Friday, June 22, 2018

Pantera - Power Metal (1987)

When I was 12, I saw Pantera on Beavis and Butthead, ran out and picked up Far Beyond Driven -- my first real exposure to extreme metal -- and seriously didn't know what the hell I was listening to. What I didn't know then was that before they assumed their final form, they'd put out four increasingly awesome albums of butt-rockin' cheese metal, of which Power Metal is the last. And just so we're perfectly clear, I'm no hater -- I love all of Pantera's albums aside from Reinventing the Steel -- I just figure that, due to the band's attempts to erase their own history, you might not be aware of this little slice of heavy metal heaven. R.I.P. Vinnie Paul.

Track listing:
1. Rock the World
2. Power Metal
3. We'll Meet Again
4. Over and Out
5. Proud to Be Loud
6. Down Below
7. Death Trap
8. Hard Ride
9. Burnnn!
10. P*S*T* 88

You say you want it loud
I'll never turn it down

You'll also dig:
Rock Goddess -
Rock Goddess (1983)
Chastain -
Ruler of the Wasteland (1986)

Clivage - Mixtus Orbis (1979)

Stellar prog from a band led by French composer André Fertier. Epic, jazz-infused prog rock with some elements of Indian classical and the aid of the Philharmonic for good measure. Somehow, neither this nor the other two Clivage LPs have ever received an official re-release; meanwhile, a distributor tries to get my store to order $25 reissues of Marcy fucking Playground's "seminal debut."

Track listing:
1. Mixtus Orbis - Movements 1 Through 6
2. Eudjal
3. Fatoum Astris - Intro, Part 2, Part 3
4. Youssoufia

In spite of these times

Also listen to:
Quella Vecchia Locanda -
Il Tempo Della Gioia (1974)
Maneige -
Les Porches (1975)

Wrath of the Weak - Alogon (2008)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Wrath of the Weak - Solace (2010)

Nauseatingly dense depressive US black metal. An impenetrable wall of dissonant guitars, blasting drum machine, droning keyboards, and ghostly, half-buried vocals. The real genius of this record, though, is that somehow, despite all the overt ugliness, there's a sorrowful beauty at its core.

Track listing:
1. Chapter I: A Leap of Faith Ends When You Crash into the Ground
2. Chapter II: Using Self-Destruction in the Pursuit of a Better Life
3. Chapter III: What We Learn from Spending 120 Hours in a Downpour
4. Chapter IV: When One Side of the Mirror Diverges from the Other
5. Chapter V: Angels with Forked Tongues and the Gifts They Bear
6. Chapter VI: Light Streaming in Through the Cracks in the Door
7. Epilogue: The Journey Towards Non-Existence, in Slow-Motion Technicolor

A momentary diversion on the road to the grave

You should also listen to:
Vrolok - Resurgence III:
Order of the Sphere
Onirik -
Casket Dream Veneration (2015)

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Orbit Service - Twilight (2004)

Downcast indie rock wrapped in a psychedelic haze. Not that I've gone out of my way to bring them up, but I've never heard anyone else talk about this band, so they've always felt kinda like this weird, beautiful little secret. Music for the stoned and sad.

Track listing:
1. Start Dreaming
2. Dark Orange Sunset
3. High Orbit
4. A Song About Birds
5. The Seven Rays
6. How I Know You to Lie
7. When Everything Was Dead
8. Thought You Should Know
9. Minutes, Dollars, Days
10. Sad Syrup
11. Down Again

Some might say I'm dreaming
Yeah, I'm dreaming to save my life

You would probably also like:
The Black Heart Procession -
1 (1998)
Greater California -
Somber Wurlitzer (2004)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

New Model Army - Vengeance (1984)

Debut LP from post-punk greats New Model Army. Vengeance sounds partially rooted in the rhythm-section-driven sounds of English peace punk, but with less over-the-top, more humanistic politics, more melody, and a generally grander, more anthemic approach. It's the first NMA record I ever heard, and it's still my favorite, but make no mistake: this band has never put out a bad record.

Track listing:
1. Christian Militia
2. Notice Me
3. Smalltown England
4. A Liberal Education
5. Vengeance
6. Sex (The Black Angel)
7. Running
8. Spirit of the Falklands

I love the world

Also of interest:
Paul Roland -
Burnt Orchids (1985)
The Levellers -
Levellers (1993)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Nihasa - Brahamanda Xul Grimoire (2009)

Acherontas - Ma​-​IoN (Formulas of Reptilian Unification) (2015)

Greek atmospheric black metal. Slow tempos, lots of hypnosis-inducing repetition, and lush keyboards providing an appropriately cosmic backdrop.

Track listing:
1. Reflections
2. Shibalba
3. Rakhsasas
4. Brahamanda Xul Grimoire
5. Ais
6. Nibiru the Winged Sphere

I saw the sphere of emptiness

Similar listening:
Darchon -
The Stygian Black Beyond (2015)
Vindkast -
Archaic Collapse (2015)

Herbie Hancock - Sunlight (1978)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Herbie Hancock - Sextant (1973)
Herbie Hancock - Thrust (1974)
Herbie Hancock - Secrets (1976)

Vocoder, synth, and levels of smoothness previously thought to be humanly impossible.

Track listing:
1. I Thought It Was You
2. Come Running to Me
3. Sunlight
4. No Means Yes
5. Good Question

You don't have to be afraid anymore

You should also listen to:
Ronnie Laws -
Pressure Sensitive (1975)
Dave Valentin -
Land of the Third Eye (1980)

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Evil Army - Evil Army (2006)

US raw thrash annihilation, with a side of punk. Just discovered this album, and it's some of the best, most ripping thrash I've heard in a second. All killer and absolutely no filler, with only four tracks surpassing the two-minute-mark.  This is the only proper LP that Evil Army has put out, and I'm hoping that they change that ASAP.

