Spotlight: Water Torture – Pillbox

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Someone enlightened me to the existence of Water Torture. I think I had heard of them a couple of times not too long ago, but it is easy to mix everything up. This band is a trio hailing from the US with members from Bestower, but also from numerous other bands. Ian Wiedrick, Matt Goodrich and Thomas Leyh are the names of the foundation which this trio stands upon. When it comes to their band, they’ve released a lot of different EPs and singles which makes me think of Agathocles and how bands within the genres of grindcore, powerviolence and fastcore – to mention a few sub-genres – release so much material that it’s insane. They first got released on Human Beard, a split-release with Dirt Eyes that was put out on cassette back in 2011. Since then a range of releases have been put out on labels such as Diseased Audio, Knochen Tapes, Mannequin Rein, Nice Dreams Records, CONTINUUM., Dead Heroes Records, Prime Eggsample Records and Nerve Altar. In other words, they’ve got a hell lot of material to be listened through for those of you interested in hardcore, grindcore and powerviolence. Not to mention that they’ve already gathered so much material that three different compilations have been released, namely “Tour 2013“, “Discography” and “Collection“. Finally they’ve been readied to put out their first real album on Nerve Altar.

The album is titled “Pillbox” and feature seventeen tracks. From what I have gathered it seems like most of the tracks are exclusive for this release alone. Everything on it was recorded in May of 2014 together with (and by) John Angelo. It feels like they’ve gotten a rather nice, well-processed sound albeit a dirty one, with the help from John. When you listen through it you notice how it strays away from the general clichés that can often be attached to genres such as grindcore and power-violence. Even though it is clear that a hand is lent to the influences with each genre, collecting around the collectivized sluggishness that only a hint of sludge can bring with itself – which is perfectly thrown in there amidst all the noisy wrath of both vocals and music alike. I am utterly dismayed when listening to it but there never comes a moment where I feel like its too heavy of a burden to listen to. Because even though a lot of discontent can be felt throughout the general atmosphere of the album, they’ve executed the setting of every instrument into the sound-scape and the general theme of it – without overextending. The noise that they display in all of this helps to create a rather ominous setting for a barrage of drums, riffs and freakish rhythm that makes them stand out. I really like it a lot and I’ll have to thank whomever that got me into Water Torture for the first time. You can stream the release in whole down below and if you like what you’re hearing, pre-order the vinyl here.

Skördetid [Del 2]: Vågen är slutet – Ingen Våg är bara början!

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Tidigare har vi haft med Ingen Våg Kassetter, som även kommer med denna gång. Det handlar om Skördetid, och allt ni behöver veta om deras kassetter kan läsas i första delen av Skördetid. Vi skördade Miljoner Döda, Sandor Rado och Femtekolonnare. Denna gång så skördar vi Solo Archivist-släppet “Present Is Eternally Past” och Miljoner Döda, vars släpp går under namnet; “Ingen väg ut, bara ner“. Med andra ord så är det Ingen Våg 015 och Ingen Våg 016 som lyssnas igenom, denna gång. Det som är mest intressant när man avhandlar mindre skivbolag, är när man inser hur mycket dedikation det egentligen ligger bakom dessa släpp. För merparten av låtarna ligger alltid över nio minuter, och kassetterna fullkomligt skriker D.I.Y.

Det måste även påpekas att det är härligt att upptäcka vad som växer i den underjordiska myllan, när det kommer till Växjö – något man kanske inte upptäckt annars, om man inte fått något intresse visat från det andra hållet. Hur som helst är det sprängfyllt av dystopi, precis som förra gången, men det gömmer sig faktiskt en eller annan överraskning också. I denna del blir det som sagt två styckna recensioner, precis som det var i den förra. Skillnaden är liten, och det är fortfarande låt för låt som gäller när det recenseras. Välkommen till Del 2 av Skördetid, och den andra delen i den mytologiska beskrivelsen utav Ingen Våg Kassetter. Jag hoppas att ni finner stort nöje i att läsa vad som skrivs.

