July 28, 2013


Like many who listen to this band (which is actually a one man project), the first song that caught my attention was Soft Room: 

In my defense, I can honestly say that I have absolutely no clue about what genre it belongs to, but the urgency with which that tune crawled its way into my brain was a clear sign that I needed to "go out" on a virtual scavenger hunt and look up more music made by this fine gentleman.

And I did. 

Which is why you haven't heard from me in the last couple of weeks, since I was too busy occupying my littlest of spare time listening to the two existing albums released under the name Lorn, specifically 'Nothing Else' and 'Ask the Dust'.

To my surprise, they are quite different from the song I just showed you, Lorn opting for a more old school take on electronica, without any breakdowns or overly stretched out songs. His focus is on melody and rhythm, and once a track does enough to find its way into the listener's mind, it quickly switches to the next one.

With a dark background ambient, complex arrangements and some aptly placed bass lines, Lorn songs will not make an immediate impact on anyone, so I suggest you take your time with them, if you happen to enjoy this type of music. While it's clearly out of my comfort zone, I've come to fancy these two records quite much.

And with tracks like this one here

you can't really blame me, right?

July 27, 2013

Defiler - Nematocera (2012)

I've recently decided to check out some SYWH-approved deathcore bands, just because Sergeant D really seems super into them and I'm like why not, let's give it a go! So I settled on the names I hear most often from him: Defiler, Emmure, Winds of Plague and Goliath

Goliath didn't really do anything for me, they sound really boring, I don't know. Winds of Plague (I listened to their 2011 album Against the World) had really synthetic-sounding vocals and it was annoying, so I stopped listening to it. Emmure were pretty good, I'm gonna have to check out some more of their stuff. Defiler, on the other hand, really took the cake and emerged victorious from this imagined deathcore face-off. 

These guys sound pretty much perfect. First off, the riffs are simply CRUSHING and dat guitar tone will make you cream your pants. Secondly, BREAKDOWNS! Tons of them. Is there anything better than breakdowns in deathcore? I submit that there's not. Thirdly, Jake's vocals. Holy shit, this guy sounds amazing(ly pissed off) and not only him, but the rest of the band are really talented, even though they're like 18 years old. Shit! The vocalist also cites Slipknot as a major influence, which is basically another way of saying FUCK OFF to all you haters out there. Last off, the production is spot-on: crystal-clear and everything sounds tight and heavy and obviously it's a great thing when a young band manages to pull off a superbly polished album. 

So did I just give you a ton of good reasons why you should check out Defiler if you don't know about them already? I think I did! Quit being a jerk and do something positive for a change.

July 23, 2013

SUMMER GORE FEAST: The Tale of a Magical Night with Fucking EXHUMED and Friends

SUMMER GORE FEAST - this was the tagline of possibly the hottest summer party of 2013, hosted by Private Hell club in Bucharest and organized by the wonderful Mihai "Coro" Caraveteanu, who we all know and love. I made it a point to make it to this show right after it was announced, while I was still 800 kilometers away from the Romanian capital. When fucking Exhumed come to visit, you'd better fucking show up! 

I spent the hours leading up to the show taking part in some good old G-rated activities with a lovely lady friend: we went to a chic French brasserie and enjoyed a rasberry mille-feuille, after which we visited the National Art Museum and gawked at a lot of religious art and works by famous Romanian painters. Not to mention we saw a Monet (or was it Manet?) painting down at the European section of the gallery. How cool is that? 
Okay, moving on...

Time slid by fast and before I knew it, it was 7 PM and I was hanging out in a near empty Private Hell, after bidding my friend goodbye and doing a quick change of clothes in the club's bathroom (I wasn't dressed br00tal enough, as you may have guessed). Getting there one full hour before the doors even officially opened meant that I got to enjoy a beer, the nice surroundings and the lads from Exhumed doing their soundcheck, which included some choice cuts from Backstreet Boys, which I thought was really funny. Backstreet's back, alright!

