Evening all! Time for some new reviews, albeit in a slightly shorter format than usual; so I hope you don’t mind. Aside from killing four birds with one blood-soaked stone, it also enables me to keep on top of as many reviews as I can in light of shit that’s going on, on my side of the keyboard. Anyway, fuck that morose crap and let’s get to the reviews shall we? I’ve got a nice slice of independent and underground releases for you to sink your teeth into. Jude
Corrupt Moral Altar – Mechanical Tides (2014)
Season of Mist
Not so long ago I grabbed myself a copy of the 7” release of the Whiskey Sierra single from Liverpudlian filth-meisters, Corrupt Moral Altar. It’s an ugly brute of a record and is absolutely fantastic, and I knew I had to hear their full-length album when it hit.
Well, Season of Mist, without much fanfare, unleashed Mechanical Tides last week and by fuck it is truly a monster. You want to mix up some serious sludge, grind, punk and hardcore, throw it in a dirty blender and see what comes out? Mechanical Tides, that’s what. I tell thee, this is an angry, venomous platter of spite. It’s also quite terrific.
What is possibly most surprising about the album though is that CMA manage to infuse a remarkable of amount of depth and feeling, aside from bile and hate, into the music. And, one particular tune will surprise the hell out of folk. Don’t be fooled though, these aren’t happy chaps and the majority of the songs on display here reflect that perfectly.
Mechanical Tides is the musical equivalent of a mugger in a dark alley, who’ll happily give you a good kicking, as well as mick your wallet.
Gatecreeper – Gatecreeper EP (2014)
The self-titled EP, from Arizona death metal brutes Gatecreeper, is the latest in a string of fine cassette releases from UK based Goatprayer Records. Aside from keeping the quality level very high, the releases have been incredibly distinctive, even if the bands fall under the same broad genre umbrella.
Gatecreeper play a thunderous and almost groove-based death metal. You ain’t going to be up dancing like a demented fool to their music, but it definitely has a swagger to it. Kind of like the swagger that precedes an ugly fist-fight, if I’m being totally honest.
You get four songs on this EP, and all are of the same good quality. With a seemingly overabundance of tech-death and doom death, both of which I have a lot of time for, it’s great to hear a new death metal band that just play good honest brutal metal.
One thing is for sure, and that is the four songs here will leave you wanting to hear more, and I can only hope that we don’t have to wait too long for a full-length album.
Ommadon – V (2014)
Domestic Genocide Records
Scottish band, Ommadon, consist of two fellas, a guitar, drums and a keyboard, and they wish to beat you down over the course of just two songs. The difference here being is that the two songs, entitled V1 and V2, will beat you slowly over the course of about an hour and a half. That’s right chaps and chapettes, we’re in epic drone doom territory here, and there’s plenty to sink your teeth into.
The instrumental duo have released four previous albums, entitled I, II, III, IV (oddly enough), which you can download for free on the band’s Bandcamp page. With V they have really pushed the epic soundscapes and punishing riffs into a quite beautiful and challenging arena. With music of this style, and length of course, you really need to give it the time and attention it deserves; you’re not going to take it all in on a first, second or even third listen. That is just part of the joy of listening to an album like this though; you really do get taken on a wonderful ride, and you’ll pick up on things you missed before.
Of course, it is quite challenging listening in places, as Messrs. Tobin and Mackenzie are in no hurry whatsoever to get anywhere; so take your time and enjoy the soul-destroying ride.
Over the last couple of years I’ve been lucky enough to listen to some quite excellent instrumental doom, and Ommadon’s V is right up there with the very best. What sets them apart, to my ears, is their heavy use of the drone element which just enhances the overall feel and atmosphere of the music. This is definitely an album you’ll want to check out, especially if you like depth, challenge and suffering in your music.
Taatsi – Amidst the Trees (2014)
With Finnish death metal exploding into the public consciousness, more so now than before, I admit to having been intrigued to see what other new music is coming out of the Scandinavian nation. Taatsi are one such band and, whilst the two members of the band A and M have been involved in the black metal scene since the nineties, this is their debut album.
As if the title of the album wasn’t a giveaway, the lyrical content and feel of this album is very much based on nature, as well as some other elements, and delivered in an old school fashion.
Now, whilst there is almost definitely a traditional feel to Taatsi’s music, there is also an atmospheric, almost folksy feel to proceedings; a little like a heavier Lustre, if you will. There is most certainly a soothing feel to this album, which considering the genre it falls into might surprise some. You still get your rasping vocals, yet the music itself does invoke the imagery that the lyrics and concept behind the album are trying to portray, which helps to give Taatsi their own identity.
The production of the album is solid enough, although I would personally have liked the drums to have been a little higher in the mix. However, the overall sound of Amidst the Trees is nice and clear, without sounding at all polished.
Overall, Amidst the Trees really impressed me, as the duo manage to blend all elements of the album into one most enjoyable listen. I can certainly see this spending a fair amount of time on my stereo and will definitely be picking up the CD.