Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Spectral Woods - Between the Trees (2011)

Dagger of Sacrifice - Joys of the Sorrows (2003)
Unholy Crucifix - Black Mass Metal (2012)
Backwoods - Hesitation Wounds (2014)

Utterly raw black metal obscurity from the man behind Unholy Crucifix, Dagger of Sacrifice, Worshiper, Blasphematory, and like 10 other projects. As I've pointed out before, this guy's bandcamp is a rich source of disgusting, lo-fi black metal filth that I highly encourage you to peruse.

Track listing:
1. Unburied for Centuries
2. The Forest
3. Between the Trees
4. Nocturnal Snarling Beast
5. Under the Weight of Death
6. Spectral Woods
7. Galgeskygge (Gallow's Shadow)

Huddled under the crown
He watches over us

More like this:
Forest - Foredooming
the Hope for Eternity
Wolfe -
Wolfe (2006)

Rollerskate Skinny - Shoulder Voices (1993)

Irish psychedelic, shoegaze-y slacker rock. Kinda like a less well-mannered Yo La Tengo, or Pavement gone shoegaze. Makes me miss my record store job, as this is an album that I first heard simply because it found its way into my hands while I was pricing CDs, and the album art was just weird enough to get me to set it aside for later listening.

Track listing:
1. Miss Leader
2. Violence to Violence
3. Lúnasa
4. Bring on Stigmata
5. Bella
6. Ages
7. Bow Hitch-Hiker
8. Some Give Birth
9. Shallow Thunder
10. Slave
11. So Far Down Up to Heaven

Heaven all around

You should also listen to:
The Boo Radleys
Kaleidoscope (1990) + Boo Up! (1991)
Catherine Wheel -
Adam and Eve (1997)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Breach - Venom (1999)

Heavy, pissed-off, yet weirdly hypnotic metallic hardcore. Some of the best metalcore I've ever heard. Would not be at all surprised to learn that this band was a source of inspiration for the great Celeste.

Track listing:
1. Helldrivers
2. Murder
3. Gheeá
4. Heroine
5. Diablo
6. Common Day
7. Path of Conscience
8. Game in Vein
9. Pleasuredome
10. Black Sabbath
11. Hell Is My Witness
12. Penetration


If you like this, listen to:
Buried Alive -
The Death of Your Perfect World
Gaza - I Don't Care Where
I Go When I Die

Second Layer - Flesh as Property (1979) + State of Emergency (1981)

The Sound - Jeopardy (1980)

A pair of first-rate EPs of darkly political post-punk featuring two members of The Sound. Cerebral, noisy, weirdly catchy, and all-around so fucking good. I am currently halfway through my third time in a row listening to these back-to-back.

Track listing:
  -Flesh as Property-
1. Courts or Wars
2. Metal Sheet
3. Germany
  -State of Emergency-
1. State of Emergency
2. I Need Noise
3. The Cutting Motion

Beyond a prayer

If you like this, listen to:
Métal Urbain - Les Hommes
Morts Sont Dangereux
Modern Eon -
Fiction Tales (1981)

Redshift - Redshift (1996)

Massive Berlin-school synth worlds. I can't fucking sleep, so I was sitting there in the dark with my headphones on listening to this, but instead of putting me to sleep I got way too into it, and now here I am, making a post about it.

Track listing:
1. Redshift
2. Spin
3. Shine
4. Blueshift

Hints of dawning

Also listen to:
Rainbow Serpent -
Futuregate (1995)
Adrian Beasley -
Powerhouse (2007)

Monday, February 26, 2018

Mournful Congregation - The Dawning of Mournful Hymns (2002)

Australian funeral doom royalty. The Dawning of Mournful Hymns is a two-disc compilation containing every track from their first two demos and debut LP, as well as a track from their split with Worship. Holds together as an album remarkably well. The less-polished delivery -- a little slop, some out of tune guitars, totally barebones production -- actually makes it all the more miserable, and, if it counts, it's my favorite Mournful Congregation LP, and possibly my favorite funeral doom record altogether.

Track listing:
  -Disc One-
1. Fading Light of a Dying Sun
2. Astralic Dreams
3. Weeping
4. Suffer the Storms
5. Heads Bowed
6. Miriam
7. An Epic Dream of Desire
  -Disc Two-
1. Skyward Gaze, Earthward Touch
2. Remembrance of the Transcending Moon
3. Empirical Choirs
4. Tears from a Grieving Heart
5. Opal of the Stream Beneath the Hills
6. Elemental
7. The Epitome of Gods and Men Alike

As the sun goes down and darkness arrives
My mind flees from fear of death

You'd also enjoy:
Funeral -
Tragedies (1995)
Aldebaran -
Embracing the Lightless Depths (2012)

Alan Sparhawk - Solo Guitar (2006)

Low - The Curtain Hits the Cast (1996)
Low - Songs for a Dead Pilot (1997)
Low - Murderer EP (2003)

Abstract, menacing pieces for electric guitar from Alan Sparhawk of slowcore greats Low. Long stretches of amplifier hum, sparse, haunting melodies, ominous drones, and mammoth, cathartic, 6-string explosions. In the excellent documentary You May Need a Murder, Sparhawk reveals that he was around this time experiencing a full mental break, walking around with his eyes closed for days on end convinced that he could see, and, he implies, briefly believing that he was God.

