From the Darkness to the Light and Back again..
Hemotoxin- Restructure the Molded Mind- Digital/CD (Unspeakable Axe Records)
I will say there is no shock this is a bay area band. They wear the old School Thrash meets Prog metal elements on their sleeves. You can hear Death Angel, Violence, Forbidden they the prog elements of bands like Death, Cynic and Pestilence come out and this is were you know they have a thing for Obituary and Asphyx in the vocals and guitars too. There is a Tardy Brothers love going on here. I know that Vital Remains may not the 1st thought but I hear a strong musical alignment with them as well at times. This is the cross over between Thrash and Death on a very progressive side . I wasn't sure the 1st time listening if there was too much going on but I will say listens 2,3,4,5 have had me coming to see the skill and craft they went through to bring the old and new to a whole new audience. I really like those Raspy almost early Hardcore meets Death metal vocals and mean they have those thrash moments too but over all the are vocals that give me those early Death metal vocals from Florida. This will not be an easy listen but well well rewarding.
GRIEVE- Grieve- Digital, MLP- (Werewolf)
Finnish Atmospheric meets Pagan and Raw Black metal this sound like an old school BM record and it works with the cover and presentation as well. The synth give you feeling of more a folk/viking black releases. The vocals and guitars are so jarring in a great way the mix the best of both into something sinister and ancestral at the same time. Finnish Black metal always has this unsettling an hateful side with strong punk elements . You can almost just put an album on from a Finnish Black metal band and just know. There is something about the isolationist ways there. That band from there just follow there own path and align with more of a Slavic style. You don't always need something to be different to be strong and with that in mind this is where Grieve stands taking from what is already there and just refining it to impressive the next generation.
Kari Rueslåtten- Sørgekåpe- Digital/LP/CD (Spindelsinn Recordings)
I've been a huge fan of Kari since her days of 3rd and the Mortal. This have change a lot since then but she did make an amazing Folk/Black record with Storm . I would say this is more in Folk and Dark Pop style and all sung in Norwegian. It's Delicate, Warm, Haunting and Dark all at the same time. Kari's vocals are those of a Blues or Jazz singer as where she strengths are how she emotes each word and make you long for the next. There is just a vibrato about it all that is infectious. I feel at times she has much in common with Mazzy star and Portishead and Folk like Garmarna and Myrkur. I would say Kari and Chelsea Wolfe are sisters of the same song in this Dark Pop as I was speaking about earlier in the review. The textures and acoustics really make this such a powerful record. Not everything is Blast beast and fury. With Sørgekåpe we are getting to look deep within and reflect on music at it purist and most personal level. It's truly impressive what an acoustic guitar, strings, piano and vocalist with range and really present.
Vanessa Skantze- Writhing Treasure Feast- Digital/ 2 CD ( Scry Recordings)
I think we need a back story here to full understand the undertaking and what we have here.
" Vanessa Skantze is a Butoh artist and teacher of yoga and dance in the Seattle area. A student of Atsushi Takenouchi (founder of Jinen Butoh), she has performed in the U.S. and Europe for over 20 years. Her collaborations with musicians & other dancers reveal an attention to detail, intensity of emotion, narrative skill and wide dynamic range"
Vanessa has commissioned and produced a collections of artist to help her with a Double album of experimental music and sounds to dance have performance art with herself and others.
The Aural creations are by the following: " MASAAKI MASAO, ERYMANTHE (JOY VON SPAIN & SUSAN DUMETT), PINK VOID, GREG CAMPBELL & SIOUX CITY PETE, MORHER, NOISEPOETNOBODY & UNEASY CHAIRS, NOISEPOETNOBODY & CAILLEACH"
The tracks range from Drone, Musique Konket, Dark Ambient, Ethno World Ambient to Haunting Aural Ambient to what I would say is Minimal Neo Classical. You hear similar style Vidna Obmana, Robert Rich, Dead can Dance, Steve Roach, Aghast and Rapoon. If you are a fan of experimental Industrial, Electronic, Ambiance and minimal dark and unsettling tones with lush choir and Ethno world vocals this is going to be an album for your this reminds me a lot of what labels like Drone, Cold Spring, Eibon , Manifold and Soleilmoon were doing many years back.
If this is not a good enough explanation to get you interested then I simply say just go listen below.