Open Mind Saturated Brain

Open Mind Saturated Brain

ZEGEMA BEACH RECORDS

Sunday, 31 January 2016

ADAJE

BandADAJE
GenresPunk / Emo / Screamo / Hardcore / Ambient / Skramz / Post-Rock / Post-Hardcore
Related artistsGreyscale (aka GRYSCL) and Holy Gallows.
CountryMemphis, Tennessee USA
Years Active2009-2012 (2015 reunion show)
Song: "Harrowing Sounds From the Ravine"
Album: "Yore Veils"
Year: 2012
For fans ofThe Fall Of Troy, Itto, Greyscale, For Want Of, Beau Navire, We Were Skeletons, State Faults, Terry Green, The Reptilian, D'Amore, Caught In The Fall, Eyes Of Verotika, Mahria, Hot Cross, Weakness, Coma Regalia, Hugs, Wolf Teeth, Jiyuna, The South, AnnaKarina, People's Temple Project and Matsuri aka PROPER SCREAMO.
Label(s): Self Released / Broken World Media / Keep It Together Records / Sea Of Tranquility / Carucage Records / Sometimes I Get Drunk Records
This post's artist is from the November 2015 Mix. This is track #2.
You can download: the January Mix#1 right here or get the new February 2016 Mix#2 here.

ADAJE were the precursor to Greyscale and released music between 2010 and 2012. They played mathy and spastic screamo with a lot of slower, brooding melodies but the band certainly evolved and incorporated new things over the five releases, with 'Yore Veils' being the strongest (and final) effort. Band comparisons are a little weak, but I think mixing Greyscale (obviously) with D'Amore danceable parts and the noodly bits are reminiscent of Hot Cross and Matsuri. Some songs are in the heavier and screamier vein while others are rooted in emo and post-rock. Because Greyscale was able to do the emo/screamo with some clean vocals thing extremely well I have gravitated towards the noodly and heavy screaming of songs such as "Nightlife" (very heavy), "Kanga Wu Pouch" (serious dual screams that remind me of Hugs), "A True Facade" (the last half sounds like Jiyuna), "Slithering Snakes On These Slandering Mountains", "Pending" and "KWP" - the last three of which are all from the phenomenal and epic 'Yore Veils'. Some sound exceptions include the very mature "Ladder for a Step" which injects excellent spacey guitars, "Caveman Not Cometh" which has very obvious The Fall Of Troy guitar influences mixed with Beau Navire. As I just finished explaining to my wife, "Harrowing Sounds From the Ravine" is the band's best track and definitely displays pretty openly what Greyscale was going to sound like, albeit a bit darker.

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DISCOGRAPHY
Click )==>here<==( to download the band's complete discography in mp3 form.

2010 - Close To Me split cdEP (stream/free download here)
2010 - Drone Empire cdLP (stream/free download here) (buy cd here)

2011 - Shark Bait split cassetteEP (stream/free download here)

2012 - Lizard Have Personalities split 7"EP (stream here)
2012 - Yore Veils cassette/cdLP (stream/free download here)

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(2012) ADAJE - "Harrowing Sounds From the Ravine" (from 'Yore Veils')

(2012) ADAJE - "Pending" (from 'Yore Veils')

(2011) ADAJE - "Caveman Not Cometh" (from 'Shark Bait' split)

(2011) ADAJE - "Kanga Wu Pouch" (from 'Lizards Have Personalities' split)

(2010) ADAJE - "A True Facade" (from 'Drone Empire')

(2010) ADAJE - "Nightlife" (from 'Close To Me' split)

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ADAJE out of print mp3 discography download / additional links

(download here)

Bandcamp

Facebook
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Thursday, 28 January 2016

FALL OF EFRAFA

GenresPunk / Crust / Post-Rock / Post-Hardcore / Post-Metal / Doom / Ambient / Sludge
Related artistsLight Bearer, Archivist, Carnist, Momentum, Farewell To ArmsBlackstorm and Anopheli.
CountryBrighton UNITED KINGDOM
Years Active2005-2009
Song: "The Warren of Snares"
Album: "Inlé"
Year: 2009
For fans ofLight Bearer, Amber, Tephra, Avvika, Monuments Collapse, Momentum, Tel Fyr, Neurosis, (later) Back When, Protestant, Kraken, Northless, AmenRa, Buried Inside, Titan, Trainwreck, Isis, Perth Express, AlaskanNionde Plågan and Downfall Of Gaia.
Label(s): Self Released / Halo Of Flies / Denovali Records / Alerta Antifaschista / Tadpole Records / Sound Devastation Records / Behind The Scenes / Be-Part Records / Contraszt! Records / Laboratorio 12 / Sadness Of Noise / Fight For Your Mind / Symphony Of Destruction / Deskontento Records
This post's artist is from the November 2015 Mix. This is track #11.
You can download: the January Mix#1 right here or get the new February 2016 Mix#2 here.

For the longest time when I saw the word "crust" I cringed. After hearing FALL OF EFRAFA I realized crust wasn't exactly what I thought it meant. I always thought it was dirty, shitty and simplistic music like The Exploited. Boy was I glad to be proven wrong. I came to the conclusion that a lot of the post-hardcore/post-metal bands that I liked drew influences from crust and spit them out in a newly evolved form - I'm thinking of bands like Isis, Buried Inside and Jungbluth but I know there's a ton more. I've really only jammed the primary three albums so those will be the ones discussed.

