The Round Up Tapes // Volume XX

Imber Luminis – Same Old Silences

Imber Luminis is one of many projects from Belgian artist Déhà and while his output is incredibly prolific, the work doesn’t seem to suffer so much as become elevated through his preternatural drive to create. Of course, such efforts will sap the energy of the person behind them and so it seems that Imber Luminis, while dwelling somewhere between depressive black metal, atmospheric black metal and doom, deals with feelings of being overwhelmed and of suffering on a more human level. Same Old Silences moves through its horror via two songs that are split into sections, each giving weight and desolation to the next and it’s through these movements that Imber Luminis creates waves of sadness and depression that are so tangible it almost becomes your own.

“Same Old Sufferings I and II” are re-recorded from the Same Old Sufferings release of 2011 while “III” is a new composition to complete the trilogy, much like “Silence III,” which finalises (perhaps) the beginnings of the trilogy found on A Cold Distance (2011) and Imber Aeternus (2014). In these re-recordings Déhà has truly given weight to some of his more crushing songs with vocals that are much more refined and full and with clean sections that are beautifully rendered, showing that as an artist (vocalist/instrumentalist/producer amongst many other facets of studio work), he has learned so much and is willing to improve on the past while trying to move towards the future.

The newest portion of the song begins on a piano-led section that is overlayed by emotional clean vocals, cutting to the core of your being and giving a voice to feelings of devastation that carry us all at some point. Such peace, though, cannot last and soon harsher vocals move into view with gruff, guttural sections tempered by higher pitched howls and a distinct feeling of utter hopelessness is ushered in on the back of these suffocating screams. 

“Silence III” seems somewhat freer in feeling compared to “Same Old Sufferings I II III,” as its structure is not dictated by the entire movement of music – its first two parts not being included here – and so it shifts through cascading post-rock, shimmering guitars and tangible waves of despondency on its way through seventeen minutes of sorrow. Déhà’s voice is torn with anguish throughout and the song is coloured with beautiful patterns of synthesised strings that add dimension to its rays of despair. Same Old Silences is mesmerising in its morbidity and commendable for its uncompromising honesty. 

Listen and purchase here.

Tome of the Unreplenished // Starless Domain – Epistolary of the Fall

Starless Domain are not new to these pages with an earlier edition of The Round Up Tapes speaking of their last release, ALMA, with great admiration and Epistolary of the Fall is no different in terms of its excellence. This time around Starless Domain have split their release with Tome of the Unreplenished, a project that hails from Cyprus but now resides in the UK. This project is one that melds black metal instinct with power electronics and noise influences and in doing so creates a wall of sound that is as dense as it is complicated. Perfect, then, for matching the cosmic structures of Starless Domain and their otherworldly reach.

Each band brings one, long-form track to the split and in doing so they are able to explore the more nuanced details in their music and thus create whole worlds and narratives within the sounds. Tome of the Unreplenished’s “Proskynesis” moves through oppressive metallic whirlwinds and curiously vocalised sounds that are beyond human comprehension. They are not here to find the beauty in the darkness, but rather to embrace the pitch black cosmos and to expand the consciousness alongside it. “Proskynesis” is a difficult listen and at almost nineteen minutes it is hardly an enjoyable task, but that seems to be the way that Tome of the Unreplenished want it and who are we to argue when the screams come layered with electrical noise, claustrophobic clashes and ramped up pulses of sound?

“CERES” from Starless Domain is the band’s third release of the year and they show no signs of slowing down. This nigh on forty minute track is another example of the band pushing their sound to the absolute limit and still it seems as though they have more to offer. Along with EOS and ALMA, Starless Domain are building a portfolio that encompasses the darkest corners of the universe via synthesisers, multiple layers of guitars and a voice that reaches for the highest possible registers of screams in order to cultivate complete terror. This high-pitched horror is something that adds dimension to “CERES” and its rippling effects and incorporating the blackened waves of Gnaw Their Tongues mastermind Mories and his voice during the track is another plus point in this sea of heightened tension.

 Listen and purchase here.

Roadburn Festival 2019 // In Confrontation // Vol. II

The second part of my Roadburn Festival coverage can be found below (the first part is here). Please forgive the lapses into first person narrative – it’s not something that I do very often at all but Roadburn has been a deeply personal experience each time I’ve attended and I feel that I couldn’t have taken a step back from it while writing something about it.

2018’s edition was a strange time for me; I’d moved country a few months prior and still had many unsettled feelings and that I didn’t really belong anywhere yet. The music I saw that year hit hard and seeing Bell Witch, Worship and Mizmor in one long day really took me to places I had tried not to think about. This year I feel more at home in my new country and the experience of the festival was reflected in that. I felt grief for the person I once was but also hope for what is to come. There is so much relief to be found this year, and this culminated in the Have A Nice Life performance on the main stage on Sunday – I can finally let go of my fears and embrace the future.

