In the early 1990’ies some black metal heads started to make ‘other music’, electronic music. Some sort of ‘sub-scene’ emerged with melodic acts such as Mortiis and Cernunnos’ Woods and darker projects like Profane Grace and Darkness Enshroud. Collectively the music was often called “ritual music”. Here and there the guitars were not entirely abandonned and a project such as Abruptum made what nowadays would be ‘drone metal’ or something.
Cyclic Law has found a contemporary project from Spain that makes me think of these “ritual music” days. The band-name does not ring a bell, but this is not the first release. There is a split with Sewer Goddess which may place the band in the right music corner for the listener of today.
The music is dark, minimalist, with muffled voices, droning guitars, samples and what not. Perhaps a description could be that Black Earth sounds somewhere between Equimanthorn and Khost.
Initially I was surprised about this album. It took me back a couple of decades and after some “ritual music” I started to play old black metal (yet briefly). “Gnarled Ritual” itself did not really keep my attention for the whole 45 minutes. Perhaps another run will point to details that I missed.
I think people who like the drone type of metal, especially the darker bands in that style, may want to try “Gnarled Ritual”. People who know the music I started this review with could be transported back like myself when listening to this album.
The album is in a way interesting, but not terribly good for my taste, but bringing back memories is a quality too. Out September 27th.
You can leave the making of weird music to Peter Johan Nijland. Nijland is probably better known for his project Distel, but he has other projects too and Hadewych is not a new project either. I know Hadewych’s previous full-length (untitled) in the 2009 rerelease, but judging Discogs I missed a range of smaller releases.
Hadewych found its way to Malignant Records which will certainly improve the spread of the release. “Welving” is an odd release on Malignant though. Just as on the debut, the music has quite a lot of guitar. Sometimes the music reaches towards (industrial) metal, most of the time it is dark and ‘droney’ though (with or without guitars), sometimes slightly ritualistic. The combination of guitars and dark electronics brings memories of bands such as Necro Deathmort or The Body. The mix between dark and ‘sweeter’ sounds made me think of Dream Into Dust as well. It is not like Hadewych really sounds like these bands, but just to give you an idea of the odd sound.
“Welving”, just as on Distel releases, contains poetic lyrics, often in Dutch. The album is somewhat short, but contains good to exceptionally good tracks.
I might have never heard of Näo had they not played at this year’s Summer Darkness festival. Not that I saw them, but when I was checking the schedule to see what I missed, the Soundcloud tracks of this project sounded interesting enough to get myself the whole second album. This album certainly is interesting! It sounds like almost nothing I know, perhaps the closest comparison would be Hadewych. Näo makes ambient music with a lot of IDM influences, strange beat-experimentations and after a while things go over in something that I think is best described as psychedelic rock, sometimes soft and 70’ies, often closer to drone doom metal or something, always instrumental by the way. Carefully built up tracks with tons of ideas and a unique sound. Not my usual kind of music (but what is usual with the ever growing width of my musical taste?) and perhaps not (always) sublime, but certainly very refreshing and interesting. I need to play me that Hadewych album again some time soon too!
Links: Näo, Ant-Zen
A rather ‘mysterious’ Dark Matters release. However this project seems to have more material available, I cannot find it on Discogs. The Dark Matters list on Discogs seems rather complete, but no Ultraspießer. “Tight Fisted Bastard” is a weird release. Weird soundscapes, slightly noisy, sometimes a bit ritualistic, hard to describe actually. There are guitars in it, drumming, distorted sounds, so in a way it is one kind of drone (contrary to the low frequency dark ambient explanation of that term). The release is somewhat interesting, but not really my thing. It is nice to hear what weird music there is out there though.
Link: Radical Matters
I am not a big follower of the style of dark ambient. Most of it is too monotous for me and not dark enough. I do not think I have anything of Northaunt, but I have seen the man live a few times. Therradaemon is a new project of Hærleif Langas of Northaunt. There is one word to describe this album: drone. “Language of the dark mouth” lasts about an hour, but has only four tracks. In these tracks you will not hear much more than drones, deep and long-stretched sounds. Certainly it is a challenge to work with such a concept, because how can you make an interesting release with a sound even more minimalistic than dark ambient? Coph Nia and Mindspawn managed to make the very interesting “Erotomechaniks” and I must say that Therradaemon also creates a very dark atmosphere. This album is certainly more interesting than many of the dark ambient releases that I heard recently.
Links: Therradaemon, Cyclic Law
Quite by accident I learned about a new Machinist cd, I missed the previous one. Machinist is a Dutch “drone” outfit that created some pretty dark ambient, but this new album is more ‘soundscapish’. Two long tracks that mostly seem to consist of long strengted guitar sounds (so ‘drone’ as description is not a bad one), but like the first track goes “Mono Tone”, a bit too monotone for me. Nice packaging though and released by a label unknown to me.
Links: Machinist, Moving Furniture Records
“Midnight Sun” is a 60-minute album with 12 tracks of soundscapes and drones. The music sometimes gets a noisy edge, is sometimes rather dark, but remains ‘soundscapish’. The tracks have a variety of atmospheres which makes that I like some tracks, but others not at all. The overall style seems to be “drones”, not necessarily because of low frequency drones, but also because the music seems to be created with guitars and effects rather than just electronics.
Link: Cyclic Law
It is not really the time of the year to release dark drones, is it? Inspite of that here we have a 20 minute 3″ cd with one track of Dead.Circuit and one of Luna Dopa. Dead.Circuit created a slow and monotous drone track. Low frequencies, almost no other sounds, a nice track. Luna Dopa also contributed a minimalistic track which is more soundscapish, but adds some guitar sounds (?) which I find not particularly appealing. The parts without the guitars are nice.
Links: Dead.Circuit, Luna Dopa, Industrial Culture
I did not know Allseits yet, but that is because this is only the second release and the debut was not released within our scene. “Hel” is a pretty good album with very dark ambient / drone music. The sound is minimalistic and monotous, but not too monotous and almost all the time there is this very low frequency industrial pulse on the background. Very nice!
Links: Allseits, Cyclic Law
Well well, the Dutch scene seems to be ever becoming more active and interesting. Without regards for scenes and tags people go from one style to another which makes it rather difficult to keep up with. So I also missed Hadewych’s very limited demos and the first version of this self-titled album. Two years after the initial release, there is a luxery rerelease on Tuchtunie (165 copies) soon to be followed by a ‘regular’ release limited to 300 copies. Hadewych makes very experimental dark music. Dark soundscapes made with electronics, guitars and voice combined with ‘IDM’-beats at times and samples. The first part of this 50 minutes album is a bit ‘drone rockish’, lateron the sound becomes more ‘soundscapish’. The result is something quite different and highly interesting and another promising project coming from my own country.
Links: Hadewych, Tuchtunie