Sunday, October 30, 2011

Shub-Niggurath Please

Vader - Out of the Deep
Morbus Chron - Red Hook Horror
Necromandus - Nightjar
Arkham Witch - Dagon's Bell
Briton Rites - A Meeting in the Woods
Orchid - Eyes Behind the Wall
Noctum - The Seance
The Wounded Kings - Return of the Sorcerer
Innsmouth - The She-Goat Quandary
Portal - Omnipotent Crawling Chaos
Abgott - Book 3-The Eye of Yog-Sothoth
Vasaeleth - Wrathful Deities
Necronomicon - Dreaming of the Old Ones
Thergothon - The Twilight Fade

Saturday, October 29, 2011


In keeping with the spirit of the season, let's all listen to Acid Witch's superior second LP, Stoned.  This album was easily one of my favorites last year, and still gets frequent rotation in the Swamp, especially this week.  Acid Witch explores the sort of death/doom purveyed by Coffins and Hooded Menace, but in contrast to the dark and cryptic vibe of those bands they explode with technicolor gore, like a Suspiria-inspired marker set by Lisa Frank found in the cheap costume aisle of your local grocery store, the kind that get you high as hell.  With festive seasonal gusto in the lyrics and a warm layer of horror-movie organ to fend off the foul weather, and several trippy digressions into cinematic abstraction belying the knuckle-dragging facade, Stoned glows like a pillar of green flame rising from a distant pile of corpses.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Immortal - At the Heart of Winter

Just stopping into the Swamp for a brief moment, long enough to leave you my favorite album by the unkillable tyrant kings of the frozen fjords, Immortal.  The songs on this one are a bit longer and more varied than on their earlier material, and yet this is one of the records where Immortal's roots in thrashy first-wave black metal really shine through as well.  Plus, there's the all-time ESL classic "Tragedies Blows at Horizon."  I will attempt to remain among you until Halloween, but duty beckons...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tales From The Underground

I'm too busy listening to the new Tom Waits album and drinking this big greenish jar of weird herbal moonshine one of my neighbors here in the Swamp gifted me to post anything worth reading at the moment, but enjoy this five-album series of rare and forgotten songs by the old man himself.  Some of this re-surfaced on that box set from a few years back but you'll find many strange little toys in this pile, oh my.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Germ Free Adolescents

X-Ray Spex's neon dystopia of plastic airtight repression was flash-frozen in time on Germ Free Adolescents.  Notable right off the bat are the squealing, in-and-out of tune saxophone and the distinct wail of singer Poly Styrene. Poly's obsession with consumerism, disposable culture, and the air-conditioned nightmare informs her lyrics, but her soulful voice and sharp sense of humor keep it cheerfully surreal.  The band released one more album after this, but it was underwhelming and overshadowed by Styrene's growing mental illness, UFO sightings, and adoption of Hare Krishna.  Sadly, she died earlier this year after recording a fairly promising handful of new songs.  Still, this album stands as tribute to her Orwellian love and pessimism for the human race.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Downer Rock Genocide

Here's another comp of British proto-metal, vaguely themed around an end of the world scenario.  I picked it up because I recognized a couple of bands on it: Necromandus, whose Lovecraftian "Nightjar"  is a staple on these sorts of compilations, and Bram Stoker, the spooky organ-heavy psych band responsible for the classic "Born to Be Free."  There's lots of other tasty bands here, like Red Dirt, purveyors of noisy blues-thud with a vocalist who sounds like a talking dog, and the cosmic weirdness of the Flying Hat Band.  This the perfect soundtrack for a cold grey day of whiskey drinking and teeth gnashing.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Colour Haze - Tempel

