Just because music is designed for the quiet hours, it doesn’t mean that it’s an easy listen. Such is the case with Burial Grounds by Ghostwriter. The gothic folk/alternative project from Kalee Beals (also of dungeon synth project Mors Certa) has recorded an album of vast emotional power and poignancy, that has the feel of confession. The weight of lost love hangs heavy over the album; but mainly, it is not love for another that feels absent, but for the self. There is a longing here, a sense of emptiness and quiet despair, all tied together by a desire for belonging and peace.
First impressions count for a lot; we all know this. As such, a kind of respect must be given to Abigail Williams for persisting with their band name despite starting out life in such a different – and unfashionable – style. Their early symphonic metalcore sound was left behind early on, but the impression of the band as somehow “false” lingers in certain circles. Well, more fool them, as Walk Beyond the Dark is an album that doesn’t just embrace black metal – as Abigail Williams have done for many years now – but helps exemplify it. Melodically inclined and with a vicious edge, the new album succeeds where previous efforts have fallen slightly short thanks to those most simple, yet nebulous, of things. This is an album filled with passion and spirit, that can stand tall in an often-crowded field.
As some of you will know, I’ve been in a bit of a funk recently. The thought of approaching new music – never mind writing about it! – felt like a challenge I did not want. Yet when the promo for Sea of Worry dropped into my inbox, I felt the stirrings of an excitement I had almost forgotten existed. Have a Nice Life have gained a cult following for a reason. Few bands feel so experimental and grounded at the same time, with whatever adventures they embark upon having a solid emotional core. It’s safe to say that expectations for Sea of Worry are high, but does the album leave the listener floundering in the shallows; struggling in its depths; or basking in its waves?
This year’s installment of Damnation festival – held at Leeds University’s Student Union building, over four stages – packed a superbly impressive line-up of underground bands right from the first announcement. The likes of Dawn Ray’d and Venom Prison have long been favourites here at The Sound Not For Word, but there were also more recent revelations, such as Jo Quail, on the early announcements.
It must also be noted that later announcements included a handful of bands who have members with politics which TSNTW cannot endorse. Damnation has previously booked bands who have made controversial statements, but this year saw one particular announcement that caused a good deal of soul-searching and debate among leftist fans. The weekend ended up being excellent, but it did put a downer on pre-festival excitement. Still, when the day got here, a good time was had right from the start. And there was no fire alarm this year!
October has been an exceptionally busy month, and I haven’t been able to write quite as many reviews as normal; but then, I think that’s a reflection of how many reviews I normally write. Which, for a one-person site, I think is quite a lot! But with that in mind, I feel that a week or two away from reviews will do me some good, so here’s a bumper crop of short reviews to make up for that. Up this time, we’ve got classic doom from Alunah; intense noisy weirdo punk from BATS; Cleric bringing the classic Swedeath; some of the most horrible noise I’ve ever heard, courtesy of Coalminer; Golden Legacy tapping into the raw spirit of rock; a fine sludge split from Kurokuma and Under; and to top it off, Starless Domain taking us into the depths of space via cosmic black metal. Enjoy!
It’s been ten years since the last release from The Sun Came Up Upon The Left, but time has done nothing to calm their rage; it’s just shifted it into a different form. Whilst previous releases had a more black metal feel, Sounds We Make Through Wind is devastation via the medium of doom metal, with traces of death metal throughout. And “devastation” really is the right word – forget the autumnal, sea-swept artwork with its sepia tones. This cassette is steeped in darkness, as if Dragged Into Sunlight had been trying to write a record for early 90’s Peaceville. As that might imply, it’s something quite special.
The concept of darkness is one that so many musicians, bands, and artists of all types will try to tap in to, whether it be cartoon Satanism, Lovecraftian cosmic horrors, or something more personal and real. It is that last aspect which both Clawing and Catafalque specialise in, their music speaking of a darkness that is all too human. Musically, both bands draw from different shades of drone, noise, and even (in the case of Catafalque) the more experimental parts of doom metal; but, as striking as the music is, what really makes Memento Mori hit home is its tales of human misery and suffering. As all that will imply, it is far from an easy, yet one that has an oddly cleansing effect; by the end of the tape, it will feel like some sort of demon has been cast out of you, at least temporarily.