Track listing:
1. How the Weather Comes Over the Central Hillside
2. Sagrado Corazón de Jesú (First Attempt)
3. Sagrado Corazón de Jesú (Second Attempt)
4. How a Freighter Comes into the Harbor
5. How the Weather Hits the Freighter...
6. ... in the Harbor
7. How the Engine Room Sounds
8. Eruption by Eddie Van Halen
9. How It Ends

Don't act so innocent
I've seen you pound your fist into the earth
And I've read your books
Seems that you could use another fool
But I'm cruel
And I look right through

If you like this, check out:
Skullflower -
Obsidian Shaking Codex (1993)
Death Cube K -
Dreamatorium (1994)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Nightstick - Ultimatum (1998)

Ass-kicking, intensely psychedelic sludge. A cerebral concoction of Sabbathian riffs, shrieking feedback, skronking sax, acoustic ragas, hand drums, and political samples that will remind you that Dick Chaney was a POS way before he tricked the US into supporting the war in Iraq then shot a dude in the face. And that's just the first song.

Track listing:
1. Ultimatum: Cut If Off Then Kill It
2. United Snakes
3. The Pentagon
4. Pig in Shit
5. 4 More Years
6. August 6, 1945: A. Flight B. Fright
7. Dream of the Witch's Sabbath / Massacre of Innocence (Air Attack)
8. Ultimatum: He... Is... Dead... Wrong (4-Track Version)
9. Ultimatum (Live @ Mama Kin's)


Also listen to:
Cavity -
Supercollider (1999)
16 -
Zoloft Smile (2002)

Rasputina - Sister Kinderhook (2010)

Since briefly flashing on the peripherals of the mainstream via touring and collaborating with Marilyn Manson at his commercial peak, cellist/vocalist/songwriter/genius Melora Creager has kept busy carving out her own fantastical, completely unique niche in the weirdo musical landscape. She's long since dropped the industrial signifiers, and embraced an ornately organic sound that could be likened to a beefed-up take on that of Thanks for the Ether, the project's much-loved debut. A collection of beautifully bizarre, quasi-historical stories and laments, Sister Kinderhook is IMO the crowning achievement of late-era Rasputina thus far.

Track listing:
1. Sweet Sister Temperance
2. Holocaust of Giants
3. The 2 Miss Leavesn
4. My Night Sky
5. Olde Dance
6. Humankind, as the Sailor
7. Calico Indians
8. Snow-Hen of Austerlitz
9. Dark February
10. Utopian Society
11. Afternoon of the Faun
12. Kinderhook Hoopskirt Works
13. Meant to Be Dutch
14. This, My Porcelain Life

Oh I can wish for duller mind
For more glamour or quiet time
For higher heels or flattened hips
But the nasty truth is at my lips

Also of interest:
Zoe Keating -
One Cello x 16: Natoma (2005)
Orion Rigel Dommisse -
What I Want from You Is Sweet (2007)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Cauchemar - La Vierge Noir (2010)

French Canadian occult heavy metal with an undercurrent of traditional doom. If you like this EP, definitely check out their albums.

Track listing:
1. La Volle d'Isis
2. Magie Rouge
3. Valse Funebre
4. Les Ailes de la Mort
5. Le Gardien de la Terre

What is this that stands before me?

You should also listen to:
Dark Quarterer -
War Tears (1994)
Mourn -
Mourn (1995)

Blues Control - Local Flavor (2009)

Experimental, lo-fi, instrumental psych. Sun-baked guitars, chiming keyboards, a bit of trumpet and sax, and simple, programmed rhythms make for a hypnotic, krautrock-y feel.

Track listing:
1. Good Morning
2. Rest on Water
3. Tangier
4. On Through the Night

Opium den

You should also listen to:
Liliental -
Liliental (1978)
White Rainbow -
Sky Drips Drifts (2007)

Friday, February 23, 2018

Mahr - Antelux (2018)

Arkhtinn - IV (2017)

Cavernous, cosmic black metal. There is an anonymous group of individuals from parts unknown who are churning out stellar atmospheric black metal under the names Arkhtinn, Mahr, and Voidsphere, and putting it all up for free on bandcamp. Antelux is my favorite of these yet.

