Welcome (after too long a break) to the realm of Noise Not Music. The section has been revamped a bit to incorporate an ever-growing Spotify playlist, which I’ll update every two weeks with things I love but haven’t necessarily found the time to give the full treatment here. . This, of course, will work in tandem with the usual roundup of all things heavy, weird, and wonderful. Have a good ear!
Ancst – ‘Moloch’ (Halo of flies)
It’s always a nice change to hear about a black metal band whose politics are explicitly left of center. Ancst is an “anti-fascist, anti-sexist, anti-religion, death at NSBM” group currently based in Berlin, where they have witnessed an alarming rise in intolerance following terrorist attacks in Europe. This is not the reason why I am including ‘Moloch’ in this review, but it is undoubtedly the reason for the seething intensity of this record.
There are a lot of bands around that infuse their black metal with crusty influences, but Ancst manages to do it more convincingly than most. This is partly due to the rhythm of the album. At 38 minutes, it flows over a perfectly pleasant duration, especially while including pieces which vary their rhythm and their textures. Then there’s the very real sense of anger and frustration that bleeds into every track on the album, including the brilliant closing trio of Human Hive, No More Words and Lys. For a first feature film, it’s extremely impressive. ‘Pale Dawn’ – the new LP from Berlin black metal compatriot Sun Worship is also worth exploring.
Head Wound City – “A New Wave of Violence” (Vice)
Sometimes you just want an album that does what it says on the tin without messing around. You shouldn’t be fooled by the sound of a band called Head Wound City, especially on an album called ‘A New Wave of Violence’. Starring members of the Blood Brothers, Locust and – more surprisingly – Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Head Wound City has returned from inactivity with a short, heavy dose of punishingly thorny noise rock that sometimes turns grind. It won’t win any awards for originality, but it should get a few for its unabashed dedication to punk vitality. Fun, but with a jagged razor blade at its heart.
Ghold – ‘Pyr’ (Ritual productions)
Now, with an additional member – guitarist Oliver Martin – the London drone / doom trio Ghold are free to sound even more massive than they did on last year’s ‘Of Ruin’. On the contrary, the addition of a six-string to the line-up has succeeded in making Aleks Wilson’s bass even more cavernous. The highlight here is the closer wonder Despert Thrang, which on its own would be worth the price of admission. In 21 and a half minutes, it completely erases the eardrums of any listeners tough enough to get through its three predecessors, which are pretty destructive in themselves. Essential.
Gnod – ‘Mirror’ (Rocket)
This is probably not what one expects the most from Gnod after the colossal “Infinity Machines” of last year. Where this release emphasized their strangeness to its greatest extent, “Mirror” reaffirms the group as – basically speaking – a rock band rather than an experimental collective. This is not a bad thing. Gnod is similar to Shit & Shine in that he has a rare ability to change shape without sacrificing his own distinctive personality. ‘Mirror’ is somewhat reminiscent of what Part Chimp or Hey Colossus might look like if they had a particularly long, dark, LSD-fueled soul night. With most of the stoner rock sounds becoming more and more diluted, it’s refreshing to hear a band take so much pleasure in slow and genuinely menacing jackhammer riffs as Gnod does here. That things all go back in the direction of the “endless machines” on the grueling Sodom and Gomorrah only adds to the value of the entertainment.
Sea Graves – “The Curse That Is” (Relapse)
The wait for “The Curse That Is” has been long. Graves at Sea has been around for 14 years now (to use the word loosely) – a hiatus between 2008 and 2012 aside – but this is the band’s first full album. Unsurprisingly, “The Curse That Is” rings full of bile and venom generated by this long unhealthy gestation period, during which the band had to negotiate various personal and personal issues. From the start, “The Curse That Is” is no joke. The colossal mud riffs are adorned with the kind of progressive touches you might associate with early Mastodons, and the vocals are cut from the same fabric as those of Eyehategod’s Mike IX Williams or Rwake’s Chris Terry. It’s a very corrosive stuff and, while too long at 76 minutes on eight tracks, it’s worth experiencing it at least once.
