TEN FROM THE TOMB is a weekly feature in the form of a themed list devoted to grouping together albums of similar interest that I missed throughout the year 2019. These albums were overlooked for review for any number of reasons with the most common reason being constraints of time. I have a policy of covering 99% of everything I receive in some form, be it mini-review or full-feature, so don’t hesitate to send anything and everything my way.
Here I present a ten album sampler of some noise rock and/or experimental noise albums from early-to-mid 2019. Consider it a much needed break from extreme metal into moderately challenging rock music and much more challenging experimental noise. Most of these albums made it here to Ten From the Tomb because I couldn’t manage the time for a long-form review or because I really didn’t have more than a paragraph or two worth of insight beyond banal description. If you’re not into the selection this week, relax! This’ll be back every 7 days with 10 more albums from different styles, genres, themes, etc.
Hey! Don’t dive in thinking this will all be shit just because I am not doing full reviews for these releases! I always have some quality control in mind and look for expressive, meaningful, or just damn heavy releases that hold value without gimmickry or bland plagiarism. This weeks picks come directly from my own curation but every other week I conduct a poll on PATREON where patrons can vote on the sub-genre or subject of the list. This time around I selected some interesting modern noise rock music and some harsh noise, dark ambient, and otherwise fitting experimental music releases that are meant to flow together alternating between the two niches. Thank you! I am eternally grateful for the support of readers and appreciate the friendly and positive interactions I’ve had with all thus far. Think my opinions are trash and that I suck? Want to totally tell me off, bro? Click away and let’s all live more sensible lives full of meaningful interactions. I’m too old and bored with people to care.
|Title [Type/Year]||Decade of Passive Aggression 2009-2019 [Compilation/2019]|
|Rating [4.0/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp! | Kaos Kontrol Store|
Finnish noise rock trio Throat have made a strong case for their being the finest of modern sorta-sludgy kinda-alt/indie infused fully heavy noise rock bands between their two full-lengths but the beginnings, in-betweeners and limited runs of the last decade are just as affirming. This compilation goes beyond mere B-sides and collects all the stuff they’d never put to compact disc. That’ll include the 16-esque sludge-metallic/noise rock crawl of the ‘Licked Inch Fur’ (2011) 12″, the entirety of their savage ‘Manhole’ (2013) LP, and all of the tracks from splits with Black Sun, Hebosagil, Fleshpress, Great Falls and Baxter Stockman. I’m a rabid Throat fan and couldn’t praise ‘Bareback’ enough last year so this plugs and fills any gaps you’d missed prior with a 2CD span of their clangorous meatiness. ‘Bareback’ was definitely next level but it is pretty cool seeing them get their with the material between 2013 and 2018 and I appreciate getting more or less everything in one place.
|Title [Type/Year]||Steel Casket [Demo/2019]|
|Rating [2.75/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Here’s the the vinyl version of this experimental harsh noise demo from Primitive Man which they’d stated was the result of having paid for an extra day in the studio during the sessions for ‘Caustic’ (2017). I think vinyl is the right format for this type of ‘novelty’ recording though the tape version sounded great at as well. Primitive Man are modernist in every sense and all that I mean when I say that is that they do not write with a focal point that expresses in an obviate way. Between the two 20 or so minute sides we’re given moderately captivating live-in-studio feeling ambiance with some breaks into what I’d consider the very edge of power electronics. There is nothing to grasp onto or feel in the moment and each piece doesn’t bear any particularly deep reflection or pronounced atmosphere. This contrasts as a comparatively weak experience when considering the smartly overblown integration of similar noise elements on ‘Caustic’ and ‘Steel Casket’ ultimately feels like extra, extra stuff they didn’t need to hold onto. So, I can’t say they’re not good at this sort of thing as we’ve heard the top tier stuff on other releases but it took some intense focus to maintain interest in this spin after the second time through.
|Title [Type/Year]||Bum Wine [EP/2019]|
|Rating [4.0/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Among my most favorite release of 2018, the experimental hardcore/noise rock mania of Intercourse‘s ‘Everything is Pornography When You’ve Got an Imagination’ hit just right at just the right time. ‘Bum Wine’ is even darker and maybe less frantic, a basement dank and dysthymic grind that lets its ragged distortion hang like a defeated head off of its sulking shoulders. Some puking heads off the EP and its all pretty much on par with their LP from there with a bit less of the outwardly frantic hardcore and more of the darker noisecore edge. Very thin distinction to make but you’ll get it when you’re in the midst of it. Always great material from this band.
