Often I have bands send me a nice email asking if I’d like to hear some music. I like that, I like hearing new things that I may not have found otherwise. Sometimes I have bands who I have been in touch with previously send me something they think I might like. And I like that too. What I don’t like is when I take forever to write something about those bands. Life is busy and I don’t do enough on here. The Round Up Tapes this time is five bands who have submitted themselves, or have been submitted by someone I have dealt with before. Enjoy!
Barbelith – Mirror Unveiled
Baltimore’s Barbelith attack black metal with a sly atmospheric tone that creeps beneath their otherwise harsh sounds and lifts their music into the more intriguing category of USBM. The band are raw where it counts and beautiful where it matters with Mirror Unveiled flowing from fast, staggering black metal to gorgeous arrangements of softer movements that layer the epic “Astral Plane” from beginning to end in light and shade. Harrowing screams from Barbelith’s frontman stand against the darkness and encompass the anguish that is held within their walls of sound. Highly recommended.
Dahakara – Lone Aeon EP
Hailing from Istanbul, Dahakara bring a slightly more experimental edge to black metal and Lone Aeon showcases a band who are willing to try new things while injecting their music with passion and new angles for the genre. Vocals are low, curious and growled – akin to Dagon of Inquisition at times – and the music comes across as somewhat symphonic yet also strangely stripped back. It makes for a strange listen but Dahakara are quite open about the off kilter aspect of their sound with instrumental pieces working with more bombastic tracks on this short EP to allow the band to put across their different sides – particularly during the EPs title track which trips along on a electronic beat so outside of second song “Ars Paulina” that it feels like a completely different band. It’ll be interesting to hear what this project does next.
Dead Ranch – Antler Royal
Dead Ranch’s Antler Royal came out last year, so this is kind of a cheat, but it’s been on a very long “to do” list for months so it’s probably high time something was said about it. Antler Royal is a sludge-riven take on hardcore with dirty riffs burrowing deep under the punk influenced beats and fast, pacey moments countering the harsh, ravaged vocals that reach out over the instrumentation. “Attack of the Sky Creatures” bursts into life on lightning quick blasts while Dead Ranch continually move the track forward on clever guitar movements and changing drum kicks in order to keep things interesting and in motion. Soaring guitars lift the song above the mire and Antler Royal pushes for the burn of “Mudwalker/River Drinker” and onwards to the dastardly beat of “La Petite Mort.”
Kick Nurse – Horse Conduit EP
Kick Nurse have got that cool, anti-rhythm, Palehorse kinda thing going on with Horse Conduit imbuing difficult textures and movements with angular cuts and staccato flicks of the guitar to create an EP that showcases their off-kilter approach. “Gusto The Great” marks their territory as one not for the faint hearted while “Swish Amish Knife” plunges you into a discordant trip into the unknown via strange vocal patterns, bass-heavy riffs and moments of quiet that breathe with anticipation for what may come next. Horse Conduit is an intriguing release and Kick Nurse are a band to watch.
NAGA – Hēn
If downtuned, Italian sludge is your thing, then NAGA are the band for you and Hēn is the record to lose yourself in. The slow, processional doom of opener “Naas” counters the faster paced harshness of “hierophania” and gives NAGA a chance to show that they are more than able to create interesting and compelling music within a genre that can sometimes seem stagnant. Hēn moves from weighty compositions drenched in anguish to more dynamic moments that are draped in urgency and coloured with despair. “eris” is laced with fire with Lorenzo De Stefano’s vocal laying over it all in horror and disparate rage. NAGA are a punishing act and their command is truly exemplary.