December 25, 2014

CHESTER'S TOP 13 ALBUMS OF 2014 - SORT OF

Gonna keep this intro real short because I just had a lot of beers and I'm getting turned up and I might start rambling and no one wants that. I just figured it would be cool to publish my year-end list, even though nobody cares anymore. What happened to us? No one knows.

I'm also not gonna complain about this year in music - I bet it was amazing, I just didn't got to listen to a lot of the stuff that came out. I'm sure Marco would have a field day telling you all about how 2014 sucked and there was no good music to be heard, so you can ask him about that. I'm just gonna list a bunch of albums I enjoyed and then maybe I'll head over to CVLT Nation's website to see what metal albums I missed.

Here we go, in alphabetical order:

Clipping - CLPPNG


Shit, these guys managed to make hip-hop beats out of random noises, like broken glass and drills - sounds amazing, and Daveed Diggs' precise, surgical rhymes bring this thing to the next level. Jaw-dropping hip-hop album. Oh, and I heard Run the Jewels 2 was released this year. Gonna have to give that a listen, too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQidzKOrj10

Code Orange - I Am King


As far as I could tell, the big battle in hardcore this year was between Baptists, Code Orange and Trap Them. Bloodmines sounded weaker than Bushcraft and Blissfucker by Trap Them was utterly boring, so I gues I'm left with I Am King by the newly rebranded Code Orange. A towering monolith of crushing grooves, with lots of yelling and really creative drumming, sporting good songwriting that's constantly switching gears on you. What was all that noise about Thinners of the Herd, tho?? I am out of the loop.

https://deathwishinc.bandcamp.com/album/i-am-king

Dead Astronauts - Dead Astronauts EP 2.0


Synthwave is still going strong, and this sweet EP by Dead Astronauts is here to prove it. This will make you feel like you're dancing in a futuristic night club. There's also some remixes by Perturbator in there. Diggin' it.

https://telefuturenow.bandcamp.com/album/dead-astronauts-ep-20

Death Grips - Niggas on the moon



Hell yeah. Lots of noise, chopped and screwed samples of Bjork's vocals and abstract rhymes from MC Ride. The most schizophrenic release by Death Grips to date. Can't wait to hear the other half of the album too. Then they're gone for good. UP MY SLEEVES.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qr6OJFyxDuE

Eco Virtual - ATMOSPHERES 第2


Atmospheric research and analysis music - the sort of jams you'd expect to hear on the weather channel at 5 AM in the morning, predicting a sunny day and heavy traffic. Song titles include "Sunrise at the Googleplex", "Aloe Vera Water" and "McDonald's breakfast".  ATMOSPHERES 第3 was also released in 2014, but I feel this is more... seminal to vaporwave.

ecovirtual.bandcamp.com/album/atmospheres-2

g h o s t i n g - Telenights



A fuzzy, hypnotic, spaced-out melange of trippy futurebeats, vaporwave and late night TV commercials, creating a really atmospheric experience. Feels like passing out and waking up in Videodrome.

http://dreamcatalogue.bandcamp.com/album/telenights

Le Cassette - Left to Our Own Devices


Synthpop, chillwave, synthwave... No idea what to call this, but it. is. AMAZING. I'm a sucker for sexy 80s synth vibes. That dude's voice is so dreamy. Catchy choruses and impeccable production make this an instant classic. This is what they're playing in Perturbator's futureclub.

http://telefuturenow.bandcamp.com/album/left-to-our-own-devices

Lipstick Elite - Stay Passionate, But Be Discreet 


Luxury Elite is among my favorite vaporwave producers, but this collaboration with Skeleton Lipstick trumps anything he's ever done in terms of sheer sexuality and dancingness. Every song on this EP is insanely catchy, the lyrics are beyond seductive and the vocals and sexy beats will leave you moist with desire. Seriously, you need to hear this.

https://sunuprecordings.bandcamp.com/album/stay-passionate-but-be-discreet

マクロスMACROSS 82-99 - A Million Miles Away


More vaporwave? Alriiiiight! This album is full of funky and seductive beats and will make you wish you'd have taken the first flight to Tokyo, fell in love with a beautiful woman and married her right there in the karaoke bar. Listen before judging me, senpai.

https://macross82-99.bandcamp.com/album/a-million-miles-away

Mantar - Death By Burning


I know you were just starting to get jiggy with it and that's great, but we need to take a HARD turn and pay our dues to Mantar, the single greatest metal duo to emerge this year out of whatever foundry these guys crawled out of. Wielding just drums, a guitar and a shit-ton of amps and pedals, this half German, half Turkish band will absolutely melt your face off and will cause a racket that is sure to shatter your windows. So fucking stoked these guys are taking off and have started touring Europe. They have totally earned it for being such sweet bros. Check out the interview we did with them here and then go bang your head to their music. Oh, did I mention how awesome it is that lady looks like she's wearing a flaming cake? FUKK.

http://mantar.bandcamp.com/

猫 シ Corp. - pretty much everything?


The name translates to Cat System Corp. and I honestly didn't know which album to pick, because they are all excellent. If you ever become the CEO of a spa resort, this is the music you will play while ladies get their facials done. I'm gonna link the wonderful 太陽。慰安。楽園。album for your listening pleasure. It translates to "The Sun. Comfort. Paraside". This is not a Japanese band btw. Check out that zany artist pic above. LOL.

https://catsystemcorp.bandcamp.com/album/--2

Phoenix #2772 - Interludes


More easy late-night listening, courtesy of Phoenix #2772. I enjoy putting this bad boy on while I'm brushing my teeth and changing into my pajamas. There's also a song with a sample from a Macintosh Plus song that samples a Diana Ross song. So meta.

https://phoenix2772.bandcamp.com/album/interludes

Waterfront Dining - COMFY 快適な


I picked COMFY 快適な but Waterfront Dining has released a buttload of stuff in 2014 and everything is excellent. If you're into smooth, vaped out jazz vibes, this band will please you immensely. 

October 5, 2014

Anadel - The Works


If you're at all familiar with The Walking Dead game series then you probably know everything about this band already. If not, this would be a great moment to start doing so, because their music is just as good without it acting as a game soundtrack.

