July the 28th saw the release of the EP, Ad Aeternam Damnationem, by the Italian band Horologic Mime. This is an independent release for the group and their second EP, describing their instrumental style as experimental industrial metal.
Metal infused with off kilter electronics, seemingly wanting to consume you alive in “Excessive FatAccumulation“. This leads into “Acufene Scolopendra” that has a winding purpose, with those chiming synths, belied by angry guitar, laying below, ready to pounce, pushing and prodding onward. Crunching industrial metal invades your ears, as we are taken on the great circus ride that is “Bird Up“. It lurches and tumbles into chaos, broken and looking for resurrection, slowly rising like a ghoul from a grave to haunt you.
Horologic Mime seek to use their experimental style to create soundscape worlds with the noise they pull from their instruments, mixing delicate bell like synths to aggressive metal guitar and changing rhythms. With this in mind, I remind people that this is experimental and you approach this style without expectations and just bathe in what the musicians are inviting you into.
With the release of the debut album, The Egg That Never Opened, on the 17th of June, with the record label Art As Catharsis, you may or may not have heard of High CastleTeleorkestra, but I can promise you, that once you have, you are very unlikely to forget. A core of six members, dotted around the world, whom have been associated with some big name musical acts, plus the ability to draw on other talented musicians to further enhance their sound. What is this sound you might ask? Constructive insanity comes to mind but it is more than that. These guys are the musicians that other musicians tend to get really excited about with their alternative, progressive, instrumental mixtures of tasty perfection. Crazy good at what they do and while there is an assault of all these different genres, they craft it into tracks that are seamless, occasionally haunting and more often than not, a lot of fun. There is a pervasive feeling of joy from this band that goes into bringing each piece to life and it translate into the music. Tim Smolens and Chris Bogen are the originators of the band, so who else better to talk to about this juggernaut that they have brought to life and how important castles really are in the alternative rock scene.
We at Onyx go to extreme lengths to interview creative people but storming the battlements is a first for us, so we bid thee welcome to our nightmare of siege weapons, cool pointy things and comfy pillows. Well met on the interviewing battlefield, Tim Smolens and Chris Bogen of High Castle Teleorkestra.
Professed as both recovering professional musicians…. I find this statement misleading, as I am sure that neither of you have ever been able to give up the music drug. How did you get sucked into this life of moody tunes and can you tell us about your former shady lives, as Tim you were in Estradasphere and I.S.S. to name a couple of bands and Chris in the snotty named Doc Booger.
Chris: The HCT bio tells lies! I have never been a full-time pro musician though Tim has a few inhabitants in his brain and he could technically be considered as two recovering professional musicians. I’ve mostly done a lot of extremely low profile, community and friend oriented music projects that are usually left unfinished. I’ve been persistently doing home recording stuff since the mid 1990s with a few scattered live band situations. Doc Booger was my first “commercial” release and this is my third. Every band needs a luckiest member sort of hobbit character and I guess that’s my gimmick.
Tim: Lies indeed! Given the fact that we are such small beans in this giant burrito game, it is necessary for us to embellish a bit just to help us feel like we have something to contribute to this world of interesting music, especially at our ripe old ages. Truth be told, I am not sure I ever fully made a living from music but I can tell you that I have made 1000s of dollars from music in the last 30 years!
We gather you became domesticated, settled down, had jobs and even spawned?
Tim: Living the life of a broke musician throughout my 20s, I was certain that I never wanted kids. “Somehow” my wife became pregnant and I just embraced it. It turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me, saving me from the sad lifestyle that so many contemporary musicians must endure. There probably hasn’t been a worse era to be a professional musician given that most people don’t buy music anymore. I would venture to guess that a majority of the public doesn’t care much for music at all other than in the most superficial of ways. So I have been married for 15 years now, have 2 kids, and make my living as an ER nurse. Even though it is hard to work music into that busy schedule, and I certainly test my wife’s patience with how much time put into it, I am under no pressure whatsoever to make a living from music although it would be a nice goal to strive for.
Chris: I was a semi-pro/amateur domesticated human for years which is probably why it took me so long to finally release some music commercially. I became professionally domesticated over a decade ago. Now there are three other people in the house that look just like me. My wife and kids are very supportive of the music project and aren’t at all sick of hearing me play the same parts over and over and over again to perfection. And yes, full-time jobs outside of music since 2004 in the Computer Science field. I have a Ph.D. in Comp. Sci. and it has afforded me a lot of great opportunities to do interesting work and live a balanced life. I am currently a full-time family dude, a full-time cyber security architect, a part time instructor, and a part time music dude. See. Balance!
