Friday, 27 September 2013

The Way to Light​/​Feral​/​Wrecca 3-way Split

All the way back in April I wrote a small piece about a one man project from an ex-Botfly member, The Way to Light. When I received the email I liked what I heard, and so when I got another email about the project's latest work I was quite keen to write something again. Sadly I'm only just getting round to it now (which is several months later), but it is not through lack of enthusiasm.
This time TWTL features on a three way split tape, with Wrecca and Feral, released by Red River Family records, which showcases four brand new tracks from TWTL, and 12 in total.

The new TWTL tracks pick up right where "The Sun's Ascent" left off, creating layer upon layer of multi-dimensional drones and noises. To be honest, I find these kinds of tracks difficult to listen to some of the time. There are times when what you want is to feel raw energy pulsating into your ears drums, which of course is not this. But, there are times when you really need to calm and clear your head. For me, TWTL is perfect for times for this. It feels like it somehow alters your very consciousness as you begin to really listen to all the small sounds and whispers that creep into your ear canals. In this way I think TWTL is really something special.

The other two bands, Feral and Wrecca are two bands I had not heard of until this split, but both are interesting in their own way.

Feral play four tracks, that according to the website are described as Doom Folk. I fell that is really quite an apt description of these tracks, three of which are acoustic with a very sad tone about them. However, the last Feral track, "Outro", changes entirely. Instead of an acoustic guitar dominating the sound, a single building drone takes it's place. On top of this are whispered vocals, that really do send a shiver down the spine.

Wrecca are entirely different again. They take a much harsher approach to their tracks than the other bands, especially with the track "Take Us Away". The guitar is incredibly noisy, and there are even coarsely screamed vocals over the top. I swear I can hear the sound of a metal pole being dragged along the ground in this one too... In some ways it is really quite different to the rest of the tracks on the split, yet it somehow still somehow seems to complement them very well.

If you are keen to check this out, the embedded player just below will help you get your fix. And if that still isn't quite enough, head on over to the online store and pick up the tape.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Cape of Bats / AVM split 7" - Black Mass of Jihad

It seems that there has been quite a few records that I have been super eager to get my hands on lately, and this is one that was right at the top of that list. When Integrity released their SDK 2 split with /\\//\/\ a few years ago, I became obsessed with the two tracks released by the mysterious Japanese band. Ever since I have been trying to find out if the band has had, or will have any more releases. Rumours started to surface that they would be releasing a new split with none other than Cape of Bats! It sounded just perfect to me, so as soon as I heard information about the imminent release I was sure to get my order in.
Of course it didn't disappoint. The tracks are just superb, but I will get to that in a minute and focus on the packaging for now. The record comes housed within a folded cover that unfolds to reveal artwork and lyrcis from each of the bands. /\\//\/\ features the same figure as on the front of the Integ split, which also fits with the title of the split. Cape of Bats feature a more disturbing image of a Japanese individual in studded clothing with blood dripping from his mouth.
The rear of the cover contains the split name, and band logos as well as the track titles in Japanese. In the middle bottom is the Grim Winds logo, who released the split. You can't really see it in the photo, but the whole thing has been produced with a hand-made aesthetic. It has been properly printed, but it looks like it has been hand cut and pasted together, which is a pretty cool effect.
The record is on plain black vinyl with purple labels. It is rather plain, but I do really like the purple colour that has been used. It does mean that to play a particular side you have you read the matrix etchings, but that is hardly the end of the world.
A total of 200 copies were released, 100 of which were sold during COB's recent tour with the remainder kept aside for mail order (some are still available). Mine is number 111.
Now while the packaging is pretty good, the music is really what makes this split so fantastic. Side A belongs to /\\//\/\ who I think really steal the show. Their first track is entitled "Devil's Last Dance", and is already my new favourite song. I can't even find the words to describe just how awesome it is, you'll really have to get a copy of the record yourself to hear it. Honestly, it is a shame that more people won't get to hear this track.
They also offer "Victim For Sorcery" from the split with Integrity. I was kind of hoping for two new songs from the band, but this song is so good that I don't mind getting it again. Thankfully this song is online for you to hear it( if you haven't already). As it is myspace I can't find how to embed it, but here is the link

Side B is all about Cape of Bats, who give two new songs. These are great black-metal punk tracks that are very obviously Cape of Bats songs. Of the two, "Days of Dark" is my favourite as the guitar work feels quite emotional and painful behind the screaming vocals. This is online as well, get your ears ready.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Discreet Doll Band - Disposable 7"