Labelling themselves as Atmospheric Folk, this quirky little group from Napa, California have the weird gift of making their male listeners feel somewhat emasculated by tuning in to their music. That's to say that a majority of the girls out there who aren't deemed a dominatrix or a demon lady by trade will also love their violin tinged, soft vocals renditions of every song they write.

Here it is, judge for yourselves, then maybe follow up with the rest of their catalogue.

September 27, 2014

The Chronicles Of Israfel - A Trillion Lights, Tome II (Preview)


If any of you happen to have been around when I wrote my second ever review for Tzeeeac, just know I spoke of these guys that form part of the title of this article. And while seven years have passed since the release of Starborn, Dominic&Co. are sneaky enough to just tease us with snippets of the upcoming album, consisting of an instrumental song to bridge the gap between the two albums, followed by three singles from the upcoming LP, each one with its own art. 

Here's the songs for you, placed in order of release.









 Man, I cannot wait to hear the whole thing in context!

September 7, 2014

City of Ships - Minor World (2011)




While Chester and Marco sit around on the porch of their houses acting like two old ladies and debate the days when they were young and had more wishes and wants about musical journalism, while they do all that and more I'm going to continue to put stuff up on Tzeeeac because what the hell? There is still good music to be heard out there and if their lazy asses decided to take a break, that's something I don't have to do. 

And while there may not have been so much activity in the Tzeeeac inbox that actually sparks my interest, randomly going from review to review does occasionally put me in direct contact to some obscure bands that make me want to listen to them over and over again.

Evidently, the prize of the month of August goes to the US of A trio City of Ships that manages to convincingly blend together post rock, alternative and mostly harsh and angry vocals that wouldn't be out of place on some weird mix of punk and screamo outfit (yeah, I know, I've just fit one too many genres into a single phrase; sue me if you like or read on). The end result is, quite honestly, unlike everything I have listened to before, as they don't have any fancy instrumentation or riveting soloing that swipes the listener off their feet. No, they're more of a mood band, with songs that don't necessarily go out their way to dissociate themselves from the rest of the album, but work an approach towards adding on the atmosphere. 

With this said I'm putting their latest album, Minor World, as my favorite in their short discography. It's more laid back and refined than the rest and it seems that the group has settled comfortably in their formula. I'd like to specially highlight 'Darkness At Noon', a song that deviates completely from the rest of the act and stands like something that Steven Wilson would have recorded in early days Porcupine Tree. Here it is, find the rest of their stuff on bandcamp (and hope you enjoy it at least half as much as I do).


P.S: This is a note to Chester. It seems that you're commuting for two hours every day and that takes up some Tzeeeac time from your calendar.  Well, my commute is five hours daily; sorry buddy but you got nothing on me :P

September 1, 2014

HIATUS.


Hey everyone.

Just wanted to let you know we're going on indefinite hiatus. 

We're not shutting down for good. 

I can't speak for the others, but I have been feeling very burned out for a while and this whole thing seems a bit of a drag lately. Something that started out as a fun thing to do with my buddy has now begun to feel like an obligation and there's no fun in that. Real life obligations also play a part. Turns out it's not as easy finding time to write about emotional black metal bands when working a (pretty great) full time job and commuting for almost 2 hours every single day. Our platform of choice Blogspot is also a huge reason, at least for me - it's basically turned into a big pile of shit and I don't have the time and patience to wrestle with it and its dumb errors anymore.

Marco and I have been talking things over and we both feel the need for a fresh start with our blog. We don't know what that means yet, but we'll use this time to figure it out. 

So while we take some time off to find ourselves and reflect on the meaning of Kanye West lyrics on a sandy beach, this website will remain up as a testament of our greatness. Tumblr will still be updated daily through the mercy of our Saint Patron Gherasim and we're probably gonna post on Facebook every now and then, too. 

Don't be sad. We're gonna be back at some point. Just not too soon. 

The new Deafheaven song sucks, btw. 

August 10, 2014

EXPERIMENTAL HIP-HOP TRIFECTA: Clipping / Death Grips / frateleNORD





As you might be aware by now, TZEEEAC has become a filthy hipster-ridden hole on the internet, where the mainstream is pretty much shunned in favor of the underground, the obscure, the hidden and (at times) the occult. We have specific, yet all-encompassing tastes - as long as they fall within the limits of the weird and the heavy. Electronic music? Sure, but it has to be about futuristic robots beheading each other with laser gauntlets in a neon-lit post-apocalyptic urban nightmare. Classic rock? Maybe, but is it sung by a Japanese band whose members can barely speak any English yet insist on writing lyrics in the same language? Industrial? All for it, as long as it's produced using actual industrial machinery (looks like I forgot to write about Author&Punisher and GOG). Pop music? Sounds great, but it has to be weird and noisy, with lyrics that read like Juno's personal diary. 

Hip hop ain't much different - actually, no, it has to be for me to even touch it. There's nothing especially interesting to me about regular gangsta rap or shitty MTV glossy rap. I don't even like Kanye West. No, my favorite hip-hop acts are weird, cutting edge artists that have dedicated their lives to reinventing an entire genre, smashing its tropes and making it fascinating again. Below are 3 of 2014's hip-hop albums which are mandatory listens. Incidentally, these artists are also able to bring Marco and I together for awkward white guy hip-hop dancing, much to the collective embarrassment of anyone around us. TURN DAT SHIT UP.

Clipping have merged two genres which I never imagined would come together: hip-hop and noise. Good news is, they're both expertly done. Under the appearance of a smooth, technically flawless delivery, this dude is spitting out lyrics about chopping hands off, sitting on the porch of your ghetto place shooting motherfuckers for looking at your daughter the wrong way and dancing around in a night club until you're thrown out on the curb. The rapping is then laid out on a nail bed of harsh, abrasive noise, sounds of shattering glass, crashing cars, crumbling bricks and drilling machines. No, I mean it, these dudes have manages to construct hip-hop beats out of random noises and it's the most badass thing ever. They even have one song where the MC raps over a digital alarm clock. You know the noise that has plagued your childhood mornings and possibly even your shitty adulthood? These guys have taken it, subdued it and made it their bitch. They have curb-stomped hip-hop, cut it up and now they're wearing its bloody skin and parading around the hood. Either hide forever or come out in submission, because hip-hop can never be the same again. IT'S CLIPPING BITCH.

