Saturday, June 30, 2018

Source - Organized Noise (1993)

Phenomenal 90s acid trance/techno from Swedish producer Robert Leiner. Insistent, propulsive beats alongside sculpted drones, samples, and fragmented synths.

Track listing:
1. Vagator
2. Eclipse
3. Neuromancer
4. The Real Thing
5. Squeeze
6. Analysis
7. Release It
8. Beyond Time

Mental resurrection

Also listen to:
Voyager -
Future Retro (1997)
The Martian - LBH-6251876
(A Red Planet Compilation)

Friday, June 29, 2018

Kataklysm - The Death Gate Cycle of Reincarnation (1992) + The Vortex of Resurrection (1993)

Two stellar demos of brutal, epic death metal from the Canadian masters of the hyper-blast. I dig their later, more melodic stuff, too, but the early demos, EPs, and first two albums are a whole different beast.

Track listing:
   The Death Gate Cycle of Reincarnation
1. Frozen in Time
2. Mystical Plane of Evil
3. Shrine of Life
   The Vortex of Resurrection
1. Mould in a Breed
2. Whirlwind of Withered
3. Feeling the Neverworld
4. The Orb

The one-eyed typhoon absorbs the sky

You should also listen to:
Inverted -
The Shadowland (1996)
Lethal Prayer -
Spiritual Decay (1996)

Tripping Daisy - Tripping Daisy (2000)

Fourth and final album of sunny, psychedelic alt rock from Tripping Daisy, completed and released in the wake of the death of guitarist/multi-instrumentalist West Berggen. Their most dynamic and adventurous record, Tripping Daisy was, in spite of the sadness surrounding it, a hell of a high note to go out on, and with only 500 copies ever made, one of the most glaringly obvious candidates for a reissue I can think of.

Track listing:
1. Community Mantra
2. Kids Are Calling
3. Stella Is a Planet
4. Soothing Jubilee
5. Drama Day Weekend
6. Tragiverse
7. Jim's Longtime Voice
8. One Through Four
9. You First
10. I Am Good
11. Halo Comb
12. This Cradle Song
13. Foot Dance
14. The Sudden Shift Worried Him

You will know for sure

The Boo Radleys -
Giant Steps (1993)
Matthew Sweet -
Kimi Ga Suki (Raifu) (2004)

Thursday, June 28, 2018

HALO - Subliminal Transmissions (1998)

Utterly bleak Australian industrial sludge. Draining, repetitive dissonance that's right out of the noise rock playbook, and the thick, tar-black atmosphere of early Godflesh. If you're looking for music to sap you of your will to live, this'll do the trick.

Track listing:
1. Transit
2. Absence of Light
3. Worm
4. Whore
5. Like Cancer
7. Spiral Close
8. Transmission
9. Null
10. XZK$X
11. Guilt Shift


Further down the spiral:
Skin Chamber -
Wound (1991) + Trial (1993)
P.H.O.B.O.S. -
Atonal Hypermnesia (2012)

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Hoth - Rites of the Black Goddess (2001)

Ritualistic Portuguese black metal. Mid-paced dirges with simple guitar work, eerie keyboards, and low, strangely disconnected-sounding growls. Not to be confused with the Star Wars-themed US band.

Track listing:
1. Introduction II
2. Impious Congregation
3. Nocturnal Offering
4. Hellish Revelations
5. Celebration of Isis
6. Nail the Nazarene
7. Pagan Melodies
8. The Dragon Lords
9. Noitcudortni II

We the children of the night
Gathered under the moon
Call upon our master
To join us in this blasphemy

You'd also like:
Acheron -
Rites of the Black Mass (1991)
Nahual -
Mysteries of the Cosmic Serpent (2001)

Bill Ward - Ward One: Along the Way (1990)

The awesomely weird debut solo album from the great Bill Ward. In addition to the expected dark, driving metal, there's a strain of sprawling, Floyd-ian prog and psych. Add in Ward's thin but effective vocals, a pair of guest spots from one Mr. Osbourne, and some baffling production choices, and you're looking at an unexpectedly idiosyncratic good time.

