The Dutch collaborative project O Saala Sakraal released a mini album a few years after their debut album “Etmaal“.
Three tracks and 21 minutes that remind of the previous album, but “Heven” is more ritual ambient / industrial perhaps. The music is pretty dark, has vocals reciting poems, more ritual elements such as drumming and singing bowls. Last but not least, in the third track the vocals are by Michael Idehall.
This is odd. Cyclic Law sent a promo for this album (out 20 November). The project is new to me, so I usually check Discogs to see if there are earlier releases in such a case. Discogs does not have have Beckahesten listed. So I search the web a bit and I run into a Spotify release (which I cannot play) of this album, released in 2017 on a label I do not know: Skullevartslapptigar Records. So I check Discogs again, but they have nothing of the label either.
So I do not really have more information than the Cyclic Law blurb. Members of this Swedish outfit are two people whose names do not ring a bell and Per Åhlund who you may know of Sophia.
Both first two tracks are 5:35 and dark ambient in style. Long stretched sounds, quite minimalist and with singing of sorts. The singing starts to get a bit ‘folky’ towards the end of “Ropet”. This is even more so in the third track where we are introduced to the female member. The music gets a little more pomp too. The next track is the most interesting to me. A bit of an old Wardruna style. The first half of the 10 minute of the closing track is much less dark than what came before, but this is made up in the second half, which brings memories of the ambient side of Sophia.
The album is not the kind of music that I listen to a lot, but in spite of being quite minimalist ambient in basis, it is really not bad. There are some ritualistic and folky elements that go well with the style.
Cyclic Law is busy rereleasing old Cold Meat Industry material, but here they found a new project that would have fitted well on that Swedish label.
“Heljarrúnar” opens with an ambient track with drumming, think Sephiroth or Vortex. Then follow minimal dark ambient tracks that could have been released by Loki. Sometimes a bit of chanting, sometimes a drum, ritualistic and all lengthy, haunting tracks of descent dark ambient.
It is not a style of music that I listen to a lot these days. When I do, I do prefer a style darker than most CMI releases of old and I must say that however “Heljarrúnar” may sound fairly typical, the album is well executed and even manages to keep my attention in spite of the minimalist approach.
Unbelievable. Here is another Henrik Nordvargr Björkk. The man releases so much music, that he has problems picking a name for all the releases it seems.
According to the label, the material was recorded during the “Svartmyrkr” sessions. I already wondered why that was released under the monicker MZ.412, since the album sounds more like Nordvargr’s “Metempsychosis” than earlier MZ.412 material. Perhaps the answer lays in the line: “that can be heard in Nordvargr´s solo efforts”. MZ.412 is a band, Nordvargr is Björkk on his own.
That said, “Daath” is similar to “Metempsychosis” (but also to “Svartmyrkr”) with here and there a death industrial tone, then more dark ambient, but mostly fairly pomp beats and sounds that seems to lean to a more martial approach every now and then. Björkk spits his brutal vocals in some variety.
In my review of “Metempsychosis” I said that it reminds of of TxRxP’s “Kainskult“, but I have this less with “Daath”. Perhaps the sound is not completely alike, or my association is different this time.
A descent album again. Out on December 21th on cd and 12″.
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.
The collaborations and remixes continue. Where these two artists created music together on Nordvargr’s “Metempsychosis“, this time they reworked each other’s tracks, just as other artists reworked Nordvargr tracks on “Tantum Melior“.
The two tracks, “Konung Krönt i Blod” and “Salve Teragmon” are quite alike. Distorted uptempo industrial with the brutal vocals from Hendrik and Thomas that we are familiar with. Two descent tracks, available digitally and on 7” from May 1st.
A follow-up of the excellent album “Metempsychosis” (hence the dead cat again). Where Nordvargr cooperated with mostly TxRxP on the previous album, the list is a lot longer this time, even projects that I never heard of: MZ. 412, Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio, Vassafor, Visions, Kristoffer Oustand, Spetsnaz, Michael Idehall, Thorofon and The Benjamin Codex.
Ah wait, it is another of these ‘remix albums’, tracks of “Metempsychosis” have been worked over by the named artists rather than created in cooperation with Nordvargr. I see that frequently recently, too frequently actually. I seldom like such a remix over the original track and the versions of “Tantum Melior” make no exception. Okay, it has been a while since I heard the vocals of Tomas Pettersson and Michael Idehall usually creates moody tracks, but bringing different artists brings different styles of music and less consistency throughout the album.
Perhaps a way to get (re)acquainted with the named artists, but personally I prefer “Metempsychosis” over the ‘remix album’.
I do not listen to metal a whole lot. There are a few styles that I (sometimes) enjoy, such as old-school thrash, but for a while I have been sifting through doom metal a bit. I am no fond of the depressive type, but the (often even slower) “funeral” genre (and related) have some bands that I enjoy every once in a while.
There are also bands that blur the lines between electronic music and doom metal which sometimes results in interesting music. Khost, The Body, Author & Punisher, these type of bands.
Of course the name Sutekh Hexen came along in these searches. I never really listened to them though. I remember hearing tracks that are ‘too metal’ for my liking and more interesting tracks with electronics, or at least a noise-type approach. And then Cyclic Law sends a promo of a forthcoming album (end March 2019). A good excuses to listen to this American outfit a bit more attentively.
There are black metal like vocals, high-pitched guitars, but then to make ‘noisescapes’, “ambient metal” so to say, but dark and oppressive. When compared to industrial or noise music, the sound is pretty ‘wall-of-noise’.
There are several such bands whose vocals I do not like (those of The Body are downright annoying), but in Sutekh Hexen they fade a bit into the guitar noise most of the time. In doom metal I best like instrumental tracks still, but this new album of Sutekh Hexen is a good one in the style. I need to listen to some more material of this band. I now see that they even have a split with Trepaneringsritualen.
Even though there are over a dozen of previous releases, this latest album is “self titled”. It will come on CD and 2LP and batter your ears for almost 55 minutes.
Only out on December 21th, but the good thing about running a website is that sometimes I get promo material. Here we have a collaboration between five Dutchmen including two from Hadewych (and hence, including Distel). Indeed, O Saala Sakraal reminds of Hadewych here and there.
Hadewych has a ‘soundscapish’ sound, but with guitar and more energy here and there, a quite unique sound that is hard to describe. That soundscape side is more prominent in O Saala Sakraal, but also here and there the sound becomes more ‘lively’. The music is fairly dark, nicely weird (but not as weird as Hadewych), contains several vocalists who recite poems, scream or sing. Overall this album is more tranquil from what we know from Hadewych and (of course) somewhat different in sound, but I think that band gives the best idea of what to expect from the album that has a Dutch title which cannot be immediately translated to English (perhaps being the reason for being chosen?). The word “etmaal” refers to a day of 24 hours. There are two tracks of about 20 minutes by the way.
So, a nice album if you like something dark and original.
This album sounds a bit like a companion to “Kainskult” of Trepaneringsritualen. Even though Spotify lists TxRxP’s cooperation for only one track, I have the idea that all vocals are done by Ekelund. Otherwise Nordvargr’s voice sounds very similar!
“Metempsychosis” in some tracks sounds like the more tranquil tracks of “Kainskult”, very dark, with similar sounds and especially with similar vocals. In other tracks there is more of the dark ambient sound of “The Secret Barbarous Names” and towards the end some more experimental (technoish) sounds that Nordvargr sometimes blends into his music. This does result in some nice sounds though.
I particularly like the TxRxP-like tracks, the others are nice to good. The album is fairly short: 37 minutes.