Death Grips are the de facto terrorists of the hip-hop scene, blowing up its conventions and mutating it into something gruesome and fascinating to hear. They're big favorites of the TZEEEAC crew since they started out and we were surprised, just like everyone else, when Death Grips dropped another unannounced album earlier this year. I wasn't surprised, though, to find out it's even more fucked up and pushes even more boundaries than their previous efforts. Niggas on the moon is their most schizophrenic album to date. MC Ride's lyrics are as abstract as I've come to expect and he sounds like he's legit mentally ill (in a good way?), and the beats he lays his vocal tracks over are crude concoctions of little bits of noise, static, primitive drum licks and chopped up glitch samples of Bjork's vocals. Yes, that Bjork. She said she's excited that Death Grips decided to use her voice throughout this album and so should you. This is Death Grips at their most creative and they have made sure they will be remembered as such - they have decided to call it quits while they're in their prime. After a short musical career full of publicity stunts, deliberately missing concerts and just generally fucking with their fans every which way, Death Grips disbanding with no warning and literally announcing it via a note on a dirty napkin is so part of their modus operandi that I'm not even upset or disappointed. I was in on it the whole time. I do what my people would.

Finally, here’s one from our own Romanian cesspool, the enigmatic bros known as frateleNORD. They started off as a pretty tame experimental hip-hop duo, albeit with a very recognizable, stream-of-consciousness type lyrical approach. These days, I don’t know what the fuck they’re doing. Their latest album is 33 tracks of hermetic, backstreet philosopher, drug-induced gangsta rap that will throw you off the loop. Simple but effective beats lay the groundwork for Cleg’s abstract, often surreal lyrics that will be forever lost on me. I have no idea what he’s talking about and I’m fine with that. The music is so damn enjoyable, perfectly fit for walking around the city at night, while taxis whiz by you, that I really don’t care that I might not “get it”. For all I know, there is nothing more beneath the surface, so why try digging up meanings that might not even be there? !

August 6, 2014

Enabler - La Fin Absolute du Monde (2014)



Gonna keep this very short because I'm busy tonight, but I've been jamming this every day this week and it's the shit. Basically, Milwaukee's Enabler play a vitriolic blend of hardcore punk and grindcore with some pretty obvious nods to thrash metal here and there - and they somehow manage to make it sound fresh and exciting. La Fin Absolute du Monde is the latest album in their already impressive discography and it strikes the perfect balance between melody, groove and heaviness. It's fast, violent, majorly pissed-off, dissonant and will splatter your brains across the wall with its sheer aggression. Perfect match between puke-your-guts-out vocals and brilliant guitar work, with some oddly restrained drumming. If New Life doesn't have you ripping your clothes off, destroying your fucking room in anger, going to your local government branch and just starting to punch everyone there, you are dead inside.

August 3, 2014

SHOW REVIEW: Sam Evans Band


Following a time frame that included sore muscles, a rather self induced back injury, fever, inability to speak properly due to an inflicted laziness of the vocal chords, I somehow managed to crawl into a local pub (during one of my better days) and attend a show ran by these fine gentlemen here. 

Apparently it wasn't their first time in Romania, as they've previously recorded a record on our beloved wonderlands and even given it a romanian title. What music they play, you ask? Well, as themselves describe it, it's a mix-up with elements taken from Jazz, Soul, Blues and Reggae. They sometimes play acoustic, sometimes electric, but it seems to me that no matter what the style, their songs sound just as great.

That's because they're the type of people that were simply born to write and perform music and while they share very young ages, their souls are unmistakingly old (and I say that in a good way). The music is passionate and delicate at the same time, technically proficient, with actual (and great) lyrics, and most of all they can relate to the crowd. I don't know exactly if Sam's voice was affected that night, but he had that raspy tone only a two-pack-of-cigars-per-day-smoker-twenty-years-down-the-line could have, which suited the compositions immensely. And dare I say, they have one song that I bet Sting himself would wish he'd have written: it's called 'How we should be loved', it's found on their CD's and they also played it live (I couldn't find it on Youtube, but it's present on their official page).

What I can give you are two of the better suited audio recordings out there and you can hear for yourselves what the gig is about, or you can switch directly to http://samevansmusic.co.uk/ for some high fidelity stuff (and I highly recommend you look up 'How we should be loved').



P.S: One could not leave their show without purchasing not one, not two, but four of their CD's! Great stuff guys, hope to hear from you again next year, and hope you don't mind that I stole one of your pictures for this review :). 

Other useful links for you all:

August 2, 2014

HIGH SPIRITS "You Are Here" LP (2014)


HIGH SPIRITS is just about one of the most unique heavy metal bands hitting it right now, in 2014. To say that they play 80s high energy rock would be a crass understatement, as you would probably say "bah! just another retro act! they come by the dozen". You couldn't be more wrong, as these Chicago swingers, commanded by the Mozart of headbangers, Prof. Chris Black (SUPERCHRIST, DAWNBRINGER, PHARAOH) manage to play no-fills all-chills heavy metal the way it was intended to be played and make it sound like it was played from the heart, not from the costume.

After a series of demos, there came the debut "Another Night" LP (2011), which was just about the best album released in 2011, back to back with swedes GRAVEYARD's "Hisingen Blues". It was the heavy metal dream come true, sounding out of this world all thanks to mastermind Chris B. 

"You Are Here", to put it simply, is just more of the same, but not necessarily in a bad way. It doesn't feel like HIGH SPIRITS are trying to top their own game, they just stick to the formula that made them what they are: harmonic guitars, the superb vocals and the melody in itself. The only thing that makes this album not be better than "Another Night" is that "Another Night" sounded very fresh to me when I first heard it, it had its own sound very well crafted. "You Are Here" is just like that, minus some memorable choruses and melodies, but it really lacks in the fact that it's all been heard before, it doesn't really bring anything new to the table. I really enjoy it but, again, it's more of the same.

I really wished for this album to blow me away like the first one did, but I can't complain, because it still is a very well crafted piece of music, yet it needs a couple of replays for it to get on your good side.

