Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Payne's Gray - Kadath Decoded

We've got a doozy for you today, little ones, so take a seat and perhaps do some breathing exercises to steel yourself against this onslaught on your earholes. Short-lived German prog band Payne's Gray (tellingly named after a muddy bluish-gray pigment) seemingly only ever managed to self-release two cassettes and this album before vanishing off the face of the earth, but they certainly left a...memorable epitaph. Certainly Lovecraft's crowning epic The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath is prime material for an overblown concept album, ripe as it is with bizarre detail, episodic travelogue anecdotes, and sprawling geography, and surely Germany is as good as any place for pretentious puffy-shirted doofuses to make such an album, but when it's all said and done, how the hell does it end up sounding like this, especially in 1995? Far beyond your typical flute-happy technical pomposity (although there is by no means a lack of flute playing at any point), Payne's Gray is a virtual bubbling fondue pot in which the myriad concepts and styles are dipped and gummed together into one heart-attack inducing cheese-coated unidentifiable blob. Cheap synths, electronic drums, baroque acoustic guitar runs, wildly off-key wailing from not one but two mustachioed singers, impenetrable syncopated rhythms seemingly created to stifle foot-tapping or head-nodding, and a baffling central theme somehow all add up to create something even larger than the sum of its parts. Oh, my kingdom for a lyric sheet! The mind whirls.

I realize there's been quite a bit of questionable prog posted here in the past few weeks, but we can't just listen to stoner rock and Swamp Dogg all the time, it makes the brain lazy. No apologies.

Busy warrior during night
Changing paws to fearsome weapon
Jumping then on moonshine heights
Where you fight the terrors threat-on.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Man or Astro-Man? - Is It...

A classic first release from cosmic space surf explorers Man or Astro-Man?, this album is relatively straightforward compared to later, more abstract and experimental records, but retains its galactic sweep and epic psychedelic sprawl even in context. The album oozes with enthusiasm for hammy B-movies, exotic instrumentation, home-made fuzz pedals, kooky lounge music, bachelor pad hedonism, mermaids, and world domination.
Escape through the air vent.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Rudimentary Peni - Pope Adrian 37th Psychristiatric

Eerily, I awoke this morning with the subliminal chant that runs beneath this album reverberating in my head: "Papus Adrianus Papus Adrianus" etc. Clearly a sign that it should be today's post. Rudimentary Peni's early albums are unassailable classics, and universally loved among connoisseurs of the bizarre and mad, but this fourth LP is where jolly old Nick Blinko begins to lose some people. Widely categorized as a concept album, this was (legend has it) written while Blinko was institutionalized for his supposed delusions of being the reincarnation of twelfth century pope Adrian IV. The case can be made that it is more of a focused blast of insanity than a purposefully conceptual work, but with Blinko it's always been a fine line, and the point is moot when discussing the music [sic] either way. Somewhat of a retreat from Cacophony's wild ferocity and genre-defying ambition, this signals a return to simplicity that would further define later albums, eventually reducing lyrics to simple couplets and quatrains and song structure to one or two atonal riffs. It took your narrator some time to fully appreciate this metamorphosis but this album is the reverse coccoon stage, as if an elaborate but hideous butterfly had wrapped itself in a straightjacket and would emerge as a screaming caterpillar some time in the near future.
We're gonna destroy life as the world gets higher and higher.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Although I have scant idea as to what they're singing about beyond the illimitable depths of their country's mythology, Japan's Gonin-Ish embody several Lovecraftian ideals for me. Aside from the tentacle porn cover, there is the chaotic but cinematic prog-death blasting out of my speakers as I type, filling my little room with shrieks and trails of mucus. Furthermore, there is the inscrutable personal philosophy uniting the band, explained thusly: "“Invisible awe” can be a one of the keywords. We thought that a flood of messages can create an “invisible awe” which can never be realized simply. Regarding this, for us to express this concept to our listeners, we have placed many messages and emphasis into the artwork, our costumes, the kanji-characters that we use, our lyrics, and our entire songs." Following the advice of the band, I recommend you listen to this with your eyes closed in the dark, and allow the music to speak to you mystically and form a terrifying picture in your mind.
Kyoukotsu no Yume

Friday, August 27, 2010


In my fury to ingest multiple tin cans of spirits I nearly neglected my daily duties in the Swamp! Good heavens! Well, let's fix that right now, with the self-titled debut record by Bang, an early American metal band that, despite their obvious debt to Black Sabbath, managed to forge a distinct psychedelic style with hints of Cream and Blue Cheer and the like with lyrical subjects that would became staples of the style years later: feeding Christians to lions, dystopian predictions, the plight of the American Indian, sexual relations, drugs, and nebulous philosophical musing.
Come with me

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Frostmoon Eclipse - I Am Providence