Sweet Merciful Crap!  What a week.  Posting may be sporadic until the first of the month, wee ones, as your old Uncle Abdul is doing double duty outside the Swamp - burning the brazier at both ends.  All that will fit inside my enfeebled ears tonight is this soothing mystical album from Germany's premier desert rock band, Colour Haze.  Inspired by the power trios of yore and the powerful unnameable forces of the space-time continuum, the cosmic yawn filtered through flange and fuzz, they coax the listener into an out-of-body voyage through the four elements of matter and the various states of consciousness. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Norrsken was the short-lived band primarily remembered today for the two groups who formed from their ashes: Witchcraft and Graveyard.  This ought to give you a good idea what to expect on this apparent bootleg - a heavy-lidded hybrid of Sabbath doom and thuggish psych rock in the Blue Cheer mode.  Contained herein are the "Armageddon/Little Lady" single and the Hokus Pokus demo, along with two comp tracks, covers of Blue Cheer and Trouble's "Psalm 9."  To make things more confusing, there's also another demo (not included here) called Norrsken with a whole different batch of songs than this.  "Little Lady," you'll note, contains an excellent passage of Joakim Nilsson's whistling skills, which were put to great use on Graveyard's killer Hisingen Blues from earlier this year.  There's a bristling, apocalyptic vibe palpable here, an ominous cloud of teenage hormones and pre-millenial dread.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Muddy Waters - After the Rain

Muddy Water's Electric Mud was arguably the first example of post-war bluesmen adapting their sound to the burgeoning psych scene, and unlike many of his contemporaries, Muddy fully embraced the style.  After the Rain, the follow up album, gave Muddy a chance to compose in the style and adapt some of his older riffs and motifs.   Consequently the songs are a bit less far-out, but noticeably heavier and grimier.   With sidemen who played for everyone from Earth Wind and Fire to Miles Davis and early flower power group Rotary Connection, he brews up a potent stew of soul, jazz, rock, funk, and weirdness, stretching the limits of the blues and slicing razorlines in it with his slide guitar.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hawkwind - The Chronicle of the Black Sword

Finally, a quiet night in the Swamp with which to gather my thoughts.  At the end of another week of madness I must alter my state of mind with the aid of The Chronicle of the Black Sword.  Few people have love for mid-80's Hawkwind, but I am one of those few - at least for this album.  A concept album grounded squarely in Michael Moorcock's Elric cycle, the tone matches that of its source material - brooding, expansive, iconoclastic, and unrelentingly grim. Moorcock's albino swordsman was a loner anti-hero, an alien among his own people;  by 1985 Dave Brock was the only original member, a relic from another era.  

Still, the album sounds fairly in line with the times - as heavy as contemporary records by the crop of aging first-wave metal bands inspired by Hawkwind back in the day, and mercifully mostly free of cheesy eighties production.  Granted, there's a bubbly synth here or there, or the occasional too-long guitar noodle, but it's not like the group were ever particularly known for their restraint and focus.  Brock's vocals sound a bit strained and haggard, too, but this adds a weight and world-weariness to the proceedings, fitting with its downbeat lyrics and bleak worldview. 

Interestingly, the band performed the album in it's entirety on the tour, with an elaborate stage production and Moorcock himself narrating.  I haven't watched the recently released DVD, but there's some wild and hilarious videos out there for perusal.  They're a million light years from 1969, but the interval has only made them weirder.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Peter Wyngarde - When Sex Leers Its Inquisitive Head

Tonight we have the mad album When Sex Leers Its Inquisitive Head by British TV actor Peter Wyngarde.  Originally commissioned by RCA to cash in on his popularity, it was released and quickly withdrawn a week later.  Presumably nobody had actually listened to it prior to its release.  Instead of the requested set of easy listening tunes, Wyngarde delivered a series of wild, pervy spoken word rants, backed by wild free-form noise jazz, tribal drums, lustful moaning, and shouts of exultation.  It's practically impossible to describe the myriad fragments sufficiently, and it boggles the mind to think of how this got made in the first place.  One of a kind, for sure.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Arkham Witch - On Crom's Mountain