The band's early material was quite good, but something didn't quite grab me. On 'Owlsa' the songs are much shorter in length, with most hovering around the five minute mark and the longest being "Last But Not Least" at 10:41 which is also the best song as it is much more reminiscent of the band's later work aka slow, building and epic crust/post-metal. The closer "The Fall of Efrafa" isn't too far off from the previous track and is another massive, swelling beast. The first half of the album is generally faster with more emphasis on hardcore than metal.

'Elil' takes "Last But Not Least" and expands on that very successful formula, which was released the following year (2007) and the three tracks take up over an hour's worth of time! Each song is at least 20 minutes long and is like listening to the audio equivalent of the rise and fall of a civilization. At this point it's probably worth mentioning that the entire lyrical theme and content are the story of Watership Down, which is very, very cool. All of the FALL OF EFRAFA artwork is minimal but fucking awesome which is another reason that the much sought after 'Box Set' sells for crazy prices online. Back to 'Elil', the first song "Beyond the Veil" has a beautiful yet haunting intro that almost surpasses the 7-minute mark before the nearly 5-minute long ascent towards the climax which occurs around 16-17 minutes and is preceded by a cool acoustic ambient part. Next up is "Dominion Theology" which gets into the thick of it after only a minute of intro. If it's time for band comparisons, I'm fucking ready. Buried Inside. Protestant, Light Bearer (same vocalist, I know) but with longer songs and much more focus on sustaining long, powerful rhythms. "For el Ahrairah to Cry" is the final song on this 2x12" and it is the heaviest and darkest of them all. The opening sounds like massive statues crumbling on top of city hall. The slow chords, the lingering of notes, the audio clips, they're all encased in a swirling bubble of darkness and chaos, and it's amazing.

After jamming 'Inlé' while on the subway in South Korea I was floored. This record is like the previous outing but much more precise and permeating. The instrumental intro of "Simulacrum" is a testament to this. "Fu Inle" glides in after the instrumental opener and is 10:30 of solid, engaging and destructive crust/post-hardcore/post-metal. Every time they insert that rise or fall of just one note - holy fuck it's revolt inducing. The sludgy but melodic mass moves along slowly but never loses momentum. "Republic of Heaven" and it is amazing and sounds very similar to the stuff Buried Inside was doing in 2009 with 'Spoils of Failure'. "The Warren of Snares" is my final pick and quite possibly the strongest on the album. The entrancing subdued squeals on guitar open the song and lead into the slow chugs and heavy yell/scream/growl - actually the vocals are none of those three, they simply take elements from each but don't sound like any one in particular. Anyhoos, the rising and falling of numerous climaxes over 17:24 will leave you spent and in need of a nap. As great as this album is I don't know if I like it as much as 'Elil' but it damn near comes close. Every song is really good and I haven't even mentioned "The Burial" and "Woundwort" (well, now I have) so be sure to check this out if you haven't already.

I may not listen to much that is very similar to FALL OF EFRAFA, but I enjoy listening these fellas because they were both awesome and influential. Generally when I see anyone posting about the band it's all gushing you know they must be good.

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DISCOGRAPHY

2006 - Demo digitalEP
2006 - Owlsa cd/12"LP (stream/buy here)

2007 - Elil cd/2x12"LP (stream/buy here)
2007 - Down To Agony split 12"EP (stream/buy here)

2008 - Tharn cd/12"EP

2009 - Inlé cd/2x12"LP (stream/buy here)
2009 - The Burial 12"EP

2010 - The Road dvd

2012 - The Warren of Snares 6x12"LP box set
2012 - 4-way split w/Thou, Masakari & Lycanthropy 8"EP

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(2009) THE FALL OF EFRAFA - "The Warren of Snares" (from 'Inlé')

(2007) THE FALL OF EFRAFA - "For el Ahrairah to Cry (cut version)" (from 'Elil')

(2007) THE FALL OF EFRAFA - "No Longer Human" (from 'Down To Agony' split)

(2006) THE FALL OF EFRAFA - "Last But Not Least" (from 'Owlsa')

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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

ISIS

BandISIS
GenresPunk / Post-Rock / Post-Hardcore / Post-Metal / Hardcore / Doom / Ambient / Noise / Sludge / Drone / Industrial
Related artistsOld Man Gloom, Loga, Palms, Greymachine, House Of Low Culture, Jodis, Lotus Eaters, Mamiffer, Split Cranium, Sumac, The Hollomen, Twilight, Unionsuit, Taiga, The Gersch, Windmills By The Ocean, Age Of Reason, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Japanese Torture Comedy Hour, Cable, Crone, Or Rathol Nok, Spylacopa, MGR, Cast Iron Hike, Empty Flowers and Red Sparowes.
CountryBoston, Massachusetts USA / Los Angeles, California USA
Years Active1997-2010
Song: "Carry"
Album: "Oceanic"
Year: 2002
For fans ofNeurosis, Respire, Tool, Monuments Collapse, Lentic Waters, Fall Of Efrafa, Sarin, Old Man Gloom, Botch, (old) Cave In, Teleportoise, Red Sparowes, Jesu, (later) Back When, Finger Of God, Pelican, Russian Circles, 5ive, Zozobra, Mare, Tephra, Gray Ghost, Angel Eyes, Shahman, Knut, Tigershark, Amber, Milanku, Rosetta, Buried Inside, Quiet Lakes, Titan, TomydeepestegoForensics, Sundowning, Downfall Of Gaia, Llynch, AmenRa, Omega Massif, Locktender, Mogwai, Godspeed, You! Black Emperor, Envy, Hum, (later) Tel Fyr and Godflesh.
Label(s): Self Released / Hydra Head Records / Escape Artist Records / Second Nature Recordings / Tortuga Recordings / Neurot Recordings / Ipecac Recordings / Trust No One Recordings / Ritual Records / Level Plane Records / Daymare Recordings / Robotic Empire / Electric Human Project / Troubleman Unlimited / Profound Lore Records / Conspiracy Records / Disk Union / Viva Hate Records / Konkurrent
This post's artist is from the November 2015 Mix. This is track #1.
You can download: the January Mix#1 right here or get the new February 2016 Mix#2 here.