8/10

July 30, 2014

HAVE NO FEAR OF THE DEVIL: King Dude - Fear (2014)


"Folk singer turned rock'n'roll for Lucifer"

For the first time since I've been listening to his music, I feel the above description, which can be found on his Bandcamp page, finally suits King Dude's style like a studded leather glove. I don't necessarily mean the last bit - His Dudeness has always been all about holding hands with the Devil. But Fear is the album which finally unlocks the real rock'n'roll in his music.


For those of you unfamiliar with King Dude, his music could be described as dark folk and it's mostly just him, an acoustic guitar, lots of  reverb and unsettling lyrics dealing with the occult and feelings best left seeping in some deep corner of the soul. His latest album sees King Dude trade his acoustic guitar for an electric in more than one occasion and there's no denying that this is the loudest and noisiest his music has ever been. The groove factor is also turned way up on Fear and many songs, like Demon Caller Number 9 or Bottomless Pit, will make you feel like doing the boogie in a graveyard at midnight, dancing with witches and skeletons under the pale moon light. Other times, the music is strangely hip and radio-friendly, like on the beautiful and melancholic Never Run, a sentimental ode for the girl that's always there, no matter what. That's no surprise, as King Dude was always really good at conjuring fantastic, imaginary love stories (Barbara Anne from the Burning Daylight album is a great example, a love declaration set in a dark and gothic Wild West). The song which would satisfy the Devil's desire to headbang the most is definitely Fear Is All You Know, a menacing and electrifying piece that opens up the album on a threatening note and which ends up being one of the highlights of Fear and probably one of my favorite songs from His Royal Dudeness entire career. I probably shouldn't forget to mention that his voice is as gorgeous as ever, able to go from bitter rasps to loving whispers and always able to convey emotions and, more often than not, a weird feeling of dread and unease.

Barbara Anne, Lucifer Is the Light of the World, Jesus in the Courtyard and River of Gold will always be my favorite songs from this stellar singer and composer, but I'm happy that Fear has turned out to be such a good album, even though it feels different from his previous work. It goes through many different moods, from menacing to pretty (woah, I forgot to mention Maria, another excellent song from this album) to loving to depressing to eerie, but it manages to be a coherent and entertaining experience and a worthy addition to King Dude's solid discography.

With light,

Chester

POST #666: Lord Mantis - Death Mask (2014)



EY KIDS WASSUP?

I’m briefly back from the corporate trenches (it’s brutal out there) and, seeing as it’s been more than a month since I’ve written something on here, I figured I’d do well and contribute to the festering pit that TZEEEAC has become. I’m having a really hard time mustering enough energy and motivation to write here on a regular basis, but one post every once in a while is doable, especially as I’ve amassed a pretty hefty backlog of stuff I wanna share and talk about.

Also, this momentary return to form happens to be the 666th post on TZEEEAC, so I thought “hey, what better way to celebrate this milestone than with some fucking horrible death metal album that will creep everyone and their dog out?”

Thus I give you Lord Mantis. A relatively new death metal outfit bred in the sewers of Chicago that have gained quite a bit of accolades for their efforts, especially 2012’s Pervertor. This year, they have returned with their third album, Death Mask, and a lot of people seemed to have lost their shit about the cover art, mainly because there’s a dong on it. The artist responsible for this nasty painting is none other than Wrest aka Jef Whitehead aka that dude from Leviathan and more importantly Lurker of Chalice. It’s pretty cool, I guess, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the cover art on Pervertor, penned by the mighty Justin Bartlett aka VBERKVLT and which featured deformed creatures feasting on the remains of some sort of crucified Jesus-like abomination. Not sure why I just typed this entire thing, but you should definitely check out Justin Bartlett’s stellar work. Do so while also listening to Lurker of Chalice and now we’re in business.

As for the music itself, Death Mask is a really weird beast and the best I can describe it is a filthy, gooey mixture of death metal, oozing sludge and earth-shaking drone with a hefty dose of doom metal and some odd bits of noise and industrial-type stuff thrown in. Most of the time, the riffs are fuzzy, very repetitive, pummeling as fuck and drowned in reverb. The drumming feels like being run over by stampeding mammoths and the vocals are some of the most infected, distorted and vile snarls I have heard on an album this year. The songs are long enough to allow these combined elements to reach their full potential and effects and a complete listen of Death Mask will leave you feeling weakened and disgusted. Album closer Three Crosses brings in some – dare I say? – beautiful guitar leads, but the most fun I’ve had with this opus lies in the first three tracks, which caused me much dismay and also made me wonder if maybe Lord Mantis are pioneering a new genre of music situated at the crossroads between drone, noise and death metal. Body Choke is especially brutal – it feels like being choked and stomped on for nearly 9 minutes with no respite. Love every minute of it.

Not sure yet if this album will make my end-of-the-year list (although I’m convinced many online publications will have a rightful spot for it on their lists), but you should definitely check it out because it is one of the more unique-sounding death metal albums I’ve encountered recently and it’s oppressive enough to remind you of the first time you listened to Wormphlegm.

July 27, 2014

Year of No Light - Tocsin (2013)


Year of No Light struck a particular personal chord for me with their previous release Ausserwelt. Their unique blend of sludge, doom and post rock, all held together by a drone background and layers upon layers of dueling guitars, that album was a different kind monster (especially the first half). 

The same formula is kept on Tocsin, with zero vocals and two drum sets as distinctive marks from these french lads, however its a slower, more brooding journey than Ausserwelt ever was. Tracks such as 'Desolation' and 'Stella Rectrix' serve the listener from a meditative point rather than anything else metal related and while all the elements are there to form a great album, I simply can't shake the feeling that they held back on the melodies somehow. Dare I say it, Tocsin feels like the second installment of a triptych, serving a higher purpose than it originally lets out. 

With all that said, should you be interested in this release, you may want to also direct your attention to the aforementioned Ausserwelt. I'll leave a sample from each, just in case I've left you undecided about these guys.



