Sunday, 25 November 2012

One Man Metal - The Black Metal Fringe

I might be a bit late to the party, but One Man Metal is a really fine look into the world of solo Black Metal performers. There are three parts to the film, and the first is below.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Black Metal Tapes 2: Aetheres and Apati

I picked up these two Black Metal tapes from the excellent European label/distro Cold Void Emanations. They have a slew of tapes and records from across the BM spectrum, and shipping is pretty decent to the U.S., so check them out if you have even the faintest interest in this type of music. The two tapes are from acts I had never heard of before, and bought them solely based on the description provided at the aforementioned website. Both are on the atmospheric side of things, and have interesting builds and instrumentation, putting them squarely in the melodic end of the aisle.

Apati is from Sweden. This is mid-tempo work, with some distant ghostly wails coming from the vocalist. I have no idea what is being said, but this is well mixed and has been a fine soundtrack to the morning paper. The other tape has been issued on CD and vinyl in the past, but BM always sounds best on tape to my ears, so I was pleased to pick up Aetheres' Łaknienie Misterium Nocy in this format. This is some pretty nice heathen material from Poland, but apperently they really hit their stride with their next record, Dark Wisdoms Domain. The Metal Archives had this to say about Łaknienie Misterium Nocy:
Now, while the production isn’t great, it still cannot hide the fact that the music is excellent. These tracks are filled with melancholy, plenty of good sad guitar melodies/ harmonies and Warterz also pulls off many nice solos. The music emanates a strong mystical mood and no, there are no blast beats at all on this album. Mostly it’s mid-paced to slow well-composed stuff, yet still with lots of variation within the songs. Both keyboards and acoustic guitar are used quite a lot to enhance the atmosphere and they certainly succeed in doing so. Despite the fact that there are quite a lot of keyboards, this is still overall a guitar oriented album.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Anri Kumaki 熊木杏里 from the Dollar Bin

I picked up Anri Kumaki's single 春の風 a few months ago at a little Japanese music shop in San Diego. Since I am relativity ignorant of Japanese pop-music, I bought this CD from the dollar bin solely based on the cover. It wouldn't be the first time a pretty girl on a record has gotten me to spend hard earned cash, but as only a dollar was lost in the transaction, I figured it was worth the risk. 

Anri sings pretty traditional J-pop, although heavy on the ballad end and relatively absent from the dance side of the equation. It is the touching stuff that would sit well within an emotional moment in an Anime program about the challenges of school life. I enjoyed it, and while this type of thing might not be for everyone, what in the world is?

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Black Metal Tapes 1: Blakulla and Aberrant Path

I dropped into Amoeba Records in San Francisco yesterday to sell some wares I am distributing, and of course, do a little record shopping myself. I picked up some good Bay Area hardcore 7 inch records I had been looking for in the dollar bin, as well as a few Black Metal tapes on the cheap. I figured I would start up a running series here at this blog to share them.

I was unfamiliar with both artists before buying these tapes, but they were both pleasant surprises. Blakulla is a one man act from France that plays some classic BM, and clearly took a great deal from Burzum's bit. This is what Metal Archives wrote about the record:

"Original released as a limited edition cassette last year on Cold Void Emanations, it has been picked up again for a reissue through Poland's True Underground Productions, who a few of you might recognize for releases by groups like Dark Fury or Thoth. I mention this connection primarily because the sound of the tape I'm reviewing is pretty common for the label, in that it represents the 'true black metal', primitive and highly aggressive and not really giving a fuck for the conventions of variation or accessibility for a wider audience. Blåkulla lives and dies on its hellish energy, a candle burning quickly on both ends with no pretensions of elegance or comfort, and while I might very well cite an influence of early Darkthrone, Burzum or Mayhem, Darkened by an Occult Wisdom is quite determinedly sinister even by those primal standards."

I picked up the tape for 2 bucks, and have played it a few times through since obtaining it. I definitely enjoy the longer song length that Blakulla employs (most tracks are around 6 minutes in length), but you have to really love the style to see much in this release and won't pull anyone closer to this type of music. Not that that was the intention of this release. 

The other tape was from a group called Aberrant Path. The tape was self released on 200 produbbed tapes, and is accompanied by a nice Jcard that transcribes the lyrics and helps set the tone for the music. As far as I can tell, these guys were American and recorded this tape in 2005. I could not find a lick of information about the band, but a fine effort on their part.