At last, a new release from Arkham Witch!  I'm breaking my own no-new-releases rule once again here due to my excitement over this album.  Straddling the line between the old-school Lovecraftian doom of Simon Iff's other project Lamp of Thoth and the NWOBHM-informed approach of like-minded bands such as Christian Mistress, On Crom's Mountain isn't deep or particularly dark heavy metal.   Instead, it's a fairly upbeat, joyous drunken celebration of crusty rock n' roll, ragged and righteous.  Of course, there's the requisite Lovecraft/Howard lyrical leanings, along with some witch and viking-related material, and some more cryptic sentiments.  It's still gestating in my ears, as I've only listened to it a scant handful of times, but even now I must go crack another beer and loosen up the old neck muscles - It's tough to headbang and type at the same time.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Vader - The Beast

Poland's unkillable death metal O.G.s  Vader put out a tough-as-nails album this year, Welcome to the Morbid Riech, which I highly recommend.  This record, from 2004, finds the band in a more eldritch mood than usual, with a pronounced Lovecraftian bent to the lyrics and an obsession with the black abyss of the sea.  The music, of course, pretty much just sounds like Vader always does: thrashy first-wave death metal with Piotr Paweł Wiwczarek's hoarse throaty bellows booming over the top.  You can't go wrong with a Vader record, unless you're an asshole.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pussy Galore - Exile on Main St

Partially a sneering repsonse to Sonic Youth's continual threat to cover the Beatles' White Album and partially a genuine love letter to the original from Pussy Galore guitarist Neil Hagarty, Exile on Main St is a nasty, profanity-filled screaming match recorded on a shitty boombox and released on limited cassette (and eventually vinyl), a squealing, out-of-tune hate fuck for your tender ear-holes. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bruce Dickinson - Chemical Wedding

Here's an esoteric gem from Bruce Dickinson's uneven solo career, a mixture of prophetic and allegorical material based on the writing and painting of William Blake, and Rosicrurianism's secret rites and alchemical preoccupation.  On top of being a world class fencer, aviator, novelist, and heavy metal singer, Mr. Dickinson is a serious student of the occult, and he explains the album in depth here far better than I could.  Many of the lyrics are cryptic and abstract, though, allowing one to come to one's own understanding and relationship with the album.  Musically, it's pretty straightforward and solid Maidenism (Adrian Smith is the primary guitar player) aside from a few excellent cameos from Swamp veteran Arthur Brown and the occasional modern screamy vocal accent.  The patient disciple will discover multiple layers of meaning and depth, and the casual headbanger will find a bunch of kick-ass heavy metal.  

Monday, October 3, 2011

Orion - Country

Jimmy Ellis was an obscure rockabilly singer who was blessed and cursed with a singing voice eerily similar to that of Elvis Presley.  After Presley's death he assumed the identity of Orion, mysterious masked country singer, who bore an uncanny resemblance to a certain supposedly dead singer, wink wink nudge nudge.  As gimmicks go, it a weird one - for one thing, Ellis really does sound almost indistinguishable from Presley, and the production closely matches the slick proficiency of Elvis's seventies output.  But on the other side, Ellis received a slice of the wildness that was Presley's later years - not to mention legions of crazed fans' misplaced obsession.  He soon abandoned the persona altogether and took to touring and recording under his own name, unsuccessfully, before retiring to open a convenience store in Alabama, where he was tragically gunned down in a botched robbery.  It's a weird music business story for the ages, sad and ludicrous and, not surprisingly, the source of some good goddamn country music.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Eibon - Entering Darkness

Eibon, not to be confused with the Phil Anselmo/Fenriz band, is a French doom act named after Clark Ashton Smith's Book of Eibon, a tome of great and terrible power.  Fittingly, the music they play is hypnotic and repulsive, a black tar pit full of bones.  Sludgy vocals alternate with frenzied, barely audible sounds of panic and madness, as if the narrator was slowly losing his mind.  The occasional blast beat/tremolo part crops up from time to time, but only to heighten the weighty slowness of the rest of the album.   A must have, one of my favorite releases of last year.
Related Posts with Thumbnails