Saturday, October 20, 2018
This is the 2nd in the series of split LPs on Phonospera records and features two bands from Scandinavia. The Hyle are from Denmark (I saw them way back in 2014). These two tracks are from a digital only EP the band released in Jan 2016 and starts off with the heavy doomy Vaitaranee Nadee. Nice sound production and laid back vocal to compliment the dark, heavy foreboding riffs. This is a long and moody track with some nice melodic sections and guitar parts as well. Samaa is a very heavy, slow, prodding, reminds me a bit of Albino Rhino, with a bit of a psychedelic edge the way the vocal has an effect on it. This track features some really nice guitar solo parts towards the end with a interesting use of some effects as it builds up at the end. Intense.
Shadowmaster hail from Sweden and these three tracks all come from their digital album they released on bandcamp back in Aug 2017. The track Seven Witches fades up with an old movie sample and features a shouty, violent vocal mixed into the repetitive doomy start. Heavy stuff but I am not much of a fan of this type of vocal but I like the last vocal section where they put a strange effect on it. The highly effected bass solo is really cool and really makes this track. The Lizard King is a short track with just electric guitar and this leads into When shadow binds your Soul. As the title suggests, this is a slow dark doomy track. I like they way they mix it up with some interesting effected guitar at the end as it gets really hypnotic and stoned. Heavy stuff.
Alkymist is a pretty new band from Copenhagen Denmark featuring two ex Gas Giant members (Stefan Krey and Kasper Luke). They are joined by Philip on drums and Peter (used to sing with the metal band Detest in the 90s) on vocals. The album features 6 tracks, 3 of which appeared on their cassette released earlier this year but they have been rerecorded here. Do not expect psychedelic stoner rock ala Gas Giant, this is doomy death metal. The LP starts off the track Ghost (see video below). It starts with just the drums and then a very heavy guitar riff kicks in and over the top of that a second nice melodic guitar line. Peter’s vocal is very impressive with some powerful lyrics as well. Eventually, there is a short guitar solo section before back to the punishingly heavy death doom!
Djinn speeds things up a bit, especially the start with the intense drumming and then the deadly doom returns. I like the spacey mid –section with a whispered voice, which gives you a break from the intensity of the music, which speeds up again at the end with some interesting guitar riffing and other guitar parts in between the darkness. Check the video for this track below.
Myling is a moody one with a variation on what you have heard before, with a similar hanging melodic guitar line before the heaviness kicks in. There is a short melodic sort of guitar solo that ties some of the sections of the song but this is more for the mood, no real powerful solos like Stefan can play. Nice melodic ending.
Side B starts with the instrumental, Egypt II, a short keyboard intro track that leads into the long track, Paradise. This has a riff a bit more like the band Sleep, but a darker lyrical content than Sleep. IT eventually comes down with some nice acoustic guitar and a more soft vocal before the evil grows once more and you are thrown back into hell with the demon death spawn. Potent! Serpent is the last track on the album and starts with the sound of the ocean. The guitar is the first instrument to enter with a beautiful guitar line and nice vocal by Peter before the intensity of the music grows. This one comes in waves and changes things up a bit. Probably the most heavy metal of the tracks. This is some heavy and intense music but I miss the amazing guitar playing of Stefan. I feel like this style of music really limits him severely. I shared the stage with Stefan many times over the years and he is one of the best lead guitar players on the planet but you would never know that from listening to this record. This is a tight band, with the drums and bass, really well played to set the template for the death doom attack. Phew.. what an album.
The process of making a GBS record is a long one. Each track is crafted to perfection (ala King Crimson), each note, each drum hit analysed and the results, are usually a very stunning album. The band is on their 3rd guitar player now and to play in this band, you must be impressive. The album was recorded in many different parts at 7 different studios over the past few years. The tracks are a bit shorter, 8 in total. This is a totally different album from any that have come before and it even has vocals on one of the tracks! A lot of experiments with programming and strange twists and turns. A very unique record and hard to describe. It starts off with Veras Tema, with some freaky keyboards that merge into a very clean and melodic section and then another layer of synths fades in underneath and at 01:48 you get the first bass and get some shifting layers of forward and backwards sounds and then it is over. The Shortcomings of Efficiency starts a new mood, more dark, ominous and then Alex kicks in on the drums at about 45 seconds and the energy level goes way up. The bass and guitar are a bit King Crimson like but at a bit over 2 mins changes, followed by a nice guitar solo section (Henrik Palm?) and later the vocals (Ben and Michael) kick in and wow.. what a radical change. This is the most intense track on the album and one of the longest at nearly 7 1/1 mins.
Square 5 starts with a similar keyboard, slow progressions for the first min and then a new synth sequence kicks in and then some drums, very repetitive, almost like a drum machine, and then another new layer of synths begins. It is quite a bit like Kraftwerk might make this track. Guitars are not very prominent until nearly the 5min mark on this 7 min dreamy track. Over and Out ends side A of the vinyl record with some mellotron, synthesized bass lines that merge into the real bass line (at least that is what it sounds like). The drums have a sort of lo fi trashy sound which makes it special before the film music like keyboards filter in over the mellotron. Some flitters of guitar here and there appear as well.
Artefacts feature the grand piano to start side B. It is complimented with another darker keyboard. The guitar line is beautiful on this track but as most of the track so on the album, the keyboards are the main focus. A repeated synth line dominates the end portion while the grand piano keeps playing in the background. A nice lead synth solo is later added on top. There are drums and bass (and maybe some more guitar) in there as well but they are not the focus of the song or the mix. Capercaillie Lammergeyer Cassowary & Repeat starts with a repeated synth bass line that slowly another synth layers on the top (ala Tangerine Dream- Kraftwerk) but then by 30 seconds the mood has changed a lot and the highly effected guitar takes the lead (at least I think that is what it is??) but by 1:20, it drops out and the synth lines increases in speed and before 2mins the drums have come in. The main keyboard line changes to a more dark theme and repeats for a while and then drops out and you get a distant church organ interlude before the track builds up again.
Brus från Stan is a short guitar piece with someone humming along as well. Fundament see the return of guitarist Henrik Palm and brings back a bit of intensity built on top of a repeated programmed drum to start. Interesting track with a movie sound track vibe for a thriller or horror film.
You just have to check this amazing Swedish band out. IT comes in a clear vinyl versions (100 copies) and Silver (200- sold only via the band web site). They both come with a CD as well. No extra music though.