Northern Isolation

It’s Like World War II in Here.
03/10/2012, 12:06 PM
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , ,

Oh look, they’re still putting out records.

Salö-Mangia Merda e Morte

Country: USA (Brooklyn, NY)
Label: Self-Released
Released: 3/2/2012

My home state doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to black metal, and this band hails from the epicenter of appropriated crap-culture, so I had to fight an unconscious urge to not even listen to this and give it a terrible review. But I would be missing out if I’d done so. This is just a little EP, 3 songs under 15 minutes, but it’s pretty mighty. The black metal/doom crossover for me is usually a hallmark of a drummer not being fast enough to blast but in this case, it works. The vocals sound utterly inhuman (and are delivered by someone who at one time was the singer for local animal rights-grind outfit Animals Killing People, who are hilarious). Definitely pretty creepy, this record has me looking forward to future releases from these frozen doom maniacs. Sadly, BrooklynVegan beat me to this one.

Lunar Aurora-Hoagascht

Country: Germany (Rosenheim, Bavaria)
Label: Cold Dimensions
Released: 3/2/2012

Ok, hold up…

Sweater metal? Knit woolen sweater metal? All sweaters and bucket hats aside, the instrumentation on this record is relatively strong with the exception of what I would classify is an unhealthy amount of synthesizer noodling. It’s not particularly forward, but it seems relatively omnipresent. It’s a distraction in the sense that it ever-so-slightly strikes sour to my ear. Aside from that, this record is pretty solid; dense and relatively slick production that still manages to retain the chill of the music. A pretty good release, to be sure. Occasionally the vocal production crosses the line into the realm of kitsch, but it’s 2012. Everyone’s doing it. Just maybe lay off the synth.

Eschaton-Isolated Intelligence

Country: Austria (Linz, Upper Austria)
Label: Self-Released
Released: 3/3/2012

I get the distinct feeling that a lot of people would really enjoy this record. Eschaton appears to have drawn influence from various eclectic sources in crafting Isolated Intelligence. That being said, their drummer loves his double bass pedal a lot. So much so that it’s probably one of the most prominent features on the record, which also features breakdowns. Why this record features these breakdowns is beyond me. The proclivity of mixing hardcore and metalcore with black metal is one I’ve been noticing for the past few months. If the vocals were less shrill and the guitarwork less deeply rooted in the minor barre chord, this would be an early 2000’s metalcore release. But this record does strike me at moments as being very unique, unlike any mix of the above-mentioned genres I’ve heard yet.

Aeba-Nemesis-Decay of God’s Grandeur

Country: Germany (Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein)
Label: Self-Released
Released: 3/1/2012

I just learned that Aeba stands for Astaroth, Eurynome, Bael and Amducias, the four archdemons from the Book of Revelations. That’s dumb. This record, in my opinion is relatively bland. I have a lot of trouble staying focused on it, which may be partially the fault of the hundreds of black metal albums I’ve listened to in maintaining this blog. I tend to find that a lot of the German bands who’s records I review tend to have a sort of flat quality to them. They sort of go through the motions of being a black metal record and tend to not stand out for me at all. Now, this is by no means the case with all releases from Deustchland, but there is definitely a sizable percentage that fall to this malady. This is one of them. It’s almost as if there’s a handbook on writing a black metal record going around. Oh wait, there is. It’s called Lords of Chaos and they were pretty off point.

Demoncy-Enthroned is the Night

Country: USA (Seattle, WA)
Label: Forever Plagued Records
Released: 3/?/2012

Holy fuck, this record is dense. There are a lot of black metal records that have distinctly hellish sonic quality, but this record actually kind of sounds like what I’d imagine hell to sound like. The guitars are so low, the drums so indistinguishable, the lyrics so distant and tortured. To put it bluntly, this release is downright evil. Being the junior anthropologist I am (real Hardy Boys type shit), I did a little digging and decided that the heaviness found on this record could be attributed to the fact that Demoncy originally hails from North Carolina/Georgia, which is doom country. But I could be totally wrong. And to be perfectly honest, it doesn’t really make the least bit of difference. What matter is that this record is brutal. Brutal as fuck.

Sigh-In Somniphobia

Country: Japan (Tokyo)
Label: Candlelight Records
Released: 3/10/2012

It seems like with every record they put out, Sigh turns into a different band. The thread that strings all of this stylistic pogoing together is that Sigh are incredibly odd, by Western standards. But, as the band that released Scorn Defeat on Deathlike Silence back in 1993 during the height of black metal’s first ascent of Trend Mountain, they eternally have a place in the hearts of many self-proclaimed “trve black metal warriors”. This record is practically dripping with classic metal influences. This one has a huge NWOBHM influence on it, shredding solos and galloping riffs. But, this being a Sigh record, that doesn’t even begin to explain it. Saxophones, sitars, static and about a metric ton of organ all have their turn. This record is truly bizarre, occupying a space somewhere between Mr. Bungle and Iron Maiden. But I wouldn’t expect anything less from Sigh at this point.

Feral-Culling Demo

Country: USA (Portland, ME)
Label: Self-Released
Released: 3/4/2012

I feel strongly about keeping at least a generous portion of this blog dedicated to the underexposed and the obscure. It occurs to me that “famous” black metal bands don’t need any more exposure than they already get. I started Northern Isolation as a demo review blog and I’d like to think that I keep that alive in some capacity or another. So here’s a demo. You can’t really fault a demo for poor production because it’s a demo. This demo was apparently created with the assistance of Jordan from Falls of Rauros who, if you remember, released my favorite black metal record of last year. To what capacity he helped out with it, I am not sure. The demo at hand here is relatively frantic, sort of emitting a sense of urgency in the music. It’s not the greatest demo I’ve heard in a long time, but it’s by far not the worst either. I feel that Feral has a lot of potential that is on the verge of being realized. We shall see.

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