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 constraint 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 of the biggest, best freaks of September that I overlooked. Consider it a chance to break out of sub-genre specific themes and grab a few special order items in the back of your favorite record store. 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 focus was curated while specifically looking for something weird and memorable but not necessarily messy or avant-garde by default. September had variety, and I didn’t want to leave these weirdos in the dust. 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]||H.P. Lovecraft’s I Notturni Di Yuggoth [LP/2019]|
|Rating [4.0/5.0]||BUY from Cadabra|
Another fantastic collaboration between the fine folks at spoken arthouse Cadabra Records, Fabio Frizzi, artist Jeremy Hush and this time featuring spoken performance from Andrew Leman. The subject of ‘I Notturni Di Yuggoth’ focuses on select stanzas from what I’d consider an epic poem by H.P. Lovecraft entitled ‘The Fungi of Yuggoth’ written back in late 1929, essentially the beginning of the decline for the writer’s station in life and in health. I appreciate that this piece doesn’t simply reach for an old standard of Lovecraft‘s oeuvre but instead tackles one of the more charmingly dark selections from his mountains of prose. Leman‘s diction is immaculately achieved atop Frizzi’s intended ‘nocturnes’ and likely because of a long history with Lovecraft’s work as well as a previous release featuring the entire 36 part epic for an audio book that featured music from Theologian. The difference here is that ‘I Notturni Di Yuggoth’ collects certain impactful excerpts from the full set of poems and notably features the works of the master Frizzi throughout. Side A of the limited vinyl release is a combination of that music and the reading whereas Side B is just Frizzi’s score of the reading. As a completionist I’m drawn towards the full audiobook but as a fan of Frizzi’s work over the years I’m drawn towards these new sounds, the previously mentioned nocturnes arranged for 12-string classical guitars for appropriately gloomy atmospherics. My only complaint is that I’d wished it was about 10 minutes longer. I did end up liking this just a bit more than the similar collaboration for ‘A Picture in the House’, simply because of the imagery of these stanzas.
|Title [Type/Year]||Decay [EP/2019]|
|Rating [3.5/5.0]||BUY from Selfmadegod Records|
My prior knowledge of Virginia grindcore band Drugs of Faith is admittedly limited to their split with deathgrinders Antigama well over a decade ago so I’d have little context heading into this deathrock lookin’ 10 minute EP. Their style on ‘Decay’ is described as grind n’ roll, or mid-paced grind, etc. but the reality is that this translates as hardcore punk with a nice metallic edge. If you’d told me that this was a Sick of it All and (pre-‘Jane Doe’) Converge influenced metallic hardcore band from 1999 I’d be more or less convinced at a glance. Actually, one of the members was in Agoraphobic Nosebleed! So, that era and such kinda justifies my thoughts just on vibe-by-association alone. I enjoyed the thoughtful brevity of this EP, the quick hit of ‘slow’ grindcore action and kinda geeked out a bit learning that Embra‘s drummer is also in the band. They could go a bit further with the noise punk edge on a full-length and I’d be completely into it.
|Title [Type/Year]||A Chasm Here and Now [LP/2019]|
|Rating [3.75/5.0]||BUY from Oblivion Records|
Soul-dragging post-punk never went out of fashion, it really didn’t, you’re just a hipster or a kid. No offense. The quality level shared between a few key recent revivalists is a fucking skinning; I mean, I can feel the knife cut through my skin by the hand of someone wanting to wear it when I listen to ‘A Chasm Here and Now’ from Berlin’s most erotically fabulous black & white post-punk catchiness Wires & Lights. How is it that this new band sounds so incredibly professional and beautifully gothic rock chic from the get-go? British musician Justin Stephens has been hard at work for decades with his best known project, Passion Play, and he’s channeled late 80’s New Model Army, early 80’s Gang of Four, into an album that stretches effortlessly between new wave hooks, post-punk punchiness, and gothic rock brood. Yes, it is a pop-rock album at the end of the day and a very memorable one at that. “Anyone” is pretty incredible, at least check that one out if “Drive” and “Sleepers” doesn’t hook you first.
|Title [Type/Year]||No One Knows What the Dead Think [EP/2019]|
|Rating [3.5/5.0]||BUY from Willowtip|
Big as it was in some smaller circles I don’t buy for a second todays attitude that anyone ‘got’ what Discordance Axis were doing back in 2000 on ‘The Inalienable Dreamless’ and it was truly only in hindsight (after Gridlink and Municipal Waste freaked the world out) that folks looked back and started to stroke the tombstone of that band. No One Knows What the Dead Think intentionally recaps the life of Discordance Axis almost eulogizing its essence from the creators point of view and they’ve thrown in some ultra-mathcore chugsplosions for good measure. Razor sharp, screaming incessant, and righteously early 2000’s skronk-core freakout in spirit there is a lot to unpack within this 19 minute record and well, my only complaint is that a few of the riffs steer in a weirdly melodic direction that feels at odds with the presentation. I know that it fits with the intended tradition of the bands past and the retrospective nature of the collaboration but, some of the ideas are delivered too modestly to meet such high expectations.
|Title [Type/Year]||Badakhshan [LP/2019]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||BUY from Art As Catharsis|
A spiritual journey intended to pull the listener to the border of Afghanistan to ‘Badakhshan’ by way of Eastern music influenced psychedelic ‘drone rock’ that is primarily instrumental. Yes, I know very few people have the patience or the interest for instrumental albums, much less anything remotely describable as post-rock but think of this Sydney, Australia based project as a spiritual projection from afar. The spiritual intent is not lost among the patient and meditative but to be sure there is a sort of ‘progressive’ rock ambiance to the whole affair that creates some value with dynamic that is worthwhile beyond appropriation and loud-quiet juxtapositions.
