This time, we discuss two records released in September («Morphine» and «Thrice Woven») and take a look back at one of the interesting releases that took place back in January (GOLD’s «Optimist»). This conjunction of current releases with others from a few months before is something that will probably be recurring in this space. A few other recent releases are briefly highlighted at the end of this piece. Cover picture of the article by Pim Top.
An Autumn For Crippled Children- «Morphine» | [Independent] | EP
Mysterious Dutch trio An Autumn For Crippled Children continue their prolific career with a new, self-released EP, titled «Morphine». This particular piece follows last year’s full-length «Eternal», but was finished before, and with a different purpose. «Morphine» is the soundtrack for the short film «Aureole», directed by Thomas Wüstemann and released in 2015. While it was created with that specific purpose, it certainly captures the usual atmospheric black metal infused shoegaze that we’ve come to expect from the band. However, neither expect the touching of extremes of records like «Lost», nor the slight experimental leanings of recent endeavours «The Long Goodbye» and «Eternal», instead, the newly released EP offers a sort of condensed, straight-to-the-point version of the An Autumn For Crippled Children sound, ideal for a quick listening experience and therefore as a gateway for the band, but without the rewards the full-lengths can offer.
Further viewing: The trailer for «Aureole», as well as instructions for how to view it, can be found here.
Further listening: «Eternal» was released by Wickerman Recordings. As with the remainder of the discography of An Autumn For Crippled Children, it can be found and acquired in their bandcamp.
GOLD – «Optimist» | [Ván Records]
“Binge watching the world collapse, confortably sitting down” is not only a great opening statement for a record, as it also works as reinforcement to the idea left in «No Image», particularly after the three official videos, that GOLD have become one of the most pronouncedly contemporary bands in modern heavy rock. After the aesthetic shift of its predecessor with the introduction of a third guitar and a good dose of post punk in the compositions, the new «Optimist» is guided by a consolidation of processes. This is mostly reflected in the writing, which seems sharper and more focused than ever before. One is left with the idea that the band led by Milena Eva and Thomas Sciarone has found its creative space and is now maturing before one’s eyes. This results in less immediate tunes, sure, but they still have that knack for writing incredible songs, such as the aforecited «You Too Must Die», the single «White Noise» or «Come With Me». Full of great songs and a notable sense of taste, it’s hard to ask for more out of «Optimist», isn’t it?
Further listening: both «Interbellum» and «No Image» (also released by Ván Records) can be found and digitally acquired in their bandcamp. Physical copies are available via Ván Records.
Note: Text originally written in Portuguese for Loud! Magazine but unpublished until now.
Wolves In The Throne Room – «Thrice Woven» | [Artemisia]
The idea of Wolves In The Throne Room returning to their black metal roots after a six year hiatus is enough to water the mouth of many a fan of atmospheric black metal. Yet, while «Thrice Woven» is a good record, it is also bound to leave a sour taste in a lot of those fans. The two guest performances of Steve Von Till and Anna Von Hausswolff have been gathering a lot of attention but have distinct outcomes; while the Neurosis frontman delivers a chilling spoken word introduction in the album second track «The Old Ones Are With Us», the Swedish singer-songwriter’s vocal performance on «Born From The Serpent’s Eye» is underwhelming at best, working slightly better in the «Mother Owl, Father Ocean» interlude. A less spoken of but certainly praise-worthy cameo is that of Don McGreevy with a stunning acoustic introduction to the record; underrated, much like the Master Musicians Of Bukkake collective to which he belongs. The guests out of the way, there are three major flaws in the record, namely, the production, the pacing and the average level of the riffs. The first comes about partly through an over compression in some passages but mostly through an excessive cleanliness in the sound, which ends up utterly lacking in atmospheric depth in a way that is not common in the band’s catalogue. The second issue is perhaps better illustrated by going all the way back to «Two Hunters», a record in which the band masterfully builds towards the massive «I Will Lay Down My Bones Among The Rocks and Roots», a song they are yet to surpas. In «Thrice Woven», things start off well enough with the contrasting tones of «Born From The Serpent’s Eye» and «The Old Ones Are With Us», but from then onwards, not only is the build towards «Fires Roar In The Palace Of The Moon» mostly ineffective and without a proper flow to guide one to that end, but the album closer in itself goes all out way too quickly. Finally, while there certainly are a decent amount of the usual high quality riffs in the record, both «Angrboda» and the album closer suffer from the presence of low level (for the band’s standards, that is) and interchangeable riffs.
Granted, all those are still decent to good atmospheric black metal songs. At the end, it’s the expectations created by the discography of Wolves In The Throne Room that end up weighing against «Thrice Woven», leaving us to reach the unfortunate conclusion that this is not an entry to which we will regularly return.
Further information: «Thrice Woven» is available in the band’s official online store.
Further viewing: while promoting the release of «Thrice Woven», Wolves In The Throne Room released their first official video for «Born From The Serpent’s Eye». Filmed by Peter and Nico, it can be watched in this location.
Other recent records worth checking out
Corrupt Moral Altar – «Eunoia» | [Independent]
“FUCK IT. Have our new album for free. Smash forever. CMA x” Corrupt Moral Altar‘s release of their new album «Eunoia» might be one of the coolest we’ve witnessed recently and a considerable surprise given that their first LP «Mechanical Tides» was released by Season of Mist. As one would expect from the Liverpool quartet, «Eunoia» doesn’t carry any pretence of subtlety, instead opting to pound the ears of those who witness it with their long-form crushing grindcore for forty odd minutes.
Further listening: almost every record from Corrupt Moral Altar can be found in their bandcamp, where only the first demo and «Mechanical Tides» cannot be acquired. The exception is the completely sold out EP «Luciferian Deathcult» which can be heard here. «Mechanical Tides» can however be purchased in digital and cd format over at Season of Mist’s bandcamp.
The Black Wizards – «What The Fuzz!» | [ragingplanet]
Second LP from the Portuguese quartet. «What The Fuzz!» considerably ups the variety from the debut «Lake of Fire», delivering some relaxed, slightly psychedelic rock n’ roll. Heavier and spacier on the first half, groovier and more relaxed on the second, generally unpretentious. Even if some songs do drag for a bit, this is some good shit from a band with quite some promise.
Further listening: Both their first, self-released EP, «Fuzzadelic», and debut LP «Lake of Fire» (ragingplanet) can be found and ordered in their bandcamp.