July 13, 2014

Tristania - Darkest White (2013)


Following last week's trend of 'albums that I didn't quite got to listen to', time has come for the latest LP from Gothic doomsters Tristania to take the spotlight (more than a year after its actual release).  And while myself, just as other metalheads around, suffered from cringed induced nausea after hearing their 2010 Rubicon, I was also 'fortunate' enough to hear them live at that time and realized that passing judgement at such a point in their career would be unprofessional to say the least. As such, I decided to wait for a second album in their newly found formula.

And I'm glad I did, as 'Darkest White' finds the band in a more relaxed posture, each member having settled comfortably in their role, with productive ideas being put 'pen to paper' and actual metal songs being recorded, rather than chugga-chugga riffs with pop vocals thrown over them at random. Mariangela's voice sounds appropriate to the whole ensemble now and they did right in balancing correctly the three types of vocals present on this album (male harsh, male clean and female clean). Hell, there are even some songs where Mariangela doesn't even appear and this says much about the effort put in to create a coherent album rather than relying on her image to generate sells.

With this said, what we get is an LP comprised of eleven focused songs that range from 'good' to 'tastefully delicious' to 'damn it that chorus just rocks!' to 'holy shit dat headbanging riff!'. While not a masterpiece by any definition, 'Darkest White' is a turning point for the new and modern age Tristania crew, one that starts in full force and gradually gets better up until the ending moments. Which, in turn, makes me eager to hear what they will come up with during the following years.


July 4, 2014

Desiderii Marginis - Procession (2012)


I'm starting to catch up with albums I've put off for quite a while now and first to go is Procession, the 'latest' (since it's already two years old now) offering from my favorite ambient artist, Johan Levin. If you're not familiar with the project, here's a review of one of his previous albums I did sometime ago. Take it with a pinch of salt.

'Procession' is, by right, quickly identifiable for anybody who has listened to DM before. and I'm happy to report that the style portrayed here is somewhat closer to the first released albums. The sound is somber, without any apparent hooks or bravados, yet it works well as the core structure is retained to electronic instruments only, throwing way any and all real life similarities one might think of (well, aside from the title track with its infectious melody). It will simply drone, buzz and churn away in an off-beat key, always leaving room for more.

And that's why I like it as much as any of Johan's previous efforts, even if it might not equal them in complexion or originality.



June 23, 2014

BLUNTLUST: Tumbleweed Dealer - Western Horror (2014)


Where do you go when you've been shot in the stomach and vultures are already circling your soon-to-be corpse? Where do you hide from the Southern Reaper, who rides upon his skeletal steed, with a scythe in one hand and a shotgun in the other? How much peyote is too much? And how much exactly does an ounce of tumbleweed cost?

Fear not, for the Tumbleweed Dealer has returned stronger and more baked than ever to answer all of these questions. At the border between the Wild West and drug-induced psychedelia stands Seb Painchaud and his gang of ghoulish cowboys, all bearing arms, pipes and enough weed to make Al Cisneros sense a disturbance in the smoke. Western Horror is the band's second album, released just today, and, if you know what's good for you, you have awaited this album with trembling hands and heavy breathing. Was it worth the wait?

HELL YEAH BITCH!

Tumbleweed Dealer might have just perfected a new genre of music that I have decided to call country-doom, even though it reeks of many other delicious flavors. There's a lot of late-Earth influence going on here, as Seb Painchaud conjures an intricate weaving of shamanistic, Wild West-tinged riffing with some bluesy hues and tons of melody, complimented by some insanely groovy bass work and simple yet atmospheric drumming. I sort of knew what to expect, as I have listened to their previous work A LOT. Hitting play on the album's opener, aptly named Bluntlust, has managed to blow me away. The entire song exudes summer vibes through every note and you think you're in for a fun ride, but things quickly take a turn for the sinister with Slow Walk Through A Ghost Town. From that point on, Western Horror constantly changes gears and alternates between moods, but one thing remains constant: the band's penchant for creating mesmerizing tunes that could be the soundtrack to a spaghetti Western horror movies about skeletal cowboys and ghastly rancheros. Repetition and various motives are used with confidence and grace and, by the time the album was over, I realized I ended up loving this band even more.

Tumbleweed Dealer is like the bastard son of Earth - they sucked on Dr. Dylan Carlson's tit enough to get a taste of the country drone they have professed in their recent years, but then they broke into daddy's medicine cabinet, took a few sips of whatever they could find in there, grabbed the family shotgun and went out to terrorize the West. Western Horror is their best work yet and one of the most exciting albums to come out in 2014 so far. Lock'n load!


June 22, 2014

MUSIC NOTES: The Chewers - Chuckle Change And Also (2014)



This is the weirdest thing I've listened to in a while.

This record sounds like The Residents and an early Tom Waits met in a bar, got drunk and had sex in the parking lot. Not sweet and tender love, mind you, but the guilty, awkward, middle-aged kind of fornication that only a mid-season episode of Louie could accurately depict. This is the kind of music you write after spending at least 10 years in a cabin in the middle of some random Louisianan swamp, deprived of any sort of human interaction.

 On Chuckle Change And Also you'll find instances of:
  • folk rock with a southern gothic approach; you can think of it as a trailer-park version of Grateful Dead
  • they striped rock down to its very basics - rudimentary, churned guitars,  mesmerizing drum rhythms and bigger-than-life bass lines that evoke an overall sense of futility and despair
  • everything about this album is raw and untamed
  • dark, twisted lyrics that tackle subjects such as poor hygiene, insomnia, unemployment, boredom and awkward social interactions
  • menacing deadpan delivery
  • wry sense of humor
  • all in all, the purest americana album I've heard in a while

TZEEAC RATING: they'd better include The Chewers' music in the next season of True Detective/10

June 18, 2014

PERTURBATOR "Dangerous Days" LP (2014)


We here at TZEEEAC love the whole new wave of 80s retro-synth, and with PERTURBATOR having ridden this wave to orgasmic proportions in the past with the beautiful "Terror 404" and the darker "I Am The Night", we all knew that his third record was going to be something of serene beauty. He was even cool enough to answer our dumb questions a while back, so we got you pretty much covered on this subject.