a2190587791_10När det kommer till Miljoner Döda så kan man lugnt säga att den här kassetten innehåller det värsta hjärntryck en människa någonsin kunnat tänka sig. Nu åsyftar jag trycket som samlas på hjärnan, när den trycks in med en noisekavalkad så tung att öronen håller på att spräckas. Outhärdligheten har fått ett musikaliskt ansikte endast en minut in av lyssningen, och jag försöker att erinra mig om när jag senast hörde ett sådant extremt klaustrofobiskt ljudlandskap. Det är som om de övergivna industriella giganterna kommit till liv igen, fastän de varit övergivna i flertalet decennier. Den karga Sibiriska tundran som bankar på det ödsliga huset, i form av en järnhand, som levererar musikaliskt snömos till extrem överdrift. Nej, den nästan 19-minuter långa låten kan inte konstateras att var enformig, men det är svårt att pulsa igenom och ta till sig då det bedövande ljudet lämnar en rungande huvudvärk av guds nåde. Även om det finns en hel del komplexa arrangemang i denna låt, så kan jag tyvärr säga att det är väldigt svårt att ta sig till det som kommer ur hörlurarna. Eftersom att man knappt ens kan ta sig igenom de första minuterna. Inte för att det är dåligt, utan för att det är så otroligt extremt att det inte finns utrymme för en hjärna – som inte är byggd av stål – att ta sig till slutet av låten. Dock, efter ett antal plågsamma stunder där “musiken” varit tvungen att stängas av, så finns där ändå någonting som letar sig tillbaka till mig.

a2753412439_10Den ensamme arkivisten. Solo Archivist förgyller min dag genom att släppa sol igenom måltäcket. Det känns som någon form av tribalistisk ambient, som ändrar skepnad ju längre in i ljudlandskapet som man kommer. Trots att detta kraftpaket är indelat i olika sektioner, från den flummigaste flöjtmusik till en blandning av karg akustisk folkmusik. Det enda man vet säkert med detta är att det sakta men säkert flyter in i vartannat och lämnar mycket till de experimentella krafterna att få övertaget. Sedan, bara sådär helt plötsligt, så kan allting ändras till en melankolisk noisevagga. Ond bråd död väntar vid hörnet när de långsamma drönarna lagt sina vantar på oljudet som strömmar ur högtalarna. Bubblande och släpiga ljud kan höras längs med ljudkorridoren som istället för att vidga sig, sluter sig och blir klaustrofobisk. Två världar möter varandra mellan varje låt som går. Det låter som om någon har övervintrat i Indien och tagit med sig deras inhemska ljud. Där sådana instrument får spela en större roll än vad som är nödvändigt. Ibland känns det onödigt flummigt att lyssna på och det leder inte direkt någon vart. Man blir inte direkt uppiggad av det heller utan snarare slö i huvudet. Snabbt så ändras det till förmån för det noisekör som man har vant sig vid när det kommer till det andra släppet. Även om det känns hårt till en början så är det snarare dova oljud som hörs mellan de sprakande ljuden som låter väldigt likt leksakspistoler. Det rent av syrliga ljudet som långsamt krånglar sig ur högtalarna är lika segt som polkagris kan vara. Men det är en positiv överraskning emellan varven, även om det inte direkt är musik som tilltalar en själv. Både när det kommer till det rent psykedeliska och när det kommer till noise. Här känns det som om man släppt på klicheérna och bara kört på.