Track listing:
1. Apostasy
2. Noctaeon
3. Onirism
4. Hypnophobia

From his woven darkness above

If you like this, try:
Vassafor -
Vassafor (2007)
0 -
Null & Void (2014)

Delerium - Spheres II (1994)

Front Line Assembly - Totals Terror Parts I + II (1993)

Spacious, spaced-out, downtempo aural environments from this so-called "illbient" (I've never liked that tag) Front Line Assembly side project. Lush pads, pulsing synths, expansive beats, and the occasional sample.

Track listing:
1. Morphology
2. Transhumanist
3. Shockwave
4. Dimensional Space
5. Hypoxia
6. Otherworld
7. In Four Dimensions

Forgotten worlds

You might also like:
Meat Beat Manifesto -
Subliminal Sandwich (1996)
Phil Western -
The Escapist (1998)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Thy Dying Light - Forgotten by Time (2018)

UK raw black metal. The guitar work is the star here -- surprisingly thoughtful, melancholic arpeggios and forlorn leads, with moments of dark, punk-like simplicity that remind me of later Rudimentary Peni. Obviously, a project that takes its name from a Judas Iscariot album probably doesn't aim to break any new ground, but as far as straightforward, traditional black metal circa 2018, you're unlikely to find better. Free/name your price via bandcamp.

Track listing:
1. In Northern Mist
2. Fist of Satan
3. Carpathian Mountains
4. Kingdom of Darkness
5. Thy Dying Light
6. Plague Rats
7. Plague Rat Pt. II
8. Tombs of the Forgotten
9. Torn Apart by Wolves

... and desolate darkness

Also listen to:
Hautakammio - Kukaan Ei
Opasta Teitä Pimeässä
Nécropole - Atavisme... (2014)
+ Ostara (2015)

Andy Partridge & Harold Budd - Through the Hill (1994)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Harold Budd - The Pavilion of Dreams (1978)
Harold Budd - Lovely Thunder (1986)
Cocteau Twins & Harold Budd - The Moon and Melodies (1986)
Harold Budd - The White Arcades (1988)
Harold Budd - The Serpent (In Quicksilver) + Abandoned Cities (1989)
Harold Budd, Ruben Garcia, Daniel Lentz - Music for 3 Pianos (1992)
Robin Guthrie & Harold Budd - After the Night Falls (2007)

Abstract, minimal sounds from XTC mainman Andy Partridge and ambient great Harold Budd. Evocative, patiently composed, and thoughtfully executed songs -- each has its own unique instrumental palette. One of my favorite ambient records.

Track listing:
1. Hand 19
2. Through the Hill
3. Great Valley of Gongs
4. Western Island of Apples
5. Anima Mundi
6. Hand 20
7. The Place of Odd Glances
8. Well for the Sweat of the Moon
9. Tenochtitlan's Numberless Bridges
10. Ceramic Avenue
11. Hand 21
12. Missing Pieces to the Game of Salt and Onyx
13. Mantle of Peacock Bones
14. Bronze Coins Showing Genitals
15. Bearded Aphrodite
16. Hand 22
17. Bosch
18. Bruegel

Children thrown from heaven

If you like this, try:
Vidna Obmana -
The River of Appearance (1996)
Arve Henriksen -
Chiaroscuro (2004)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Dark Angel - Time Does Not Heal (1991)

Monumental US thrash. A seemingly endless supply of tight, punishing riffs -- 246 to be precise -- arranged into some of the greatest thrash songs ever made. And while I'll concede that the vocals are a little yarl-y, if you let that ruin this album for you, you're playing yourself.

Track listing:
1. Time Does Not Heal
2. Pain's Invention, Madness
3. Act of Contrition
4. The New Priesthood
5. Psychosexuality
6. An Ancient Inherited Shame
7. Trauma and Catharsis
8. Sensory Deprivation
9. A Subtle Induction

It's always darkest before it goes
Completely black

You should also listen to:
Acrimony -
In Unknown Direction (1992)
Merciless -
Unbound (1994)

Songs of Green Pheasant - Songs of Green Pheasant (2005)

Gorgeous 4-track psych folk. Haunting, reverb-drenched songs recorded solo-style in a kitchen. The angelic vocal harmonies are vaguely reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel at their folkiest, but with a far darker, druggier feel.

Track listing:
1. I Am Daylights
2. Nightfall (For Boris P.)
3. The Burning Man
4. Knulp
5. The Wraith of Loving
6. Until...
7. Hey, Hey, Wilderness
8. Truth But Not Fact
9. Soldiers Kill Their Sisters
10. From Here to Somewhere Else

Oh, they can't take your soul
Oh, tell me, what is a soul?

If you like this, try:
In Gowan Ring -
Love Charms (1994)
Espers -
Espers (2003)