"Dangerous Days" starts out smoothly, with the opening track "Welcome Back" setting the game for us. After that the fortunately titled "Perturbator's Theme" kicks you in the nuts all of the sudden, making sure you feel like you're sinking in your chair from the sheer intensity and perfect synth hooks. There's a couple of songs on this LP that have some relaxing vocals added on them for good measure. Now, I haven't enjoyed this sort of experimentation on PERTURBATOR's behalf in the past (some songs come to mind from "I Am The Night" that really didn't do it for me) but shit, man, the vocals here just bring "Dangerous Days" even closed to the top spot on what will be this year's best album list. They really tie the whole thing together, like mayonnaise on some golden shaworma.


This album really stands out on two levels: hooks and emotions, and I'm going to talk about the latter. The fact that the instrumentals on this album give you so much energy and emotion is just something that really can't be that easily achieved using decades-old keyboards and loopers. Then there's the tracks with the vocals on them that bring about 10% of what DAFT PUNK have been doing since forever with the whole "human/robot" deal, they sound like robots playing synths and vocals, but feel very human alltogether and emotion-y, and I find that really really good.

I've enjoyed PERTURBATOR's early albums so much because they sounded very retro and to a certain small degree, pretty cheesy (songs about Linnea Quigley and Josh Holmes.. you know what I'm talking about), but with "Dangerous Days" this is most certainly not the case. The whole LP is way darker and way more deep and mature compared to his other work (this shit sounds straight out of Pitchfork but it's as accurate as I can say it) and for that I hold this album very very high. The evolution that this artist has come through is about as good as it gets.

9.5/10

June 14, 2014

Exit Oz - Impamantenit (2014)



Let me just start off by complementing the artist that worked the cover on this album. I mean gosh darn'it, it might just be one of the coolest things I've seen in the last years, while also complementing very well the nature of the music.

What music you ask? Well, they list themselves as ambient darkjazz and it's probably the most accurate depiction of their sound. Basically, if you can picture Bohren after a prolonged session of ganja, playing on the minimal side, with romanian folk influences thrown around and just a touch of metal here and there by some careful use of blast beat percussion (!!), basically this is Exit Oz. 

Or you could experience it in any way you please, I just know that I've been listening to this LP for the last week and I can't seem to get enough of it. Mandatory listen, regardless of your musical preferences!



June 10, 2014

Cockblues Concerto - A warm playlist on a cold night


Tonight we bring you a masturbation-themed playlist compiled by our buddy Radu. I have no idea how he managed to scavenge all of these songs together, but I'm glad he did. To my absolute surprise, it's not just two hours of horrible pornogrind anthems about jamming jails up your pee-hole, but a really catchy collage of various bands and styles, perfect for turning you on to new music you might like. Here's what the man himself has to say about this:

I compiled a list of masturbation-themed songs, the perfect soundtrack for either sippin' whiskey in the dark or scouring your tower of power (or both at the same time!). Some classics, some not-so-classics, but if you feel like taking a break from strumming the one-string harp, all suggestions are welcome.


- RADU 



Have fun!


June 8, 2014

N. Tesla - Lux Manifesto (2014)


This is a seriously weird name for a band. The simple machismo behind it and the fact that they approach music in such an organic, free flowing yet somewhat 'don't give a rat's ass just as long as we play what we like' type of structure, all that makes me want to put them in their own category, and that is Marco Post Metal. 

Yup, I've said it. This is basically all the things that The Ocean failed to deliver when they downsized to an actual band instead of running things like some small form of music state. Downside of N. Tesla's first LP? It's two short: thirty three minutes of screaming, howling and all around dissonant riffing is not nearly enough to satisfy my need for unpurposeful violence on a prolonged weekend. Upside? They also have a demo entitled 'Misogyny', you might want to check that out also. 

I know I will.



June 6, 2014

RECITATION - Recitation (2014)

A couple of days ago, I got an e-mail from my old friend Jeppe. He was in the amazing Obstacles, I tattooed him, he tattooed me, so yes... we go way back and I love him to pieces. In this e-mail, he told me about his new band and I clicked the link, expecting technical and jazzy instrumental music along the lines of his old band, but oh how wrong I was...

An ominous incantation over heavy as fuck downtuned dissonant riffs and cymbals crashing like the chains on a medieval torture device creeps up to me... unsettling, claustophobic, terrifying. This sure as hell isn't your mordern run of the mill occult doom, this shit is fucking EVIL! Khanate comes to my mind, Grief of course, even the insanity of Corrupted, all those pillars of gut wrenching heaviness - but as strange as it might seem, the band that I am most reminded of (even though Recitation sound nothing like them) is Goatlord. Recitation have the same fucked up atmosphere that evokes images of Hammer Horror mist, absolutely demented Lovecraft-ian madness instead of a watered down cartoon version.

The music of Recitation is very simplistic (as opposed to a sheer "simple"), yet very effective. Each instrument gets equal space, like lines of graves in an old cemetery, and this includes the vocals. Instead of "leading" the song somewhere, it's just another device in the ritual. The songs flow like ectoplasm from the mouth of a possessed person, like a spirit photography set to music. If you like your music dark and heavy, look no further. Recitation is the real shit.



http://recitation.bandcamp.com/
http://unholyrecitation.tumblr.com/

June 1, 2014

Tzeeeac Interview: NEKROFILTH


US scumfucks NEKROFILTH are the driving force in decadent, deprived and delicious death metal music slammed together with some of the uglies punk tunes this side of the sewer. They've finally got around to answering our questions, so get a bucket nearby 'cause this shit's getting nastier by the minute...


1. What do you consider to be the worst smelling thing in the universe?

Your mother's cooking.

2. How do you take your krocodil?

After eating your mother's cooking.

3. What is a “degenerate” in your book? What are some influential famous degenerates?

A person with no common decency, and severely lacking in morals. Famous and respectable degenerates would be Charles Bukowski, El Duce, and anyone who likes your mother's cooking.

4. What sound does a volcanic zit make when you pop it? What shades of color would come out of it?

Probably sounds a lot like the first CARCASS album, and would be the same color as your mother's cooking.

5. Name three of your favorite disco acts.

THE BEE GEES, that one KISS record, and GHOST.

6. How does a blind man know when to stop wiping his ass?

Ass wiping is for friggin wimps!


7. I am a superlatively scumbag European tourist planning to travel the US. I like drugs, cheap junkie street hookers and I worship destruction. What cities, streets, places would Nekrofilth recommend me for my decadent pilgrimage?