Eventually, the show opened with the Bulgarian skit-warriors Fecal Body Incorporated, who delivered a solid guttural goregrind performance which caused quite a bit of headbanging. Not from me, obviously, as I was still plunked down on my bar stool like a piece of shit, still tired from walking up and down all those stairs in the National Gallery. But I enjoyed watching the band perform anyway. I'm guessing they played a lot of stuff from their latest album, Brown Love. More power to them. 

Once the Bulgarians got off the stage, I went outside for a fresh breath of air. Obviously, all of my hard-ass bros were loitering outside like leeches, drinking beer bought from the corner shop and displaying a very bestial death behavior. I went to say hi, I grabbed a beer and yadda yadda yadda, I pretty much missed the entire Krow show, the surprise band of the evening, after the local death metal band from my city cancelled their appearance for unknown reasons. I caught their last song of the evening, but I was way in the back and it all sounded very muddy. Back outside, jerk!

And now we come to the treat of the evening - Exhumed! These fucking guys, man. They RIPPED! I don't even know for how long or how many songs they played, but it was fucking great. In addition to their tight performance and playing stuff from all over their discography, their stage game was ace. There was a guy waving a chainsaw around and killing dudes with it. It was Bud Burke's birthday that evening, so we all sang Happy Birthday to him. He teared through a scorching solo, after which he died. The chainsaw guy was back with a defibrillator and, after trying unsuccessfully to "revive" him, he pulled out the best medicine of all: a beer, which he poured down Burke's throat until he made a full recovery. Obscene Extreme 2013 sampler CDs were offered generously to the audience. A bloody severed head was thrown about with great joy. Not to mention, a real fucking wedding suite just happened to drop by the show. No idea who thought bringing a young bride to a goregrind show would be a good thing to do, but hey, they did it anyway. 

All in all, it was a BLAST! 

After the show, the dudes in Exhumed didn't retreat to their private quarters like some spoiled celebrities, but instead went outside to have some beers and chat with their fans. I never imagined I'd get to hang out with fucking Exhumed, but it happened, because they're chill, down to earth guys. And that made me happy. 
Pleasant fellows

The show had ended, but the night was far from over. The party carried on in Andrei Headcheese's crib until morning, with more beer and more death metal, until I passed out on a chair and woke up to a hazy and hot July day. The sun was shining furiously. I had a quick breakfast consisting of yogurt and a croissant (still keeping it hardcore), had some much needed water and a godly shower and stepped out into the eerily desolate Bucharest once again.

After Saturday's massacre, some more family-friendly activities were in order, like eating at McDonald's and taking a walk through the beautiful botanical garden (more like a huge park with all sorts of trees and plants). My special friend joined me again and we spent a wonderful afternoon together. A quick beer in the evening with TZEEEAC friend, resident artist and hardcore aficionado Volo - who gave me his band's demo CD as a gift, thanks again bro! - rounded off a perfect weekend. Then, it was time for the long (actually, totally okay) road back home...

July 22, 2013

The Knife - Shaking the Habitual (2013)

The Knife. Oh boy, The fucking Knife. You blew my mind when I was 13, angsty and my whole musical horizon consisted of The Beatles and a few dad rock bands. And you've blown my mind now, 7 years later.

Even though your band name sounds like a 19th century steampunk victorian bordello and your music can be at times overly pretentious and artsy, I still love you. You know why? When I heard your fucked up music for the first time, my 13 year old mind couldn't believe that such a thing could exist. It was different, creepy, weird, and the lineup consisted of TWO PEOPLE OH MY GOD REALLY AND ONE OF THEM'S A GIRL. Not that I was a sexist little prick, really, my mother taught me better than that. It's just that, back then, I strongly believed that a Swedish synthpop-experimental-mask-wearing-during-concerts-not-granting-any-interviews band was not the place for a girl to spend her youth. A school choir was a more exquisite and in good taste choice for a young female. Or the inside of my pantaloons.

