Once again, the weekend is here! Apparently, it’s the Week of Extreme Metal around here. I promise this is an accident and not because I really, really love extreme Metal.
Blodskam – ‘La-Bas’
First up this week is ‘La-Bas,’ the first release by Swedish Black Metal duo Blodskam. Blodskam are an interesting animal – although this is their first major release, the band’s history dates back to 1998. Their long, hiatus-punctured history may help explain the contradictions of this album. Their music is very 90s Black Metal – lots of tremolo guitars and pounding drums. The riffs are good but everything feels oddly simplistic for a band that’s been around since 1998. I don’t know if these are older songs that are only just being recorded now, but they feel like they haven’t been updated since the late 90s. Lyrically, the themes of mental illness and depression are well-trod territory, but it’s executed very well by vocalist Doddfodd. Songs like God in a Straitjacket paint a vivid picture of hallucinations and psychosis, and there are some interesting lyrics and solid riffs on Routines, which is my personal favourite track on the album. Overall, it’s not a bad record, though it’s definitely a bit bland and underwhelming. Hopefully it doesn’t take another 21 years for Blodskam to release a follow-up!
‘La-Bas’ was released February 6, 2019 via Suicide Records. You can check it out HERE!
Euclidean – ‘Quod Erat Faciendum’
Next up is another Black Metal outfit, this time from Switzerland! Euclidean’s debut full-length ‘Quod Erat Faciendum’ was technically released in 2017, but it’s just come out on vinyl and CD, so it’s in our queue for a fresh look. Billed as a Progressive Black Metal group, Euclidean draws heavily on Sludge and Doom Metal influences in their sound. The resulting record is long – album opener Increatus is basically a seven-minute intro track – but it’s worth sitting down with. Each track is well-laid out, with a heavy, brooding atmosphere created with rich layers of instrumentation. My favourite track is probably Numbers Held Sovereignty, which takes this album to the next level with tons of great leads popping in and out over the whole piece. On top of being well-constructed and composed, the production is stellar, with clear highs and mids, and enough room between the various instruments to hear all the layers clearly. If you’re a fan of extreme Metal, Euclidean are well worth checking out.
‘Quod Erat Faciendum’ was originally released Dec. 21, 2017, and re-released on CD and vinyl on February 9, 2019. You can check it out HERE!
Endorphins Lost – ‘Seclusions’
My final pick this week was Seattle-based powerviolence band Endorphins Lost, with their latest release, ‘Seclusions.’ I have to admit, going into this, I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I am about the least punk, or crust person in the history of punk. Luckily, for me, ‘Seclusions’ is an excellent introduction to powerviolence. It’s as fast and hard-hitting as you’d expect from a punk album – the three shortest tracks on the album clock in at less than 30 seconds. There’s a ton packed in it though, as Endorphins Lost is, in the best punk fashion, angry as fuck. Stone Man and Two Minutes Hate are basically the musical equivalent of getting punched in the stomach for two minutes, but both have a lot to say about war and division. Production-wise, this record is really well done, with a real punch to it that’s often missing in punk. ‘Seclusions’ is a well-crafted record, and for punk fans, it’s a definite must-see.
Seclusions was released February 16, 2019. You can check it out HERE!
All right, I’m off to drink for this weekend. Next week will be all butterflies and happy songs. Ok, probably not.