If you're a fan of this sort of thing, you're in luck. There are many scummy and dirty places in US. Obviously I'd recommend my hometown of Cleveland, but Detroit, MI really takes the cake. There are very few places in the world as depraved and hopeless.

8. I invited this girl over for movie night. I don’t know what movies to pick. Can you recommend me some movies to add some romance? I want to make a good impression here, guys.

I would say Death Wish III, but it's a little sappy. How about Rosemary's Baby? That will keep her from getting any weird ideas.

9. How about a game of pick one and why…

Who hid the roofies?

Jack or Jim? Tequila.

Miller, PBR or Bud?  Moonshine.

AUTOPSY "Shitfun" or ABSCESS "Urine Junkies"? NME "Unholy Death",

Taxi Driver (1976) or Maniac (1980)? Taxi Driver. But both are great.

Tits or Ass? At this point I'll pretty much fuck anything.

10. What can we expect from Nekrofilth in the future?

We are gonna be pressing our second demo “Filling My Blood With Poison...” on LP. Then hopefully doing a US tour and then Europe for a tour with REPUKED this fall. After that we will continue to bum the world out with our retarded music.

NEKROFILTH "Devil's Breath" LP on HellsHeadbanger's Records OUT NOW.
Questions by A. Headcheese.
Art by D. Witchfinder.

May 30, 2014

LIVE RITUALS: Elbow


With the new category and all it seems to me that now is the time for all of you to be amazed by the sheer flair and simplicity that these musicians display. I've reviewed the album before, however I urge any of you that didn't had the chance of an audition to maybe take a hint and give this live session a go (sorry it's not HD, but the audio is as good as you can get):


  • Probably my favorite non-metal album of all time
  • Definitely my favorite non-metal live show of all time
  • Lyrics that come close to actual poetry
  • My God, Guy Garvey can sing!

May 29, 2014

New WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM Song: "Celestite Mirror"


My lords!

Great news comes forth from the throne room! Marco black metal stalwarts Wolves in the Throne Room have just unveiled a song from their upcoming album Celestite. This is set to be a departure from their old sound, yet still a familiar venture for WitTR fans: the duo's new album is going to be an experimental, instrumental work tethered to the themes and vibrations of their seminal 2011 opus, Celestial Lineage. The newly released track, called Celestite Mirror, sounds extremely promising: a vast, expansive ambient journey through dense woods, thick fog and bone-chilling blizzards; atmospheric synths, discrete bits of noise and barely distinguishable electronic ambiances all layer one on top of the other to create a magnificently beautiful work of art. 

You can consider me stoked for Celestite, which comes out on July 8th. This is going to be one of the best albums of 2014. Can't wait to hear it all! Check out the new song below and let us know what you think.




May 27, 2014

LIVE RITUALS: Order of the Owl


EY KIDS WASSUP?

Today I'm kickstarting a new feature on our beloved website that's all about amazing live (preferably HD) videos of bands and musicians tearing shit up. I noticed I spend a lot of time staring in awe at full concerts or just really good live performances and I though hey, why not share them with everyone else? I've decided to aptly name this feature LIVE RITUALS and I will also give you my notes on why exactly you should watch each video.







  • We're starting off with Order of the Owl, a bitchin' sludge metal band from Atlanta, Georgia
  • They play some of the noisiest, most head-smashing sludge I've heard in a while
  • Grinding rock'n'roll riffs and distorted bass lines = FUKK
  • Holy shit that drummer knows his way around those toms
  • That song is called Cocaine Super Demon and features the bassist hunched over the microphone and screeching like a banshee on crack
  • They're really good at using feedback as an instrument - my ears bleed, but it hurts so good!
  • Oh, you might also remember Atlanta as the home of noise-rockers Whores
  • It's funny how people are just casually walking by outside while these dudes are tearing down the venue around them
  • The bassist's posture is metal as fuck - why aren't more vocalist doing it?

May 26, 2014

TECH DEATH WEEK PART VII: Hour of Penance - Regicide (2014)


Looks like Tech Death Week has taken a sudden break just before its end - whoops! Relax, nothing bad has happened. I just got caught in a vortex of job interviews, friendly drinks, gawking at paintings, sailing the seven seas (or at least wishing I was) and more friendly drinks. All of this has barely left me any time to listen to music, let alone batter my ear drums with devastating tech death. But I think it's fair to wrap the series up nicely, so here I am, back with the final installment of Tech Death Week

For my final trick, I've lent my ears to one of the most highly anticipated tech death albums of the year, Regicide by Italian juggernauts Hour of Penance. They are a consistent act, having churned out a constant stream of albums since they started out in 2000, taking steady but small steps towards refining their sound over the years. With Regicide, the band offers 11 songs of world-shattering, devastating tech death that leaves very little to be desired. The album is an onslaught of tight, bulldozing riffs, piling one on top of the other like an endless stream of artillery strikes, and precise, destructive drumming that's both brutal and varied, while going hard on those blast beats. The guitars sound, simply put, MASSIVE: he chugging, meaty guitar tone is the perfect vehicle for conveying the band's apocalyptic, anti-religion message and its mere sound is enough to cause towering boners and furious headbanging. Vocally, things are good. Vocalist/guitarist Paolo Pieri doesn't have a huge range, but his delivery is spot-on, with just the right amount of reverb to make his growls sound powerful and dominating. The occasional choirs lend Regicide, at times, a monumental atmosphere that will make you feel tiny and intimidated. There is not a lot of variation across the songs and there are basically no breaks from the PLAY FUCKING FAST school of thought, even with the subtle changes in pace, so the album becomes kinda tiresome after a while and it seems to lack a lasting appeal, in spite of some truly excellent songs, like Spears of Sacred Doom, Reforging the Crowns and Sealed Into Ecstasy (which starts off with some skin-crawling recordings of a men's choir).

Hour of Penance keep true to their reputation of a solid, talented and dependable technical death metal band, but I really feel it's time for them to start pushing the envelope and explore some different paths on their next efforts. Regicide is a great addition to their discography, displaying tight musicianship and a stellar production. However, it is also a very "safe" album, relying on a tried-and-true recipe that doesn't leave much room for innovation and pushing the genre forward. 