But what made you so special, The Knife? How come I've chosen you, a weird synthpop Swedish band, over other more critically acclaimed bands like Linkin Park or Nickleback? After all, nobody at school has ever heard of you and your music is not really the one that a 13 year old would listen while sitting in a corner, crying like a little bitch, with the whole world against him, all alone; a dark Knight, a caped crusader. I dunno, really. But one thing I know for sure: you're the one who has, uhm, deflowered me. Musically. You're the first artsy-fartsy band in a long succession of artsy-fartsy bands that I both love and make me feel like a pretentious douche for liking. You're my first. First. You're more ''first'' than a YouTube comment that says ''first'', which is something, by the way. You've taught me a great lesson, and that is: always experiment. Try out new things, new bands, new sounds. Since then, I've been with loads a bands. I'm the dirty little musical slut that you always wished I would become some day. And all because of you, The Knife.

As for the rest of you, go check out their latest album, Shaking the Habitual. It's not their greatest work, but it's pretty cool, nonetheless. If you're looking for bands that discuss the Swedish government's dubious decision to lower taxes for the families who hire maids and can't find one, well, you're in luck today.

July 18, 2013

METALCHRIST "Nihil Sine Deo" (1994)

The Romanian metal scene is about as bland as a pound of sand. Just sand. But if you dig through it like a fucking maniac you're damn sure you're gonna find some hidden gems. The heavy metal kind. And NO, I do not like to take Iris, Holograf and early Compact as heavy metal, just like I do not like to think of Bon Jovi as heavy metal. They are just some hard rock aimed at the feminine public. I'm not saying they suck, but it's not what I'm looking for.

You see, in the 90s there was a TV show called "Intâlnirea de la Miezul Nopţii'' ("The Midnight Meeting") who invited metal acts to play on their stage. Some of the recordings of those bands leaked on youtube a couple of years ago and, when I saw the Metalchrist one, I remained speechless. For mid-90s Romania it was amazing to see fast and heavy riffs, powerful drumming, screeched-metallic vocals and double guitar solos, while all of the bandmates looked like some filthy 80s thrash outfit (pictured above).

The whole album resonates of very cool guitar harmonies, even to my utter amazement sone Mercyful Fate-like ones and very good vocals, though a little silent at times and even if they drift a little into 90s power metal, they really do the job surprisingly well. I can trully say this album is THE hidden gem for the entire Romanian metal scene.

Final Ratting: 8.5/10.

July 14, 2013

Stone Magnum - S/T (2012)

Mixing traditional heavy and doom metal, the lads from Stone Magnum bring back to the spotlight the grittier sounds of the 70’s and 80’s furry. While I may not be the most appropriate one to recommend these guys to you (I sense that fellow staff writer Daniel Witchfinder might have more in common with this music than yours truly), I still can recognize some influences from which this band takes after, and until now I’ve spotted Black Sabbath, Earth, Grave Digger and even a little bit of Warning.

So if you’re a fan of either one of those bands, Stone Magnum will definitely be your cup of tea. I myself am enjoying them very much, as they seem perfect for bludgeoning my speakers on this lazy Sunday morning. I may actually work up an appetite to get my day started!

You can listen/buy their stuff on bandcamp, like them on their facebook page, and bear in mind they’ve just released a new album last month, which can only mean more doomy goodness for all of you metalheads out there!

Rock on!

July 12, 2013

CAUCHEMAR "Tenebrario" (2013)

The canadian doom-rockers from CAUCHEMAR Annick and François have finished their journey through the entire freaking world last year and, after a stunning debut EP in 2010, have recorded their first LP, awesomely entitled "Tenebrario". The first thing I can say about this is that the cover could not have looked better and more appropriate for the music, thanks to Italian (of course) artist Paolo Girardi.

