydeath – Eternal Sleepwalker

If Necro Death Mort ever break up, Swedes Heavydeath will ascend to their rightful place as the least subtly named metal band on the planet. Until then they’ll have to settle for being one of the heaviest.

There are a lot of doom and stoner bands who can play slow and sludgy, fewer who’ll work on their guitar and bass sound to the point that it can be felt in your guts. Heavydeath are willing to let the clarity of their riffs fall into a gaping low-frequency void. Their take on doom is less slowed down death metal than sped-up Sunn 0))). Even their guttural, accented English lyrics recall Atilla Csihar’s vocals on Monoliths and Dimensions.

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Review: Goat Semen – Ego Svm Satana

Some bands you can’t simply listen to, but must imbibe, must drink down deep within, to sample with each of the senses. Friends, I want you to taste Goat Semen.

The Peruvian quartet have spent the past decade working on Ego Svm Satana, most likely because if your debut album is going to declare in Latin that you are in fact Satan, then you’d better have the songs to back that up. Goat Semen do. With Ego Svm Satana, Goat Semen has released a perfect blackened death metal record. Goat Semen’s guitars sound like chainsaws on every tree in the Amazon, the drums create a horrifying wall of static broken by the sounds of medieval warfare, the vocals are turned up high enough in the mix that you can fully comprehend the ugliness that the human voice is capable of. This is an album (by Goat Semen) in which the sounds of air-raid sirens and gunfire are your brief moment of respite.

I trust that you can look beyond the name (because I clearly can’t) and give Goat Semen the respect they’ve been working for since 2002.


Review: 2:54 – The Other I

It’s never good to point out the single element that ruins an otherwise good record, and it’s even less fun to point out that this element is the vocals and lyrics. Guitarists just have to have their fingers in the right places at the right times, drummers just have to hit things, but lyricists have to look at life and say something interesting and original about it. That’s hard, but people do it every day. On The Other I, London-based sisters Hannah and Colette Thurlow don’t, despite being able to coax some beautiful sounds from guitars and bass.

Collette’s vocal delivery recalls her home country’s trip-hop genre, not exactly somewhere to find exceptional vocalists aside from Portishead’s Beth Gibbons, who could sing the “Chicken Tonight” jingle and still make you cry. The lyrics are just … lyrics. When Garage Band gets sophisticated enough to write words to go with auto-generated music, they’ll sound something like 2:54.

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Scott Walker + Sunn O))) – Soused

This was never going to be easy. Two cowl-wearing experimentalists from the farthest reaches of metal, one former member of a sunshine pop quartet that was once bigger than the Beatles who has spent the past 30 years making some very difficult music.

Though the combination of venerable singer-songwriter and metal titans may at first recall Metallica and Lou Reed’s abysmal Lulu, this is a record of startling imagination that sees everybody involved pushing themselves far from their comfort zones, which were hardly comfortable to begin with. I won’t even try to describe it: there is literally no other record that sounds like Soused, not even the heavier moments of Walker’s Drift or the contemporary-classical passages on Sunn 0)))’s Monoliths & Dimensions. Not even those two records, masterpieces on their own, somehow spliced together.

It is fitting that the cover of Soused depicts a thermal vent in the deep ocean. These boiling, toxic environments are fertile and in many ways beautiful, but completely inhospitable. You can marvel that such things exist, but you’ll never visit one. The album itself is much the same. A single playthrough will confirm that two artistic powerhouses have come together to make something greater than the sum of their parts, something that is Art with a capital ‘A,’ but will you want to play it again? I doubt it. This is very much a record to own to position oneself as a patron of Serious (with a capital ‘S’) music. This isn’t to diminish the artists’ achievement, just to pose the question: why?



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