So Hideous- Laurestine
FFO: Cinematic/Film Score, Atmospheric Black Metal, Post Rock
It doesn't take too much for me to enjoy a band. Just be solid at what you do and make music that will keep my interest. But it takes A LOT for me to be blown away with an album. Creating a new genre or expanding on a genre idea usually works, lots of dynamics, peaks and valleys is a huge plus. Moments that grab your attention and never let you go no matter how hard you try. And finally making a REAL album the artist(s) wanted to make. That is exactly what So Hideous has achieved here with their concept album Laurestine.
(The album is one 40 minute long epic split into 7 tracks)
Laurestine is a concept album about a man and his postmortem experience in his mind within the first 7 minutes after death, where the brain is still active. Easily one of the coolest concepts for an album I've ever heard. I won't spoil the story for those that wanna experience it for themselves, but it is a killer story! The journey begins with Yesteryear. It starts with electronic drums and piano before bursting into an eruption of Black Metal, Post Metal and arguably the coolest thing about the entire album an orchestra and choir! The song serves as almost an overture to the entire album while still having it's own, unique sound. Hereafter is an instrumental that starts with clean guitar and the orchestra gradually building up and up with the drums slowly but surely kicking in with the bass for a climax ending on a softer, piano driven end. Relinquish starts orchestral and builds up to the Atmospheric Black Metal and Post Rock sides of the album again. It's not until over half way through the track when vocals kick in, but when they do, they absolutely blow you away. The second half of the song is one of the most epic sounding pieces on the album and you can envision the battle that the story tells going on in your mind. The Keepsake starts off more in the Post Rock style again with some tribal drumming mixed with the orchestra. About a quarter of the way in, it kicks into a Godspeed You! Black Emperor climax before going back into the Orchestral Black Metal. The second half of the song returns back to the GY!BE vibe. It's almost romantic towards the very end. The True Pierce is the climax of the entire album. Just like in any action or Sci-Fi movie with the final fight taking place, this is the soundtrack to that battle. The dynamics hit you extremely hard and can almost bring a tear to your eye. The end of the song everything gets soft and piano driven once again. The final movement of the album, A Faint Whisper is the grand finale and gives you the sense of glory and a happy ending that you wanted to see happen, much like the triumphant music at the end of Star Wars Episode IV. The music continues to ascend and ascend till the final notes fade away.
Essentially, the whole album is as if Deafheaven, Ihsahn and John Williams made an album together. It's as awesome as that idea sounds. It takes you on an epic journey in an amazing concept and gives you a 40 minute short film in your mind and your ears which will takes you through all of the feelings of fear, anger, brutality, reasoning, and acceptance. Once again as a reminder, this is a 40 minute song that is split into 8 tracks, as long as you keep that in mind about any overuse or repetition of sound; this is one of the crowning achievements in Atmospheric Black Metal and an absolute game changer of all the genres involved.
So Hideous- Laurestine available October 16th via Prosthetic Records
Even with only 3 releases (2 Albums and 1 EP), Triptykon has proven to be one of the heaviest bands in all of Metal. Fronted by the legendary Tom G. Warrior (Celtic Frost, Hellhammer), Triptykon's newest release Melana Chasmata may have never been released if Warrior would have carried through with his suicidal thoughts. This album nearly killed him, but in a way saved him as well (with the help of his girlfriend who talked him out of it) This album is sheer depression from start to finish. That is not meant to be a negative thing (Haha, word play). It is full of somber tones, absolute destruction of the mind, and of course is the brilliant songwriting of Tom G. Warrior.