|Title [Type/Year]||Suicide By Citizenship [Full-length/2019]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
I’ve been following Gridfailure since ‘Irritum’ and though there is an expectation of harsh noise/dark ambient strokes within the bulk of his material strays from genre to genre, idea to idea. So, I knew to expect something experimental and unhinged on some level but, without knowing exactly who Walking Bombs was beyond a known heavy music journalist. The premise of ‘Suicide By Citizenship’ on a conceptual level is a close collaboration between two experimental artists who’re at polar opposites in terms of mood. The nihilistic grinding horror of Gridfailure marries curiously with the ‘can’t sit still’ posi-minded art-rock/metal and free-form vocal work of Walking Bombs for a listen that is as musique concrete as it is industrial art-metal. What might first appear as some kind of wild plunderphonics adventure through post-punk and industrial hell is actually a broad collaboration not only between the two artists on hand but with a long list of contributions from members/ex-members of Tad, All Out War, Kylesa, Built to Spill, Globelamp, Megalophobe, & more. Whereas I felt the Megalophobe & Gridfailure collaboration was a reasonable fit in terms of vibe and ‘Suicide by Citizenship’ is compelling in that it resembles two alien races struggling to communicate as they aim for harmony. It reminds me of Neurosis & Jarboe‘s legendary album in some ways where I personally felt like the no amount of effort can make the pairing gorgeous or pleasing but there is worthwhile value in the challenging record that results. When things all come together it works brilliantly, though there are a few tracks where it definitely feels like they’re on different sides of a very thick wall.
|Title [Type/Year]||Passionate and Tragic [Full-length/2019]|
|Rating [3.75/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Liège, Belgium based punks Cocaine Piss pour with a self-liberated and freely moving spirit as they yank on an almost Melt Banana-ish air of confidence on this sharp turn towards noise rock on ‘Passionate and Tragic’. I dunno, maybe it is the brilliant Steve Albini production or the totally oppressive vocal performance but I don’t think I’ve heard a record with this sort of pinned-up, vinyl-booted art-punk abandon since at least 1992. Sure, I wanted to rip off my headphones at first because of how insistent the vocalist was but I never did and I think I’d hit about the eighth track before I had already decided to listen to ‘Passionate and Tragic’ twice. You’ll start to see the glossy dirge of late 80’s/early 90’s noise rock flake off a bit with songs like “My Cake” where their more abrasive traits creep back into view and I love that this all comes hard at the end of the album. It might be something for the die hard noise rock fan because of the vocal cadence but damn was it worth sitting out and stewing in.
|Title [Type/Year]||Split [EP/2019]|
|Rating [3.75/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
I’m still planning on reviewing 夢遊病者‘s latest EP at some point but I wanted to put down some words for this split between them and blackened noise masters Sutkeh Hexen. In this case we’re given a pair of songs that seem to highlight just how compatible, but also strikingly different, the ‘black metal’ side of each band is. Sutekh Hexen‘s track is a feedback glistening jangle of harshly mixed noise and breathy howls atop a barely audible programmed black metal beat. It evokes black metal whilst essentially crawling in its own mucky droning heap. I am still on a high from their recent LP and was glad to get a more active-burner of a track on this 7″. 夢遊病者 (Sleepwalker) offer a completely divergent piece that grinds in with the din of city life and soon erupts over it with a blast and growling roar of its own. I understand that it might seem reductive to say this, but there is the sense that this’d be a very dark, dissonant and hateful vaulting off of what Sigh was doing when they really broke through to the wider public and I say some of this because of the use of piano and soaring lead guitars. It feels as if it were a reaction to the city itself, an inspiring moment that comes frustrated and reactionary to a controlled environment. 夢遊病者 build two plateaus of intensity and then simply drop off, and this might actually serve as a solid teaser for their recent EP ‘Ѫ’, though that is a contained piece that is more successfully meditative and patient. Brilliance in both cases and a luxurious compliment between the two.
