New Reviews 2/14/2010 @ Absolute Zero Media

Celestiial- Where Life Springs Eternal-CD (Bindrune Recordings)

This is a very personal release for me as Celestiial mixes some of the best elements in all of Doom and Industrial music for me to make a release that sends shivers down my spine to say the least. If you love Swans, Godflesh and Ancient Wisdom then Where life springs eternal will be a Industrial Doom masterpiece to you. I love the ambient very Dusk (USA) like elements incorperated into the over all release. Bindrune seems to love to mix the Heathen/ Nature based ideal to there bands. Tanner as added Jason Walton of (Nothing and Agalloch) into the mix by having him play bass and master it. There is a very funeral doom element to this I love the slow plodding and over all haunting nature of this release very epic sounding as well this band really loves Ancient Wisdom for its Slow Blackened Doom sound. The verb washed over the release really makes it all the more special to listen to. Tanner Anderson with is 2nd full length under the name Celestiial is just a magical and mysterious journey I hope to re live over and over again.

Blood for the black owl- A Banishing Ritual-CD (Bindrune Recordings)

So lets start with a slight back story on this project Chet who also has Ruhr Hunter and runs a wonderful label called Glass Throat with is wife Rachel was very interested in Doom metal and Ritualistic metallic sounds as well so Blood for the black owl was born. Chet is on his 3rd release for this project and I have to say this is the most experimental of all the journeys and most similar to Ruhr hunter. With Blood for the black owl we seem to have Ambient Drone, Native American Rituals and Doom metal all into a very beautiful packed Heathen belief going on. If you by chance mix Earth, Skepticism and Wolves in the throne room you gave a very clear vision on where Mr Scott wants this project to be taking into. There is a raw element to all of this as well but that where the layers just make it all the more interesting. A Banishing Ritual has a very left field Neurosis style going on from time to time . From the buzz going on with this project it seem this maybe very well the last Blood for the black owl release and that would be a huge shame as I think with this title the project has finally found its own very original sound. I would love to see this project live if they ever can come to the Southwest esp Arizona I would try at all cost to see them.

Nechochwen- Azimuths to the Otherworld-CD (Bindrune Recordings)

So what do we have here Native American, Prog Black Metal???? does that really make any sense?? I hope it does as I have no where elese to go with this release. Nechochwen have a strong love for all things Thrash metal do in they way the Black metal is presented. There are very lovely acoustic moments mixed with what almost sounds like to me if Opeth were a black metal band. Azimuths has a very spirtual overtone going on here there is nothing holding that back. I love the thrash metal almost Ihsahn or Devin Townsend sounding solos going on. The productions is a bit thin but I think that is very much done on purpose as when the acoustic moments happen its a much fuller sounding release. I hate to use the word Post Black metal or Indie Black metal but there in similar sounds as those genres. The clean vocals do work very well. I almost want to say they have a viking metal sound but there not viking metal in anyway. Nechochwen is a very interesting project to say the least and an adventure in the making for many of you including me.

AVSKY-SCORN-CD (Moribund Cult)

Avsky is the reason why cold grim raw black metal in the most traditional sense will never die. As it just kicks major ass. You have the love the sore throat and tortured vocals, Ultra high end buzzing guitars, the low end rumbles of the bass guitar and the simple yet very effective drumming that the early innovative bands from Norway, Sweden and Germany so effectively created and not lost site on. Avsky is just down right evil. The haunting effected overtones are what you come to look for if your a fan of bands like Marduk, Darkthrone, Graveland and Xasthur just to name a few then this is going to make you very pleased. Sometimes Black metal just needs to be Black metal .....

BLOOD CULT- We are the Cult of the Plains-CD (Moribund Cult)

What, where, who and ummm huh??? What the hell and where did you find Blood cult. This sounds like the Guns and roses of southernied Black metal. I don't know if I'm even suppose to take this serious as they have 70's guitar rock moments mixed with axl rose like vocals and Black metal lyrics and musical moments and then from no where come in grim and death vocals?? I think Moribund may have lost me totally on this one. The 3rd track starts with a surf rock drum style . Blood Cult again this is one of the most unusual bands I've ever heard. Maybe they are the Black rebirth of Deadhorse as they seem to have some very similar ties in what both bands were presenting. Blood Cult will take many listens to see if I really like this or just were thrown into shock by what I'm hearing... There are even stoner rock moment going on here. WTF... More power to ya Blood Cult this is not an easy listen by any means...

Alcest- Ecallies De Lune-CD (Prophecy Productions)

With this release it is my second travels with Alcest . They have changed a few things and others have just been expanded upon. Alcest still very much travels between the realms of Shoegazers and Black metal with many Post rock moments along the way. Alcest has a very hypnotic feeling in the way the guitars, synths and drums are echoed through out the release. The vocals go from very clean sung and delicate vocals to some very very grim and tormented moments. Alcest seems to have many parallel visions with Velvet Cacoon. Maybe its just me but the isolationist vibe is very strong in both and they both really seem to not give a shit what others thing and seem in pain to make there music there muse and vision of the world through there eyes.. I may have said this the last time but I swear this is the black metal incarnation of Catherine Wheel or Swervedriver.... The only think I really miss on this release and it does make it a bit less majestic is the female vocals that were here the last time.. Other then this Alcest is just a breathe taking multi layered and complex band that will never let you down if you let the avant be the norm...

Hollow Branches- Anchored in Sleep-CD (Strix Records)

Mr Jason Walton come into this review cluster again this time with something very different. This is very much a Post Rock/ Trip Rock/ Ambient project . Hollow Branches seems to be a creation by Robert Hunter and Marius Sjøli . I'm rather impressed by the sounds that are going on here. If you like 3rd and the Mortal, Gathering, Ulver and Dead can dance this is going to be a mindblowing experience for you to listen to . There are some truly noisey moments but it never becomes a distraction to the vibrant clean guitars that at times become fuzzed out, the warn very prog band tones and the jazzy laid back druming that is needed . There are many other sounds and textures going on but you will hear them esp I think that is an auto harp as you are entwined by the beauty that is called Hollow Branches. All 3 of these gentlemen are what I would call modern day composers esp with these releases. They have a similar sound to Caanan at band on Eibon records as well from time to time if any of you know of them. So if I had to and I hate using the term there is a Gothic element to Hollow Branches but it is not over powering by any means. I could very well see a band like this on 4AD, Projekt, Play it again same or even Young God labels. They seem to live thousands of miles apart as well but with today modern recording and digital needs this is not longer an issue I know this 1st hand as I haven't lived near my musical partner in 7 yrs now. Hollow Branches was a very pleasant surprise indeed you need to check them out as well.