Tumulus Part 1 & 2 by Advent Varic

Advent Varic is a black/stoner/doom/sludge trio from Boston, Massachusetts. Quite easily, they grew on me, mainly because of their raw, honest sound.

They independently released their EPs Tumulus Part 1: The Beginning and Tumulus Part 2: The Ravaging earlier this month on their bandcamp page and since then I have been listening to them non-stop. They have a very unique approach to black sound, using traditional as well as unconventional means to achieve that. They manage to combine the speed, melancholy and screeching vocals of black metal, with the heaviness and riffage of stoner/sludge. Not quite fast and atechnical to be considered as traditional black metal, while not slow and downtuned enough to be a classical doom/sludge piece, Tumulus is created with creativity to expand the spectrum of slow-ish, heavy music.

It is a mystery whether a full record is on the works, but in spite of that, there is plenty of material and ear bleeding riffage to go crazy about on those 2 EPs.

For those of you who think that the black sound is slowly saturating, lacking an original and fresher approach, I could not suggest Advent Varic enough! I guarantee your jaws are going to drop.

A truly fascinating and brilliant work.

Favourite track: Well there is only 2 tracks in total, so every fucking minute of the approximately 36 of those BOTH OF THEM!

Physical copies are distributed by Interstellar Smoke Records!

https://adventvaric.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/adventvaric

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaFWJca8WWTgZntkuKkGJkQ

Splid by Kvelertak

The 14th day of February can be special for a lot of things (possibly). Until now, it was famous for being a date for an unnecessary outlet of consumerism, constructed by flower, condom and chocolate companies, masked under the excuse of Valentine’s day. But from 2020 on, this will be the date when Splid was released by Kvelertak!

The norwegian sextet have (finally) released their latest work, after going through a rough patch (kinda). They went through a bit of a lineup change, as they saw their (now former) lead singer Erlend Hjelvik leave the band due to personal reasons as well as their drummer Kjetil Gjermundrød, who quit music temporarily to receive treatment for an arm injury (something that was bothering him for years). For many bands this would be enough to bring a negative change to their sound. However, they found a worthy replacement in Mr. Ivar Nikolaisen (vocals), who has also offered guest vocals in the past in Blodtørst and Håvard Takle Ohr (drums). They have both already proven themselves made from similar mold: The danceable black ‘n’ roll music of Kvelertak remains fresher than ever!

The album is finely crafted and once again recorded by Kurt Balou in GodCity studios, who is proving to be a true master. In total, throughout the record there are fewer black elements (blastbeats, tremolo-picking), as opposed to more thrash elements (solos, 2 leads, vocals, downstrokes). Also, they offer their first english-sung songs, Crack of Doom featuring Mastodon’s Troy Sanders and Discord.

It is obvious that Kvelertak is a band that is not afraid to risk in order to evolve, a trait rare as well as criticized upon. This record is another fine specimen of great musicianship and creativity.

The first half of the record offer a heavy punch in the face (Rogaland, Crack of Doom, Discord, Bratebrann), while towards the end of the album the interest drops slightly, without missing on great moments (Fanden ta dette hull! is a great song. The first half offers a small homage to Thin Lizzy\Iron Maiden before it goes full-on ’80s thrash-metal BEAST MODE).

In conclusion, as it is no secret we have a soft spot for these Norwegian punks we liked this record and we hope you liked it too.

Favourite Tracks: Rogaland, Crack of Doom, Nekrosoft, Discord, Bratebrann, Fanden ta detter hull!

https://www.facebook.com/Kvelertak/

https://www.kvelertak.com

https://kvelertak.bandcamp.com/

Behold Sedition Plainsong by Dawn Ray’d

The Liverpool-based crust-black trio Dawn Ray’d have released their second record, Behold Sedition Plainsong, a rebel’s guide into today’s society.

The record is divided into 11 tracks, all of them mixing black metal with some crust elements, thus betraying some of their influences (Iskra, Fall of Efrafa). They result in a strange sort of raw black metal, which becomes melodic & folk-ish at times (with the atmospheric use of violin as well as acoustic parts) , but always remains undiverted to the genre’s aggressive characteristics.

Musically, the trio evolved greatly since their last piece of work. It looks like the band learns to leave (musical) space where space is due, be it a lamenting violin section, a bark of earth shattering drum sequences, or attacks of striking guitar riffage. This kind of musical clothing suits their lyrical ideas perfectly. Not following the traditional black metal themes, their dialectics include serious social points such as xenophobia, ecological catastrophe, capitalism and industrialism. From the start (Raise the flails) to the end (The curse, the dappled light), there is an anti-Nazi rhetoric to Behold Sedition Plainsong. It was made evident from their previous works as well as their live performances, that this is a very political band, expressing a voice always underrated and frowned upon in the scene/genre ( ¡No pasarán! ).