Obviously, at some point you thought stuff this normalcy and had the idea to create some monstrous amalgamation of musical talent, calling it High Castle Teleorkestra. WHHHHHYYYYY?
Chris: I think we both hit a point in time when we were itching to create something big and prove something to the world. We knew it was time when some dramatic montage music played in the background of one of our thousands of Facebook chats.
Tim: The fact that Chris and I have stable jobs and families afforded us the luxury of having a man-cave project that our spouses would be in favor of, at least initially until they realized the depths of our obsession. During the pandemic it dawned on me how many super talented musicians I knew around the world and I didn’t see anything stopping me from forming a novel “band” with some of them.
Did covid influence this decision and maybe wanting a castle as well?
Tim: Covid was a good excuse and false pretense for making the band. A group of international talent forced to collaborate remotely due to restrictive lockdowns makes for a great narrative but the truth is we would likely be working this way regardless of the current situation on the global chessboard.
Chris: I’m going to be that annoying music snob guy that says that I’ve always wanted a castle even before everyone else wanted a castle. COVID had nothing to do with it though because we were already working together remotely having never met one another face to face.
Also, why a High Castle? Why not just a normal level Castle with a regular moat?
Chris: A high castle offers the best defense in depth strategy and you have a pretty damned good view. It’s like having a belt with suspenders. And who said we didn’t have a moat?!
Tim: It is good to have a lofty goal even if you only realize it partially. Plus with a higher castle you can see your enemy encroaching and give you ample time to prepare to fight or run for your life like a coward.
For those unfamiliar with the composition of the band, could you give us the lineup of the members and the associated acts?
Chris: Stian Carstensen is from Farmers Market and he is our resident virtuoso. Stian always raises the stakes on our songs and makes us want to quit trying to play musical instruments. Timba Harris is from Estradasphere, Duo Probosci, Ultraphuana, and a former Secret Chiefs 3 collaborator. Timba has a unique way of arranging and performing the perfect sort of provocative and rich string parts to our already dense tunes. Dave Murray (Estradasphere, Traun) is our resident metalhead and polyrhythmic guru, and he’s managed to get some amazing drum tones in his humble home studio setup. Bär McKinnon (Umlaut and Mr. Bungle) is one of the most unique songwriters around and is a songwriting gemstone of our band, and he also covers much of the woodwind work and vocals on his tunes. I play guitar and some other stuff sometimes (noise collages, synths) and do my imposter syndrome undistinguished member routine with expert precision. Tim (Estradasphere, ISS, former Secret Chiefs 3 collaborator) plays bass, piano, sings, is the chief producer, and he’s a pretty damned good cook (sorry, had to talk about food after so many words about music).
Tim: Yeah, what he said.
How the heck did you manage to gather this bunch into agreeing to being a part of this?
Tim: It is funny because when I first had this idea of forming a remote band and Chris and I set to work on a few songs, we had these guys on the roster in mind. We really took our time in asking them to officially join the “band” (courtship) because we wanted to have them play on some tunes first and be impressed and intrigued; sort of a proof of concept of the “business model.” We finally popped the question and they all said yes and we set out making more kids. This wedding night still goes on and on.
Chris: Tim and I prepared a demo of Klawpeels and Tim shopped it around to his well-established friends. I did my part by sitting back and pretending it was completely normal to be in a “band” with this roster of musicians.
A lot of these guys have been in some pretty bizarre projects, even you Tim playing live with Mr Bungle (all hail Chris Patton, Lord of the Bungle). Did you guys’ ever think…’what the fuck have I got myself into’ or was it like a comfortable set of shorts where the arse is not completely worn out yet?
Chris: I still don’t know what the hell I’m doing with these guys in HCT so I am just gonna stick with that Hobbit thing I said earlier.
Tim: To clarify, I have not played with Bungle. I did program a majority of their complex multi-keyboard setup for their California tour and they did open for my band Estradasphere as a secret warm up show for that tour. I have played live as the bassist for Bungle side project The Secret Chiefs 3. I have definitely soiled my shorts before but at this point they are pristine untl the upper thigh chub rub stench sets in.