ISIS was a band. A post-metal band. They were one of, if not the, greatest post-metal band I've ever heard and have influenced countless bands since their inception, some being bad but most being very good. I found ISIS hard to get into at first, much like Cave In, Botch and Converge in the early 2000s when I had moved on from At The Drive and bands such as Hopesfall. Once I fell into the gravitational pull of Hydra Head Records and ISIS in particular, I fell in love. I was fortunate enough to have witnessed four amazing live shows during the band's tenure, and every time I saw Aaron Turner rocking out so hard that when he headbanged his forehead nearly touched the floor in front of his shoes before flying back like he was about to do the limbo. Over the next decade I watched the band closely but near the end of their career they began to level out and stagnate, primarily because of the Neurosis/monotonous singing that was brought in. Regardless, the band's evolution over their 13 year career is a testament to music that will be forever enshrined as some of the grooviest, smartest and heavy post-metal ever to exist.

Let's begin with the dark and haunting as fuck 'Mosquito Control' EP. The opener "Poison Eggs" has a grooving but hellish opening that explodes at the 1:44 mark and injects some seriously satantic screams. The next track titled "Life Under the Swatter" is another banger that is more of a sludgy hardcore/post-metal fest than the first song. The EP itself is a great debut that boasts some deep songwriting and very encompassing atmospherics. I'd give this a 6/10 but in 1998 it would have been more like 8/10.

'The Red Sea' was first released in 1999 and a bunch of times thereafter which includes the '98 Demo' as well as 'The Red Sea'. 'The Red Sea' tracks in particular and fantastic. "The Minus Times" is an amazing song with an intro that rings through my empty skull on a monthly basis, "If you stare at the horizon long enough all you can see is fire. The entire line of the horizon is burning. Fire as far as the eyes can see." Directly following this very hardcore song that relies on speed on a lot of note changes instead of the chug comes "The Red Sea" that has another gem of a movie clip, "You were away. Away in a sea of red," that sets the deep, dark and destructive atmosphere for this prodigious post-metal and sludge fest. Right before the end of the first minute ISIS truly brings in their signature sound with a wall of chugs and those death shrieks on the guitar. The second half of this 7+ minute track is much softer and can be likened to a lot of ISIS' later, more atmospheric and relaxed instrumental music. This release is the starting point for what I consider to be the forever enshrined sound of ISIS and permeates more and more songs as the band evolved. 8/10. The 'Demo 98' tracks follow and can be likened much more towards the 'Mosquito Control' EP with "Smiles and Handshakes" being the best of the bunch. I'd give the demo 5/10.

Next up, the 'Sawblade' EP. This is just silly. The record goes for stupid amounts online (generally well over $200) and quite frankly, the songs are mediocre at best. I almost bid on this once, lost, and later heard the 4 tracks and was ridiculously thankful for my decision to pass on it. It's not even worth discussing. 2.5/10

2000 saw the band going in a direction I wasn't overly impressed with. Perhaps it was primarily because of the inclusion of an "electronics" member, but the 'Celestial' LP and 'Pig Destroyer split' do little to nothing for me. "Streetcleaner" from the split is alright, but the LP tracks are extremely loose, don't flow so well and dabble in noise and drone which do absolutely nothing for me. Both releases would get 3/10 from me.

In 2001 ISIS dropped their 'SGNL>5' EP which houses a song that if it appeared on 'Celestial' the LP would be ranked much higher in my book. "Divine Mother" (The Tower Crumbles)" is a downright sensational track that has ISIS firmly rooted in their emerging style that became their staple. At 8:41 the massive song shifts from death guitars (3 minutes in) to big 'ole chugs of post-metal and to be honest this track sounds a lot like early Old Man Gloom material, which is further reason for you to check this out. The rest of the EP is dismissible so it gets 5/10 but that song gets an 8.5/10!

