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

 

Gold and Grey by Baroness

A couple of days ago, Baroness released their newest work entitled “Gold and Grey” as a natural closure to their chromatically-themed record-sequel. They started off with  Red (heavy, aggressive & raw), then went on to Blue (their most sludgy work). Then explored their progressive side with Yellow and Green, a colour that symbolizes fear (a change of direction towards their proggier side perhaps), on to Purple (a colour that is used to imply stability & creativity – perhaps a settle down phase on their progressive side).  

The natural closure to this story of symbols is offered by Gold and Grey, as the peak and at the same time end of their work with the sense of achievement. As a whole, this album starts right where Purple left off. This heavy/progressive side is slowly transitioning into works that are by far the most emotional of the band. The use of harsh vocals is restricted and gives way to more harmonic vocals, doubled by Gina Gleason. This is the first album that features Gina and she absolutely nails it. Her vocal output matches that of John Baizley greatly. She offers perfectly matching harmonies throughout the music. This is solidified by the following fact: There is less heavy shredding in this album, and far more guitar harmonic parts between Gina and John, which acts as an extension to their vocal coordination. This work was devoid of Peter Adams, who left the band mid 2017.

The rhythm section remains faithful to the standards raised by Baroness since Red. The work of Sebastian Thomson and Nick Jost is strong and sturdy, but at the same time more innovative and of course more prog-friendly as is the whole flavor of Gold and Grey.

There is only one drawback to this record and sadly enough it’s nothing new to the music world. The mixing is sloppy, especially towards the later stages of the album.

All in all, the music is a lot different since Red came out. The band has evolved both musically and culturally and Gold and Grey is probably one of their best works so far.

Favorite tracks: Front Toward Enemy, Tourniquet, Anchor’s Lament, Cold-blooded Angels

You can listen for yourself here:

https://www.facebook.com/YourBaroness/

https://baroness.bandcamp.com

https://yourbaroness.com/

A Grand Misconception by Kalpa

Kalpa is a 5 people DIY-loud-hardcore band from Athens, Greece. They released their last work “A Grand Misconception” on 2nd Aprin 2019, exactly 3 years after their debut release “Dissosciation” (APR 2016). The band plays a hybrid-like musical combination of sludge/hardcore, as if The Dillinger Escape Plan and Eyehategod had a (very pissed) child.

It was a regular morning at the office, and I have a cup of coffee in my hand when the sound of Cross Sections hit me (“When did everything turn into shit?”). This work is full of great energy and this is something you are exposed to right from the start: heavy (as shit) rhythm sections (amazing drumming), paranoid leads and flamboyant vocals.

Lyrically there is a nihilistic approach to modern society and human relationships in it. The struggle to get close, the struggle to get better and do so as fast as possible, the downside, the stress, the anxiety. The grand misconception is this modern way of life.

Favourite tracks: Bystanders, Discomfort/Anxiety(“Discomfort is what I’m taught. Anxiety is what I’m used to.”), Open parties, empty streets (“Rock stars are dead”).

https://www.facebook.com/wearekalpa/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjZlPFojbNhGzO_V18VgolQ/feed

https://kalpaband.bandcamp.com

-Gamma