Spotlight: Squieti and Pastel – the Italian D.I.Y!

a0073546405_10With their debut-release “Impronte Nella Cenere“, the Italian math-rock outfit Squieti blend those post-hardcore vibes with a punk-attitude. Their eight-tracked album showcase their melodic talent with rather melodramatic drumming. It feels like being caught in a limbo with no way to get out of it, together with a constant barrage of melodic post-hardcore with a despaired vocalist. Even though emptiness might be his schtick, the band itself make up for a lack of atmosphere with the clinging of riffs with the concrete drumming. The technical aspects seem inverted. The arguably short hints of what could make up a rather soothing atmosphere is quickly struck down with the beat of a drum, favoring the rather amelodic connection between vocals and the general melodies of the guitars. It is clear that Squieti focus their darnedest on delivering a rather original hardcore-sounding math-rock experience, where the melody is the center of attention whilst the drums control the rhythm of the sound-scape. Positioning themselves in a fortress of their own whilst not letting anyone enter for real. There are lots of great things about their music but they have their weaknesses. Sometimes the math-rock inspired wholeness of their sound is hard to really appreciate. However, they make up for this with interesting choices of melodies and their rhythmic greatness. Their tracks seem to loosen up for the real hardcore sound when you get past the fifth track, so that’s by all means a time-stamp for when shit hits the fan for real. Listen to their album in full down below. Made possible on vinyl thanks to their friends Annoying Records, Boned Factory, Fast DIY or Die, L’oltraggio Autoproduzioni, Speed-Up Agency and Sons Of Flies webzine. Recorded and mixed by Stefano Romano in 2013, released on the 29th of January 2014.

a1784089479_10Another Italian band called Pastel did a split with the British band Merridew, featuring two songs by them titled “Momento nove” and “Laminal“. Their sound is very reminiscent of Squieti, with the difference of it being more into the screamo sound. Which is more of a 90’s-inspired one, together with desperate vocals which can also be heard from the aforementioned band. It wouldn’t surprise me if they share the same singer, because it really sounds alike when everything comes together. One main difference is the atmosphere which Pastel manages to curate from a whirlwind of drums, guitars with a rather dreamy but realistic sound, together with the stillness in between breakdowns and experimental touches of rhythm. A rather weird combination of deciding to go with a baseline that dominates through sections of their songs, especially when it comes to their second song from this split. Then it all suddenly blasts away again, making it feel like I’m able to reach further for myself, into the sky and the distant continuum that is space. They’ve got a rather space-y sound which is psychedelic when it comes to some of what it contains, but not all of it. Even though a lot of their sound is based around tempo and going downtempo, there’s nothing that can stop me from completely relaxing to this sound. Maybe it’s because of their passion which is channeled throughout, or their off-shoot from the shoegaze to the screamo sound. Whatever you’d like, this is certainly borrowing a lot of the greatest stuff from the 90’s, fueling their gruesome invasion into enemy territory. It’s because there’s a certain unfamiliarity when you try to decide for yourself what’s next. You never really know with these guys, which is a plus in my book. I might’ve heard it time and again before, but I am really into what I’m hearing. This split-release was put out by Glass of Spit Recordings on the 13th of March, and you can listen to the Pastel-side down below.

NO! Spotlight: Dry Socket / Ray Creature! [Part II]

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I found a rather anonymous label which is situated in Terre Haute, Indiana. The American label that I found is called NO! Record Label and is hosting itself on Tumblr, giving off a rather secluded interior for me to find mysterious. All the better, because it leaves much to my own imagination. This mysterious label have released two releases before those that I am going to cover in this spotlight. One of the releases are of Drekka and Assimilation – a kind of live re-work of each others live performances – but also a late introductory for me to Michael Andersons brainchild Drekka. This was actually the first release to be put out on this label. The second release was a compilation featuring the artists Drekka, NOON, John Flannelly, Canid, Assimilation and Agakus. Featured musicians working in the Bloomington, Indiana area, described by the label: “a collection of tracks that represents the loose circle of musicians that play weird electronic music together in basements, coffee houses, and bars“. But the two releases that I’m going to cover here are Dry Socket and in the second part; Ray Creature. This is the last part and it features Erich Booth and Natascha Buehnerkemper, known as Ray Creature. Let’s see if you enjoy it.