2002's 'Oceanic' is the ISIS equivalent of 'Jane Doe' (Converge), if you need a very basic comparison of the weight of this record. Not only was the thing pressed a million times (not really, but there have been an insane amount of represses) but all these years later people still come back to 'Oceanic' as the ISIS record. "The Beginning and the End" is a phenomenal opener that captures all of the best aspects of ISIS and the album in particular. In hindsight this song is probably the closest one to being comparable with their follow up record 'Panopticon' which is discussed in detail below. The rhythmic intro leads quickly to massive, falling chunks of riffs that accumulate slowly and build with such epic precision that if you're not bobbing along you should probably stop reading this blog right now. At 1:30 the ambient, atmospheric and bass driven interlude begins which is then peppered throughout the remainder of the 8:01 track, along with squalls of apocalyptic post-metal. The second track titled "The Other" clocks in at 7:14 (this long song pattern continued throughout the remainder of the band's existence, with tracks generally ranging from 5-9 minutes in duration) and is a much more prog based than earlier ISIS material. The droning, swaying instrumentals slosh around for 1:45 with that signature water-drip bass sound before rolling in and out with tides of thick and sludgy post-metal. "False Light" further expands on the already utilized electronics but does so with much more unison than previous records. The onslaught of chuggy guitars begins just before one minute and continues for another two before finally fading back, as it definitely showcases the menacing, destructive power of the band before getting jammy again throughout the midsection of the song.
"Carry" is my fucking jam. Goddamn I love this song. After first listening to the album I thought it was a good song and all but following 10 or so times I finally came to the realization that this song was the best. It begins with a lengthy intro that adds a new layer every 30 seconds or so that include ambient parts and dreamy solos. At exactly four minutes all of the threads and layers meet up and detonate into a beautiful explosion of supernova proportions. "From Sinking" is my last serious love on this masterpiece and wraps up everything that's great on the album with additional accessibility as the instrumentals are very consistent and not unlike Tool. The amount of unreal tracks on this record is staggering. Truly one of the best post-metal records of all time. 9.5/10

In 2004 shit started to go pretty nuts for the band. Sometime around here they started touring with Tool and ISIS released the first two of six live records and four full lengths of 'Oceanic' remixed material from other artists. Oh, and they also released their next LP...so it was more than a little busy! It was right before this album was released that I began listening to ISIS and after I had a copy to call my own I declared this the best ISIS album. It's not. It's really good, but 'Oceanic' and 'In the Absence of Truth' are superior in my books. That being said, one of the greatest ISIS songs of all time is located in the track 4 slot and it's called "Wills Dissolve". The song begins much like "Carry" from 'Oceanic' before busting out that fucking mindblowing guitar riff and bassline at 1:50 that is very reminiscent of Tool. Seriously, I love this thing. It's so jazzy and mathy without being overly chaotic nor complex. Things get heavier nearing the four minute mark when the Pelican-esque instrumentals take hold and Aaron's singing makes an appearance, fitting in quite well before he resorts to throat shredding screams like a lawnmower down the gullet after the shift at 5:25. "Grinning Mouths" is yet another epic song that eclipses the 8-minute mark and slowly shifts around the room, taking root in each corner for extended periods of time and basking in the very different characteristics of each, including ambiance, jazz, heaviness and melody. In hindsight this album get 8/10.

Although 'In the Absence of Truth' throws out a web of relatively monotonous clean vocals, the screaming/yelling/growing and crashing instrumentals more than tip the scales on whether or not this is phenomenal. The clean stuff is actually quite good at parts, take "Not in Rivers, But in Drops" and "Dulcinea" (the first half is good, the latter half is stellar) for example, as the spacey singing is reminiscent of both Hum and Neurosis, Aaron manages to tweak the melodies a few times to catapult the songs into new, and amazing, territory. I had the opportunity to witness the band tour twice after this release and have loads of amazing memories of the band blowing everyone away with both the angelic and devastating parts of the album. "Over Root and Thorn" has a beginning that borders on trippy elevator music until just before three minutes when the crooning vocals dip in and then the Tool influence becomes rather apparent and leads almost directly into the heavy, dense post-metal that I love the band for so much. "Holy Tears" is a great song with an unbelievably cool video that is just a guy falling in slow motion from a building and then hitting the pavement. It's not gory it's just fucking wild. "Garden of Light" sounds like a beautiful nightmare, and is probably the heaviest and most diverse song on the record. An excellent album and an easy 8.5/10. Also released in 2006 was the 'Isis+Aereogramme' split EP but that was already reviewed as a separate entity which you can read here. I didn't give it a score though. Hmmmm, maybe 7.5/10 just because "Low Tide" is much better than the other songs.

2009 saw the release of the band's 5th and final full length record 'Wavering Radiant'.
The opener "Hall of the Dead" inverts the band's later ordering and comes out of the gate with screaming first before mellowing out. It also becomes very apparent that ISIS is really pushing keyboards and atmospherics more than previous recordings. The album itself is slower than all previous outings and is much more honed and focused around building multiple layers of sounds and melodies than rocking the shit out. It works pretty well but upon repeat listens I find the album lacks the power and substance of 'Oceanic' and 'In the Absence of Truth'. "Ghost Key" begins as I generally remember all later ISIS songs sounding. The water-drip bass is almost constant at this point and the twinkly guitars are intertwined with electronics which both add and detract to the music, for me at least. I don't discuss the bad songs, so although the later ISIS didn't speak to me as deeply these songs are still awesome. At nearly 10 minutes "Hand of the Host" lays the song on the spectrum of their music and builds from slow, gentle and serene soundscapes to intense and climactic. In the same vein "20 Minutes/40 Years" has a gentle and catchy beginning that plods along for 3:10 before deciding to give me what I crave. Basically the last few songs on this record sound like good ISIS songs. There's not much more description I can give that's new except a score of 7/10.