|Title [Type/Year]||Cloven Fires [EP/2019]|
|Rating [4.0/5.0]||BUY from Eisenwald|
The rare emergence of a Mosaic release is something to celebrate, stew within, and be transformed by. ‘Cloven Fires’ finds the projects modus of Supreme Thuringian Folklore in mid-transformation and between solstices as they experiment with percussion (including a performance from D.E. of the incredible Werian) on the title track of the single “Cloven Fires”. For my own tastes the lineage of music created by Martin van Valkenstijn is beautifully alchemical, a spiritual connection with ancestors, nature, and the hidden mysteries of our world. Ysengrin, Alchemyst, Empyrium, and Mosaic represent names that are gently known but deeply appreciated among those who’d connect with them on a deeper level over the years. I only wish there was more to fawn over as I love the duality of the pieces here within this phantasm-conjuring seven minute 7″.
|Title [Type/Year]||Flying Stag [LP/2019]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||BUY from Daniele Brusaschetto|
Turin, Italy based musician Daniele Brusaschetto certainly had some hand in industrial rock and folk music mutations over the years but he isn’t necessarily known for ‘heavy music’ works, rather a sort of ‘electro folk’ weirdness. It is only fitting that his push back to his 90’s metal roots sounds like an industrial rock influenced Voivod record from the early 90’s. I believe the press materials point towards ‘Nothingface’ but considering how heavy this is I’d say jump over towards ‘Phobos’ instead. But hey, that isn’t the whole story as Brusaschetto’s sound design aims for an era of heavy rock/metal and not just one bands sound, nor is ‘Flying Stag’ that dissonant… It just comes out weirdly sci-fi in a fantastically heavy way, perhaps because the rhythms are reasonably complex and the guitar tone is just big and simple. The whole record is a bold and curious move that I greatly appreciated. As I listened I’d felt like the next step would be to lean into vocal harmonies more, something that could go late 80’s/early Front Line Assembly but without losing the brutish guitar tone.
|Title [Type/Year]||The Space Between Worlds [Full-length/2019]|
|Rating [3.75/5.0]||BUY from Blues Funeral Recordings|
If you’ll recall when that last Torche album came out some misguided folks’d considered it a nod into progressive music, well it wasn’t, point being that Nashville, Tennessee cosmic rockers Howling Giant deserve that stoner-prog tag instead thanks to their boundlessly enthusiastic Rush-like storytelling on their debut full-length ‘The Space Between Worlds’. Catchy, slick, and with an almost ‘Book of Taleisyn’ vibe in the more restful moments to be sure the appeal here is first and foremost that inspired sci-fi narrative on my end but the smooth, professional and stoner-glossed sound of it all is a nice bonus. ‘The Space Between Worlds’ is a fantastic and engaging full listen that initially threatens a sort of slow-building background music sort of vibe but I’d say I was fully engaged by the time “Ice Castle” and “Cybermancer And The Doomsday Express” highlighted the spin. I’m hoping they’ll move away from the comic book fun and towards something more metaphysical over time, ideally without losing the high energetics.
|Title [Type/Year]||Are Forever [LP/2019]|
|Rating [3.0/5.0]||BUY from Consouling Sounds|
Well, you’re not scoring any points with me kicking off your first impression with a sample from a popular “meme” clip but sludgecore/drone quartet 30,000 Monkies do some interesting things in shaking up the atmospheric sludge vibe with some ‘-core’ mutations. I’m not hearing any of the ‘noise rock’ vibes that’d had me interested in ‘Are Forever’, as it turns out those influences were more prevalent on earlier albums. There are points where the ambiance is masterful but their ‘crank it to 11’ take on atmospheric sludgecore does begin to stumble around nuance as the full listen progresses. If I was just slightly more into the edges of modern -core music this’d pair nicely with front-runners for modern post-metal mutants. I’d say take my thoughts with some grain of salt and give “He-Man” a listen to gauge your own thoughts.
|Title [Type/Year]||The Sound of Color in Space [LP/2019]|
|Rating [3.5/5.0]||BUY from Ghost: Hello|
Alright lets take a look at my notes: Hmm, the soundtrack to Fez, Lightning Bolt, Clutch, ambient, drugged spirituals, uh… stoner art rock/metal? Yeah, I mean I’ve listened to ‘The Sound of Color in Space’ at least a handful of times and I’m still not sure there is a ‘bigger picture’ to get beyond a splattering of eclectic, groovy inspiration. Not-so pretentious but progressive, stoner but not lazy, fiddly yet bluesy, spaced out but full of anxietous existential divining there is more than just a lizard brain driving the pockets of joy within Ghost: Hello‘s well-dressed trip salad debut. I’m all for music driven by a big bass guitar tone and flourished with sci-fi psychedelia so, I had a great time with it. The only major criticism is that if those stomping, punkish moments on “Spit of Stars” work so well, why aren’t there more directional bouts of that driving the record? It’d really take things to a stoner-metallic Spacemen 3 kinda direction which’d be so fitting.
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 consider a small donation to help keep me in front of the computer writing about music. Thanks.
Please Support GrizzlyButts.
If you appreciate what you’ve read, please consider donating directly using PayPal.