Instinto – ‘Dimonis’ (Self-released)
Catalan d-beaters Instinto are, for some reason, wallowing in the unknown when they should gain more attention from fans of a genre that (and admittedly this is from a point of view of casual viewer) usually seems to be full, too. There’s something about the unwavering intensity that Instinto delivers here that, to those ears, makes them stand out a bit in this crowd. There is almost a dose of Kvelertak-style arrogance in the way the quintet delivers these tunes, which gives them an added degree of credibility, as if they are aware of the restrictions inherent in playing this kind of music, but don’t care anyway. . Abyssal cover art aside, recommended. And it’s also available for free download.
Mirrors for Psychic Warfare – “Mirrors for Psychic Warfare” (Neurot)
Any new project starring Scott Kelly and Sanford Parker is bound to grab the attention of the underground metal scene, but – just like the couple’s Corrections House outfit – it’s quite a far cry from the post-metal heavyweights that the two men are looking for. are the best known (Neurosis and Minsk / buried at sea respectively). Instead, we’re really in industrial territory, filled with wild amounts of bass where applicable (at Roadburn they were brilliantly and cloying, loud at times). Kelly is in distinctively wild vocally, and her guitar contributions keep it all together like thick waves of molasses paranoia. Great stuff.
Puce Mary – “The Spiral” (chic isolation)
“The Spiral” is – strangely enough – Puce Mary’s quietest release to date, but it is also perhaps his most disturbing. While the previous albums ‘Success’ and ‘Persona’ quickly plunged head first into industrial inconvenience, this time Frederikke Hoffmeier holds back the pain until the second track. The high is substantial and helps poke fun at the insanely annoying male internet trolls who still insist on ridiculing Hoffmeier as a tame synth manipulator rather than an increasingly prominent noise scene leader. ‘The Spiral’ continues as it begins. It’s full of uncomfortable lulls, in which Hoffmeier builds the atmosphere more effectively than on his previous – yet excellent albums. The slow-mo power electronics gain that ends the album is all the more powerful as a result. Listening essential.
Sumac – “What we become” (Thrill Jockey)
Sumac’s new album begins by shattering into a thousand pieces, which is a good way to start. If the band could be accused of a fault on last year’s debut album – “The Deal” – it was in the fact that they remained steadfast throughout the duration of the album (even at point to start and end the album with almost ambient tracks). Here they start things off by crashing the car on the side of a cliff and what follows is heavier, more diverse, and more exciting than the group’s initial arc. Anyone who still misses Isis should think again, as Sumac is quickly evolving into the missing link between that and Aaron Turner’s other legendary metal troop, Old Man Gloom. For anyone who knows both bands, this should be very, very exciting news.
Weekend Nachos – “Excuses” (Relapse)
I never really liked Weekend Nachos (probably because of the name of the band, let’s be honest) but after hearing they called it someday I decided it was time to check them out before their set at the Bristol’s Temples Festival (locate fault in this map). Listening to ‘Apology’ you really get the feeling that this is a band that has spent their time well over the past 12 years, perfecting their art to the point where it’s hard to criticize.
If anything, the problem with ‘Apology’ is that a few tracks maybe seem a bit sterile compared to the sheer nastiness of their early powerviolence-oriented materials, although that might be what it sounds like to someone out there. spent an afternoon on YouTube taking a crash course at Weekend Nachos. Either way, I’m the one who owes an apology here… to Weekend Nachos for letting their name get in the way for the last few years. Check them yourself before it’s too late. Guitarist Andy Nelson is also in the excellent Like Rats, whose recent album ‘II’ (out now on Southern Lord) also comes highly recommended to those who enjoy their hardcore drenched in extreme metal.
Wode – “Wode” (Broken Members / Church Fuck / Selling Your Soul)
Les Mancuniens Wode joined the top table (admittedly quite small) of excellent British black metal groups with this eponymous debut LP. This is pretty old school stuff; so don’t expect too much there. Instead, sit back while Wode does his best to look like he’s spending his free time burning Manchester’s religious establishments (or, as we don’t really do wooden churches here, let’s say burn small replicas in public places). Cloaked in Ruin is a particularly impressive track, which sounds to the world like a classic piece from the early 90s (except with better production – forget the kvlters). Incredibly, this goodness is available for your prize name download from Wode’s Bandcamp, although there are various physical options available as well.
Let us know what you think – leave a comment!