Perhaps it is for that reason that ISIS disbanded in 2010 after citing that they didn't want the band's sound to stagnate. Considering I don't think there's a whole lot more they could have done I commend them for it. They did release two final songs on a split 10" with Melvins and those two are definitely bangers and a fitting way to finalize the band's existence. "Way Through Woven Branches" is a cool song that mixes the newer ISIS sound with that of spacey, post-metal band Rosetta. "The Pliable Foe" is a stop/start behemoth to be reckoned with and the correct choice for the band's final song. The split I've gotta give 8.5/10 even though it's only two songs.

In 2012 ISIS released a posthumous collection demos, live and remixed material on a 3xcd called 'Temporal'. I was extremely pumped for the release and also very let down once I listened to it. I was hoping to find rare gems and different takes that gave further depth to the band and their songs. Instead I've never really ventured back to the release with the exception of the 'Melvins split' songs and the "False Light" demo.

Well that's it folks. I've put a massive download online as the majority of the songs on their are hard to find. It's missing a few remixes and the last live record but it's a pretty complete collection otherwise - besides the EPs and LPs that are in print. So this is a big collection of the really rare stuff. Enjoy.
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DISCOGRAPHY
Click )==>here<==( to download the band's out of print discography in mp3/wma form.

1998 - Demo 98 cassetteEP
1998 - The Mosquito Control cd/12"EP

1999 - The Red Sea cd/8"/12"EP
1999 - Sawblade cd/12"EP

2000 - Celestial cd/2x12"LP
2000 - Pig Destroyer split 7"EP

2001 - SGNL>5 cd/12"EP

2002 - Oceanic cd/2x12"LP

2004 - Panopticon cd/2x12"LP
2004 - 09.23.03 (aka Live 1) cd/12"LP
2004 - 03.19.03 (aka Live 2) cd/2x12"LP
2004 - Oceanic Remixes I 12"LP
2004 - Oceanic Remixes II 12"LP
2004 - Oceanic Remixes III 12"LP
2004 - Oceanic Remixes IV 12"LP
2004 - Oceanic Remixes/Reinterpretations 2xcd/4x12"LP box set

2005 - 12.17.04 (aka Live 3) cd/2x12"LP

2006 - In the Absence of Truth cd/2x12"LP
2006 - In the Fishtank #14 (aka Isis+Aereogramme collaboration) cd/12"EP
2006 - Selections 2001-2005 (aka Live 4) cd/2x12"LP
2006 - Clearing the Eye dvd

2008 - Shades of the Swarm 12x12"LP (box set 1998-2006)
2008 - Holy Tears cd/12"single
2008 - Not in Rivers, But in Drops cdsingle

2009 - Wavering Radiant cd/2x12"LP
2009 - 07.23.06 (aka Live 5) cd/2x12"LP

2010 - Melvins split 12"EP

2012 - Temporal dvd/2xcd/3xcd/3x12"LP compilation
2012 - 11.16.07 (aka Live 6) 2x12"LP
2012 - Live 1-6 6xcd (box set)
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(1998) ISIS - "Smiles and Handshakes" (from '98 Demo')

(1998) ISIS - "Poison Eggs" (from 'Mosquito Control')

(1999) ISIS - "The Red Sea" (from 'The Red Sea')

(2001) ISIS - "Divine Mother (The Tower Crumbles)" (from 'SGNL>5')

(2002) ISIS - "The Beginning and the End" (from 'Oceanic')

(2004) ISIS - "Wills Dissolve" (from 'Panopticon')

(2004) ISIS - "In Fiction" (from 'Panopticon') official music video

(2006) ISIS - "Dulcinea" (from 'In the Absence of Truth')

(2006) ISIS - "Holy Tears" (from 'In the Absence of Truth') official music video

(2006) ISIS - "Low Tide" (from 'In the Fishtank #14')

(2009) ISIS - "Hall of the Dead" (from 'Wavering Radiant')

(2009) ISIS - "20 Minutes/40 Years" (from 'Wavering Radiant') official music video

(2009) ISIS - "Carry" (from '7.23.06')

(2010) ISIS - "The Pliable Foe" (from 'Melvins' split)

(2012) ISIS - "False Light (demo)" (from 'Temporal')

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ISIS out of print mp3/wma out of print discography download / additional links

(download here)

Facebook

Website
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Sunday, 24 January 2016

TIME IN MALTA

GenresPunk / Post-Rock / Melodic Hardcore / Post-Hardcore / Post-Metal / Grunge / Sludge
Related artistsBurn It Down, LoveLikeFire and Rescue Me.
CountrySan Francisco, California USA
Years Active1997-2004
Song: "This Revolution"
Album: "A Second Engine"
Year: 2002
For fans ofSnapcaseBoy Sets FireBelovedRaised Fist(old) Codeseven, Deftones, Fear Before The March Of Flames, Thursday,  In Pieces, Thrice, Helmet, Vaux, Tigershark, Forstella Ford, Ignite, This Day Forward, 311, Nous Étions and The Procedure.
Label(s): State Of Grace / Reflections Records / Equal Vision Records / Escape Artist Records / 
This post's artist is from the November 2015 Mix. This is track #5.
You can download: the January Mix#1 right here or get the new February 2016 Mix#2 here.