Pretty much every song here stands out in a unique way, every one with its own italian-inspired heavy/doom riffs, slower crunchy bits and very good solos. The french lyrics sound even better here than on the "La Vierge Noir" EP, they flow quite nicely and are very melodic, with Annick's very good delivery of them. Another thing I must admire here are the drums which, to me, are pretty perfect doom drums. They are strong and loud with pretty simple rithms and really stand out in a good way. My favourite track has to be the ending one, "Tenebrario", a ballad-like tune that made me think of the slower, more eerie side of Mercyful Fate, with King Diamond's harmonical vocals blending in perfectly with the arpegiated guitar chords.

My only gripe is that one of the things I loved most about Cauchemar is missing on this album, and that is the very obvious fast heavy metal riffs that have made me love their EP so damn much. Even without them, these mapple syrup avengers managed to make a strong album more on the doom side than on the NWOBHM side, an LP that will definitely go into my Top 10 for this year and even into my record collection.

Final Rating: 9/10.

July 8, 2013

Hope Drone - Hope Drone (2013)

TZEEEAC hall-of-famer and Tumblr scubadiver Gherasim was on a post-rock binge this weekend and sort of passed the bug to me, too. He showed a cool melodic post-rock band I can't remember right now and before I knew it, I had already listened to a bunch of bands and my day had gone by inexplicably. But hey, I just finished all my school work for the time being and I'm enjoying a week off everything, so I can afford to waste some hours listening to 16 minute songs and reading old newspapers.

Obviously, my mutant brain can't remember anything I listened to in the morning, so I'll just tell you about what I'm listening to right now, which is Hope Drone. This four-piece band comes all the from from Brisbane, Australia and it embodies the definition of post-black metal. Huge, sprawling distorted guitar riffs unfold like a vast jagged landscape clouded by a thick layer of fuzz. Rumbling drums bring forth a sense of unease and urgency. Touching melodies occasionally escape from under the blanket of murk and echoed screams erupt over this dismal place. The one-word song titles stand as testament to the bare-bones approach of Hope Drone. Nothingness, abandonment, death, silence, despair and hopelessness permeate the lyrics and cement the unnerving atmosphere of this album.

I wouldn't really recommend this to anyone finding him or herself in a foul mood. It might lead to bad thoughts. Still, this should be listened by yourself, in the dark, with the volume cranked all the way up. It'll take you places.

July 7, 2013

Empyr - The Peaceful Riot (2008)

Empyr are a weird bunch. Apparently, it’s a band composed of musicians with different background styles, ranging from alternative rock to some technical metal stuff, and it shows its multiple roots on almost every occasion. While most of the songs are based on the all too mainstream formula of verse-chorus, verse-chorus, bridge, chorus (then repeat), the actual compositions vary in such a way that I personally can’t just mark them as uninteresting. 

On a closer listen, the albums splits itself into three movements, which are not obvious by any markings, but it’s in those points (namely the fifth track, Water Lily, and the ninth one, The Fever) that the record shifts gears and slowly morphs into something different.

The first segment starts off with a very Lostprophetish vibe and consists mainly of alternative rock tracks, with Birth being the obligatory ballad (although it has a nifty electro background), and it’s probably the most cheesy part of the album. Nevertheless, you can’t deny its value for vocal hooks, which frontman Benoit Poher delivers with ease.

The middle segment begins with Water Lily and I’m instantly reminded of Rosetta, but without the harsh vocals. Now there’s a definite switch, I tell you! Although it doesn’t last long, this part starts off more subdued, relying greatly on emotional deliveries, with crescendos all over (that also apply to the following three tracks), while at the same time reaching an old-era Korn sound when the choruses start to hit. Metal influences are injected here and there, while the third track of the segment is again the ballad of the bunch. All in all, this whole part evokes an “emo” feel, however much I hate using that word. It may not be for many to listen, but the execution is flawless in a way that it achieves its goal without any fancy overuse of technicality. Cheesy lyrics galore, but I’ll be damned if I mind!

