Monday, September 19, 2011

God Destroyer - III

Third release (obviously) from this New Zealand ambient/drone project. Two tracks, coming in at just over 20 minutes. The first, 'Ghosts', gradually builds in intensity over its 13 minute length, constantly adding texture and noise to its already warm and bass-y drone. It's arguably the best song they've recorded thus far.'IƱupiat' closes the EP with a gentle comedown, displaying an excellent grasp of minimalist composition. As an overall record, III is by far the most polished and conceptually 'complete' release by God Destroyer. You can download it from Zeronoize. The God Destroyer Untitled compilation tape is still in the works, and will be available here on Slays for Days Records very soon.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bad Life - The Day You Die

'Bad Life is a procession of every half-heard sound that ever seeped through heat-cracked walls distorted. The Day You Die is eleven death rattles as rallying cries, grinding against the walls of this world'

Music Ruins Lives is back again - having been somewhat inactive over the past couple of months, the label has set off a series of upcoming releases with Bad Life's The Day You Die. Did I expect anything bad from MRL? Of course not. Did I expect to be blown away by Bad Life? Not entirely, but that's still what happened. Bad Life, as far as I can ascertain, have been around for a while, putting out some splits and such. The Day You Die seems to be their first full release however.

I find it hard to to properly categorise Bad Life. At its core, the band follows a post-punk template, but elements of noise rock, doom metal and Have a Nice Life-esque melancholy shine through. To sum it up as concisely as possible, this record is a fusion of both post-punk's and doom metal's versions of depression. Hearing Curisms alongside clear Black Sabbath influence seems to be a rather unpalatabe combination, but Bad Life make it work perfectly. Add to this a highly textured and addictive pop sensibility (warped beyond recognition by the band's experimental nature), and you have what could possibly be one of the best underground records of the year.

As dark as its subject matter may be, there is a consistent level of accessibility to The Day You Die, despite the record's almost malevolent atmosphere. For those of you who listened to nothing else but Deathconsciousness in the months following its release, you are strongly encouraged to spin this through just once. That's all it will take.

You can stream the album at Bad Life's bandcamp page.
Preorder the CD from MRL's store, as well as several other great releases they still have available (Wreck and Reference, Bad Braids).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Psychic Blood - S/T Demo

As a fuzzy combination of Sonic Youth and the Butthole Surfers, Psychic Blood have certainly done their research - their noise and shoegaze-laden style of discordant alternative rock does very well to remain true to the bands they're inspired by, but at the same time retain even a smidgeon of originality. Not to say that this is original, but there does seem to be a shortage of bands like Pyschic Blood these days - at least good ones. Post-punk melodies, noise-rock rhythms and shoegaze-esque distortions make up the brunt of this demo, and it's combined rather authentically underneath the band's lo-fi aesthetic. Apparently there is more Psychic Blood on the horizon, so if you like this demo, keep your eyes open.

Download it here

Keep up to date here

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Blut - Grief and Incurable Pain/Ritual and Ceremony

Ritualistic drone doom gets bad rep these days. A few years ago it was all the rage, but it seems no one really wants to get their hands dirty anymore. And fuck Sunn O))) - they don't deserve half the acclaim they get. While the drone doom genre may be lacking, this could be partly due to my own ignorance; I'm usually content with Corrupted repeats and a local act from these parts called Drowning Horse so I don't feel the need to search out other, newer groups. But this is where Blut makes their entry. A two-piece outfit from the UK, Blut combine noise and a lo-fi aesthetic to further emphasis the 'ritualistic' component of their style.

As far as I know, Blut has several releases under their belt - I received only two of these in the mail, but apparently they are the band's two full lengths, last year's Ritual and Ceremony and the recently released Grief and Incurable Pain. Both records are very similar in sound and style, combining colossal riffs with long and painfully slow passages of murky, droning ambience. It can be said with some certainty that Blut's style is not incredibly palatable, but this is merely from the outset. With repeated listens I've found a plethora of depth to these overly excessive recordings.

The way atmosphere is handled by the duo is surprisingly good. More often than not, the types of people making this kind of music don't really have any idea what they're doing and end up creating long songs that are boring as shit, feel like they go nowhere, and certainly don't help the listener 'transcend' to an alternate plane or whatever the fuck the intention is. There are little things here (remember, it's always the little things) that just make it for me. Both records are heavily textured, albeit in an extremely lo-fi manner, with layers and layers of fuzz cushioning the constantly rolling riffs. The noise and ambient passages are ritualistic by every definition of the word, and the occasional synth work that Blut utilises makes for some interesting vibes. In actual fact the noise/ambient passages remind me of 70s horror films, but without the four decades of deteriorating shock value.

What is most (un)pleasant about Blut is the sheer filthiness of the recording. The drums are completely buried, and sound entirely suffocated under the weight of the riffs. Leadwork is also put to use, arching over the murkiness of the songs. Good examples are in 'Death.Mourning.Famine' from Grief and Incurable Pain or 'Throne Ritual' from Ritual and Ceremony. The latter track goes for 24 minutes, and after building up a lumbering riff for a little over 6, throws in this harrowing black metal inspired tremolo-ed riffage, which sits perfectly with the overall mood of the track. Similar moments are strewn across both albums, and make the build-ups even more exhilarating. And just because I'm a lazy writer, I'm just going to tack this onto the end of the paragraph - no, Blut is not instrumental. The vocals aren't overly used, but they're mostly disgusting and completely unintelligible shrieks and gutturals. Whether this affects your decision to hear the band or not is irrevelent of the fact that they work perfectly with the music at hand.

Blut have requested that I upload the two albums I received, so both are available below uploaded at 320kbps. I highly recommend this to fans of this style, particularly to anyone who wants a little foulness in the wake of Corrupted's overly clean recent offering. Check out their website for more information on other releases (the availability of which I'm uncertain).

Ritual and Ceremony
Grief and Incurable Pain