TIME IN MALTA. I'm pretty sure my brother introduced me to these guys back in the early 2000s. I've only ever jammed 2002's 'A Second Engine' and on revisiting it for this review I've had to move a few more files into my "best of" folder that should have been there over a decade ago. The band instrumentally sounds like In Pieces, Beloved and Helmet while vocally sounding like Snapcase and Helmet (again). They are at their best when they really bring the heavy stuff (check out the very end of "What We've Become") but I must say the injection of dark, twinkly melodies are more than welcome. The unrelenting bludgeoning that "This is Our Voice" releases upon the listener to begin the album is great, but never really repeated. "All is Said and Done" has a lot of semi-melodic vocals going on and the song ends up sounding a helluva lot like Helmet during their 'Aftertaste' phase. "Azure" is prog-rock/post-hardcore and has some pretty good clean singing but the best song here is "This Revolution" which mixes everything good about the band but polishes it off in a manner that is the most metallic hardcore of all of their songs and is the only track that meets the ferocity of "This is Our Voice".

It's strange to listen to the difference between 1999's 'Construct and Demolish' and 2004's 'Alone in the Alone' as there is almost none because TIME IN MALTA's sound barely changed. Sure it was slightly more honed by 2004 but the style and sound are unmistakably similar and continue the soft/hard dynamic, generally focusing on the heavier. Neither album reached out to me and both seem relatively passable especially the new album, but perhaps that was because the official music video is cheesy as hell and made me cringe a little while watching it.

I'm focusing on a big post for tomorrow and as TIME IN MALTA only takes up a minuscule portion of my musical history I haven't checked for download links, dug up much information nor invested much, if any, time in any release other than 'A Second Engine' so this entire review is pretty much a wash. So yeah...that's it.

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DISCOGRAPHY
Click )==>here<==( to download two of the band's releases in mp3/wma form.

1999 - Construct and Demolish cd/12"EP

2000 - Identify. Persist. Transcend. 7"EP (got this? please upload it!)

2002 - A Second Engine cdLP
2002 - Breathe In split cd/10"/12"LP (got this? please upload it!)

2004 - Alone With the Alone cdLP (got this? please upload it!)

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(2002) TIME IN MALTA - "This Revolution" (from 'A Second Engine')

(2002) TIME IN MALTA - "This is Our Voice" (from 'A Second Engine')

(2002) TIME IN MALTA - "All Said and Done" (from 'A Second Engine')

(1999) TIME IN MALTA - "Impasse" (from 'Construct and Demolish')

(2003) TIME IN MALTA - "Bare Witness" (from 'Alone in the Alone')

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TIME IN MALTA out of print mp3/wma download of 'Construct and Destroy' & 'A Second Engine'

(download here)
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Thursday, 21 January 2016

DIE, EMPEROR! DIE

GenresPunk / Rock / Emo / Screamo / Country / Folk
Related artistsRosa, Punkin Pie, Teenage Kicks and Treetops.
CountryHouston, Texas USA
Years Active2000-2005
Song: "Untitled"
Album: "Microwave Says to the Pacemaker"
Year: 2004
For fans ofI Hate Myself, Toru Okada, Soiled Doves, Two Gallants, Neil Perry, Hank Williams, Bright Calm Blue, September, Congratulations, Slender Loris, Nanette, The Pine, Rites Of Spring, Saetia, The Rabbit Theory and CityCop aka PROPER SCREAMO.
Label(s): Adagio830 / Friends Forever Records / Golden Shiny Wire Of Hope / Passionate Youth Thing
This post's artist is from the November 2015 Mix. This is track #8.
You can download: the January Mix#1 right here or get the new February 2016 Mix#2 here.

DIE, EMPEROR! DIE seems like a myth. The warbly emo/screamo flutters around and mixes with folk/country in a very lo-fi setting with pretty much nothing but the essentials. The stripped down and raw crooning/yelling compliment the (mostly) acoustic guitars and drumming, all of which was forever enshrined on goddamn hard to find releases. The rarely discussed raw, emo, folk and screamo may or may not have strongly influenced future generations, but as I don't hear people talk about them I'm kind of left in the dark on that. This style has been insanely overdone since. The newer people trying to recreate this sound never come close, and most end up sounding like pure shit. DIE, EMPEROR! DIE walked a fine line but in the end they tiptoed gallantly across with little to no missteps.

"Postscript" (on the 'Acoustic' cd) and "Untitled" [aka an electrified version of "Postscript" that appeared on the 'Microwave Says to the Pacemaker' 2x7" compilation (aka the greatest comp of all time)] need to be discussed in further detail. Y'know, cuz they're amazing. If there is a penultimate DIE, EMPEROR! DIE song this is fucking it, no contest. "Untitled" begins with a slow but steady beat and beautiful twinkly guitars until 52 seconds when the song hits its first groove. The talk/yell slides in at this point and is fucking fantastic which leads to some crying screaming after two minutes and the final build at 2:35 with some seriously true "screamo" guitars. The song from the Toru Okada split 7" titled "Dear Friend, Never Give Up" is another gem that boasts some extremely engaging guitars with screamed vocals layered that explode in the best DIE, EMPEROR! DIE moment just before the two-minute mark. Fucking flawless stuff.

A lot of the acoustic stuff ended up being covers. "Long Gone Lonesome Blues" is a Hank Williams cover and is country as fuck. They've also covered "For Want Of" by Rites Of Spring with is emo as fuck. Minor Threat was covered as well so that's punk as fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. But I must say that DIE, EMPEROR! DIE were at their best when they busted out the electricity, as they ended up sounding like Neil Perry if they mellowed out and jammed sad ass emo and country simultaneously.