Now for the final part, which begins with The Fever, a track that steers deeply into nu-metal territory; however, while deeply rooted into the “verse-chorus-bridge” state of things, it manages to rise the quality bar with an excellent (albeit cacophonous) outro, spawning the kind of repetitive sounds that you’ll probably never want to end. And what great drumming on top of all that! For me, it’s the best part of the album, one that is so different to those first seconds of the starting song, God Is My Lover.

The next track, My Empress, is pure and simple screamo worship: simple, short, never asking to be more than it actually is. Then we have (yet again, precisely placed) the ballad of the segment, which at this point it just fades in and out and I must confess, it’s probably the weakest song out of the whole LP.

And we have come to the end with Join Us, a six-minute monster that encompasses all of the styles previously played, having a great headbanging rhythm and a bigger metalic feel. Again, the outro is simply infectious and it fades slowly into a droning bass sound after which, if you’ve paid attention to the whole release, you’ll probably want to hit the repeat button.

I have to say that this LP has taken me by surprise. Constructed on a backbone that defines pretty much everything that could be wrong in a song, be it either rock or metal, it somehow manages to add value to each instrument and it achieves that feeling that the sum is always better than the individual parts (even this saying can’t get any more clicheic). While many of you may not like it, you can’t deny the professionalism and the carefulness in construction applied by these guys, attributes that act as to establish a group of great musicians.

And we can’t ever have too many great musicians, right? 

July 3, 2013

Sun Worship - Surpass Eclipse (2013)

Who's up for a quick Marco black metal fix? Sun Worship are an enigmatic band from Germany who apparently only release 2-song EPs. Their latest offering Surpass Eclipse consists of almost 14 minutes of post-black metal melodies delivered with great passion and skill. The atmospheric tremolo riffs abound, the drumming is heavy and hypnotic, the guitar tone is more buzzy than Marco after drinking a cup of coffee, the vocals are high screeches buried in the mix and I'm willing to bet the lyrics are about the sun.

Sounds fun? It is, and it shows a band with great potential. Check out their self-titled EP as well then join me in hoping they are going to release a full-length album sometime. I'd definitely like to hear more from this band.

Spinalonga Records - A Sampler Darkly (2013)

We don't usually post sample compilations around here, but I think this particular one is worth it. Spinalonga Records is a Greek label and A Sampler Darkly is a free offering of 16 tracks from various underground Greek bands, hovering around the post-rock, electro-rock and alternative areas. These compilations are a great way to discover new bands you like and I've found some really cool stuff here. My favorite cuts from this are This Is Nowhere, Psychedelic Trips to Death, One Leg Mary, Their Methlab, De Sades and 45Rats, but I like pretty much every track on this compilation. Also, it's a lot of instrumental stuff, so it's really good study music.

You can check out the Spinalonga Records Bandcamp Page for more free compilations - they have more heavy stuff in there, too, and I bet there are some really cool bands waiting to be discovered.

July 2, 2013

This Is Ghost! Country (2013)

When it comes to straight out RIFF worshipping, these guys are up there with the best of them. Their motto is rhythm, their style is an abrasive, garage type of metal and they incorporate so many subgenres in just a little over thirty minutes of music that for a moment there, I really thought this release would work better as a demo.

With a background of sludge/stoner rock, some off-put doomish elements, a little bit of post-metal, a voice that could give any lung cancer patient a run for his money (and all of this with nary a proper solo to be heard), This Is Ghost! Country’s self-titled sounds more like an ode to all things heavy metal.

And dare I say I enjoyed it very much, because it made me feel like driving through a deserted wasteland in a damaged SUV, windows lowered and speakers roaring, while at the same time playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 on the custom made, built-in car PC. Yes, it’s that infectious, I tell you!

Some useful links for your sonic experience to be complete:

Listen to them here: Soundcloud page
Buy their album from here: Record Label
Lastly, say hello to them here: Facebook Profile