Track listing:
1. Shooting Gallery (Mobile)
2. Short Stories
3. Bombers (Can Open Bomb Bays)
4. Punk Clouds an Island
5. Light Up the Candles (Let There Be Peace Tonight)
6. Snakes and Ladders
7. Jack's Land
8. Living Naked
9. Music for a Raw Nerve Ending
10. Tall Stories
11. Sweep
12. Along the Way

Consider this a warning

You should also listen to:
Crimson Glory -
Crimson Glory (1986)
Black Sabbath -
Dehumanizer (1992)

Binh - Basic Trance Induction (2014)

An aptly named 12" of hypnotizing minimal tech-house from German producer Germann Nguyen. Simple, punchy beats, acid synths, and short fragments of samples on endless, ethereal loops.

Track listing:
1. Basic Trance Induction
2. Chakka Chakka
3. Apparent Contact with the Dead

Diggin in my brain

You'd also enjoy:
Yoni -
My Little Yoni (1994)
Dorisburg -
Trust (2014) + Splade (2014)

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Cyclobe - Luminous Darkness (1999)

Coil - Constant Shallowness Leads to Evil (2000)

Unnerving, layered drones, eerie melodies, and the occasional warped, downtempo beat courtesy of Ossian Brown and Stephen Thrower, both of whom have contributed to various Coil records.

Track listing:
1. Distender
2. Big Animal
3. Inevitable Black Ham
4. Strange Hotel
5. Thinking Feeling
6. You're Not Alone You're Dreaming
7. Teen Angel No. 9
8. Bestial Celestial
9. Red Demise
10. Particle Accelerator
11. Earth Finisher
12. Telepath
13. Nightcap with Nadir
14. The Blue & the Green
15. Genius Loki
16. Each and Every Word Must Die

The body feels light and wants to fly

Similar listening:
Adam Bohman -
Last Orders (1997)
Roxanne Jean Polise -
I'm in the Medicine Cabinet (2004)

Monday, June 25, 2018

Vangelis - L'Apocalypse des Animaux (1973)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Vangelis - The Dragon (1978)

Haunting ambient compositions from the great Vangelis. Much like The Dragon, the music here is pretty far removed from the man's bombastic signature sound. It is largely keyboard/synth-based, but it's sparse and elegiac -- slo-mo synth washes and shimmering Rhodes chords, often filled out by a single non-keyboard element such as acoustic guitar or French horn -- and includes practically no percussion.

Track listing:
1. Apocalypse des Animaux
2. La Petite Fille de la Mer
3. Le Singe Bleu
4. La Mort du Loup
5. L'Ours Musicien
6. Création du Monde
7. La Mer Recommencée

My face in the rain

If you like this, try:
Terry Riley -
Le Secret de la Vie (1974)
Giusto Pui -
Motore Immobile (1979)

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Stone Alliance - Stone Alliance (1976)

Untouchable, vivacious, Latin-tinged jazz-funk. Discovered this record, funnily enough, via a line in "Root Down" by the Beastie Boys ("I'm like 'Sweetie Pie' by Stone Alliance"), a song that also references Jimmy Smith, the Meters, and Dick Hyman.

Track listing:
1. Vaya Mulatto
2. King Tut
3. Duet
4. Sweetie Pie
5. Creepin'
6. Samba de Negro

So how you wanna kick it?

You'd also enjoy:
Oliver Nelson -
Skull Session (1975)
John Stubblefield -
Bushman Song (1986)

Mylingar - Döda Drömmar (2018)

Utterly crushing Swedish black/death decimation. Chaotic, unrelentingly vicious songs and suffocating production. Absolutely one of the best metal records of the year. And I can't upload anything right now for some reason, so it's a good thing that this is a free/name your price download from the Mylingar bandcamp.

Track listing:
1. Skammen
2. Ritualen
3. Början
4. Löftet
5. Besvikelsen
6. Drömmen
7. Spektaklet

Tapestry of violence

Also listen to:
Schammasch -
Sic Lvceat Lvx (2010)
Convulsing -
Errata (2016)

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)