Chuck Schuldiner Project

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hate Moon - The Imprisoning War

Dungeon synth intro, high strung black metal guitars, intense blast beats, rapid fire riffs and snarling vocals... check, check, check, check and check! This is a black metal record of the sort that hearkens back to the dungeons and demons who helped germinate the genre. The stripped back production and demented tunes found on Hate Moon's latest offering The Imprisoning War speaks to the laid back mastery of this band and reminds us of the darkest sides of the genre that serve to make it so goddamn great.

There is something about a band as gloriously dungeon influenced as Hate Moon that you can't help but to love. The way that they perfectly represent the weirder and quite frankly dorkier sides of the second wave of black metal makes me want to smile and the inherent magic of a track like the synth laden "The Seal Is Broken" reminds me of years of playing Dungeons and Dragons with my fencing buddies. While The Imprisoning War is frequently unpolished almost to a fault cleaning up the miux would only hurt the vibe that the band is going for, we would lose the basement magic that defines Hate Moon.

When it comes down to it, this record is pretty goddamn inaccessible, but for the types of people who like weirdo and slightly experimental black metal then something about The Imprisoning War just makes sense. Hate Moon is a helluva band but certainly not one you want to start someone out with. Rather once you've thoroughly plumbed the depths of the Burzum and Darkthrone discographies you can rest easy knowing that these USBM maniacs are waiting for you to fall into their twisted and broken arms.

Pre-order the album here!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Mordenial - The Plague

The idea of plague is a striking one across human history. There is something inherently terrifying about the concept of you and everyone you konw falling victim to a massive plague that no one can really explain. It shows us a certain side of the human condiiton that I think many of us are more comfortable ignoring. So coming to terms with it in the context of a death metal record simply feels natural. The ferocious Swedish melodeath of Mordenial acts as the lens for these terrifying ideas and encourages the listener to pull back the veil.

Chock to the brim iwth angualr riffing, harsh vocals reminiscent of At The Gates and powerful melodic lines that would make Jesper Stromblad proud The Plague is a record that any fan of the founders of melodic death metal could get behind. They have clearly digested the approach of the Gothenburg scene and turned it into something that is truly their own. As much as Mordenial are not afraid to wear their influences on their collective sleeve you still get a sense throughout that this isn't a record that could hae come out any time other than 2017. The touches of death metal and the quality of the production remind us exactly who these guys are and what their musical context is, and I love it.

The Plague is great because of how it can sweep you up into its arms and make you really fall in love with the soundscapes provided. There is an otherworldly magic to these tracks and a demented teeth gnashing glory that you can't deny. Far more twisted than their musical ancestors The Plague sees Mordenial confronting a darker side of the human condition. While they certainly still can tighten up execution it's fascinating to hear a modern Swedish band creating an exciting take on a genre their countrymen made famous.

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Hell - Hell


Talk about a hell of a record! Hell, the famed and gloriously underground Oregon doom metal band is back with one of their most intense and satisfyting releases to date. A record that simply crushes the listeners skull in with its devastating guitar tones and fucked up growls Hell is a testimony to all that the bands could be and so much more. In the running for heaviest record this year, Hell are the peak of this new wave of fabulously ugly and perpetually tortured doom metal that is rising up across the United States.

From the first track, Helmzmen you know that you are in for something that can't help but to terrify. This is a record that crushes your skull out with sounds that would haunt those not appropriately primed for this kind of music. There is something demented about this band that even their most fucked up peers would have a hard time matching. It's incredibly easy to get lost in the devilish stomp of a band who tear you limb from limb with layers of effects battling against each other in order to conjure up a sound that would make even a brave man tremble. They have taken their production, execution and vision to a demented new level, and I love it.

The sense of forward momentum that defines this record is only outmatched by the crippling devastation of the bottom end. As Hell becomes increasingly more twisted you find yourself wandering deeper into the pit of sound that this record represents. If there ever was a soundtrack to what the dominion of the Dark Lord looked like, it would be this. Defined by their screwed up and heavily effects laden vocal tracks and made incredible by their top notch songwriting, this is album of the year material.

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Xanthochroid - Of Erthe and Axen, Act 1

Gloriously dorky, surprsiginly intelligent, and a huge artist step forward, Xanthochroid's Of Erthe and Axen, Act 1 is perhaps the bands strongest release yet. An album that pushes far beyond the bands symphonic metal roots, Xanthochroid have added lush soundscapes to their unique musical vision, refining their unique brand of black metal into something truly transcendent and inescapably beautiful. Truly fascinating, this lyrical prequel to their previous material is the first half of a double album that promises to be one for the ages.

The beauty of Erthe and Axen, Act 1 is that it pushes well beyond what I think many of us previously thought the band was capable of. Or rather, they took their musical roots and evolved them into something much more mature. It's really exciting to hear how this band has developed in the last few years and this record paints them as a veritable force, capable of producing deeply emotional black metal on par with their peers on bands like Igorrr and Drudkh. Yet they remain far more accessible than either of those and don't think for a second that ther band has lost their cinematic touch, things just feel more refined now.

So I'll admit, I spent a significant chunk of today totally lost in what Xanthochroid conjured up here. Of Erthe And Axen, Act 1 tells a powerful story and suggests that many of the original plotlines of the band are starting to get wrapped up into something greater. I'm excited to hear how it develops on that end and I also feel like the band can't help to grow from here. This is their most immersive release yet, and to move beyond might very well be their long term destiny. This is the next step, who knows where the band will go from here?

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Ereb Altor - Ulfven

Ereb Altor have evolved in recent years from viking metal latecomers to masters of the scene, returning the music to its roots with powerful and deeply emotional lyrics. They are a band who invite you to dig in, to explore the music and to pick apart the sonic devastation found within. This isn't a band to be trifled with, but rather one who revel in the unholy murk of the genre, reflecting back on anciet hymns and traditions in order to create something greater and in many ways transcendent.

The thing that has always impressed me with Ereb Altor is the sheer skill of their songwriting. These are tracks that have a potent, Bathory-like depth to them which allows you to really lose yourself in the music. Ulfven is without a doubt Ereb Altor most articulate release yet, and the soaring vocals, devastating guitars and crippling rhythms prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt. In a world where we all struggle to separate ourselves into the ethereal realities that this music foists upon us, Ereb Altor make the journey surprisingly easy. Their sound is so unique and well executed on Ulfven that you can't help but to find yourself totally enamored.

There is a sort of magic that is invoked when a band is this comitted to their music and create something that is this intense. Ereb Altor have proved here that they are among the great metal artists of our time. This is an album that is perfectly produced and brilliantly written. It has infinite replay value and the lush soundscapes invite you to get lost in the majesty that they have conjured. Culturally exciting and self aware, Ereb Altor will take you on a journey across the forest and the fjords.

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