PROS:

- solid tech death album
- dat guitar tone
- sounds fucking massive

CONS:

- too safe and predictable


May 25, 2014

UNDER THE CHURCH "Demo 2013"


Another tight swedish death metal release is brought upon dissection at the TZEEEAC coffee table. This time it's the bellbottom jeans and dirty workshirt-wearing hooligans that form UNDER THE CHURCH, an ugly ass death metal spewage coming directly at you from underneath tempered soils.

It's an ugly release, but it sticks very close to its source material consisting of AUTOPSY, GRAVE and CARNAGE (Swe) demos, and it pretty much delivers what it sets up to. The band is now slowly releasing an EP and a new Tape upon us, which are due sometime these weeks.

Get down with dirty death metal here!

May 24, 2014

Burn Water



How about we take a break from all the death metal going on and you let me show you some music made by a dude who lives half way around the world from our HQ?

Evidently, random clicks around the internets brought me to his soundcloud page and then this song here caught my attention.



Anyway, I think I haven't featured this kind of stuff since I did the piece on Lorn; yet this is quite different, as the mood of the songs gives out an overall melancholic and chill vibe, perfect for listening to under the quietness of a clear night sky.

He even put together some of the tunes in the same style and released an album, available on bandcamp.



Yep, I think someone might enjoy this. I know I do.

VAMPIRE "Vampire" (2014)


VAMPIRE is a swedish death metal trio that is the pure manifestation of the new wave of swedish death metal. This new wave has been both very good hits (REPUGNANT "Epitome Of Darkness", TRIBULATION "The Formulas Of Death") and some misses (MORBUS CHRON "Sweven"), mainly due to people either being way to "true" to their source material, or meaning to take it into strange places, which doesn't always work.

Yet VAMPIRE seem to sound fresh as fuckkkk.

I don't really know what's making them sound so amazingly refreshing in this whole new scene, but it's really a thing of beauty. Simple yet infectious riffs gallore allover this LP, it's like they were born to write this sort of shit. Some songs aren't so memorable, yet the triumphant ones here are really asskickers through and through, like "At Midnight I'll Posses Your Corpse", "The Fen" and "Under The Grudge".

There's really not much to say about this LP. It's a slice of swe-death for you to hold onto until the next best thing. I gotta mention that VAMPIRE have gotten theirselves a place in the Century Media Records roaster, alongside MORBUS CHRON and others, which might be the cause of the semi-polished sound of this record, a thing that does not do it too much justice, but you can get over it if you want to. This is a pretty hiped up band that a lot of people have started to hate because they supposedly aren't doing swedish death metal justice, but I find this type of crap just as justifiable as some bedroom black metaller branding them as "not true enough" for his EMPEROR and GORGOROTH infused tastes.

8.5/10

May 17, 2014

TECH DEATH WEEK PART VI: Gridlink - Longhena (2014)


As Tech Death Week is drawing closer to its inevitable end, I think it's time to bend the rules a bit. Today's feature is not exactly a technical death metal band - more like a technical grindcore band. The sci-fi concepts and imagery might  not be as in-your-face as some of the other bands I've showcased this week, but this American/Japanese outfit is well worth your attention. 

Of course, I'm talking about Gridlink, featuring members of Discordance Axis, Mortalized, Phobia and Kill the Client. Longhena is the band's final album and it is a 22 minute grindcore opus that brings new, unexpected elements to the table. The absolute highlight of this album is Takafumi Matsubara's insane and precise guitar playing, which constitutes the backbone of this release. As soon as you hit play on the first song, Constant Autumn, you know this is not going to be your typical grindcore album: you're greeted by a melodic riff that brings to mind the orthodox-tinged post-black metal of Liturgy and, a few seconds in, a drum roll signals the beginning of the artillery barrage which will permeate the rest of the album. 

Gridlink are extremely adept at creating a wall of noise that's at once impenetrable and appealing, sucking you in like a black hole made of noise. The hurricane of discordant riffs, the relentless drumming, the desperate shrieks of Jon Chang, trying to cut through all the racket - everything combines into the sort music that feels like being strapped in the chair of a crashing space ship.Your vision becomes blurry, your heart is racing, your brain is disoriented, your entire organism is going into overdrive - Longhena is one of those rare albums that elicits actual physical reactions. Brief moments of relief, like Thirst Watcher, with its clean guitars and violins, are only making you more vulnerable as the sounds once again escalate to unbelievable levels of sonic violence. And this is exactly what the lyrics deal with, too: melancholy, loss, feeling vulnerable, admitting one's insignificance in the grand scheme of things but still opposing the Universe through any means available, no matter how futile the struggle ends up being. 

Longhena was Gridlink's way of going out with a bang. They took their patented cybergrind skeleton and grafted new elements to it, crafting a grindcore album like no other. Complex, highly technical, violent beyond reason, yet surprisingly emotional. Highly recommended.

PROS:

- unbelievable technical skills
- amazing atmosphere
- harsh and abusive, yet emotional and melodic

CONS:

- this is the last Gridlink album you'll ever hear


May 16, 2014

TECH DEATH WEEK PART V: Alterbeast - Immortal (2014)


It's day 5 of Tech Death Week and today's feature is the debut full-length album by Alterbeast, who just happen to come from Sacramento, California, just like The Kennedy Veil, which was the focus of yesterday's tech death post.

Immortal is yet another slab of modern death metal with a technical edge. The 8 songs on this album are all lurching juggernauts of frenzied guitar riffs, killer drumming, a vocalist which brings to mind the planet-pulverizing screams of Rings of Saturn and more sweeps than you'd find at a janitor's convention. The production is spotless and the playing is tighter than that jar of pickles you can never open.

For all the impressive skills these guys have, though, it's a shame they're not used to craft more memorable songs. Technically, there's not anything wrong with this album, but you'll have a hard time remembering any of it 5 minutes after you're done listening. But hey, you'll definitely have your fun with this!

PROS:

- flawless production
- tight musicianship
- sweep-picking and blast beating to last you for a lifetime

CONS:

- entirely forgettable
- that cover art + logo looks like a promo for a free2play Korean MMORPG