“Album Of The Day” is a Last Rites Facebook feature we started whose purpose is quite straight-forward: highlight one album per day and say a few words about it. Understanding that not everyone chooses to participate in the booking of faces, we thought it might be nice to toss in a feature that gathers the albums in a single piece on a weekly basis.
Here are the seven albums we picked for the week of January 13th — January 19th.
Sunday, January 13th
Imperium Dekadenz – Procella Vadens (2010)
Imperium Dekadenz hail from the Black Forest region in southwestern Germany, bringing you a very clear case of DO judge a book by its cover. Their particular form of black metal is slow, foreboding, ominous, and all about mood. In short, it’s gray. Those seeking a boatload of riffs and blast beats will not find them on Procella Vadens, the band’s third full length. However, fans which revel getting lost in a vast sea of brooding blackness will find much to enjoy here, and more with each listen.
The sound offered by Imperium Dekadenz is anchored by huge, simplistic riffs which act to pull and release the listener within each musical phrase. Many of these are tremolo picked, but because the music rarely exceeds 120 beats per minute, they come across far less like the onslaught of Marduk and much more like mid-paced, earlier Deathspell Omega (with a hint of deconstructed and expanded folk melody; just a hint). Both vocals and drums fall in the “typical yet effective” category, resembling much that you’ve likely heard but in no way detracting from the success of each song. The drum mix is bright and clear, helping the music sound like the product of an actual band, as opposed to a wall of sound. While this method can be very effective, the pieces here are far too expansive and vast for such a style. [Zach Duvall]
Monday, January 14th
Sargeist – Let the Devil In (2010)
Sargeist really nails the melodic urgency that defined the classic bands of the Second Wave; every track here is packed with frosty licks and dark, forlorn melodies that strike the perfect balance between sinister atmosphere and empowering heaviness. There’s plenty of grim one-footed blasts to be found, but the band also puts groovier mid-paced segments to effective use, and even throws in some thrashy beats that bring projects like Orcustus and Grand Belial’s Key to mind (such as the infectious chorus to the title track). The drumming and raspy vocals largely follow the lead of Shatraug’s brilliant riffing hand, and well-timed tempo changes and searing vocal hooks help to accentuate compositions that are already compelling and catchy. While Shatraug’s riffs are obviously the straw that stirs the drink, its clear how much the addition of a full line-up has helped in bringing the Sargeistvision to fruition. The various instruments play off each other in a manner that really strengthens the impact of the songs, as does the record’s crisp and energizing production job. [Chris McDonald]
Tuesday, January 15th
Trioscapes – Digital Dream Sequence (2014)
Trioscapes is the brain child of Between the Buried and Me bassist Dan Briggs. What started as a notion to work on an interpretation of a Mahavishnu Orchestra song with saxophonist/flautist Walter Fancourt and drummer Matt Lynch quickly grew to include original compositions for a one-off live show, and culminated in the aforementioned full-length album. Separate Realities would go on to peak at #9 and #12 on Billboard’s Traditional and Current Jazz charts, respectively. Not too shabby.
The music is incredibly unique in that it could only be created with these types of musicians in this type of configuration. It’s not like John Petrucci could stroll into the studio, lay down some tracks, ask Fancourt to play it back on his tenor sax, and have it be the same. The leads had to be written—or improvised—by a sax player, for a sax player. By a similar token, the bass is just as much a lead instrument, which probably isn’t all that surprising given the instrumental nature. Still…wow. When he isn’t laying down big fat grooves for Fancourt to play over, Briggs absolutely plays the hell out of that thing; slapping, slashing, and strumming into a pure frenzy of bottom-end noise. Finally, there is the drumming of Lynch. To these ears, it largely gets lost in the mix, which may or may not be the point. The saxophone and bass are so demanding of one’s attention, such the focal point of the music, that the drums are easy to overlook. But that isn’t to say they are dull and boring, far from it. They are absolutely the backbone of the beast that is Trioscapes. Although he brings his own style and flourish to the mix, he is the constant amidst the beautiful cacophony, a steady, rhythmic presence that allows the other instruments to roam freely over the soundscape. Without it, this would just be a couple of wankers attempting to out-ejaculate each other. [Dave Pirtle]
Wednesday, January 16th
The Devil’s Blood – The Thousandfold Epicentre (2012)
The two greatest assets working in The Devil’s Blood’s favor are its whole-hearted embrace of psychedelia and the bewitching vocals of singer F. The Mouth of Satan. (I don’t make it up, folks, I just report on it.) In recalling a fairly diverse range of 60s and 70s rock influences—from Hawkwind and Black Widow to Jefferson Airplane and Fleetwood Mac—The Devil’s Blood operates in layers. We’re talking layers and layers of all sorts of odd sounds and textures: acoustic guitars, piano, shakers, wobbling reverb, buried guitar squall, not-so-buried guitar squall, subtle synths, seriously bouncy bass, tambourine, swoops and hisses of noise, synthesized orchestral arrangements, and so on. Basically, there’s so much stuff going on in the texture of these songs that you’ll never pick it all out, but that’s clearly not the point. This wealth of instrumentation never feels burdensome because the songs are always carried on an ever-cresting wave of sturdy rhythm tracks and principal songwriter Selim Lemouchi’s alternately clean, grimy, chiming, and wailing guitar lines.
