Chuck Schuldiner Project

Monday, April 17, 2017

Norse - The Divine Light Of A New Sun

Norse is one of those bands who seem to exist in a very special place in the blackened doom spectrum. They aren't quite accessible enough for the mainstream to ever embrace them but they have enoug of the pure and enlightened chaos of the underground to make sure that those of us who seek will fall in love. The reassuring crush of their latest offering, the almighty The Divine Light Of A New Sun is masterful, moving from peak to peak and reminding us why these guys are on top. Far more oppressive than their previous work and removed from any sort of chilled out meditations, this is Norse at their most fucked up.

From even the first track with its demonic bridge full of moans and twisted vocals, The Divine Light Of A New Age shows us that Norse is far more twisted than ever before. I would almost make the argument that with certain tracks Norse has borrowed from heavier and more demented hardcore bands like Xibalba. There is an uneasy sense of groove throughout The Divine Light Of A New Age that gnaws at your consciousness and forces you to face darker moments and twisted realities. It means that as you continue to unfold the blackness you can't help but to fall into a deeper and darker void of nothingness.

The Divine Light Of A New Age is certainly a release that requires multiple spins to properly 'get'. It's an album that revels in its dissonance and shoves a unique brand of black metal down your throat time and time again. Once you fully lose yourself in Norse's music you start to realize that these guys are more than just a black metal band. They are a group who push boundaries every which way and inspire new questions and guide you on new journeys of ill aural repute in the perpetual hunt for meaning.

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

God Dethroned - The World Ablaze

God Dethroned have made a name for themselves over the years as one of the Netherlands prime death metal exports, sitting somewhere on the spectrum between Amon Amarth and Asphyx. Now on their third incarnation the band is coming at us with their first release in seven years, promising for a bold new future from a group who always understood the fundamental spirit of death metal and have no trouble borrowing from a wide variety of heavy music subgenres in order to achieve the greatness that is The World Ablaze.

The bands obsession with war, alongside there tendencies for doom-death helps to make this latest offering strangely mesmerizing. The songwriting is, as usual, top notch and the sense of beauty in nihilism and hope beyond the darkness of the battlefield is strangely inspiring. The pummelling assault of this album along with the devastating growls of Henri Sattler show us a band who are more pissed off with the world than ever before, they see us facing dark times and their music reflects that. There is a sort of inherent bitterness here that helps to make The World Ablaze an endlessly addictive listen.

When it comes down to it, a lot of death metal obsessed with war is kind of hoky, tries to get off on shock value and generally falls a little short of the mark. Hell - that's criticism that might even apply to some of God Dethroned's earlier releases. Yet The World Ablaze stands loud and proud a statement to the power of death metal to touch on more serious themes and a mesmerizing listen that will capture your imagination and carry you off into unique soundworlds. You will suffer through the trenches and struggle for absolution and in the end find meaning.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Ghost Horizon - The Erotics Of Disgust

Ghost Horizon is one of those bands that promises to be playing a big role in the future of the post black metal movement. This is a group who have come out of the ashes of their previous bands, namely Psychobliss and Norse to create something full of potential despite several flaws in the execution. That being said, as far as 12 minute EP's go it feels like The Erotics Of Disgust has pretty much nailed it. This is a record you find yourself getting lost in and then eventually loving every single minute of. While the development isn't totally there, this certainly is a release you can sink your teeth into.

For me at least the power of this record comes in the beauty of the composition. The tracks are finely realized and the songwriting is tight. Every moment tries to add to the crushing forward momentum of what's being done here to create an exciting and oftentimes transcendent aural experience. Unfortunately, the record loses a lot of this momentum with certain clean vocal passages that just feel... off. Obviously with this kind of music the clean vocals are the hardest part and while I certainly appreciate Ghost Horizon's take on them I'm having a hard time being truly convinced by what they have to offer and allowing myself to truly fall into their sonic void.

As a general rule The Erotics Of Disgust is a very strong release and it's exciting to see a label like Tridroid investing time and money into them. I get the distinct impression that they will be able to push into something far greater in the coming months and years. With two EP's in as many years I think it's hard to distance yourself from the elegant excellence that has come to define this band. The Erotics Of Disgust resonates on a fundamental level and while it might not quite be the journey you want, the band is clearly gearing up for something magical.

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Seven Kingdoms - Decennium

Florida isn't exactly a place that is known for its power metal, however the state is home to the United States primary bugeoning power metal export, Seven Kingdoms whose new release, Decennium, stands tall as a sonic triumph. These guys tear it up from top to bottom here, and now, a decade into their career it feels like they are starting to reach a point where they can bat on the same level as their European peers. Decennium is one of those records that speaks to the power of the genre and remains strangely endearing through and through. 

As corny as they might seem, Decennium is still the sort of release you can sink your teeth into, a rarity in this sort of power metal. Seven Kingdoms have distilled the magic of female fronted power metal and turned it into consolidated bliss for ten tracks. Seven Kingdoms rock from top to bottom, kicking in teeth and taking you away on the wings of an eagle. There is a sense of fun here that makes Decennium not just addictive but also triumphant. This is a band who have earned the right to swagger, and this album only goes to further their legitimacy in a scene that they have worked hard to dominate.

Seven Kingdoms are the sort of band who can get you singing along from the first track. They are entrancing and potent. They don't really push boundaries but that's because they don't have to. Instead they just embrace the inherent magic of their music and remind us time and time again why so many folks have fallen in love with the genre. I love records that I can categorize as straight up righteous, and as the guitar harmonies kick in and the flashy solos trade off after a glorious chorus it feels like there are no more words. 

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Dodsengel - Interequinox

One of the things that I think modern black metal lacks that the old school had in spades was the essentially fucked up nature of the genre, and not only that, but the inherent drama that this music was always meant to have. While I certainly appreciate the more "Trees and shit" direction the genre has gone in recent years it's sometimes a pleasant surprise to stumble across a band like Dodsengel who seem so committed to reinvoking that old school ethos, tossing in touches of Mercyful Fate and Venom alongside more modern black metal influences.

It's rare in black metal today to find a record that has clearly been as worked over and finely put together as Interequinox. It represents a refreshing mix of styles, tossing pummelling assaults net to delicate arpeggios, pounding drums with soaring King Diamond style screams and sometimes even demonic bellows that seem torn from the abyss. Interequinox is a record that allows you to delve into an exciting sound world. It's a record that allows you to discover something deeper within yourself even as you find yourself grappling with the denser moments. Dodsengel have conjured up greater powers than many of us would dare reckon with here and it is most triumphant.

I love black metal that makes sit back, pick apart my thought process and forces me to reanalyze why the genre is so great. It's why I love Debemur Mori - they consistently release shit like this, shit that forces you to ask why a particular record is so goddamn good. Dodsengel have gotten to the heart of black metal, fusing old with new, realizing that we all love a little bit of drama just as much as we love oppressive grooves and soundworlds that sound like hell. Interequinox is a triumph and deserves to be hailed as such.

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