When Idoneum Bello released the Cvlt of the 7 Crowns mixtape a while back, there was an interesting track from a group called the Discreet Doll Band. The sort of garage-rock sound was a nice break from the savage assault of Gehenna and Sangraal, and it certainly caught my attention. I then set out in my usual way and tried to track down more releases by the band. I think it took a little while, but I was able to get my hands on a copy of their first 7", Back in Business via Discogs. It had three great tracks, and when I posted about it Evan from Erratic suggested I try get their 2nd 7" as well. It took me a while, but I have finally been able to track it down.
Information about this on the internet was rather scarce. Even the label that put this out didn't seem to have much info. I then turned to Ebay and discogs, with no avail. Hell, discogs didn't even have an entry on the band profile for it (until very very recently). I then stumbled across another website that I was yet to come across, Gemm. Someone was selling a copy here, so I jumped at the chance to order it. It has certainly made a nice addition to my growing collection.
The outer sleeve is quite a bit more interesting than the first 7". It is a little disturbing, and the character looks somewhat like Marilyn Manson, but I do quite like it. The rear also has a band photo and track listing.
The vinyl is pretty no-frills once again, plain black vinyl with orange labels. Also again they have gone for the large centre holes that require an adapter. Usually these were for 45's, and seeing as this is a 33 RPM record I don't really see the point. As far as I know there is only a black version in existence, although I could easily be wrong. As I said, there is very little info out there.

Musically it's an other great 7". There are four tracks of the same lo-fi kind of garage-rock that was present in the "Back to Business" EP, that total just over 9 minutes. The second track, "Card Shark" is my definite favourite on the EP, and has stuck in my head on several occasions already.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Rot in Hell - Studies In Emerald 7"

What I have here is probably the most exciting record I have received to date. As soon as I heard about it I knew I had to have it, but I wasn't quite prepared for just how fantastic this would be. Have I sparked your interest yet?
 From the logo (and well the title of the post) you have probably figured what band has put out this record. That's right, Rot in Hell are at it again with their super crazy, super limited releases. This time though they have decided to finally give some of their acoustic tracks the vinyl treatment, which has needed to happen for some time now.
I'm not sure what the best place to start is, but I guess starting with the packaging is as good a place as any. Everything comes inside the green paper sleeve with the band logo sprayed on. Inside is an emerald hard cover which looks great on my record shelf.
 Inside the hard cover is a hand made slip cover, which again is all in emerald (get it?). The front of this has a more detailed version of the band logo. I'm not quite sure of the significance of the left side of the image being black rather than green, but I'm sure there is one. This houses all the goodies inside of it, but I'll get to those in a minute.
A small booklet is part of the cover, with images and information about the recordings on orange paper. I'm almost certain that that is a picture of Dwid behind the fence...
 Continuing with the orange, the record comes in a bright orange dust sleeve with the band logo stamped on it. It's another really great touch.
By now you are probably thinking that there is no way for this to get any better. Of course everything I've shown so far has been great, it doesn't quite compare to the best part about the whole package, the record. The 7" is a transparent one sided lathe cut with an X-ray image of a fly. I haven't seen anything quite like this before, and I am completely blown away by it. It almost doesn't even seem like a record at all.
 Of course there are some pretty wicked extras too. Keeping with the X-ray theme is this x-ray of a foot. Surprisingly this fells as though it is on real x-ray image material. Perhaps it is one of the band member's.
 Then there are also a few paper based extras. There is a stencil of the band logo, a sticker and a much appreciated hand-written thanks note.
 In terms of the actual music the record is pretty great as well. It is an amalgamation of two previously released CDs. Aria of the Devil is a Theater of Hate cover which was originally on the mini CD on the left. Sixteen and Come Back are Johnny Cash and Misfits covers which were originally on the Studies in Emerald CD in the middle.
The record is limited to only 31 copies, which I think is now sold out. It's almost a pity that more people won't get to here these tracks.
So there we are, a truly amazing package that was just full of amazing surprises. RIH have really set the bar high for great packaging, if only more bands would follow suit...

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Pulling Teeth / Irons Split 12"

I think it was about two years ago that this split was released. At the time I wasn't collecting records, and it was only just recently that I picked it up. I had heard the tracks when they first came out back in '11 and I thought it was time I owned a physical copy. More so for the Pulling Teeth side, I'd like to have a copy of all their releases some day...
So this is a split between one well known band (to the scene anyway) and one much more mysterious band. Most people here should know and appreciate the awesomeness that was Pulling Teeth, but I wouldn't blame you for being a bit rusty on knowledge about Irons. They were (are?) a side project of Dwid Hellion, Jacob Bannon of Converge/Deathwish fame and Stephen Kasner. Based on that you might think it'd be a hybrid of Converge/Integrity style music, but you would be way wrong. Instead this is a kind of noise/instrumental/ambient project. In all honesty it is not my favourite to listen to, but it has proven well for times when you just need to chill out and empty your mind.
But back to Pulling Teeth. They contribute two tracks to the 12", just breaking 12 minutes. "Generals of Dark Hymns" is a fantastic song and is really up there in terms of my favourite PT tracks. There is also a remix of Dismissed in Time (form Martyr Immortal) done by Jacob Bannon.
I'm also not too big a fan of the artwork, I don't really get it. What I do appreciate though is the vinyl. It is a great picture disc that looks awesome in your hands. As far as I can see one side is just a wash of white and red, but the other side is a picture of a particularly twisted looking individual.
It is limited to 1000 copies, but there doesn't seem to be any shortage of supply even after these two years...