Saturday, December 30, 2017

Modern Eon - Fiction Tales (1981)

Topnotch English post-punk. A locked-in, propulsive rhythm section, sparse guitar, haunted vocals, and atmospheric synths.

Track listing:
1. Second Still
2. The Grass Still Grows
3. Playwrite
4. Watching the Dancers
5. Real Hymn
6. Waiting for the Cavalry
7. High Noon
8. Child's Play
9. Choreography
10. Euthenics
11. In a Strange Way
12. Mechanic

A bullet with a name on it

You should also listen to:
Red Lorry Yellow Lorry -
Talk About the Weather (1985)
The Essence -
Ecstasy (1988)

Friday, December 22, 2017

Greytomb - A Perpetual Descent (2016)

Australian atmospheric black metal. Long but focused, patient songs enhanced by dark, full production. Another record that probably would've been one of my favorite BM records of 2016 if only I'd heard it before recently.

Track listing:
1. The River of Nihil
2. Urban Moulder
4. Boundless Introspection

Archives of devastation

If you like this, try:
Korgonthurus -
Marras (2009)
Gaoth -
Dying Season't Glory (2016)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Nécropole - Atavisme... (2014) + Ostara (2015)

French raw black metal. Not a single deviation from the classic template, but inspired and passionate.

EDIT: 12/19/18 - Their new LP has an English-language lyrics booklet, and at least one of the songs is extremely anti-Semitic, in no uncertain terms. Very disappointing.

Track listing:
1. Le Ver Immonde
2. Perdition de l"Atavisme Cristallin
3. Souveraineté du Maudit
1. Immanence
2. Trahison Fratricide
3. Nécropole

Burial silence

You'd also like:
Am Mondesschatten - Atrium
Sinistrum: Auf Nebelwinden
Blodulv -
Kristkrossare (2003)

Rome - Flowers from Exile (2009)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Rome - Mass Mensch Material (2008)

In which Rome (temporarily) does away with dark ambient and industrial, landing closer to pure neofolk than ever before. However, it's easily the most big-hearted, populist neofolk I've ever heard, with crisp, sparkling production to match. And every song is among Rome's best -- the kind of songs that speak to the human condition in such a way as to actually help us to better understand it. Flowers from Exile helped me get through one of the hardest periods of my adult life, and remains an absolute all-time favorite of mine. Like, top 10 material.

Track listing:
- Flowers from Exile -
1. To a Generation of Destroyers
2. The Accidents of Gesture
3. Odessa
4. The Secret Sons of Europe
5. The Hollow Self
6. A Legacy of Unrest
7. To Die Among Strangers
8. A Culture of Fragments
9. We Who Fell in Love with the Sea
10. Swords to Rust Hearts to Dust
11. Flowers from Exile
12. Flight in Formation

For what binds us to our grief
Binds the sculptor to his clay

Also listen to:
Espers -
Espers (2003)
Woven Hand -
Consider the Birds (2004)

Netherworld - Mørketid (2007)

Crystalline ambient from Italian musician Alessandro Tedeschi. The musical equivalent of wind over an endless desert of ice.

Track listing:
1. Dreaming Arctic Expanses
2. New Horizons
3. Mørketid
4. Jøkul
5. North Pole
6. Virgin Lands

Whirling lights beyond the firmament

Similar sounds:
Robert Rich -
Sunyata (1982)
David Sylvian -
Approaching Silence (1989)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Nethervoid - Sirens of the Blistering Light (2008)

Sick US black metal. The star of the show is the gnarly riffage -- including these breakdown-y, palm-muted parts that make me want to smash whatever's closest to me at the time -- rounded out with darkly atmospheric but crisp production.

Track listing:
1. Sirens of the Blistering Lights
2. Wyrm of World's End
3. The Nethers Nativity
4. Southern Convex
5. Of This Sacred Circle
6. Vines in a Virgin Body
7. Six Towering Pillars
8. 1,000 Hands of the Assiduous Specter

Seared flesh falling apart

You'd also like:
Blot Mine -
Porphyrogenesis (1998)
Arckanum -
Helvítismyrkr (2011)

Vulva - From the Cockpit (1994)

English acid techno/IDM. Lowkey synths over busy, propulsive beats. Not sure how I feel about the album cover/title combo, but otherwise I love it.

