Forming in Oklahoma City, Idre are a melancholic, earthy and hypnotic entity. The former trio (now duo for the time being due to bassist Andon Whitehorn recently taking his leave of the band) are a delicious entry into the atmospheric sphere and their sound is quite difficult to pin down. Taking in elements of doom, sludge, drone and noise, even a martial beat (Nicholas Wojcik) during second track “Witch Trial”, Idre travel the path towards oblivion in many different ways yet their gloomy aura is coherent and each passage moves deftly into the next without losing track of the core of the band.
Vocals are sparse but delightfully gothic in tone with guitarist Ryan Davis adding a new sphere of darkness to proceedings with the recordings on this two track full length taking on a somewhat doomed country feeling at times – think True Widow or Earth’s latest for comparisons – and the sprawling, sculpted landscapes of sound the record conjures are truly mesmerising.
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The duo behind Sunwølf haven’t been creating music as this project for all too long, with their first record Beyond The Sun coming out less than two years ago, yet these two gents are far from strangers and their musical lineage goes back much further than 2012s initial offering.
Beholden To Nothing and No One is an incredibly dense record and the double disc format serves to separate the harsher, heavier tones of the band from the more ambient structures that they are capable. Each side has its own feel, language and sound and it’s truly astonishing that so much work has fallen from the minds of only two people. The record begins with the gorgeous “In The Darkened River I Found The Silence Loom” with Sunwølf incorporating vocals on their music for the first time.
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Cult Of Luna’s curated Beyond The Redshift festival was an incredible experience. Each and every act I managed to see impressed and the organisation and atmosphere of the whole event was extremely on point. There’s something very special about being able to look out across a venue and see hundreds of people collectively lose their minds to what is happening in front of them.
Beyond The Redshift was fantastic and so I’ve collated some little write ups and a few pictures and videos (taken with instagram, naturally) in order to somehow express just how enjoyable the day was. As I’m a one person publication and a girl has to have a break to eat now and then, I wasn’t able to see everyone I wanted (God Is An Astronaut suffered due to a much needed coffee break) but I caught a good majority of the groups I was interested in.
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Bleak Metal is very excited about the inaugural Beyond The Redshift Festival which is taking place across three London venues on May 10th. The Cult of Luna curated event is primed to be a wonderful day of interesting music with each band carefully chosen due to the aesthetic and atmosphere they bring to the live arena. Having been lucky enough to witness a few of these bands on stage already, I’m very much looking forward to experiencing their full aural attitude along with some new names to my ears and eyes.
I wanted to bring attention to a few of the bands I am already eagerly anticipating – both acts that I know will enthrall as well as those which I am yet to encounter. The line-up is incredible and for the very first event is downright too good to be true. Let us take a closer look at Beyond The Redshift and the bands involved.
Cult of Luna’s Johannes Persson says:
“We will have Klas join us for a special two-hour set. We don’t like talking about set lists so we won’t discuss what songs we will play. We’re taking the audience through a show, a rollercoaster of dynamics; we don’t want to destroy the surprise element.
We’ll reveal exact stage times for all bands soon, but you should know that all the other bands in The Forum will play full one-hour sets, as will Amplifier in The Dome. The venues are a 7-8 minute walk apart, and The Forum and The Dome won’t clash, so hopefully you’ll be able to see everything you want to see.
The cosmological redshift is caused by the expansion of space. The wavelength of light increases as it traverses the expanding universe. Unable to assume that we have a special place within this universe, the redshift suggests to us that everything is moving away from everything else…
We may not be able to go beyond the redshift, but we can certainly think beyond it. We are bringing together artists who expand within their space – artists who create something special within this space.”
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You may remember that a few months ago I posted a review of a lovely record by a band named Northumbria. If you don’t, click here and you can see it and enjoy it perhaps.
Northumbria have a music video streaming and the title of the track is “Black Sea of Trees”. It’s really wonderful and you’d be doing yourself a favour by checking it out. I have included it below so all you need to do is press play. Minimal effort ist krieg. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
A couple of weeks of ago a gent by the name of M.Krall sent me a lovely email asking whether I’d be interested in his project Black Autumn – I of course, said yes, and in the back of my mind there was this niggling feeling that I’d heard this band before. Fast forward a few hours and a digital copy of The Advent October arrived and in turn I checked my collection and hey, there was a couple of Black Autumn things there.
Black Autumn has been steadily releasing ever since Krall incepted the band a long, long time ago, although it wasn’t until 2003 that any music was actually put out. Demo upon EP upon full length – the last one I heard was Rivers of Dead Leaves which was released in 2008, but I happened across it on the wonderful bandcamp a year or so ago (incidentally, bandcamp is where M.Krall found a link to this blog and then my email address and the rest is history etc…) – followed at quite a pacy rate and now we have The Advent October to add to a growing collection of beautifully downbeat melancholy.
M.Krall – everything
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The Toronto based Northumbria specialise is cloying drone atmospheres culled from only the hugely amplified tones of guitar and bass and this debut was recorded completely live (in a church nonetheless). There’s a definite urgency in their take on the genre that takes a hold almost immediately. High waves of frequency seep into your conscious and the sounds that Jim Field and Dorian Williamson (both Holoscene members) make are truly dripping with a stately warmth. Their hums and thrums are full of texture and a sense of movement and there’s an all-round feeling that Northumbria is a constant forward motion into the unknown.
Jim Field – Guitar, Dorian Williamson – Bass
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Wayyyyyyyy back in August the German band (one man, obvs) subject to this review reached out to me over the waves of the web and asked if I’d be interested in talking about Celestia. I checked it out, kinda loved the name Galaktik Cancer Sqaud, and replied in the affirmative. And then, like a moron, I just didn’t get around to doing anything with it. I know, I am lax, and for that I apologise to Mr Galaktic Cancer Sqaud – or Argwohn if we’re being fancy.
Argwhon – everything
2. Foreign Day
3. Artificial Life
5. Kings of Dust and Ice
6. Foreign Night
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This happens tonight. Tell all your friends. Pretty excited to help out in getting this show together. Come drink whiskey.
Also, if you recognise the picture it’s because it’s my blog header. Image copyright belongs to Cheryl Prime (that’s me). Don’t even think about it.
I originally wrote this for inclusion in Metal Hammer. Alas, there was some kind of technical error and the piece was double commissioned. I’m interested to see what the other writer named Carter thinks of Bong’s newest release but for now, here are my thoughts*
1. Dreams of Mana-Yood-Sushai
2. Trees, Grass and Stones
Mana-Yood-Sushai heralds the first Bong studio recording in their prolific seven year history and it’s a surprising addition to their output so soon after last years full length Beyond Ancient Space. Two tracks of vibrating drone make up this release and whilst it’s lovingly crafted and deftly handled, there’s a little something missing. Mana-Yood-Sushai feels too sterile – the unfamiliar environment of the studio perhaps affecting the tone. The thrumming undercurrent of manipulated sound pulses and pushes around soft drum rolls and flourishes of sitar expertly, but Bong seem content to let the twenty minute run time of first track “Dreams of Mana-Yood-Sushai” pass with nary a moment to marvel over. It’s hypnotic sure, but not captivating enough to completely hold the attention. Drone should transport you into another dimension and the Indian instrumentation used by Bong is otherworldly in texture and depth, yet it’s not until the murmuring vocal filters through “Trees, Grass and Stones” does Mana-Yood-Sushai start to take shape. Unfortunately, it’s a case of too little too late for this otherwise bewitching act.
As is customary, I also gave it a score.
*I have been given permission to use this, please don’t strike me down Hammers Gods.