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DISCOGRAPHY
Click )==>here<==( to download the band's partial discography in mp3/wma form.

2002 - Demo cassetteEP (you got this? please upload it!)

2003 - Acoustic cdrLP
2003 - Toru Okada split 7"EP
2003 - Burned Out Bright split 7"EP (you got this? please upload it!)
2003 - Live at Burned Out Bright's Last Show, October 25th, 2003 cassetteLP (you got this? please upload it!)

2004 - Microwave Says to the Pacemaker 2x7" comp (contributed "Untitled")

2006 - Acoustic 7"EP (buy the 7" here)

???? - William Elliot Whitmore split 10" (apparently never released)

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(2004) DIE, EMPEROR! DIE - "Untitled" (from 'Microwave Says to the Pacemaker' comp)

(2003) DIE, EMPEROR! DIE - "Dear Friend, Never Give Up" (from 'Toru Okada' split)

(2006) DIE, EMPEROR! DIE - "Another City For A Different Life" (from 'Acoustic' 7")

(2003) DIE, EMPEROR! DIE - "Postscript" (from 'Acoustic' cdr)

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DIE, EMPEROR! DIE out of print mp3/wma partial discography download / additional links

(download here)

LastFM
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Monday, 18 January 2016

TOWN PORTAL

BandTOWN PORTAL
GenresInstrumetal / Punk / Math Rock / Post-Rock / Prog Rock / Post-Hardcore / Post-Metal / Ambient / Experimental
Related artistsShelflife.
CountryCopenhagen DENMARK
Years Active2011-present
Song: "Uncle Genie"
Album: "Chronopoly"
Year: 2012
For fans ofFinger Of God, Omega Massif, Pelican, Ornaments, Gifts From Enola, Russian Circles, 5ive, This City Called Earth, Goonies Never Say Die, Tomydeepestego, Black Clouds, Mogwai, Merridew, Mono, Shy, Low, Soda Lane, Ahleuchatistas and Glasir.
Label(s): Self Released / Suburban / Small Pond Recordings
This post's artist is from the November 2015 Mix. This is track #10.
You can download: the January Mix#1 right here or get the new February 2016 Mix#2 here.

The mathy, playful instrumetal band TOWN PORTAL from Denmark first caught my attention with 'Chronopoly' and as readers of the blog may well be aware, I love me some good instrumetal. The band has released three albums, all of which clock in at over 30 minutes and bear strong resemblances to Pelican, Gifts From Enola, Russian Circles and Tomydeepestego. Every release has it's own slight variation on the TOWN PORTAL sound. The earlier stuff from 'Vacuum Horror' is more or less slower and a little wider in scope. The sophomore 'Chronopoly' stepped up the mathy bits and had a chuggy flow to it. 2015's 'The Occident' has a very groovy vibe and an excellent juxtaposition of serene melodies, mathy mayhem and thick lows. "Yes Golem" is ripe with Pelican juices while "World Core and Peripheral Islands" reminds me of Gifts From Enola and This City Called Earth. If you like any of the aforementioned bands get on this, the new album especially!

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DISCOGRAPHY

2011 - Vacuum Horror digitalEP (stream/donate/download here)

2012 - Chronopoly 12"LP (stream/buy here)

2015 - The Occident cd/12"LP (stream/buy here)

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(2015) TOWN PORTAL - "Yes Golem" (from 'The Occident') official video from Small Pond Session

(2015) TOWN PORTAL - "World Core and Peripheral Islands" (from 'The Occident')

(2015) TOWN PORTAL - "Eschaton" (from 'The Occident')

(2012) TOWN PORTAL - "Uncle Genie" (from 'Chronopoly')

(2011) TOWN PORTAL - "Rosini" (from 'Vacuum Horror')

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TOWN PORTAL additional links

Facebook

Bandcamp
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Sunday, 17 January 2016

TEENAGE SWOON

GenresPunk / Screamo / Post-Hardcore / Grunge
Related artistsFountain Of Youth, Dahling, Capitalist Kids and Ghosting.
CountryAustin, Texas USA
Years Active2014-2015
Song: "Where I Live"
Album: "No Hymns"
Year: 2014
For fans ofPanthers, Since By Man, Cyrus Gold, Transistor Transistor, Orchid, Creepozoidz, Bright Calm Blue, Ice Hockey, Wolf Teeth, Meth And Goats, The Blood Brothers, Vade, Ritual Mess, Hugs and Rye Coalition aka PROPER SCREAMO.
Label(s): Trends Die Records / Vermin Resplendence
This post's artist is from the November 2015 Mix. This is track #4.
You can download: the January Mix#1 right here or get the new February 2016 Mix#2 here.

I was initially introduced to the now defunct TEENAGE SWOON's Cody Hamm (bass/vocals) sent me their 5-song debut EP to review on the OMSB Talent page (also now defunct). They played sassy punk rock that sounds a hell of a lot like Panthers. In case you didn't know, Panthers were post-Orchid, so imagine 'Gatefold' mixed with a lot of Jayson Green vocals as well as Since By Man worship and you're there. When I spoke to Cody (vocals) about most likely being influenced by Panthers, he replied that he hadn't heard of them. Dang, that's some parallel, mind blowing shit right there.

My initial post on the Zegema Beach Records/OMSB Talent page from 2014 will suffice as a description as I have yet to hear the Resent split songs as the TEENAGE SWOON bandcamp has been removed.


