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Below are the 5 most recent journal entries recorded in Культур-Мультур's LiveJournal:

    Wednesday, April 24th, 2019
    9:39 pm
    [onkel_mitch]
    REVIEW: Necrom -- The Light Has Never Been Here (2019, independent)



    I usually don't review singles and EPs because limited material
    does not provide sufficient insight into composition dynamics
    that can be derived from full length work, and on many occasions
    such releases are offhand statements that don't necessarily represent
    the band's vision.

    This is a rare exception, because, as it turned out, that's what
    I was waiting for for a fucking decade and a half.

    Necrom is the latest project of Roman Saenko of Hate Forest, Drudkh
    (and countless other projects) fame, Varggoth of Nokturnal Mortum,
    Khaoth from Khors and a couple of young bloods . This year has
    already seen the release of The Onlooker which nodded to the old
    glory days of our beloved Hate Forest. While I liked the evolution
    of the band's sound, few things were still missing.

    Well, this release finally dots all the i's and crosses the tees.
    This 3 song plus intro EP is by no means a next iteration of Drudkh
    sound towards the vacant throne of Hate Forest; neither it is, as
    the lineup might suggest, anything prog/folk/epic. This is straight-ahead
    old school death metal in pre-melodic tradition, with Saenko's roar
    finally back as a last piece of the puzzle that made HF so great.
    Neither it is an attempt to recreate HF or pick up where the latter left
    off; with so much time passed and so many things changed I don't
    think it's possible, rather the band shoots to the deeper roots,
    to the epoch before modern influences started piling up waves of
    commercialized extreme music. This sounds as if HF were formed a
    decade before they actually did. There is some Purity-style
    kinetics that sets the material apart from the likes of early Dismember,
    and adds atmosphere typically found in black metal albums, but
    that's about it. There is a lot in the way of nuances here, but
    I will hold my breath for now; as far as 3-track EP goes this
    is perfect and I don't know how to deal with perfect.

    I am waiting for the full-length and biting my fingers.
    It is about fucking time.

    You can form an independent opinion here.

    Current Music: Necrom - The Light Has Never Been Here

    Saturday, March 9th, 2019
    1:12 pm
    [onkel_mitch]
    REVIEW: Earth and Pillars -- Earth I (2014, Avantgarde)



    One of the benefits of sticking to compact discs is similar to
    that of the archaeological excavations. The liberation of music industry
    in late 80s and the advent of CDs have laed to massive proliferation of
    all sorts of oddities that anyone who is not a devoted fan of the
    specific genre is unaware of. A decade and a half of unrestrained
    publishing left a rich layer of artifacts and curiosities that soon
    went forgotten, in many cases quite unjustly so. An inquisitive soul
    with a few hours of spare time on one's hands and burden of nostalgia
    occasionally stumbles upon pieces like this.

    The case in point is the first album of the Italian project
    Earth and Pillars, whose cover on the second edition on Avantgarde
    music looked a lot like some EP by Agalloch who also have a song
    about pillars. As it turned out, this was not merely a coincidence.
    The band plays the atmospheric black metal on which West Coast sound
    definitely left its imprint, specifically, the early Wolves in the
    Throne Room and Velvet Cacoon come to mind. Another obvious point of
    reference is the attempts of Vinterriket at playing black metal.
    Christoph Ziegler is mostly an ambient (and, recently, neofolk) artist
    whose takes on BM mostly reduce to ambient music played with distorted
    guitars and, as result, by and large, fail miserably. In a setting with
    musicians originally rooted in lack metal, however, this plays out quite well
    Likewise, Earth and Pillows also mitigates abstract nature of dark ambient
    with more organic textures of post-West Coast, post-post-rock sound.
    Being similar to Battle Dagorath in format (the Italians stick to
    long buzzing semi-hypnotic excursions) is not as harsh as the former;
    perhaps, Italy is indeed warmer than Switzerland. If you like one chances
    are you will like the other.

    Earth and Pillars are of minority projects in the subjenre that include
    more than a single player. The lineup is traditional guitar, bass, and in
    this case, a drum machinist. I am very skeptical of electronic drums, but
    in this case they are passable as they are buried deep enough in the mix of music
    intended to be trancelike that their implementation no longer matters.
    The same goes for vocals, which are decent and shifted from the canonical rasp
    towards semi-growl more common currently. You see, black metal is evolving, too.