Track listing:
1. Solstice
2. Dark and Vulvic
3. Lunar Throwdown
4. Blavatsky Smokes
5. Kellogg's Corn Circles
6. Vulvic Voyager
7. Slackjawed in Eden
8. Cydonia
9. Tense Planet
10. Pluto


If you like this, listen to:
Yoni -
My Little Yoni (1994)
Luke Vibert -
Lover's Acid (2006)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

I Shalt Become - In the Falling Snow (2008)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
I Shalt Become - The Pendle Witch Trials (2009)
I Shalt Become - Poison (2010)

Ghostly, lo-fi, depressive US black metal. A murky, blown-out wall of guitars and droning keyboards, simple, plodding drums, and ghoulish vocals. Belongs in the DSBM hall of fame for sure.

Track listing:
1. Intro
2. Burning
3. In the Falling Snow
4. These Cold Desires
5. All Alone and Dead
6. Dreamscapes
7. Acid Lights
8. The Lost Man
9. Our Children Die
10. Outro


You'll also wanna hear:
Striborg -
Mysterious Semblance (2004)
Mord -
Imperium Magnum Infernalis (2006)

Markus Reuter - Older Than God (2000)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Ian Boddy : Markus Reuter : Nigel Mullaney - Triptych (2001)

Beautiful ambient synth pieces from German musician Markus Reuter. I think I remember reading that Reuter doesn't love this record due to the relatively primitive-sounding synths -- he'd ramp up the production values on later records -- but as far as my tastes in ambient music go, stuff like this is pretty hard to top.

Track listing:
1. The Sentiment of the Holy Fathers
2. Older Than God
3. Grace Comes
4. The Glad Tidings
5. Matter or Both
6. Last Things

Toward the invisible world

Similar listening:
Michael Stearns -
Floating Whispers (1987)
Rudy Adrian -
The Healing Lake (2000)

Monday, December 18, 2017

Belenos - Kornôg (2016)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Belenos - Errances Oniriques (2001)

French black metal of the highest order. Just gonna say it: Kornôg is a masterpiece. Epic, beautiful, vicious, and astonishingly well-executed (especially when considering that it's a fucking solo effort) in terms of both songwriting and musicianship. The greatest record in a catalogue full of great records, and my third favorite black metal record of 2016.

Track listing:
1. Kornôg
2. Sklosenn ur vag
3. E donder ar mor
4. Lidkerzh an anaon
5. Treizhadenn-noz
6. Amorika
7. D'an usved
8. Sord-mor
9. Lusenn an Ankou

My home is the sea

You should also listen to:
Kermania -
Kehre Heim... (2014)
Ancestors Blood -
Hyperboria (2016)

Tribes of Neurot & Walking Timebombs - Static Migration (2008)

A far-out collaboration between the ambient alter-ego of post-metal giants Neurosis and industrial/noise rock band Walking Timebombs. Jagged layers of harsh white noise, uneasy guitars, pounding percussion, droning feedback, eerie synth, and a bunch of sounds whose sources are a complete mystery to me. The album really achieves lift-off with the mind-melting "March to the Sun", so don't go all ADD on me.

Track listing:
1. Unspoken Path
2. Rust
3. Recurring Birth
4. March to the Sun
5. Origin Uknown
6. Blood and Water
7. Edgewood
8. Head of the Scorpion

Blazing eye sees all
Nature of fiery truth

Also listen to:
Kinski - Don't Climb On and
Take the Holy Water
Locrian & Mammifer -
Bless Them That Curse You (2011)

N.K.V.D. - Hakmarrja (2014)

Suffocatingly heavy, martial-industrial-infused black metal. Hakmarrja is utterly crushing, yet hypnotic in effect, with huge chords ringing out over mid-paced, programmed drums, as monstrous vocals and samples echo throughout the abyss. The sound of a world burning to ashes.

For those of you who are wondering: No, N.K.V.D. are not a Nazi band. They're a concept band dealing exclusively with totalitarian and otherwise oppressive systems throughout history, but they're not endorsing any of them, or painting them in anything other than a terrifyingly negative light.

Track listing:
1. Exordium
2. Hakmarrja
3. Wolfschanze
4. Za Krajla
5. The Invisible Empire
6. Travail-Famille-Patrie
7. Batallion Vostok
8. U.C.K.
9. Red Silence
10. Excipit

Under the blood of centuries

You might also like:
Borgne -
III (2007)
P.H.O.B.O.S. -
Atonal Hypermnesia (2012)

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Circulatory System - Circulatory System (2001)

The Olivia Tremor Control - Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One (1999)
Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't - Individualized Shirts (2001)

A glorious, colorful aural tapestry featuring most of a then-recently disbanded Olivia Tremor Control. Comes off less as a collection of songs than a joyously psychedelic celebration of the very act of making music and its endless possibilities. The sheer volume of amazing music that Elephant 6 was churning out around this time is astonishing, and Circulatory System is one of the very best -- right up there with Black Foliage (linked above) and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.