And then, of course, there are the unimpeachable vocals of F. The Mouth of Satan. At the lower end of her vocal range, she occasionally brings to mind ex-Swans avant-chanteuse Jarboe, though there is also something in the wideness of her frequent vibrato that suggests a half-tamed Diamanda Galás. Neither as earthy and quavering as Jarboe nor the sultry banshee wail of Galás, F’s tone is rounder and almost honey-sweet. Her voice is stirring enough on its own, but throughout the album she accompanies herself with an array of double- (and triple-) tracking, multi-part harmonies, and point/counterpoint lines that almost feel like a fugue. [Dan Obstkrieg]
Thursday, January 17th
Edguy – Hellfire Club (2004)
Edguy is also like then rebelling against that very same God and being cast down from his realm and out of his light. It’s a fucking dichotomy, man! Edguy is like Family Matters, except Erkel is banging Laura. Hard and raw. If you ever wanted to hear a song called “Lavatory Love Machine” that begins with Xena yells and sounds like Don Henley, then Hellfire Club is your album. If you ever wanted to hear what a ten minute song sounded like coming from a band with a man who does toe-touches on his album cover—you need Hellfire Club. If you ever wanted a fail proof litmus test to prove whether or not you had good taste in music…..Hellfire Club. Edguy is like Voltron. Many parts combining to form the greatest aural experience known to man. Edguy is like giving your mother the finger because she tells you to move out of her basement and get a job. Edguy is like a really funny sketch on Mad TV. Edguy is like staring into the face of baby deer—then punching that bitch in the face. Because you’re metal, and that deer can’t hold you down. Edguy is like stuffing your face with the entire wedding cake of your enemy while he and his mate are taking their marital vows, then later, throwing that wedding cake up just to spite him even worse. Edguy is like laughing about a funny episode of Kids In The Hall while listening to your girlfriend complain about her period. Edguy is like taking a shit in your friend’s bathtub simply because it’s close to the toilet. [Ramar Pittance]
Friday, January 18th
Candlemass – Candlemass (2005)
“Copernicus” is a thorough exploration into the Iommi and Butler playbook, plundering the diabolical depths of Sabbath’s black-hearted soundscapes. “The Man Who Fell From The Sky” is a black-hearted instrumental in the fine tradition of “Into The Unfathomed Tower”, all meandering, whispering leads, ponderous, sustained, repetitious chords and gut-wrenching conviction. Then come the opening chords of “Witches”, cascading, truncated staccato picked shards of guitar and double bass that usher in what truly turns out to be the finest song on the record and arguably one of the foremost accomplishments in Candlemass’ catalogue, period. Shifting flawlessly between speedier sections and contemplative, brooding passages for the first 02:16, they move seamlessly into a crunching classic metal passage that recalls Trouble circa Run To The Light. Blistering solo, back into the main riff, verse, hook and….arguably THE riff of the fucking year!!!! Bare, simplistic, meaty, absolutely CRUSHING, the tugboat riff that closes this track is worth the purchase all on its lonesome, affirming the life changing, stomach churning potential of the almighty RIFF! [Nin Chan]
Saturday, January 19th
Decrepit Birth – …And Time Begins (2003)
There has got to be a completely different level of existence in order to be able to assemble songs like this and have other musicians understand, follow, and complement it. It’s like an exclusive club that secretly bores deeper into the earth and keeps its discoveries to itself for sole purpose of personal gain. “And Time Begins” presents only the leanest, meanest, heaviest, and most confusing songs possible. The blistering takes a short breather w/ the masterful instrumental “…Of Genocide”, which berths monster grinding chords at crawl pace over Yeung’s pulping double kick. The riff pattern throbs intensely and escalates over sub-demonic grumbles and sub-surface volcanic blasts. The disc is short, just under 30 minutes. But the message itself is loud and clear from the beginning: You are listening to something that will take an eternity to fully understand. And if that understanding is ever met, it will be on Decrepit Birth’s own terms. Brutal, dark, fast and unbelievably technical. What the fuck more do you need? Support this band and get this album now. This is what it’s all about. [Dan Staige]
See you next week.