Thou performing at Roadburn Festival 2019 – by Cheryl Carter

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Roadburn Festival 2019 // In Confrontation // Vol. I

Beginning a review is always the most difficult part of the writing process. There are many thoughts and feelings that you want to express and so many experiences that you want to put across in the right way and your train of thought moves fluidly from one thing to the next…. but getting that down in a coherent and interesting way is something that often falls short. For a weekend spent at Roadburn Festival that process becomes ten times more difficult as experiences are not exactly in short supply and each person has their own unique take on what the city of Tilburg has given them for the four day festival run. No two people will likely have exactly the same experience of Roadburn and it’s often said by the festival team and those who have attended many times “Roadburn is what you make of it, it’s personal, it’s yours.” And that is such a true statement. This is my third Roadburn and while it’s not a festival I can claim to have been to as many times as another person…it often feels like some bands are being booked directly out of my dreams and for the thousands of other attendees this is most probably true for them. Somehow Walter gets into your mind and pulls out your musical desires and the festival becomes as much a part of you as it is for the organisers.

Thou performing at Roadburn Festival 2019 – by Cheryl Carter

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The Round Up Tapes // Volume XIII

Cavernlight – As We Cup Our Hands and Drink From the Stream of Our Ache

Cavernlight’s debut is a record wrought with absolute despair and in the five passages that make up this work, there is no hope to be found. The members are clear in their utter desperation and in As We Cup Our Hands and Drink From the Stream of Our Ache there is almost a willingness to revel in that sadness, to let it be all-consuming and to allow it to take over. Some doom holds a little light but for this Oshkosh band there is nothing at the end of the tunnel. For a debut, As We Cup Our Hands… is extremely assured; the themes run beautifully throughout and the differing elements are brought together succinctly to create a palette of darkness. Doom is the key but noise, ambient and abstract tones filter through the shadows to build an aura of claustrophobia that is unrelenting in its scope.

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The Round Up Tapes // Volume IX

Deathspell Omega – The Synarchy of Molten Bones

deathspell

Originally scheduled for release on November 8th, the extremely reclusive and mysterious sect of Deathspell Omega uploaded the record to bandcamp late on Halloween evening (or afternoon depending on your timezone) sending their fans into a rush to listen and consume. Having not released any new music for four years, and announcing The Synarchy of Molten Bones with little fanfare or warning, the stealth tactics used by the French band suit their style – both in sound and in action. Chaos reigns on this first full length since 2010 and in bringing forth utter destruction, the band call upon the unholy in order to move through and explore the outer limits.

Deathspell Omega’s brand of black metal is one that is often imitated – a discordant array of sounds meld into one swirling vortex that is difficult to pierce on first glance – but never bettered. It’s easier to allow the music to sink into your bones and truly become one with the mind than try to find an entry point in the chaos and that’s something that has established DsO as true masters of their field.

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Bleak Metal Presents: GOLD w/Bast // Shrines // Grave Lines

It’s been a little quiet on the Bleak Metal front of late, but fear not! Live music is on the way and heck, it’s free! In association with Old Empire  and The Black Heart, a night is planned on October 29th that brings together all that is spooky and esoteric – a great Halloween combination.

Live music will be upstairs and downstairs will host a party until super late. GOLD are heading over for the evening from the Netherlands and a whole heap of local talent makes up the rest of the line up. Bast (who are hopefully showcasing new sounds), Shrines (a deliciously avant-garde project) and Grave Lines (a new prospect but one that is on the up).

Entry is free! But the capacity of the live space tops out at 150. Music will start at 8pm. Costumes are encouraged.

It’s been roughly three years since Bleak Metal’s first ever show, and this could be the last so come hang.

bm-flyer-new

The Memory Remains. 2015 in review.

2015 is over and 2016 looms, full of promise and optimism but, in all likelihood it’s going to be much the same as the year before it and the year before that and the year before that……etc etc…. Every year I try not to have too many expectations about what the following twelve months will hold and instead try to take one day at a time and hope that through some kind of cosmic circumstance, that things will be OK. That my family will stay well and that they will be happy and that the struggles they face will become less.

2015 was, on the whole, a good year. My day job went well and continues to do so. For the most part my family are doing great and I saw my little brother get married in the summer, which was incredible despite having to sit in a church for that length of time. Writing took a little bit of a back seat and I found myself struggling to get as excited about it as I used to. It turned into a chore and I thought it best to allow myself some time to regain the joy in writing. I still get paid a little for some work and I continued to do that, but this blog and other online outlets suffered as a result.

I found myself not listening to as much music as I could have and usually do. That I wasn’t listening to a record unless I was writing about it (which as you can see from above, I didn’t do too much of) and so my pleasurable listening came from the occasional musical crush – you don’t want to know how many times I’ve listened to Enthrone Darkness Triumphant in the last six weeks.

As well as that, I have a physical ailment (it’s a super gross ganglion on my right wrist) that is preventing typing for extended periods of time and I finally went to see my GP about it. Fingers crossed that during the beginning of this year I get some news on when it can be operated on. The recovery is a month or more, so I’m not sure how things will go from there but it will save a lifetime of pain and medication.

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