Another entry in God is Myth's Lovecraft series, this too-short EP by Italy's Frostmoon Eclipse oozes menace and forboding. It begins with some obscure chanting and quickly spirals outward, flailing its limbs wildly and crawling slowly but steadily towards you, leaving a trail of glistening slime. Of note is the song "The Thing on the Doorstep," named after a personal favorite HPL story that receives less attention than some of the more famous weird tales, containing lengthy acoustic passages and a pleasingly rubber-legged bass line. The final track, "Providence 1937-03-15" is a quiet epitaph for the Old Boy himself, whispered and frightening. Really quality work all around, a must have for the Swamp library.
I haven't forgotten....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Telectu - Ctu-Telectu

This is the debut album of Portuguese mutli-media avant-guard free-range etc. duo Telectu, not necessarily a concept album (as far as I can discern) but a collection of very strange songs titled after various Philip K. Dick stories. Tentative research turns up little meaningful information in English on the group besides a massive list of albums - even a simple Google search turns up bootlegs within the first several hits, or pages of hyperbolic gibberish like: "In its triple conception, Telectu states in “Quartetos” the refinement of the experimental language, in ambitious pieces, captivating, of rare idiomatic and solistic [sic] value, proposing jazz-off in a context of total improvisation." What is the truth behind this mad album of synthesizer squeals, echo chambers, woodblock percussion, and barked vocalization? Who cares? Besides the sheer twisted glory of the album itself, it also allows your host to introduce a new "Dick" tag, and gives me an excuse to post a picture of a tiger wearing a fucking necktie.
Tighten the screws on your inner wingnut.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ras Kass - Rasassination

Today's special is Rasassination, with a wide variety of dystopian flavours for the sensitive palate: everything from your standard 90's cyberpunk themes to visions of a coming Ice Age, punctuated by filthy humour, elaborate descriptions of Mr. Kass' dated wardrobe, discussions of astronomy and physics, and the rather silly sounding stab (so to speak) at conventional horrorcore "Interview with a Vampire." Adding to the exotic ambiance are multiple guest stars with X's and Z's in their monikers, from human internet meme Xzibit to El Drax, Jazze Pha, Jah Skillz, Bad Azz, and RZA. Thematically messy but wildly ambitious, this album retains a special little place in your narrator's throbbing cybernetic heart.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Charles Bradley and the Menahan Street Band - This World (Is Going Up In Flames)

Well, this seems to be out of print, and the mp3s are available for free on the Daptone website, so this must be fair game, and a breath of freshly napalmed air after a long stretch of heavy metal. Charles Bradley is an old school soul singer of the James Brown/Lee Fields small-man-big-mouth school backed by an assortment of Daptone house musicians. The a-side is, as the title suggests, a dark Nostradamian prophecy of raining fire, red skies, and war all the time, punctuated by fierce horn bombardments and a rhythm section radioactive enough to melt your turntable (or, in this case, your tiny little computer speakers). Put on your gas mask and your dancing shoes, the end is nigh.
Lemme hear ya now.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Yog-Sothoth - Hypnotic Crushery

Oh, what to do when of my little seedlings abandons the Swamp and perhaps narrowly escapes a gruesome fate? Merely shamble on, I suppose...
Not to be confused with Appalachian no-hyphen black metal project Yog Sothoth, this Minneapolis instrumental psych-metal band layers sheets of rippling guitars over thunderous rhythms to produce an effect very similar to what it says on the package. Yog-Sothoth separates itself from the post-metal non-genre by, instead of focusing on elaborate mutli-part compostitions and loud-quiet dynamics, simply picking a riff or two and beating the daylights out of it over and over and only adding more and more layers of feedback and chaos. The snarky song titles don't jibe well with single-mindedness of the songs or the decrepit atmosphere, leading one to question the sincerity of this form of worship, but on the other hand there's also a theremin. Make of it what you will.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ossadogva - Iä Ancient One

Speaking of Hastur (get it?), it's no secret that your host takes an unhealthy bizarre relish in obscuritan sub-sub-genres, and this doomish one-man black metal hybrid beast from the one-shoggoth town of Kremenchug, Ukraine, virtually defines "depressive Lovecraftian ritual black/doom." This is their first release, a three song demo championing the three amigos of the apocalypse - Cthulhu, you-know-who, and Yog-Sothoth (on the excellently ESL titled and wildly disorienting "Gates to the Yog-Sothoth.") They are apparently quite fervid little cultist, eschewing "alcohol, drugs, tobacco and similar stimulators; do not watch TV, listen to radio, read newspapers, use mobile phones and do not give concerts and autographs." One may read a delightfully babelfished interview with them here, ending with a choice refrain:
IA Ancient One! Да пожрет Azagthoth ваше сознание!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Hastur Cycle - Mike, Shut the Fuck Up