a3748909156_10Ray Creature. The fourth release on NO! Record Label is “Don’t Stop Talking EP“, featuring four tracks. Lo and behold, what I find is one of the finest examples of what can be done with post-punk. Combining it with the wide-array of genres like dark wave, no-wave, synth-pop and a rather odd experimentalism is the way to go. The fact that Ray Creature is a duo is mind-boggling, because they sound like they’ve had a whole band and that they just quit after this EP due to the difficulty of conveying such a sound. Such a huge sound is being created by two people. A shady sound, with funky undertones of the baseline and the general feel of it is somewhere in between the bizarre and the ingenious. Unfortunately all the steam goes to the track “Don’t Stop Talking” which is probably the best track on the release. After the haziness of the minimal synth landscape, which suddenly just shifts into some kind of disco-vibe mess, featuring no-wave vocals and a general sense of disobedience. The modular synthesizers are working hard on delivering the undertones of electronica to such a harsh example of the successes this band has, with experimentalism. After the first track which could be regarded as setting the theme for the rest of the release, it just delves into some kind of weird example of how the electronica doesn’t really cope with the weirdness of the atmosphere. There’s such a messy landscape of sound that you don’t really know what to look for. Too much happening at the same time.

Even though I know their ambitions have been great, they once again pick up where they left off the stream after “Success“, when we enter “Ripped Apart” – a totally energized maelstrom of the best synthesizers and up-tempo beat you could find. Cocky vocals at that, too. Don’t get me wrong, the concept of “Success” is good to begin with, but I just end up finding myself reminded about the melody – but in the way of that is the general anarchy that actually turns me away from that track to begin with. The last track seems to be a whole long intermezzo between catchy instrumentation, steady rhythms and a snare-sound that i find myself enjoying more than the general mood of the track at all. The vocals in this track is so good, but I don’t really enjoy the lyricism. Even though I have a lot of criticism to give, the general feel of the EP is great. It seems to be long in between when you hear about a sound that has taken off, then you listen to it and find out that it’s like something you’ve heard before – but not really in this format. They do a good job of pulling off the crossover between genres and fill it up with nice experimentalism. I must say that without the soothing but urgent vocals that Natascha deliver, this wouldn’t be as great of an experience as it really was. Enjoy it yourselves by streaming and listening to it here, down below.

Spotlight: Passion Slaves – Demo 2014

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It’s a nice day for a nip of post-punk. Canada have been boasting with their simmering environment of talents that have been emerging from nothing. One of those seem to be Passion Slaves, which I frankly know nothing about and whose imagery suggest minimalism – to such a degree that I might not even agree. But my weakness for the classic approach to post-punk seem to have tainted me this time around. The only thing which bothers me is the vocal part, but that’s a miniscule objection to their sound as such. They’ve actually recorded their first demo, so that objection might be weak to begin with. One thing I like about the vocalist is her energy when she sings, but there seems to be a show-stopper in their unharnessed energy – because at times it feels like they don’t master it yet. With that in mind, the two demo-tracks “Mortal Coils” and “Shadow Grounds” have an interesting goth rock and post-punk sound. The gloomy melodies resound in my own mind and their boasting sound as a whole give me an impression of them as serious musicians. It feels good to observe that they haven’t submitted themselves to every cliche possible when handling such an environment of genres. The fast riffing, great drumming and overall performance of this group makes me want to hear more of them. It seems like they’ve given much thought to these two songs so I wouldn’t really be hopeful for more in the near future, but who knows. I feel like there’s a mystery within their imagery and the visuals that are put into my head when listening to them. I just hope that the one ingredient, e.g. the vocalist and the lyrics, don’t steep too far down into the unlisteneable fold. Stream their whole release down below and give them some money if you like it.

