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And here’s another round of Roundup Reviews for ya.  Those interested in Prophecy’s material we haven’t gotten around to covering yet…that’s next on tap.

Meantime, here’s some more up to date material, and some more from our man “Frater Zetekh” and his dark dance/industrial project King Satan, whose latest video we covered earlier…

King Satan – I want You To Worship Satan (Inverse Records) (November 22) 

We’d already covered their somewhat deceptively entitled video for “your god is dead”, so be aware that all sorts of trickery and tomfoolery is afoot herein. The unwary shall be ensnared, and very likely the wary as well…

Themes laid down in Saturnian Mist’s Chaos Magick and the previous King Satan album and its associated “dance with the devil” video are expressed herein once again, from sex magick (the cleverly mistitled “fuck yoga”, which is less a directive than an invitation to practice, “psychosadomasochism”) to pushing any boundaries that exist (“transgression”, “the killing of god”) to straight up praise of chaos magick as a practice (“all magick is chaos”, “circus of the mind”).  In all the seeming simplicity of the material, greater profundities hide.

“Verily, the pyramid is a temple of initiation. Verily also it is a tomb.”

The use of samples brings My Life With the Thrill Kult very much to mind, though King Satan tends to use self-created bits (like the bizarre “prank call” of a title cut or the “isn’t that true?” mantra of “raison d’etre”), and their use of dance industrial beats similarly masks deeper things (“the best slave is the one who doesn’t know it”, from “fuck the world”, “Love is the Law, Love under Will…shall you cross the line and shoot to kill?”* from “transgresssion”)

* he’s talking about ego death, samadhi, the higher grades after communion with the HGA…it’s not literal, for those in the back…

In consequence, with a theme of loss, destruction and crossing yet another Abyss, so to speak, this is not the oddly joyful…well, playful affair the last album proved to be. While dark as pitch, there wasn’t so much…grimness. Which is exactly what was being said all along, and the basic underlying principle of the True Will…

“Fifty are the gates of understanding…and the name of every (one) is Death.”

Selah.

Dark music for dark purpose, which men have named enlightenment.

Again, selah…

Hard to review material like this, to be honest. At times it feels just as catchy and quirky as their last album…but this comes from a more advanced perspective, or at least a more openly stated one, to shout the message to the back rows of the global theater.

Those who appreciate the man and his Work are doubtless already on this one.

 

Harmaa Getto – Ovenvartija (Svart Records) (November 29)

Weird depressive trip hop sort of affair, like Everything But the Girl, Portishead and Tom Waits got together with The Residents for a psychedelic love fest and some idiot actually recorded the thing.

Then Beck drops by for “jeri-koira” and starts rapping in Urdu or some shit while some aborigine whirls his digeridoo and tries to step into the dreamtime.

Moments of this sound too New York City in the mid to late 90’s to slag…but so much of it is a big friggin’ mess. Just about everyone sounds loaded, like the sun’s coming up and this is the last couple of lushes you didn’t manage to kick out of the house. Just check out that drunk broad on “keskisormi”…she’s at that stage of “huh whaaaa mmph sh’okay…I don’ feel sho good BLEARGGHH!”

Weird and I’m not entirely sure there’s a point to this…but about 3 or 4 tracks definitely brought up a whole huge ass bag of nostalgia.

The Deathtrip – Demon Solar Totem (Svart Records / Profound Lore) (November 15)

Long, confusing story short…there’s been a swap of vocalists since Deep Drone Master.

So instead of our “just escaped from a mental asylum” pal from Urarv (who we covered for Argentum and Aurum), this time we get dependable ol’ Kvohst of Hexvessel, Beastmilk and Grave Pleasures, who brings a far more standard mix of chants, growls and shouts to the table.

It’s interesting to note that, so far as I can tell, Thorns’ Snorre Ruch had nothing to do with ’em this time around, because the riffs and atmosphere sound more demo-era Thornslike than ever.

In fact, the production is about the weakest element here, and the only one you can really knock, other than the mild tedium brought by hearing riffs so clearly Thorns appended to a new project…or maybe that’s just those of us who listen to the classics on a regular basis (I’d have said the same if they were aping De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, so hey).

Best thing Thorns put out since the Trondheim demo.

(cough)

…next?

PH – Osiris Hayden (Svart Records) (November 1)

We covered their Eternal Hayden a few years back, and much appreciated their trippy take on Faunts M2 / Mass Effect OST space rock.

This time around…things are a bit different.

Not so far as to totally lose all the fans of the former, mind…but something’s clearly changed, and as one of the aforementioned, I’m not quite sure how to take this.

There’s a lot of drone and repetition, but it’s not relaxed and measured like the best Circle (Six Day Run still stands out in that respect) or as Tangerine Dream gone modern gaming music as their last work. It’s darker, more disjointed, with quirks of production and some very obvious (thus assumed intentional?) flaws in editing that interrupt any sense of flow and leave the listener with the feeling of listening to a workprint, and a jagged edged one at that.

Interesting, odd…but neither foreground music nor appropriate background music to trance out, drive or relax to, either.

No idea what they’re on about, really…

Isenordal – “Shores Of Mourning” (Prophecy) (December 6)

Funeral doom with vocals and a vibe that more often approximates black metal than death?

Well…yeah, actually. And believe it or not? It works just fine.

Apparently this one is a reissue from 2017, but yours truly, for one, is grateful that this one wound up in our hands…it’s dark, ridiculously heavy and more suffused in grim introspection than any dozen (decent!) black metal albums you can name from this past year.

Really good stuff, particularly if you’re in a doomy mood.

Sun Of The Sleepless / Cavernous Gate (split) (Prophecy) (December 6)

Members of Empyrium and Helrunar, whose Niederkunfft and Vanitas Vanitatvm managed to impress us likewise, offer their side projects here on a split.

It’s perfectly obvious which tracks Empyrium worked on – crystal clear production suffused in reverb (but in a tasteful degree), gorgeous acoustic guitar work…which occasionally slips into a midtempo black metal.

But the best part about this? As good as those tracks are (and trust me…they are)…those are just to whet the appetite.

That’s right, Cavernous Gate, the doom/death project of Helrunar’s “S.K.” is the real draw here, with “those who walk the fog” as a strong intro and “a pale shimmer in the darkness” as the grim closer.

It’s strong stuff, perhaps let down a few notches by a saminess in approach from track to track and his somewhat singsongy depressive clean vocals…but overall, really quality stuff, and with the ever reliable “Schwadorf” delivering some Empyrium in all but name for the remainder of the running time?

How the hell can you refuse?

Fen – “The Dead Light” (Prophecy) (December 6)

When these UK black metallers actually get rolling, it’s some kind of special.

There’s a unique sort of folk metal gothicism about British black metal, infecting everything from acts like Northern Oak to more bombastic Decadent ones like Cradle of Filth. Hell, even when you lean more into the realm of thrash, somehow you still have bands like (early) Skyclad to contend with. These guys just have it in their souls or something.

So when they wake up and deliver a track like “labyrinthine echoes” or “breath of void”…even “nebula”, for that matter…the melancholic, folk infused power runs through and over you, like lying at the basin of a cool, clear stream and looking up at the glittering sky.

Unfortunately…that only happens a few times on this album, otherwise filled with the dead stasis of the two part “the dead light”, “witness”, “rendered in onyx” or even the passably aimless “exsanguination”, none of which actually go anywhere or impact the listener beyond a cursory tickle of the ear.

Well worth hearing for the three tracks where they work that primal magick and are firing on all cylinders…just a damn shame they don’t seem to be in control of that engine, to keep it going through the course of an entire album.