Northern Isolation

I Will Lay My Wang Among the Rocks and Roots
03/01/2012, 6:46 PM
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Now it’s March. Reviews.

A Cloud Forest-October’s Overture

Country: USA (Phoenix, AZ)
Label: Silence and Solitude Records
Released: 2/16/2012

Ok, I have insulted bands from Arizona on here in the past, at least partially for being from Arizona. My foot is firmly in the mouth. This release is killer. October’s Overture is equal parts dense and sparse: when it kicks off you hardly have space to move. When it drops off, you feel like you’re very much alone in the middle of a tremendous desert. This is a highly evocative release, which may be the result of this album being split up into just 4 tracks, the longest of which clocks in at about 25 minutes. One of the best releases of the year thus far.

Drudkh-Eternal Turn of the Wheel

Country: Ukraine (Kharkiv)
Label: Season of Mist
Released: 2/24/2012

Drudkh seems to have returned to form. Handful of Stars sucked. It was a tame sounding duller Drudkh and it seemed (to me at least) that this might be the end of what had once been my favorite black metal band operating east of the Iron Curtain. This record reverses all of this. This record sounds like the Handful of Stars never happened and Drudkh went straight from Microcosmos into Eternal Turn of the Wheel. I am once again very excited for Drudkh’s further output.


Country: Finland (Pieksämäki)
Label: Hammer of Hate
Released: 2/24/2012

This record is a huge blast from the past. If someone told me this was outtakes from the Deathcrush sessions, I would likely believe them. It’s a little less focused than the records it’s trying to emulate, it tends to wander off in slower directions which is cool if that’s what you look for in black metal. As far as I’m concerned it’s a pretty effective midpoint between the old school and blackened thrash metal. Of course, a great deal of this record is lost on me because I am not from Finland, but musically, I’m still pretty into it.

Sektemtum-Aut Caesar Aut Nihil

Country: France (Montpellier, Languedoc-Roussillon)
Label: Osmose Productions
Released: 2/13/2012

3 glowing reviews in a row? Too good to be true. What is with all the fucking chugging on this release? Palm muting doesn’t really have so much of a place in black metal. On top of that, the drums are very tame, with the exception of a double bass roll that pretty much remains the same in every song. On top of THAT, parts of this record sound like something that could be right at home on the latest Morbid Angel record. But maybe the reason I hate this release is because it’s just…(wait for it)…TOO EXTREME!

U-235-Time… Judicium of the Last Church

Country: Ukraine (Kremenchuk, Poltava)
Label: Self-Released
Released: 2/20/2012

Ok, admittedly, I didn’t know what the name of this band was in reference to, so I had to fire up the old Wikipedia machine. U-235 is an isotope of uranium. Run it back: we have a band from the Ukraine who are named after an isotope of uranium. Get it yet? No? They have a song called “26.04.86”. Know what happened on April 26th, 1986 in the Ukraine? Ok, so U-235 sing about the Chernobyl disaster a lot. They’re not particularly interesting musically. They’re pretty fast and pretty raw. By that standard, they’re great. But bands have been singing about radiation for decades now. Them being from Ukraine does give a sort of advanced level of reality to it, but at heart it’s still another metal band singing about nuclear explosions. And on a musical level, it’s just another harsh raw black metal band (let me clarify not “raw black metal”, raw comma black metal).

Nattfog-Mustan Auringon Riitti

Country: Finland (Kotka, Kymenlaakso)
Label: Hammer of Hate
Released: 2/24/2012

It’s been a while since an NS band turned up on here. If I’m not mistaken, the last one was also from Finland. But whereas Goatmoon were an NS band I felt were actually rather talented and skilled, Nattfog come across as blundering and tactless. To illustrate how tactless, at one point I couldn’t listen to this anymore so I put on Absurd who are, themselves, rather tactless. In summation, don’t listen to this. Even if you’re a nazi.

Goatwhore-Blood For the Master

Country: USA (New Orleans, LA)
Label: Metal Blade Records
Released: 2/14/2012

I don’t get the hype around Goatwhore. Where one of my hallmarks of a great band is it’s ability to strike me regardless of production of musical skill, this band has plenty of both and still doesn’t really strike me at all. Another thing I don’t understand is the cult of Ben Falgoust, singer of Goatwhore and Soilent Green. I’m just flat out not impressed with the latter at all. Meanwhile, I just find myself severely underwhelmed with Goatwhore. All hype-related speculation aside, this isn’t a bad record. If you like what Goatwhore has accomplished thus far, Blood For The Master will tickle you pink. I’m still trying to figure how how this isn’t cookie cutter black/death.


Country: Austria (Graz, Styria)
Label: Napalm Records
Released: 2/24/2012

This record quite literally has something for everyone who’s ever hazarded to publicly admit “I like black metal”. It has old school “Funeral Fog” worship for the purists. It has sparkling production for the Dimmu Borgir weekend warrior crowd. Equal parts melodic and punishing, I have to admit based on the slick designs and this bands penchant for promotional photography that makes them look about 1 top hat away from Dimmu, I was pretty sure I was going to hate this. I love surprises.

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