The first song, "Guthrie - Grow Up" screams (literally) Panthers and softer Since By Man (which is not really soft). The band dabbles in sassy, low toned rock'n'roll with some spastic moments where the band steps into screamo/post-hardcore territory with a fine gloss of punk. "Seeing Eye Dogs Go Blind" follows a similar trajectory as the first track, while "Where I Live" has some killer bass riffs and a catchier melody for the singer, as well as some heavy shit near the end. "Inflict That Noise" is so Panthers I almost can't sit still, and again the bassist is killing me with these blasting/bouncy bass riffs. The closer and title track "No Hymns" has more of an aggressive edge than the earlier tracks, and even reminds me of Hugs at times. Good stuff!


I just had an interesting thought. I'd like the band to become a little more mature and polished, but at the same time the last thing I want is for TEENAGE SWOON to release an overly slick, overproduced pile of shit. There's a happy medium there and the band is pretty close to walking it now. But, I do have 2 beefs with the 5 song album. I'm usually all for high bass but this was a little excessive at times and the singing can come across as flat and/or out of tune. Considering how many good things I have to say about this album that ain't too shabby.

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DISCOGRAPHY

2014 - No Hymns cassetteEP (download here)

2015 - Resent split cassetteEP (have this? please post it!)

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(2014) TEENAGE SWOON - "Where I Live" (from 'No Hymns')

(2014) TEENAGE SWOON - "No Hymns" (from 'No Hymns')

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TEENAGE SWOON out of print 'No Hymns' mp3 download / additional links

(download here)

Facebook
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Saturday, 16 January 2016

FACE TOMORROW

GenresPunk / Rock / Post-Hardcore / Emo / Alternative
Related artistsMalkovich.
CountryRotterdam NETHERLANDS
Years Active2000-2013
Song: "Worth the Wait"
Album: "For Who You Are"
Year: 2002
For fans ofAt The Drive In, Christiansen, Thursday, Sparta, For The Mathematics, Criteria, Recover, Jimmy Eat World, Waxwing, Alexisonfire, Circa Survive, (mid-era) Standstill, Canvas, Call It Arson, Muse, Sunny Day Real Estate, Chore, Quicksand, Biffy Clyro, Ira, (late) Codeseven and Saosin.
Label(s): Face Tomorrow Records (aka self released) / Reflections Records / Excelsior Records / Redfield Records / 
This post's artist is from the November 2015 Mix. This is track #6.
You can download: the January Mix#1 right here or get the new February 2016 Mix#2 here.

I only have one band tattoo, which I find a little strange. Regardless, that tattoo is of At The Drive In's Trojan Horse from the 'Relationship of Command' album. So although I haven't written an ATDI review yet, believe me, that shit is coming and will be fucking massive. During that time period (2001-2003) I grabbed anything I could that even remotely sounded like the band. Enter FACE TOMORROW, a band recommended by someone somewhere so I bought the cd and at the time I was smitten because this was one of the closest representations of the ATDI that I could find. Listening to it almost 15 years later is nostalgic and luckily doesn't fall into the, "oh shit, this isn't anywhere near as good as I remember," category.

The vocals are definitely the highlight here as the vocalist blends soft singing with passionate yells. I guess this sounds like a lot like Sparta and Thursday as well, mixing aggressive post-hardcore with melodic emo rock. Instrumentally the band falls somewhere quite close, with dreamy post-rock bits as well as semi-heavy post-hardcore chugging. I never kept up with the band after that first 2002 LP as I became heavily entrenched in screamo and the ATDI influenced rock fell to the wayside lest it be phenomenal, and guess what, only ATDI is phenomenal. I listened to the newer singles from 2004 to 2012 and they were mediocre at best. The band slowed down and mellowed out just as one would have anticipated. It's not bad (depends on the song, though, as the video for "All the Way" is pretty awful), it just doesn't grab me. Now that I think about it I doubt the 2002 record would even appeal to me much nowadays. Maybe you love Thursday and Biffy Clyro - if so you should probably continue with the discography right from 2002 until 2012 because you might really like what you hear. Otherwise once the 3rd LP dropped in 2008...nah.

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DISCOGRAPHY

2000 - Rain City Straightedge (Aram Arslanian split) cassetteEP

2001 - Live the Dream cdEP
2001 - Worth the Wait cdsingle

2002 - For Who You Are cd/12"LP (download here)
2002 - Lewisit split 7"EP

2004 - The Closer You Get cd/2x10"LP
2004 - My World Within cdsingle
2004 - 03/02/05 dvd

2008 - In the Dark cd/2x12"LP

2011 - Face Tomorrow cd/12"LP

2012 - Move On 12"LP (acoustic album with already existing songs)
2012 - Worth the Wait/My World Within 7"EP

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(2002) FACE TOMORROW - "Worth the Wait" (from 'For Who You Are') official music video

(2002) FACE TOMORROW - "Live the Dream" (from 'For Who You Are')

(2004) FACE TOMORROW - "My World Within" (from 'The Closer You Get') official music video

(2008) FACE TOMORROW - "Overpowered" (from 'In the Dark') official music video

(2011) FACE TOMORROW - "All the Way" (from 'Face Tomorrow') official music video

(2012) FACE TOMORROW - "The Fix" (from 'Move On') official music video

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FACE TOMORROW 'For Who You Are' LP wma download / additional links

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