|Title [Type/Year]||II [EP/2019]|
|Rating [3.5/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
This second EP from Kenny Johnson‘s (ex-Ed Kemper Trio, El Chupa Cobras) Terrible Lovers project finds him putting in all of the work himself in expanding upon his own distinct post-hardcore and noise rock sound. The most succinct tracks are the most destructive here as ‘II’ is a slight shade darker than the first EP. There is an ounce of Fugazi, to my ears at least, in the progressions of a few of the tracks that warms up to what I’d consider a The Mono Men vibe without taking it too far outside of noise rock territory. I’d be interested to see how other folks interpret this style, as in what influences they hear and whatnot. I’m largely limited to whatever ‘underground’ 80’s and 90’s noise rock/post-hardcore I’d collected as a teenager and well, the fact that it hits that same spot without being a smarmy art-rock mess speaks to why I like Terrible Lovers style. Particularly suggest “Bad News Travels Fast” in preview.
|Title [Type/Year]||Bloodyminded [Full-length/2019]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
The persistent and blurry droning hum of machinery, the screech of feedback, disastrous electrical scraping of noise set on top and beneath a snarling poet spewing irony and confrontational sardonic nihilism. It’ll be ten minutes of slam poetry and power electronics before a bellowing synth and ringing oscillator breaks from the dry fuzzing hell of Bloodyminded and by then maybe the eighth track before you’ll get anything resembling a beat and even that is a dull heartbeat surrounded by suffocating lungs and skin-pricking static. The many shouts, groups of vocal rage-shouted fear and questions of the future all begin to add up and ‘Bloodyminded’ is a massive source of pain as the mind is pulled from safety and set into a panicked motion. I felt myself losing faith in any future and siding with the screams of “What now?” and cries of “Help!”. No moment on this album was as profound as “Infinite Recession” and perhaps because it’d been so confrontational with its beat poetic waxing screaming “How does it feel?” in describing the psychoses of society and oppression. There is such unrest and violence in Bloodyminded‘s work that I began to feel attacked and isolated at once, under some kind of spell of abuse meant to shake me free of whatever it was that either ailed me or protected me. I’d gone about as deep as I could thus far, and will come back to it one I’ve toughened up. Ear-draining and mind rending horror.
|Title [Type/Year]||Megazone [Full-length/2019]|
|Rating [3.5/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Though they squirt and drip with post-punk danceability as you kick on ‘Megazone’ Oslo, Norway based no wave, noise rock, and acid punk trio Deathcrush aren’t all humpable freedom beats and body-electric movements. The wicked crunch of “PushPushPush” might be infectious but the negging spirit of their abrasion isn’t all about accessibility and the punch of noise rock gives weight to the mirror ‘Megazone’ places upon indifference within a society that’d seem afraid to ask tough questions, or demand answers any longer. Over the top layers of synth, noise, chunky guitars and claustrophobic beats all make for a freakish neon-pink cacophony that is well lead by a vocal performance that goes from sultry to vengeful moment to moment. I’m not even sure if I like most of the tracks here but for whatever reason I couldn’t stop listening to the album, often putting it on for 2-3 spins and getting a bit lost in the gnarliness of it all. Side B (well, the second half) does read a bit easier as elements of punk and more fluid pacing ease up on the synthpunk-rocking hulk of the first half. “Bedpost” and “Daemon” are my favorite moments but the combination of “EGO” and “PushPushPush” setup a pretty fantastic tonal moment.
|Title [Type/Year]||Ache Pillars [Full-length/2019]|
|Rating [3.0/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Though I’d suspect the opening track will sound somewhat unassuming and ‘safe’ by experimental noise standards of today, where Folian begins to express real personality is with the second track on ‘Ache Pillars’, “Ghost in the Flesh”. Plenty of simple post-rock minimalism drives the ethereal feeling of the album but the greatest points of interest come in recession as tracks dissolve or cease in different ways. Even the centerpiece and strongest moment on the album (“Where All This Dust Comes From”) outshines its strong introduction with the supernova that comes in the second half. I kept kinda spacing out as I listened to ‘Ache Pillars’ and found myself thinking about how much more profound an artist like Lingua Ignota is by comparison but with a lot of the same dynamics; I think Folian have that potential but ‘Ache Pillars’ feels a bit sparse and meek at present. I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy the album, though, just that it wasn’t particularly memorable.
Did I miss your favorite 2019 album? Send me an e-mail and tell me about it. It is always worthwhile to speak up for the lesser known stuff. Please remember you can contribute to my Patreon @ only $1 USD per month ($12 a year) to help keep me in front of the computer writing about metal. Thanks.
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