Salutations, scumbags! I have returned from merciful oblivion carrying copious amounts of medicinal resinated heavy metal in a garbage bag slung over my shoulder, scraping down your chimney like a loathesome Santa. A recent re-reading of The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath goosed your foul narrator to the fact that Unspeakable Hastur hasn't been spoken of enough here in the Swamp, so let's annihilate life as we know it with this wacky thrash record, which is brief but extremely memorable, like being headbutted by a goat. Note the two subtle puns - not only the drug related band initials but also the seemingly silly album title, obviously a sly nod to He Who Shall Not Be Named. Say it aloud with me:
Hastur Hastur Hastuuuuurrrrrrrrrr

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Icarus - Marvel World of Icarus

It's official: the Swamp computing machine, always stubborn and ornery, has croaked its last ululation. Whilst I search for a replacement, have some crap! Icarus was a short lived prog group who chanced upon the brilliant idea of recording an album of odes to comic book heroes and (supposedly) brought this proposition to Marvel Comics. Depending on which version of the story you want to believe, either Marvel at first supported them and then quickly sqaushed the record when they heard how unlistenably awful it was, or had no knowledge all along and killed it for copyright reasons. Either way, this album was never released and Icarus vanished immediately thereafter. For prog rock, the music itself is extremely straightforward and uncerebral - each song is named after a specific character and proceeds to list his attributes and quirks and then the album moves on to the next song. Alarmingly, there is a persistent flute high in the mix that tootles away throughout the entire record without pause, making it extremely difficult to slog through. Lest you think this thematically inappropriate for the Swamp, there is a song about Conan as well.

Monday, August 9, 2010

(((o))) - Droneral

Sporadic posting is to be expected in the next few days, little ones, but I will try mightily to continue spreading the madness.  Today we have (((o))).  When you can't afford Sunn O))) for your bar mitzvah or wedding, why not try their non-union Mexican equivalent?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Africa - Ritual and Witchcraft Music

Little comment needs to be made about this enthralling 1975 field recording from Kenya and Tanzania, but volumes are spoken by the music. The liner notes pontificate at length about the intertwined nature of healing and magic and music, but you'll find no extrapolation here. This record rattles and shakes and stomps, but continuous tones humming in the background cast a hypnotic spell.
Ngoma ra mrongo

Thursday, August 5, 2010

B.O.N.E. Enterpri$e - Faces of Death

Forgive the hurriedness this evening, dearie, but your host is in a mad dash for escape and has only a brief window of time to send a communique. Therefore I leave you with this early example of horrorcore, notable for its Nightmare on Elm Street-riffing single "Hell Sent," the debut from the entity soon to be known as Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. If that cover doesn't sell you on it immediately, I shan't waste precious words trying to convince you. History will vindicate me.
Bless da 40 oz

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Aldebaran - Dwellers in Twilight

Poetically named after the distant star circled by a dark planet ruled by The High Priest Not to Be Described, a.k.a. He Who Cannot Be Named, Portland's crusty doomslingers Aldebaran deliver evil with the patience of an undying embodiment, an apotheosis of gleeful, dancing chaos. Wikipedia would ignorantly have it that this nameless entity is an avatar of our beloved Nyarlathotep, but true scholars know that all signs point to Hastur the Unspeakable, the half-brother of Cthulhu. Much like the monstrous yellow-robed flautist himself, the band slowly allows its "music" to unfold over a seeming eternity, drawing the incautious into its sinister bliss while draining them dry of life and hope. The album begins simply, with ringing open whole notes, but slowly melodic fragments appear and eventually begin to overlap and intertwine, with sinister growls and bellowed cries competing for earspace in an increasingly claustrophobic atmosphere. Surrender to their charms and be lost, little speck.
A motionless descent sightless and silent into blackened gulphs

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Skeletal Earth - Eulogy for a Dying Fetus

Apologies for the gap in posting, gentle reader, but we ran briefly into some more technical difficulties. Moving along, here is the first full length from Skeletal Earth, a band who used to practice at my friend's mother's house when I was but a wee budding hessian. SE played a rudimentary style of death metal with some grind influences mixed in, mostly in the humorous tone and sloppy playing. Lead singer Travis O found Jesus a year or two after the release of this album and promptly vanished from history, but this album is his legacy. I hope it keeps him out of heaven.
Even the Water Reeks

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Pyromaniac - Retard/Asshole

Similar to yesterday's post, Pyromaniac is a one-man ESL Finnish metal band; however, this is where the resemblance ends (as you may have guessed from the title of this demonstration CDr). Lacking any hint of the subtle or the cerebral, these stomping black metal fireballs with titles such as "Pyro-Fucking-Maniac" (hilariously boasting of his sexual prowess) and "You are Dead" are straightforward, bile-filled projectile vomit upon the very concepts of beauty, love, and sunshine. Somewhat surprisingly, they are also extremely well-crafted, catchy, and distinct. I'll admit I was initially drawn to it expecting a molten whirlwind of noise and slobber, but I was surprised at the sheer quality and thoughtful songwriting underlying all the ugliness. Mostly sung in English, there is one seemingly extra-blasphemous track in Finnish.
Time of their death has come!
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