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Wolves In The Throne Room'
BBC Session 2011 Anno DominiOne month after releasing their fourth studio album, Celestial Lineage, WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM recorded two live tracks at the BBC's Maida Vale studios. Southern Lord offers these sessions as a special vinyl release. It seems only fitting that Olympia's earthen black metal expanders, WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM, would add their name to the roster of acts who have recorded at the Maida Vale studios, the place where the sounds of contemporary and outstanding artists throughout the last century of popular music have been documented for the ages.
WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM's shadow, cast long and eerie from their campfire of the arcane, eclipses the hordes of black metal clones and drones, hewing raw nuggets of inspired music from rich seams of extreme metal and astral vibrations. "Prayer of Transformation" and "Thuja Magus Imperium" are the two tracks recorded on that day, taken from their lauded album Celestial Vintage and spanning two sides of vinyl and twenty minutes. Entitled BBC Session 2011 Anno Domini, this session is testament to the band's ability to inspire awe with homespun strands of metaphysical ambiance and painstakingly flexed sinews of metal, and is a must for all fans of the band as well as followers of contemporary metal.
- Ear Split Compound1. Prayer of Transformation
2. Thuja Magus Imperium$13.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Silencing MachineFormed by Blake Judd and Pat Noctis McCormick in 2000, Chicago's Nachtmystium started off as a primitive 4-track black metal band. Over the years, they have progressed through many line-up changes (now featuring members of Wolves in the Throne Room, Avichi, Lord Mantis and Minsk) and the their sound has constantly evolved, stepping away from the typical black metal thematics and embracing disparate influences, while maintaining the raw and harsh edge that's unique to the black metal genre.
The incorporation of other influences has helped the band create a sound that is unique to them specifically, and will continue to work as an ever-expanding unit with the ultimate goal to create metal music that pushes boundaries and walks into unchartered territories. Recorded at Engine Studios with Sanford Parker (Yob, Pelican), Nachtmystium's massively anticipated fourth full-length, Silencing Machine, follows-up the critically acclaimed Addicts: Black Meddle Pt. II and is a 10-song sonic assault which showcases the band at their most prolific and most expansive sounding to date!1. Dawning Over the Ruins of Jerusalem
2. Silencing Machine
3. And I Control You
4. The Lepers of Destitution
5. Borrowed Hope and Broken Dreams
6. I Wait In Hell
7. Decimation, Annihilation
8. Reduced To Ashes
9. Give Me The Grave
10. These Rooms In Which We Weep$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Vitamin FDuring the gap of nearly 10 years since their last release, Fontanelle has been trying to transport themselves back in time to 1973 into Patrick Gleeson's Different Fur Trading Company studio. With the help of Randall Dunn's expertise (sunn O))), Black Mountain, Wolves in the Throne Room), it sounds like they made it!
Rex Ritter's tour of duty with Sunn O))) during Fontanelle's hiatus seems to have irreparably changed his DNA, as well as the bands. Adding an amazing array of horn players (many heard on sunn O)))s; Monoliths & Dimensions), Fontanelle has conjured a burly fusion jazz sound that has been dubbed, "White Magus."
Gentry Densley (Eagle Twin), Steve Moore (Earth, sunn O)))), Hans Teuber, Eric Walton (Skerik), Jef Brown (Jackie-O MF) and Dave Carter are all featured on Vitamin F. The band, based in Portland OR, is comprised of Andy Brown (Jessamine), Rex Ritter (Jessamine, sunn O)))), Paul Dickow (Strategy), Brian Foote, Nudge, Leech), Mat Morgan and Borg Norum. Vinyl version of this greasy-groovy masterpiece of fuzzed out funk from Southern Lord is limited to a one time pressing of 1,000.1. Watermelon Hands
2. The Adjacent Possible
3. Vitamin F
5. When The Fire Hits The Forest
7. Reassimilated$14.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
DawningMight the time finally be right for Mouth of the Architect? For a decade, the Ohio band has largely been ghettoized to cult status, familiar to Midwestern kids or those paying more than casual attention to what's clumsily called "post-metal," at least post-Isis. Between 2004 and 2008, Mouth of the Architect released three rather convincing-- if sometimes haphazardly indulgent-- records of unified doom and grace. Dependent upon extreme dynamics and grand composition, with track lengths that ticked into the teens and albums that stretched past the hour mark, Mouth of the Architect seemed like a natural recipient of the same "brainy metal" laurels then distributed by outlets as illustrious as The New York Times.