Melana Chasmata (which roughly translate into Black, Deep Depressions) starts off with a different kind of opening. Rather than going completely Doom Metal, or going all guns blazing, the opening track, Tree Of Suffocating Souls starts off midtempo (although it gets faster as the track progresses). The opening is layered in heavy riffs and lots of Double Bass. Right from the start when Warrior opens his mouth to sing, you can hear the heartache of life in his voice. The song never leaves the faster, midtempo pace once it starts until about 3/4s into the song where it gets very doomy for a bit before picking it back up to finish out the song. Boleskine House. Starts off slower and more somber than the proceeding track. This is a signature type of Triptykon track that is slow, doomy, and heavy all the way through. So many Doom Metal bands could learn a thing or two from this track in particular (let alone the ENTIRE album). Alter Of Deceit is next, and again it start of slow. It's roughly at the same tempo as Boleskine House, but even heavier (if that was possible). Breathing is a nice change of pace on the album. While it sort of similar to the last couple tracks, when the vocals kick in, it goes into Death Metal bliss. The verses and Chorus are much similar to the track, A Thousand Lies, off Triptykon's debut album, Eparistera Daimones. This is the fastest track on the album BPM wise and is pinpointed on a great spot on the album. It's Fast, Thrashy and filled with great Death Metal antics that would be amazing to hear live. Auroae follows up next and it is one of the most mellow songs on the album. It still has some great doomy guitar and ethereal moments but the song doesn't change tempo and keeps that same eerie feeling throughout. Next up is Demon Pact. The song doesn't really kick in until a couple minutes into the song, but is very dark and evil. Another song that doesn't vary in tempo, it just drags you into the abyss slowly but surely. In The Sleep Of Death comes now and is a little more upbeat (though not much). This crushing track chugs and chugs away while having some very ethereal guitars used in the background. OH GLORIOUS DOOM! Up next is the epic on the album, Black Snow. A bit more upbeat as compared to some of the other tracks on the album, but it is very epic sounding (just like the term implies). It's very grand and huge all while being unrelenting. You get to hear more of Warrior's tortured vocals in this one. All 12:25 minutes of Black Snow does feel like the soundtrack to your demise. The final track on the album is Waiting. Bassist and Backup vocalist Vanja Šlajh does the vocals does the majority of the vocals on this track repeating the line over and over "We Are The Same". The song is surprisingly positive as compared to the rest of the album which makes you feel the hell that Tom G. Warrior was facing at the time. The song itself is a bit more of a Post Rock song than anything else and features a clean guitar solo, again, something you'd never expect from Triptykon. The song and album ends on Vanja Šlajh's voice fading away along with the guitar drones drifing off into what could only be the heavens for an optimistic look, or hell for a return to tragedy.
Overall, Melana Chasmata is a dark, tortured album musically and lyrically. Knowing the back story of Tom G. Warrior during the process only makes this album even more haunting. While as dark and doom as the album is, it's oddly beautiful in a way only Doom Metal can do when done perfectly. Warrior knocked it out of the park on this one. We can only hope now that he is happier with life....and maybe another full scale US tour in Triptykon's lifetime.
Triptykon- Melana Chasmata available NOW via Century Media Records/Prowling Death Records
- Josh Rundquist (That Drummer Guy)
Lantlôs, is a band who much like Alcest, was known for very dark Black Metal and slowly, but surely, moving away from the sound on every album. But unlike Alcest who is very much a Post Rock band now a days, Lantlôs is still keeping Metal in the sound, although in a much different way. With the band's latest release, Melting Sun, the album is technically one song separated into 6 tracks. All 6 are quite different in sound from the next, yet all fit together seamlessly.
The album begins with Azure Chimes. The track starts with just a haunting guitar and builds its way into the song. Unlike Lantlôs albums of the part, this album has zero screams, all clean singing, but still beautifully heavy. The sound is more reminiscent of Post Metal and Alternative Metal. If there was a way to compare the sound, a fair comparison is the bands, Anathema, Long Distance Calling, and TesseracT. The next track is Cherry Quartz, which again builds up slowly, but this time with synths and haunting guitar before kicking in. This is much more upbeat beginning and very heavy. It's a strange joy hearing Lantlôs using downtuned guitars now, but it so oddly works. The song slowly gets to a Sludge Metal feel followed by a very mellow interlude, then it all kicks back in. A very heavy, sludgy, Post Metal riff with clean vocals, it is very sexy. Aquamarine Towers is the next track, and what is a theme in the beginning of the album, it starts off quiet and slow, then builds up. The track is the most Post Rockish sounding track on the album. Lots of tremolo picking and atmospheric riffs fill the song. It feels much like listening to the likes of Isis and Pelican. Arguably the best track on the album comes up next, Jade Fields. This has a very Djenty feel throughout. Once again the track starts with synths and guitar before kicking in. TesseracT absolutely comes to mind in this track with the distorted Djent riffs in the middle of the track and like TesseracT, has that great atmospheric landscape as well. Definitely the standout track of the entire album. Up next is a short, almost 3 minute synth and soundclip interlude called Oneironaut, which leads way into the final track, Golden Mind. It starts off very laid back and waltzy. It almost feels like being in the middle of the ocean and slowly being hit by wave after wave in a calm blue ocean (strange image isn't it?) The song slowly and slowly builds up with the waves getting bigger and bigger until it fades away, ending the almost 41 minute song known as Melting Sun.
Melting Sun is a phenomenal piece of work. So many layers and soundscapes in just under 41 minutes and 6 tracks. it gets heavy, it gets Posty, it's all entirely beautiful and exactly what needed to be made. For the last few years Atmospheric Black Metal has been slowly picking up steam and bands like Deafheaven have brought it to the mainstream. Lantlôs has done what Alcest has done and moved away from the sound to create something beautiful, but still be Metal. For those that are bummed that Alcest has gotten rid of all of their Metal side, give Melting Sun a chance. It's the beauty of Alcest, the power of Post Rock, the atmosphere of TesseracT and the entity that has become Lantlôs.
Lantlôs- Melting Sun available NOW via Prophecy Productions
- Josh Rundquist (That Drummer Guy)
That Drummer Guy: Radio DJ, Interviewer, Reviewer, overall...an OK guy.