    The biggest problem of this album is that, while being good and competitive
    (surprisingly so) by itself, it is released about a decade and a half too late,
    after a brief revival of the strain of harsh semi-abstract of black metal
    at the turn of the century.

    To form an independent opinion, proceed here.

    Current Music: Earth and Pillars - Earth I

    Friday, March 1st, 2019
    5:25 pm
    [onkel_mitch]
    REVIEW: Changes -- Fire of Life (1996, Hau Ruk!/TESCO)




    This collection of archive recordings by an American duo
    dating from period of 1969-1974 begs comparison with a
    certain British band Venom. Both either predated or
    accidentally created (depending on your choice of the
    lore) a music genre which made the originators pale in
    comparison in every aspect if their art. Reportedly,
    Albin Julius of Der Blutharsch was so impressed with these
    recordings that he reissued the material on his imprint
    Hau Ruk! which is not typically associated with material
    like this. Several other zines praised the album as
    "truly deserving the name 'apocalyptic folk'".

    One thing that I would admit that comparison with Venom
    is perhaps, a little bit stretched and does the disservice
    to Changes. Venom, at least in their earliest incarnation
    (as well as the majority of the first wave black metal
    acts) plainly sucked at their performing and songwrighting
    abilities. Changes, however, did not suck, they were decent
    and competitive enough not to be dismissed from the array
    of better known psychedelic folk acts, but hardly more
    than just that. Sure, the story of the duo interleaves
    with certain philosophical, metaphysical an religious
    movements, such as The Process, Church of the Final
    Judgement, however, late 60's produced prophets, visionaries,
    cults, sects and plain nutcases in quantities unseen by
    any other period of time in the modern history, many of whom
    explored borderline states of mind. Most, if not all
    Woodstock generation did that, not to mention characters
    like Charlie Manson or Jim Baker a.k.a. Father Yod.

    While it is common for people to confuse "the influential"
    and "the great", it is not entirely clear why these songs were
    even considered influential in the first place, aside from
    rather remote factors. From the commentary to the album
    by authors themselves it follows that less than half of the
    songs even touch upon the apocalyptic themes, and some of
    those do so laterally, e.g. not by actual content
    but rather by what was going behind the scenes when the
    song was penned. Nobody calls Arthur Brown apocalyptic
    rock despite his first record, written several years
    earlier than this was more apocalyptic than anything in
    "Fire of Life".

    This is not to say that this record is a waste. As I mentioned
    above, it is quite decent album, which mostly does sound
    like Simon and Garfunkel, at times indeed getting slightly
    more delicate and transcending. However, it is not difficult
    to find more impressive records from music prospective
    originating from that era.

    To form your own opinion of this album proceed here.

    Current Music: Changes -- Fire of Life

    Saturday, February 23rd, 2019
    7:38 pm
    [onkel_mitch]
    REVIEW: Current 93 -- The Light is Leaving Us All (2018, The Spheres)



    As we all know, Current 93 is a cult project, meaning that if you
    know what it is all about, you are probably a devout follower and
    stay tuned. If you don't give a shit, you are not in the loop, not
    reading this review, and, well, don't give a shit. That is, there is no
    middle ground. So, there is probably not much I can tell to those
    who read even this far except a little story of how little it
    takes to ruin an otherwise decent album.

    Current 93 started of as a some sort of experimental outfit (in 1984
    "Dog Blood Rising" did sound out-there). To stay experimental for
    over three decades and a half one need to be have a substantial
    amount of artistic craziness, which David Tibet does not. Otherwise
    the creativity of a project inevitably reduces to exploiting on of the
    number of successful formulas that one develops over decades of
    activity.

    I haven't followed Current 93 since mid-2000s and not aware of the
    developments since "Black Ships Ate the Sky". However it seems that
    the year of 2018 finds the project in the trench they dug in late
    90s, sometime around "Soft Black Stars", that is, melancholic crooning
    to largely acoustic backdrop with occasional slide guitar and assorted
    percussive tinkery. David Tibet cannot sing in the common sense of
    the term and instead utilizes a chant-like style with which he delivers
    what is supposed to be a loosely joined array of sort of apocalyptic
    images, many of which made their way into titles of his albums and songs.
    This is a very delicate method which invokes corresponding atmosphere
    when it works and turns into a blatant gibberish when it does not,
    especially in cases where there isn't much of the instrumental cacophony
    to hind this behind.

