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:
Hautakiammio - 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)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Omega Tribe - No Love Lost (1983)

One of the great peace punk records. Bouncy, catchy, pissed-off, and apocalyptic. A record that, along with Christ: The Album, changed my life in high school.

Just gonna throw this out there: back in the days of Napster, I downloaded a song by some unknown alt rock band that lifted its chorus from "Another Bloody Day", which isn't actually on this LP. Does anyone out there know who it was?

Track listing:
1. Duty Calls
2. Profit
3. Aftermath
4. Freedom, Peace, and Unity
5. What the Hell?
6. Mother of Cultivation
7. My Tears
8. Nature Wonder
9. Pictures
10. Man Made
11. My Tears Reprise (No More Wars)

Angry songs and bitter words
We've heard it all before

You'd also like:
Icons of Filth -
Onward Christian Soldiers (1984)
Rudimentary Peni -
4 E.P.s

Bowery Electric - Beat (1996)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Bowery Electric - Bowery Electric (1995)
Bowery Electric - Lushlife (2000)

A mesmerizing shoegaze/space rock/trip-hop hybrid. At times it's dark and drugged-out, elsewhere it's bright and warm, with the constant pulse of downtempo beats and a droning wall of guitars and synth.

Track listing:
1. Beat
2. Empty Words
3. Without Stopping
4. Under the Sun
5. Fear of Flying
6. Looped
7. Black Light
8. Inside Out
9. Coming Down
10. Postscript
11. Low Density

Everybody wants to go home

You should also hear:
Lilys -
Eccsame the Photon Band (1994)
Guitar -
Sunkissed (2002)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Old Man Gloom - Meditations in B (1999)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Old Man Gloom - Seminar III: Zozobra (2001)

Chaotic blasts of raging, dissonant post-sludge separated by long stretches of cavernous drone and dark ambient. The first time I heard this I was 17 or 18 and stoned out of my mind, riding in the backseat of a car with two older, cooler metal kids up front, and it blew my fucking head off.

Track listing:
1. Afraid Of
2. Flood I
3. Simian Alien Technology: Message Received
4. Sonic Wave of Bees
5. Sonar Enlightenment Program
6. Rotten Primate
7. The Exploder Whale
8. Poisoner
9. An Evening at the Gentlemen's Club for Apes
10. Vipers
11. Test Result: Alien Ape Distress Signal
12. Flood II
13. Resolving the De-Evolution Concept
14. Scraps Theatre Presents: Confusion in Five Movements

Clenched tight in the fist of God

Also listen to:
Curl Up and Die -
Unfortunately We're Not Robots (2002)
Bloodiest -
Descent (2011)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Gratzug - Mondtore (2012)

German atmospheric black metal. Icy guitars, not-quite-tight drums, and reverb-drenched howls from over the mountain and through the woods.

Track listing:
1. Der Beginn
2. Leichenkarren
3. Mondtore
4. Mit Finstrem Blick...
5. Frostreiter
6. Gehüllt In Schwarze Wolkenfetzen
7. Leere Seiten

In a bloody night of fullmoon

You'll also want to hear:
Sapthuran -
... In Hatred (2005)
Arizmenda - Within the
Vacuum of Infinity...

DIANA - Perpetual Surrender (2013)

Laid-back, 80s-indebted hipster electropop. With so many bands aiming for a similar sound, Perpetual Surrender unfortunately kinda got lost in the shuffle, which surprised the hell outta me because I heard it before it came out and was positive that it was gonna be huge. Oh well. By the time the sax hits midway through the title track, you'll know where I was coming from.

Track listing:
1. Foreign Installation
2. That Feeling
3. Perpetual Surrender
4. Strange Attraction
5. Anna
6. Born Again
7. New House
8. Curtains

Make this feel like something more
One last time

You'd also like:
Processory -
Change Is Gradual (2011)
Tropics -
Parodia Flare (2011)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Lesmentor - ...Sable et Soumise... (2007)

Deranged, mind-melting French black metal. Total anxiety-ridden chaos, with the help of some ghoulish, hallucinatory violin. For people who listen to too much black metal, do too many drugs, or both.

Track listing:
1. [LMDCM]
2. ...Sable et Soumise...
3. SanGcher
4. MuRmUR
5. Outr[age]

When you are a martian church

More insanity:
Malvery - Mortal Entrenchment
in Requiem
Sortsind -
More Days (2001)

Savant - The Neo-Realist (At Risk) (1983)

An album of instrumental art rock constructed one piece at a time, meaning that, while many artists contributed to the record, they generally weren't allowed to hear each other's work while tracking their parts, which was done to a click track and based on verbal instructions. It was then pieced together by Canadian experimental musician and project mastermind K. Leimer. More important, though, is that, outside of this intriguing conceptual framework, it's a surprisingly musical, texturally evocative, melodically warped revelation of a record.

Track listing:
1. Using Words
2. Indifference
3. Realist
4. Shadow in Deceit
5. The Shining Hour
6. Knowledge and Action
7. Heart of Stillness

I wore no mask

You should also check out:
Percy Jones -
Cape Catastrophe (1990)
Rain Tree Crow -
Rain Tree Crow (1991)

Friday, February 16, 2018

Grief - ... And Man Will Become the Hunted (2000)

Previously on OPIUM HUM:
Grief - Come to Grief (1994)
Grief - Torso (1998)

If this blog lasts long enough, I will end up posting Grief's entire discography -- I'm already halfway there -- because they are, with the possible exception of Eyehategod, the greatest sludge band of all time.

Track listing:
1. Predator
2. I Won't Come Back
3. If the World Was Flat
4. Ostrich
5. Hurricane Jello
6. Down in the Dumps Again
7. No Escape
8. When Rotten Ideas Break Free

No more pollution
No more toxic waste
The solution?
Kill the human race

You'd also enjoy:
Iron Monkey -
Our Problem (1998)
Brainoil -
Brainoil (2003)

Dan Hartman - New Green Clear Blue (1989)

Shimmering new age synth. Dan Hartman spent some time in the Edgar Winter Group way back when, singing vocals on classic rock radio staple "Free Ride". He then went solo and, over the course of the next decade and a half, released a string of (occasionally great) disco and pop records. I don't know what prompted this abrupt leap into ambient music, but it's an absolutely beautiful move, in both theory and execution.

Track listing:
1. Sigh of Relief
2. Romance
3. New Green / Clear Blue
4. The Swan
5. Beautiful Mist
6. Alpha Waves
7. Adrift in a Red Sky
8. Scaramanga
9. Soviet Nights
10. Hope of No End
11. Home

Come on and sit here by my side

If you like this, listen to:
Harold Budd -
Lovely Thunder (1986)
Michael Stearns -
Floating Whispers (1987)