I became familiar with Satta through IG as I follow a lot of dark artists suitable for band merch, Satta however has a classical approach to the style that outshines the rabble of common assets and lazy work ethic. His art is not just dark by subject, it embodies it fully, from conception to technique to completion. It’s a higher brow darkness. I also became familiar with the aussie OSDM band Aeon’s Abyss through instagram, who ended up commissioning Satta for their upcoming album Impenitent (Nov 1), a fortunate pairing sharing similar classic metal values. Here is an interview with the artist Satta in which we discuss influences, the upcoming album and living as an artist.
This is one of those scenarios where you don’t understand Spanish but can identify enough words capable of setting a tone. Get ready for some psychedelic action from this Chilean doom trio that’s wet with distortion, I may have even heard an amp blow at some point – unless it’s a drum they’ve down tuned or a pedal effect. There’s a strange aspect to it that a lot of people would describe as “not music”, bordering on noise doom, but it works organically into the overall sound. It’s an interesting release made ever more so by its distinguishable album art created by the frontman Francisco Rivera who offered some insight to the story behind their art as well as their anti-fascist stance (included at the end).
Cold In Berlin have been playing equally atmospheric and abrasive live performances in London for almost a decade now. Starting with the essence of a post punk band and gradually absorbing the darkness of the world developing around them, dragging along with them a sense of doom. Their latest album, Rituals Of Surrender is a gothed up stoner doom album that releases on the 11th of October. I had a chance to hear the album early and very much enjoyed it, I also went back through their previous releases to find they basically started as an awesome band and stayed that way. So I’m very happy to present my interview with Cold In Berlin, an entertaining read whether you know the band or not (Just press play)
As The Kingdom Drowns is a chewy treat that endures multiple listens well. There’s plenty of brutality but there’s also room for more elaborate and melodic guitar work. The vocals also reduce intensity at times to accommodate them without ever tipping into cleans. There’s something to be said about a stalwart mid range vocalist in the current scene where the emphasis is placed on lows and highs. The result is a series of balanced and flexible songs, sometimes creating an anthem and other times dueling with futuristic licks.
The standout track for me is “Beyond The Black”, the feminine guest vocals bring an epic feel to the song with the peak feeling almost like a musical number about to break out between the metal layers. It’s very big. Jason (Psycroptic’s vocalist) get’s a lot higher than usual here as well with similarities to Mastodon and new Cattle Decapitation with their “clean but not clean” style. It follows through to the calmer opening of “Upon These Stones” nicely. Another solid track that reminds me a lot of Opeth which is never a bad thing. It’s high quality stuff and the fact that it can be compared to these titan’s of industry is telling.
ACKOD is a very unique project that somehow exists between the void of minimalism and the bravado of extreme metal – not so surprisingly, out of California (partly), recorded at . It’s complex and brooding. It’s also likely to challenge a lot of people whose idea of music is more neatly packaged and familiar. Personally I find it quite exciting because it’s a part of a sound that doesn’t belong to a time in music but rather one that pops up here and there throughout it’s history like a rare breed. Stuff like Maudlin Of The Well if anyone can remember an underrated project from so long ago. ACKOD have come to 2019 with two releases and two more on the way. All of these releases are following the same story thread started with their first release in 2015, Vol. I: Enculturation and then Vol. II: Organic Emotions in 2016.
These two 2019 albums in particular are quite special, not only as a return for the project but also their collaboration with artist ma-ko (@drivemeawaytroubledheart) on both album covers, really elevating the presentation of the project. ma-ko’s art has been on my feed for some time, I completely adore their style which to me seems very inspired by video game fantasy, I have a feeling these covers had some inspiration from Hyper Light Drifter but their other work on IG speaks to older JRPG’s with a beautiful and traditional aesthetic. The lyrics seem to come from the same place as the art, perhaps there was synergy there. The stories resemble the volatile societies, history and politics of such fictional places. So let’s get into these two albums and keep an eye out for the third.
Somehow I had gone through most of my life being a big fan of Ulver and yet had never felt the need to stretch beyond the album Perdition City, which will always be in my top ten recommended non-metal albums. Thanks belongs to Luke Oram for bringing it to my attention in our interview and prompting me to explore their earlier black metal work. It was a very rewarding experience.
“Ulver had many musical changes throughout their career. On their demos and 1st full length, Bergtatt, they played black/folk metal. 1996’s Kveldssanger is an entirely acoustic folk album and 1997’s Nattens Madrigal is raw, aggressive black metal. Around 1998 they began experimenting with all kinds of experimental, electronic and avant-garde music, fully detaching themselves from the (black) metal scene.” – From the Metallum
A solid album of death metal that will please anyone, simple as that. The vocals aren’t too soft or too abrasive and the instrumentation has a moody amount of melody but never dawdles. It’s a tight piece of technically proficient music. It’s an addictive listen and I’m sure backtracking through their discography will be a rewarding task. I hadn’t heard of Memoriam until 2019 and I don’t know how that happened considering all of their stunning covers are from the legendary Dan Seagrave. Just look at this to start sensing his body of work, it’s intense. I adore his focus on buildings and architecture, something I’m personally obsessed with in album artwork.
This is a great example of attention paid to visuals serving the music. It adds a certain sheen. Consistently good use of artwork appears professional or fleshed out as well, it sets the listener up to want to like what they hear. It’s a package that suddenly becomes worth buying on CD or vinyl, or viable to sell these things.
During my process of contacting bands for the Aussie Metal project I had the fortune of coming across the droning and elaborate tunes of Judd Madden. A prolific solo project from Melbourne. I’m used to one man bands in black metal but it feels less common in doom, a genre often demanding the thickest of sounds. Judd Madden not only manages to do this alone, but also often erring on the side of wistful post-metal. He also has exceptional art across his discography so I knew I had to delve deeper into what he had to offer as an individual musician. As it turns out, there’s a lot to explore – even more than the initial Bandcamp page lets on. I’m most familiar with Cosmic Black Wizard Demon Horse Lord (Top left) which should become a quick favorite for many long form doom metal fans. There’s a decade worth of content, all accessible for free.