Track listing:
1. Edge of Destruction
2. Evil Army
3. Driven to Violence
4. Realm of Death
5. Wrong Approach
6. Sgt. Says Kill
7. Conquer Human Life
8. Severe Mental Disorder
9. Relentless Assault
10. Satan Made Me Do It
11. Scum of the Earth
12. Watch Me Fall
13. Friday the 13th

Overrule this place with fire
Watch it all disappear in flames

You should also hear:
Post Mortem -
Coroners Office (1986)
Morbid Saint -
Spectrum of Death (1988)

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Provocator - Antikristus (2014)

Raw, ripping Slovenian war metal. Sick-as-fuck vocals, simple but gnarly riffs, thrash-y solos, and a thick, pitch-black atmosphere.

Track listing:
1. Let Jesus Fuck You
2. Unholy Rape of the Holy Whore
3. 7 Storms of Eternal Damnation
4. Conqueror of Blasphemous Revenge
5. Profanation of the Cross
6. Kirkebann
7. Black Star of Lucifer
8. Antikristus

Satan, chaos, blood, and terror

Also listen to:
Destruktor - Brutal Desecration (2002)
+ Nuclear Storm (2004)
Black Devotion - Ceremonial Rituals
of Demonic Chaos

Friday, June 15, 2018

Oöphoi - Night Currents (1998)

Minimal ambient drone from Italian musician Gianluigi Gasparetti. Lightless, weightless, and infinite.

Track listing:
1. Darklands
2. The Necromancer
3. Timegate
4. Dimensional Passage
5. Floating

Through the gates of time

You'll also enjoy:
Mathias Grassow -
At the Gates of Dawn (1986)
Eleh -
Location Momentum (2010)

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Deathhammer - Phantom Knights (2010)

First LP from one of the best thrash metal bands currently in operation. Deathhammer are neither cosplaying throwback shite nor overproduced, overwrought modern shite -- they're just pure, raw, evil thrash.

Track listing:
1. Gates of Hades
2. Blood Token
3. Devilish Dirge
4. Armoured Assassins
5. Plague Mass
6. Ready to Destroy
7. Cold Winds of Death
8. Tornado Blitzkrieg
9. Queen Death

I see the vast black abyss

You'd also like:
Sextrash -
Sexual Carnage (1990)
Urn -
666 Megatons (2001)

David Darling - Cello (1992)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
David Darling - Journal October (1979)
David Darling - Cycles (1982)
Ketil Bjørnstad & David Darling - The River (1997)
Ketil Bjørnstad, David Darling, Terje Rypdal, & Jon Christensen - The Sea (1995) + The Sea II (1998)

Breathtaking ambient neoclassical pieces for cello from one of my favorites. Texturally lush layers of reverb-soaked cellos form weightless but dark masses of sound. You don't listen to Cello so much as you allow yourself to be submerged in it.

Track listing:
1. Darkwood
2. No Place Nowhere
3. Fables
4. Darkwood II
5. Lament
6. Two or Three Things
7. Indiana Indian
8. Totem
9. Psalm
10. Choral
11. The Bell
12. In November
13. Darkwood III

Shadows of the moon

You should also listen to:
Lisa Gerrard & Patrick Cassidy -
Immortal Memory (2004)
Zoe Keating -
One Cello x 16: Natoma (2005)

Epäkristus - Untame the Beast (2005)

Killer Finnish raw black metal. Ugly, barebones, and riff-y -- there's a bit of death metal in there -- but with a surprising feel for variation and structure.

Track listing:
1. Ylistys Saatanalle
2. Untame the Beast
3. Isä Insesti
4. Devil's Metal
5. Into Cold Tomorrow

The greatest gift of life is awareness of death

Also listen to:
Urgehal -
Rise of the Monument (1995)
Anal Vomit -
Demoniac Flagellations (2004)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Crucifucks - L.D. Eye (1996)

The Crucifucks' phenomenal third and final album, L.D. Eye was supposed to be the self-titled first album by a new band formed by head Crucifuck Doc Corbin Dart's new band, but Alternative Tentacles convinced them to call it a Crucifucks record. This explains why it pretty much sounds like a completely different band -- concise, snotty punk is replaced by shaggy, relatively melodic, guitar-driven indie rock, with Dart's caustic, misanthropic vocals serving as a through-line.

Track listing:
1. The L.D. Eye Theme
2. Lights Over Baghdad
3. The Story of Thomas McElwee
4. Suicide
5. Officer Powell
6. Artificial Girl
7. Jeanette Jones

Your phony grieving doesn't mean a thing

You'd also like:
Alice Donut - Bucketfulls of Sickness and
Horror in an Otherwise Meaningless Life
Cows -
Sorry in Pig Minor (1998)

Ital Tek - Cyclical (2008)

Dark, atmospheric, bro-free dubstep from English producer Alan Myson. Don't wait for the drop -- this is what dubstep sounded like before the great EDM massacre.

Track listing:
1. Cyclical
2. Pins
3. White Mark
4. Bloodline
5. Tokyo Freeze (Remix)
6. Still Shores
7. Versus
8. Red Sky
9. Insomniac
10. Wind Tunnel
11. Deep Pools


Also recommended:
dBridge -
The Gemini Principle (2008)
Eleven Tigers -
Clouds Are Mountains (2010)