As a whole, the record shows the character of the band. Serious, sturdy, well-written. It is not the most technical black metal record, but neither does it aim to. Dawn Ray’d do not aim for commercial success or critical acclaim. It feels that the message they want to convey carries greater significance than facebook likes and spotify clicks. This record is a rebellion manifesto.

Favourite tracks: Like smoke into fog, To all, to all, to all!, Songs in the key of compromise, A stone’s throw.

 

Fear Inoculum by Tool

Quite a few tons of (internet) ink have been spilled over analyzing the music and lyrics behind the art of Tool. And after 4872 since their last release “10,000 days” they did their (long overdue) duties releasing their latest record “Fear Inoculum” on 30th August 2019, chosing to work again with producer Joe Barresi (“10,000 days ).

In general, the record tells the story of a symbolic apocalypse: A global means of deceit spreads fear into peoples minds. Sucked into the spiral of their illusion, the impeding doom seems inevitable. Tool love the idea of symbols in their work. Here, this means of deceit can be (social) media, politicians, etc. Society itself is being paralleled with war. Humans are unable to resist, stream their whole existence, part by part, online and failing to deal with the problems that threaten their very survival and destroying nature in the process. Little do they know, that in fact nature always finds a way to survive, with or without mankind.

Fear Inoculum. The story starts with an introduction of the bad guy. Here “the deceiver” spreads poison (fear) all over its prey (“The deceiver says, he says; You belong to me; You don’t wanna breathe the light of the others; “). This process of projecting fear, results in the development of an alter ego of sorts (” My own mitosis; Growing through division from mania; “) among each human, only a faint reminder of their once conscious selves.

Pneuma. Spirit. Breath. This is a straight reference to what is known as collective unconcious in Jungian psychology. In short, it describes a series of behavioral ensticts, shared by members of the same species. It seems like the deceiver’s attempt to spread mass fear is working, and humans are acting instinctively: Rallying, acting as a single united entity, the mass. And the narrator struggles to warn humans against this (“Child, wake up; Wake up now, child; Wake up;”). He urges them to keep their individuality, because he knows that the mass is extremely stubborn.

Litanie contre la peur. Litany against fear. It seems like the narrator’s desperate attempts for awareness is futile. The narrator knows the war against fear is inevitable and prays, as if before the battles about to come.

Invincible. The battle starts. The battle against what is now the new status quo, set by the deceiver. In the new status quo, the narrator is an old-fashioned existence (” Beating chest and drums” – reference to gorillas and old tribes perhaps to signify how primitive/different he is compared to the new society that the deceiver has formed). In this new status quo, the warrior struggles (“Warrior struggling to remain relevent; Warrior struggling to remain consequential;”). This new society depresses the warrior, who recalls the old days (reference to Juan Ponce de León ‘s Fountain of Youth).

Legion Inoculant. As in every war, the time has come to face the legion of the enemy. In our case, the legion is the hordes of mezmerized, social-media-obsessed humans, against who the warrior/narrator and people like him, greatly struggle. This war is similar to peer pressure how society dictates certain models. You either fit in, or you become an outcast much like the narrator.

Descending. The outcome of the battle is defeat. In the last hour, the warrior, still deep in the battle (“Stay the grand finale; Stay the reading of our swan song and epilogue”), pities the enemy. Seeing people struggling so much to fit in molds that destroy individual character is one thing, but seeing how ignorant the enemy is to this disaster (“Falling isn’t flying“), the narrator almost feels for them .

Culling voices. Now, only a fading voice remains of what once was conscious thinking. Fear paralyzes its victims, making them unable to think. Thinking is described as an internal dialogue and this is exactly what is meant by “psychopathy”. Only now, there is hardly any space left for second voices.

Chocolate chip trip.

Tempest. These molds cast by the deceiver act as an illusion, until you are confronted by the facts, which in this case hit you like a tempest (“Miss-lead; Flash, don’t blink; Follow the evidence” – Don’t use your lies as defense). A final wake up call, the aftermath.

Mockingbeat. This is a post-apocalyptic scenery. Animal sounds, etc. Ignorance brings the destruction of nature. However, it only leads to the destruction of humankind, whereas nature itself continues to exist, with or without humans.

In its totality, the records is meant to be listened to from start to finish, as a whole part. Which highlights the fact that there are interludes in between.

The work done by Adam Jones on the guitar and Justin Chancellor on the bass, is phenomenal. Although their sound has hardly changed since 10,000 days it is still fresh and SO heavy. Maynard James Keenan, has offered lyrics of the highest quality, tailor-made for the music created by the gentlemans above. Poetic and mystic, keeping the standards of their previous work. Some parts remind me of Aenema or even Undertow (Tempest), some parts remind me of Lateralus (Descending, Pneuma), but overall this is the album of the year.

A separate mention to Danny Carey. This record is his moment to shine. Easily the heaviest drum sounds I have ever heard.

Spectacular production. Huge congratulations to Joe Barresi.

 

Tool Official Website

Tool’s Fear Inoculum on Spotify