But the ascendance never came, and since 2008's teetering Quietly, the band instead lingered at the threshold of self-destruction. They released an EP in 2010, but, as a revealing Invisible Oranges look into the band's last half-decade suggests, they mostly tried not to die-- as a group, really, or as people. "Some of us were convinced that the end was coming, either the big picture or individually," drummer Dave Mann told Brad Sanders. "Some of us, me in particular, were in a downward spiral in a lot of ways."
The appropriately titled new album Dawning is their first in five years and their first featuring bassist Evan Danielson. It's also their best work to date, a fully realized resurrection. Dawning showcases a band that now moves with an intricacy and immediacy that indicate just what Mouth of the Architect is: a veteran group comprising members with long rÉsumÉs, who've now gotten a chance to begin again and know what to do with it. A wonder of tension and release, Dawning is designed to throw listeners into tailspins and, then, to lift them above the mess. That drama not only reflects the survival of the band that stuck around long enough to make this album but also of a group that's now pushed past the cloister of post-metal: Despite the hardened visage of tough-guy screams, burly guitar tones, and Mann's aggressive drumming, Dawning is a compulsively likable record, full of anthems meant for memorizing and environments meant for immersion. (Hell, "Sharpen Your Axes" could pass for millennial Incubus.) If you've ever liked Isis there's plenty for you here; on the other hand, if you like, say, Abbey Road-- or any music that tries to outstrip the structure of a single song while not abandoning its magnetism-- Dawning deserves your time, too.
Should the metal prefixes "progressive" or even "post-" suggest long-winded, self-invested excursions nestled within songs that require an almanac, scrap the notion for Dawning. Yes, these songs stretch between seven and 11 minutes each, but even the longest, centerpiece "How This Will End, hinges upon narrative thrust and musical selflessness. If there are any guitar solos here at all, they come toward the start and the finish of "How This Will End, when a neon electric tone arches over a mounting cavalcade of drums and bass. Rather than serve as breaks in the momentum, though, both passages lead tremendous swells that rise to meet the troika of vocalists in another instance of triumph. Not one moment among these 11 minutes seems squandered or lost, as the quintet keeps rising and falling, churning and rebuilding.
Opener "Lullabye" establishes that principle from the jump, or as soon as traipsing acoustic guitar and twinkling piano concede to a heroic riff wrapped within three-part, gang-style harmonies. Mouth of the Architect move constantly between parts; at various points, they leap from near-silence to a quake viscous enough to make plenty of stoner metal sound thin, from guitar leads that suggest Chicago blues moan to math-rock redirection. Behind the kit, Mann serves as the expert rudder, keeping the songs steady even as he navigates the transfers. This constant swivel also depends upon the split vocal duties of Steve Brooks, Kevin Schindel, and Jason Watkins. They trade verses, flip-flopping between pristine radio rock leads and malevolent growls, sometimes only for a line at the time. They often share choruses, delivering them the sort of group-vocal abandon that hints at a darkened Danielson Family. Their singing-- here, more charged and urgent than it's ever been-- gives all of the band's moving pieces a through-line from one side to the other.
Talk of the tide of intelligent or somehow otherwise-elevated heavy music hasn't faded during Mouth of the Architect's temporary absence. Though both Sunn O))) and the late Isis have only released one album since MotA's last one, the acceptance of and debate over nominally black metal acts such as Liturgy, Wolves in the Throne Room, Krallice and Deafheaven has kept that conversation current. Mouth of the Architect only nods to that au courant talking point during Dawning, most notably with the blizzard of tremolo guitars that open "It Swarms" and the clattering way the band emerges from an instrumental break during "Sharpen Your Axes". But at the very least, Dawning deserves mention alongside Deafheaven's Sunbather, a record that's most notable for its holistic approach to drama and romance and the complete cinema of itself. Mouth of the Architect has long written from a vantage of imminent apocalypse, a perspective Dawning does not forego. There's talk of collapsing systems and prevailing darkness, spent luck and idolized disrepair. But at record's end, when Mouth of the Architect's three singers trade and share lines about risking it all even if they come up short, it's hard not to hear a core of redemption and potential hope within the music itself. And after returning from the brink to make one of the year's most rapturous records, metal or post-metal or whatever, there had better be.
- Grayson Currin (Pitchfork)1. Lullabye
2. It Swarms
3. Sharpen Your Eyes
4. How Will This End
6. The Other Son$21.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now