Track listing:
1. Yesterday's World
2. Prehistoric
3. Diary of Wood
4. Outside Blasts
5. Joy
6. The Lovely Universe
7. Round
8. Inside Blasts
9. Illusion
10. Waves of Bark and Light
11. Now
12. A Peek
13. Fingers
14. Days to Come (In Photographs)
15. Symbols and Maps
16. The Pillow
17. Stars
18. Should a Cloud Replace a Compass?
19. Time or Dateline
20. How Long?
21. Your Parades

Here comes the perfect day
We're inside the Milky Way

More from E6:
The Apples in Stereo -
Science Faire (1996)
Beulah -
When Your Heartstrings Break (1999)

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Necros Christos - Necromantic Doom (2002)

Doom-infused, filth-ridden German black/death. Downtuned grossness, disgusted growls, drum machine, and cheap keyboards. Five songs, five creepy interludes. I suppose could have posted one of their proper albums, but this was my introduction to Necros Christos, and it's fucking sick.

Track listing:
1. Crucifixion Whispers (Temple I)
2. Tormented Flesh on the Mount of Crucifixion
3. Prayer on the Mount of Olives (Temple II)
4. Swearing Eternal Alliegance
5. Nailed on Command (Temple III)
6. Last Rite of Christ
7. The Son of Man Goeth into Galilee (Temple IV)
8. Grave Damnation
9. The Burning Chamber of God (Temple V)
10. Triumphant Executions

Hooded priest in black invoked the sacred legions of doom to come
Graves on blasphemous shores opened and heaven wept by goat command

You should also hear:
Abhorer -
Zygotical Sabbatory Anabapt (1996)
Manticore - Bowels of the Holy
Anoint Us in Evil

Crimson Glory - Crimson Glory (1986)

Phenomenal US heavy metal. Dark-tinted, mostly mid-paced songs with a seemingly endless supply of killer dual-guitar leads, and as capable a metal vocalist as you're likely to find. 10/10.

Track listing:
1. Valhalla
2. Dragon Lady
3. Heart of Steel
4. Azrael
5. Mayday
6. Queen of the Masquerade
7. Angels of War
8. Lost Reflection

I hold the lion's mane
I come in crimson rain

If you like this, listen to:
Trouble -
Run to the Light (1987)
Grave Digger -
Heart of Darkness (1995)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Unhuman Disease - De Templi Autem Veteris Serpentis (2016)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Unhuman Disease - Black Creations of Satan (2009)

The latest and best full-length from one of the US' finest. As evil and raw as ever -- OK, maybe slightly less raw -- but with more ritual and atmosphere, and a greater sense of songcraft. My 23rd favorite black metal record of 2016. Incidentally, I've been revisiting a lot of the stuff on that list, so expect more from it in the coming weeks.

Track listing:
1. Maleficent Devoutness
2. Obscurity of Invocation
3. Inner Ascension to Incandescence
4. Behold the Magnificence of Satan
5. Accursed Ritual
6. Illuminated Eternal
7. Holy Flames of Perdition
8. De Templi Autem Veteris Serpentis

The sinister calling

Also check out:
Tenebrae in Perpetuum -
Onori Funebri Rituali (2003)
Drowning the Light -
Catacombs of Blood (2010)

David Sancious and Tone - Dance of the Age of Enlightenment (1977)

Ambitious, energetic prog/fusion from keyboardist David Sancious. Dance of the Age of Enlightenment is a largely instrumental, synth-saturated prog symphony, with all of the noodling, pretension, and breakneck motif shifts that such albums entail. It's certainly a far-cry from where Sancious started -- a member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band.

Track listing:
1. Overture - Wake Up (To a Brand New World)
2. 1st Movement (Dance of the Glory and Playfulness)
3. 2nd Movement (Dance of Purification)
4. The Dawn
5. 3rd Movement (Part I & II)
6. 4th Movement (Dance of Serenity and Strength)
7. Gone Is the Veil of Illusion (Part I)
8. Dance of Gratitude and Devotion (Part II)

It's all starting right now

If you like this, check out:
Bennie Maupin -
Moonscapes (1978)
Bill Bruford -
One of a Kind (1979)