Saturday, 30 April 2011

Nachtmystium - Black Meddle: Assassins [2008] + Addicts [2009]

Metal on acid? Misters Blake Judd and Pat McCormick must reaaaally like little colourfull pills, since a few years ago they switched orthodox ‘pray Dark Lord’ black metal for ‘pray Jim&Syd’ metal. I’d like to show you some of their weirdo rides recorded on Black Meddle – parts I&II that is Assassins and Addicts.

One characteristic thing about Nachtmystium – they love intros. On Assassins it’s not really remarkable, but Addicts' Cry For Help is darkly impressive with its screamed-spelled “Nothing hurts more than being born”. But focusing on Assassins, the second song being the title one is a mad drive with interesting, psychedelic keys (just 3 notes, but what a change they create!) and trance vibrations and splutters that are totally Pink Floyd inspired. It leads you to Ghost Of Grace with prog-like riffs and metal rock&roll rhythm – also slightly distorted vocals and buzzing.

Away From The Light is a mellotron, lowly breathing bridge that with its horror atmosphere reminds me of Septic Flesh’s Android. Your True Enemy is more of a pure black metal fury with great growling, whereas Code Negative turns again into more avant-garde experimental way. Personally, it’s one of my headlights from this album – two-parted -  firstly, delicate sway with great usage of whispers and then – beautiful guitar uprising riff that could easily exist on Pink Floyd Anno Domini 2008;) Omnivore is a medicine story “This prescription -  force-fed freedom” is halfway between metal fury and hidden oriental melodies.

Trilogy Seasick finishes the album and it’s a really splendid finale. Part I - Drowned At Dusk is an acoustic, slightly western-like riff with ambient electronic background, well, that may seem boring, but is a really enchanting psychedelic drive. Part II - Oceanborne is a rapid, energetic talk between jazzy and a little canteen-like guitar and saxophone suddenly interrupted by UFO police that must have demanded Silent Sunrise. That one as a third part culminates and gathers all elements of album – psycho joy, buzzing, all kinds of guitars&drums and newly welcomed – clean drunk vocals (however ridiculous it sounds). Again a lovely riff leads you from 2nd minute to the splendid end of magnificent Assassins: Black Meddle Part I.

Addicts is much different from almost cheerful and psychedelic Assassins. The Toolish intro I already mentioned is followed by High On Hate – desperate, dark and sad tune with maybe a bit too epic conclusion... Yet Nightfall repairs slightly bad impression – mainly thanks to broken, light rhythm and well suiting distorted screams and catchy combo of riff and chorus. Unfortunately No Funeral is another attempt of persuading you to a bit naive melody, full of pathos and not really convincing... still again - Then Fires slightly rises the level , taking you to the sad-land that’s gonna show you some depressive lyrics and Tiamat-like guitar solo.

I wonder if the point of this album was to show what addiction makes with bands – which could mean them getting more predictable and mass public-orientated. Addicts is another catchy tune with screamed chorus that must be really loved by the audience on concerts. It has also some nice guitars and background – too bad that this song is slightly overcrowded and some of these goodies are hardly hearable.

If I was beginning to lose my faith in Nachtmystium – The End Is Eternal proved me wrong. This complex, multi-layered song is one of the album’s bests, powerful riffs and certain pendulum sound that gives a whole new dimension to the song. Blood Trance Fusion is a psychedelic metal game – counting out while analysing addiction and chasing while “hungry” for more. Paradoxically happy while on the bottom seems to say Ruined Life Continuum – it’s not the most innovative song, but has certain charm, that may make you really like it.

Every Last Drop is an eargasm. Deeply sorrowful, with massive guitar&electronics base and over it – building up swinging, changing vocals, out-tuned guitars giving an impression of hurt animal, and wailing crowd... so rapidly passing 8 minutes.

Addicts: Black Meddle Part II may seem a bit worse than Assassins, in a way that it’s less experimental, but more catchy, but I think that both albums are worth checking out, even just to fall in love with one song=)

Insomnium - Weather the Storm (single) [2011]

Time passes unbelievably quickly and after last autumn’s new song – Weather the Storm and perfect 2009 record – Insomnium fans get a digital single with mentioned song and another one as a b-side. Not enough? Well, they also proved how awesome their fans are by making a Weather the Storm video presenting some of the September London gig action.

The single itself perfectly shows Insomnium's two faces. The first song with guestly appearance from Mikael Stanne - well known from Dark Tranquillity - is a pure fury but with certain dose of self-control - they might be totally pissed off, but they are definitely not going to give in to anybody. Well, in fact they clearly explain it in a moving lyrics. Musically the song is full of energy, great riffs and perfectly fitting drums- and acoustic-bridges. But hey, having Insomnium and two of the greatest growlers you couldn't complain even if it lacked some perfection;)

The b-siding Beyond the Horizon is a completely instrumental song with shared acoustic/electric guitars, stunning flat-drum rhythm and ambient-strings outro. Though it is an orthodox version of more melodic Insomnium it is totally charming, especially intro guitar melody and that remarkable rhythm that just makes you beat it on your chest/leg/wheel.

Seriously, if new album will have those songs and some more simillary good tracks - it may outshine all planned great releases of mighty, mighty 2011...

Friday, 22 April 2011

Caspian - You Are The Conductor [2005]

Ages ago, when I started using and the radio was free to everyone, I discovered an interesting young creation from a faraway America that introduced me to never-ending land of post rock. Those guys called themselves Caspian long before the name started to be connected with cute Ben Barnes and their fans have much cooler tattoos, than Ben’s groupies. Gathered in 2003, two years later they debuted with a fascinating ep You Are The Conductor.

Post-rock bands are usually divided into more specific sections by adding prefix – ambient or shoegaze or by calling them post-rock/post-metal. The new ones are also classified by the “giant band” whose path they try to follow – meaning mainly Giaa or GY!BE. I won’t try to do that for Caspian, cause they seem to be quite in between – diverse – even on the first “shy” record, which by the way got a lot of fans and even some followers – inspiration with this ep is quite well hearable in calmer parts of Tides From Nebula’s debut.

But focusing on the record: YATC begins with – let me call it so – a trilogy Quovis-Further Up-Further In. Combined into one song, those three pieces were gaining Caspian fans on and in fact, they work perfectly as a wholeness. Quovis is an intro meaning “to whatever place you will” in Latin, Further Up is growing to a culmination and Further In – a certain calmer. Though it’s hard to call this song “calm” as together they make a real optimistic energy bomb.

Loft is a two-parter, starting in an idyllic atmosphere (seriously, I gotta listen to it while sailing or something) and finishing in a quite explosive way. For Protection is very ambientish interlude before Last Rites that seems to be slightly inspired with GY!BE... Slow passages, light, pulsating drums and then growing shaky pressure... back to the sailing and final tip-toeing notes.

No conlusion this time apart from: just try it&love it.