Feb 28, 2008

LONESOME WINTER WAILING (Whaling?) - More Black Metal Tapes For Dat Ass

This week was a bag of shit until my tape order came in. But rather than regale y'all with stories of The Girl That Disappeared or What Officer Bates Did, I'll jump right to the turning point(s). Okay, so black metal is meaningless as a term, right? Kind of like industrial, or any genre, really. Is anyone actually making things specifically rooted in genre anymore? I think there's enough influential back-clapping goin' 'round to have successfully killed the notion, what with everyone listening to everything, but that don't mean it's left anybody's lips. Tis a shame, I reckon, for black metal's one of them there ghettos, in much the way Vonnegut termed sci-fi. Then again, maybe "black metal" oughta stick around, as a "for fanatics only" kinda thing, in much the same way some smartypants termed Lovecraft. It does have that "dig it or leave it" vibe, doesn't it? I'll let real critics work it all out. For now, I'm going to love it, contradictions and mainstream cultural irrelevance and all. At any rate, here's the first installment of the 8-piece whateveryouwannacallit tape order.

Korium - Hradby Samoty, demo tape Ravenheart, 2005
I raved and convulsed about the 1st Korium tape, which sounded like cavemen perverting the Slovak
Price Is Right, and so was monstrously pumped for this. What's unfortunate, in an ostensible (read:irrelevant) way, is that all the instruments I loved from Mraziva Noc Prinasa Pokoj are gone. No keys, no drum machine. I kinda thought the boy was on ta sumpthin there, but I guess I was only half-right, because Hradby is equally compelling in a totally different way. I'm guessing some of the stuff from Frisco and Germany found it's way into Slovakia, because this one smacks of Xasthur, Drastus, and all those super-cold blade-at-the-ready choons made by guys that carry whiskey and rope wherever they roam. But then there's a sideways Trad Gras Och Stenar tone to a lot of the strings, which has me puzzleder than whatall. Korium is dragging an eraser behind him, and for that, I love him. The boy's got me guessing, and that's a smart way to keep me around. Maybe I'll check out the split with Trist from last year...next.

Circle of Ouroborus - Shores, Heidens Hart 2007
Circle of Ouroborus - Streams, Northern Sky Productions 2007
Speaking of guessing, hoo! I've been following these two Finns ever since the split with Ethum Burzman-sounding* outfit Urfaust, where they put some Yeats to some mostly-acoustic stumblemumps. Some of it was like if Alice In Chains channeled Henry Flynt's I Don't Wanna, and then some of it straight up sucked. (Sorry to bust out the crate-digger analogies, but sometimes the music just demands it!) Anyhow, I was hooked. I'll take wacky and only-half-successful over wack and always failing about as often as the next guy.
Admittedly, I slipped a little. Never heard the Star/Rise acoustic tape since the press was mad ltd or the Night Radiance demo, but I did check out the Knives Beneath 7" what came out a little before Shores dropped. What a beaut. But, per usual with CoS, it was a mcguffin: too straightforward compared to what they usually concoct, but still brimmin with the ideas they'd later expand on with these two LPs--which is what an EP's supposed to do!
Shores got a ton of press in 07, thanks to Siltblog and some other folks thinkin it was the outsider masterpiece of the year. I'm here to tell you it is, even if it actually came out in 06. But, whatevs. Time's a bagattella. Point is, it worked then and it worked me over this week. On Shores, CoS channels a fussy blend of 80s Italian hardcore and contemporaries like Aluk Todolo (specifically songs like "Burial Ground" and the self-titled single) and Black Vomit into something sort of dementedly new. And like all great convoluters, they aren't quite technically up to those assignments, making the whole mess way more compelling to me. The cover of "She's Lost Control" is understandably impassioned, soaked in atonal dub singspeak and drums covered in sugar glass. Did I mention it's also really heavy?
Streams is rapidly becoming my favorite. I been squatting on a review of it for months now, tryin'ta to lay it down the way it laid me out. I mean, it's the vocals from Crash Action Winners doin "Hurricane Fighter Plane" backed by a dissonant-er Acid Drops, but still wasted and bleak enough to be called--there it is, again!--black metal. Hope making this was as much of a relevatory moment as hearing it. This is getting more play than anyone I know. Finland is definitely not for lovers.

Next up: 2x Lascowiec, Tomb Of..., Hills of Sefiroth/Sapthuran, and the self-released Peste Noire demos collection. Start the foam and light the piano; I'll be there in a minute.

*Ethel Merman+Burzum=Ethum Burzman. It's algebraic!

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