Drudkh: They Often See Dreams About The Spring (SOM - Underground Activists)
Whilst anyone who gardens with any type of passion always dreams about the Spring, Ukrainian black metal legends’ latest release has a slightly different slant, basing their sound on a solid foundation consisting of the by now traditional Nordic variant of the genre and the band's highly distinct individual "Slavonic" interpretations. This is their 11th full-length, and They Often See Dreams About The Spring (which is a translation of the original Ukrainian title) sees the band changing direction ever so slightly once more.
Previous album A Furrow Cut Short (2015) basically followed on the harsh and old school lead of its predecessor, 2012’s Eternal Turn Of The Wheel. This new masterpiece offers a more atmospheric and melodic feel that rather points towards the cinematic soundscapes of 2004’s Autumn Aurora. Comprising five lengthy, complex and intricate pieces, the band has continued to draw heavily from 20th century Ukrainian poetry for lyrical inspiration. At times intensely concentrated, at other times almost shoegaze, such as album opener and ten-minute epic Nakryta Neba Burym Dakhom, this is multifaceted black metal at its best. A stunning release which deserves to be heard. 9/10
Møl: Jord (Holy Roar Records)
Jord is the debut album from Danish Blackened shoegaze outfit Møl and the result is a triumphant and crushing sonic outcome which sits comfortably with such luminaries as early Alcest and Deafheaven. In keeping with their peers, Møl combine the intensity and sharp strains of black metal with the shimmering tropes of Slowdive, blending them perfectly.
The chaos and drive of Vakuum contrasting with the beauty of Lambda, a gentle and haunting instrumental which allows the listener to draw breath from the maelstrom of passion which envelopes them in the early part of this impressive release. Organic in parts, emotional and gripping throughout, Jord is an album that will appeal to far wider than fans of Alcest, Oathbreaker and contemporaries. 8/10
Chrch: Light Will Consume Us All (Neurot Recordings)
There is doom and there is DOOM. Sacramento based Chrch’s latest album Light Will Consume Us All, is about as heavy as you’ll get. Three tracks, 46 minutes in length, with opening track Infinite clocking in at over 21 minutes. It’s dark, it’s sinister, slow to the point that at times it just about stops time, whilst all the time casting great shadows which swirl and envelope the light. The construction of the songs is massive, with Eva Rose’s vocals at times demonic and at other times delicate and fragile.
Having spent the past five years crafting their sound, Chrch will either consume you with their sprawling roller coaster epics spliced with herculean riffs and distorted fuzz or make you scream with pain at the drone elements which appear to last for hours. There is plenty to appreciate here, even if the combination of doom, psych rock, drone and ambience isn’t really your bag. 7/10
Dark Buddha – II (Neurot Recordings)
A decade ago Finnish band Dark Buddha delivered their debut release I. Since then they’ve released several other albums, with their psych doom and drone sound being honed on each release. This EP provides further sonic outpourings. Two tracks, 25 minutes in total, and to be honest, scary as shit at times with the howling on Mahathgata I freaky as hell.
II sees Dark Buddha return to its purest incarnation: a three-piece rhythm section; J.Ramanen on drums, P. Ramanen on bass and V. Ajomo on guitar; and with J. Saarivuori on synths and M. Neuman on main vocals. "We have done a full cycle of the orbit and now is the time for gravitational slingshot towards the new dimensions in sound, deliverance and vision" said Ajomo. Indeed. No more words needed. 6/10