NO! Spotlight: Dry Socket / Ray Creature! [Part I]

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I found a rather anonymous label which is situated in Terre Haute, Indiana. The American label that I found is called NO! Record Label and is hosting itself on Tumblr, giving off a rather secluded interior for me to find mysterious. All the better, because it leaves much to my own imagination. This mysterious label have released two releases before those that I am going to cover in this spotlight. One of the releases are of Drekka and Assimilation – a kind of live re-work of each others live performances – but also a late introductory for me to Michael Andersons brainchild Drekka. This was actually the first release to be put out on this label. The second release was a compilation featuring the artists Drekka, NOON, John Flannelly, Canid, Assimilation and Agakus. Featured musicians working in the Bloomington, Indiana area, described by the label: “a collection of tracks that represents the loose circle of musicians that play weird electronic music together in basements, coffee houses, and bars“. But the two releases that I’m going to cover here are Dry Socket and in the second part; Ray Creature. The aforementioned a collaboration between Michael Anderson and Dylan Ettinger. I hope you’ll enjoy this write-up.

a0823392091_10Dry Socket. Having recorded a demo back in 2011 that never got released, this release titled “Violator EP” is a re-worked version of that recording. What strikes me at first is that it sounds like some kind of lounge version of industrial, together with the experimental tendencies that a mixture of their spaced out sound together with Michael Andersons vocals. The rhythm is slow-paced and steady, serving as a point of reference when listening, as the synthesizer sounds morph into differentiating sounds all over the place at the same time. When still being caught adrift by the first track, it feels like a combination of the expertise that Dylan Ettinger showed on his split-release with Goldendust on DKA Records and the gruesome experimentalism with his ambient touches. Even though a lot of the ambient heard in Drekka cannot be heard here, it feels like when they’ve joined forces, nothing is impossible. But I must say that when the song is about to end in the last three to four minutes, the windy atmosphere of what Michael Anderson can and have produced makes a turn back into ambient territory. Flaunting the beauty that can be heard through both synthesizers and other instrumentation. Next up is a sense of immediate urgency with the other track, with the outdrawn and melodramatic synthesizers that take each of their turn to whip you into the wonderful atmosphere of the track. Giving it even more of the old-school industrial sound together with screeching and violent vocals that make turbulence a must. The different passages in this song makes it even less vague than the first one, albeit the organic sounds and the synthesizers bounce on each other in a fist full of fury, it is easy to feel when it turns into something else – changing the pathway of the song. But just before the song is about to end, in the three to four minutes as usual, things get out of hand and a stormier landscape of sound can be heard before it dies out completely. The limited cassette of fifty copies can be bought from NO! Record Label. You’re also able to stream the release in full down below.

Spotlight: Q///Q – Azores Azul

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Quirky and steadfast, but gloomy, experimental minimal wave in a tropical setting. With our ears the minimalism can go just as far but not further, Q///Q decided to have a sound-scape that is totally subdued into minimalism with their release “Azores Azul“. Those whom stand behind this moniker are Peter Kris, GT and Quinn – which doesn’t really say that much to me. But accordingly, one of the tags are German Army, so one could say that people from the army might be involved. That wouldn’t be too surprising, because the experimentalism of Q///Q head into their territory at times. But this is a rather different palette, more quirky synthesizer, a weird landscape of sound which is suggestive to say the least. The rambling of an inane person viewed through an hourglass, slowly transforming into sand. It is like being stung by electronic bees.

The outlet for this weird music is not that surprisingly; Skrot Up – the Copenhagen haven for crazed music. Even though five tracks make up around fifteen minutes, whilst listening to this music – you can’t help being lost in transmission. Each and every hit on the synthesizer makes an awkward sound, each and every beat that can be heard is odd to say the least and the vocal impersonations that are carried around in the tropical sound that is overwhelmingly there – remind you more about every seminar you wanted to miss – with a person babbling incoherently about stuff you’ll have to learn but don’t want to. This is a good mark for Q///Q though, because they execute this weird combination with astonishing results. Experimentalism is the end and beginning within this landscape of sound, the quirkiness and the general attitude in which they bring this upon us. I’ve found my salvation, probably. You can buy the release directly from Skrot Up, it is strictly limited to sixty cassettes, you can also stream the release down below.