    Unfortunately, this album exemplifies the latter case. The concept of
    ultimate hopelessness of being and life's decay is a good candidate for
    an apocalyptic imagery. Trying to maniacally ram it down into the center
    of the listener's spine is not so. The line "The light is leaving us
    all" is repeated several times in every fricken song that has lyrics,
    except "The Kettle's On" (which perhaps was deemed so unstable that
    it was wisely decided not to overload it). By the third track I grew
    suspicious of the plot and started paying attention. Yep.
    By the middle of the album it became annoying to the point that red
    churches and dead kings lost all their menacing aura. By the time
    the album delivered awfully profound statements like "If a man breaks
    a bone of another man, his bone is broken" ("Fair weather"), the whole
    affair began to sound downright comical. Following that, another
    "The light is leaving us all" nearly made my day. Thanks, David, we
    got the idea, let's move on.

    You can form your own opinion of this album by listening to it yourself.

    Current Music: Current 93 - The Light s Leaving Us All

    3:49 pm
    [onkel_mitch]
    REVIEW: Windswept - The Onlooker (2019, Season of Mist)



    Ever since Roman Saenko shifted the focus of his creativity to Drudkh
    and laid Hate Forest to rest, I missed the latter a lot. In retrospect,
    in mid-2000s Hate Forest managed to accomplish something I haven't seen
    for almost a decade by then. That is, they managed to create compelling
    and powerful material while operating within a scope of extremely limited
    means. Simply put, I haven't heard music encompassing everything black
    metal was about with the minimalist palette since Ildjarn. While the two
    projects are not particularly similar as far as the actual music is
    concerned, the purity and stark beauty of approach and execution certainly
    put these two projects in the same category.

    Naturally, every time I found out that another project by Saenko is
    launched I took a look at it and, in most cases, walked away in
    disappointment. There were occasional moments when he hit the mark
    (for example, the second album of Blood of Kungu), but in most cases
    some of ingredients that made Hate Forest that great was missing.

    Enter Windswept, another project launched two years ago presumably
    to explore the path of instant enlightenment; the first album "The Great
    Cold Steppe" was reportedly recorded over the span of three days.
    In the nutshell, Windswept is comprised of the same musicians as Drudkh
    sans Thurious, for better or for worse. Whether or not the band meant to
    move back to a harsher and more primitive sound is unclear, but the material
    does indeed sound like Drudkh covering Hate Forest; the sound bears all
    signatures of the former and the songwriting is essentially of the
    latter. For those who followed the development of Drudkh over the last
    decade that does not seem like a much of the diversification, or might
    not even warrant starting a new project. Sure, Drudkh carved themselves
    a niche of established sound and aesthetics, which, because of its success,
    will inevitably leave an imprint on everything that comes out from the camp.
    While this outlook is reasonable, one, as a BM follower, will ultimately
    be more interested in nuances. There are some.

    Naturally, the album picks up where the previous album left off.
    I was not particularly happy with "The Great Cold Steppe" because of its
    utter lack of variation almost to the point of sounding as a demo. "The
    Onlooker", on the contrary is not only more varied musically but also
    arranged as the concise album. The toy jukebox ties both ends nicely
    and gets the album closer to telling a story. The lyrics are not provided,
    however it seems that conceptually Windswept is further removed from
    romantic roots of Drudkh therefore being more abstract in virtues.
    Hence, the nod towards Hate Forest is a reasonable move. Some moments do
    resemble parts from "Purity", refracted through melodicism of Drudkh.
    There are few things that prevent me from being totally happy though.
    First, the music here is a bit too melodic for my tastes; or, more
    precisely, the noodling is often too much upfront. Second, I miss the
    growl of Thurious which, among other things, made Hate Forest special.
    As much as I appreciate Roman's canonical snarl, it is simply not powerful
    enough to turn it into real killer, although essentially all other
    ingredients are present.

    In the nutshell, while this album does not do enough to break the mold
    of Drudkh aesthetics entirely, it likely points to undercurrents in the
    cam that would eventually carry the masterpiece of the old glory days.

    You can always form you opinion by listening to it yourself.

    Current Music: Windswept - The Onlooker

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