As the name suggests, Teleorkestra, the music, is a mash of electronic and modern instruments mixed with traditional instruments plus also incorporating a vast array of styles…. sometimes all in the same track, which is bloody impressive. How did this all come about?
Chris: Our influences and interests are all over the map and combining them under one banner doesn’t seem so unusual to us. I think we just focused on each song and did our best to serve each one sonically. Somehow the track sequencing (which was sort of decided by chance) works as a satisfying progression of moods and sounds.
Tim: By the prefix “tele” is meant “at a distance” which is how our band conducts its activities.
Be honest, is it easier having your band mates as far away as possible and do you sometimes ignore their text messages and emails?
Chris: It probably makes it easier being apart because we would end up spending hours and hours together in person slaving over these mixes and parts. Tim and I did have a few days together in person like that midway through the project when I visited him in Colorado. I’m looking forward to some more days like that because there’s nothing quite like nerding out over some music you’re excited about with a good buddy. I never thought to ignore his messages though..
Tim: By keeping these egos at a distance we avoid the drama that close-quarters band activities inevitably brings forth. Although that was not the rationale for the genesis of our group it is a pleasant side-effect. In seriousness, bands usually do end up fostering interpersonal drama and our way of working remotely is a good way to filter a lot of that out.
Your debut album is “The Egg That Never Opened,” a title that implies the loss of something important or I could be completely wrong, and it is all about the Castle dragon. What inspired you to name the album after the epic first track (which is this quasi metal, confused French/German oompha band with a sea shanty singing barbershop quartet, on a Hawaiian holiday in space inspired piece)?
Chris: Dragons are cool though I did make one very angry once near Lonely Mountain. That’s another story though.
Tim: The album is indeed based on the Philp K. Dick Book “Radio free Albemuth.” The book is 30 chapters and we decided to take it linearly so it will be a trilogy and the 10 songs on this record represent the 1st 10 chapters. The phrase “The Egg That Never Opened,” is taken directly from chapter 1 and seems to imply a main character, Nick, whose life is in a rut, stagnating, with no obvious hope on the horizon for working his way out of it. But he has lots of positive qualities and interests that could have indeed led to a more colorful life; potential that was never realized.
Chris: Damn you, I was trying to be cagey and mysterious and you gave away the keys to the castle.
Is it true the album is an exploration of a Philip K Dick novel and have you recovered from this?
Tim: Yes, it is an adaptation of Philip K Dick’s discarded novel “Radio free albemuth,” which he ended up rewriting to become “Valis.” We have not yet recovered because we are still in the throes of it with the next two parts of the trilogy.
Chris: Yes and No.
Each track has a myriad of influences, that come together and just seem to work. With the members of the band being so far flung, how do you manage to write these grandiose pieces?
Chris: There’s typically a very strong vision for each song and a good template set forth before individual band members start tracking parts. There is some cross collaboration on the songs and arrangements early on though typically one member begins with a very firm idea and we work hard on firming up the foundational aspects of a demo – tempo map, mockups of essential parts, etc.
Tim: Most of the projects I have ever done have involved mixing and matching genres that usually are not found in the same song or even the same album. It is something I have gotten better at over the years and I feel is finally really clicking in a fluent way. You wouldn’t think that some of these mixtures would work well but on this record they feel natural and not contrived. European metal waltz. Romanian folk metal. Doo-Wop surf, and so on.
Technology now allows musicians to remotely record and share. Which member has the job of sewing it all together?
Chris: Tim does. And then me and the rest of the peanut gallery bust the seams and Tim has to do more sewing. I tend to eat a lot and not get enough exercise, so bursting seams comes naturally to me.
Tim: In general it is me that hosts the master files and I do the majority of editing and production but I am in daily contact with Chris on all the specific details. I am someone who loves teamwork and collaboration so having him to bounce ideas off is huge for me. I may be doing a majority of the grunt production work but his influence on this record cannot be overstated. Him and I rarely disagree and if we do it is in a friendly manner. The other guys will chime in if they have a suggestion. Bar is pretty specific related to the songs he wrote, so dialing that in on his 2 songs was a bit of a challenge to suit his fancy, but I think it all worked out really well.
“Mutual Hazard” was released as a single and it is a whirling dervish, magnetic and alluring, will probably drunkenly stab you later with a goose sort of thing. Who was the mastermind behind this track and what inspired you, as it is brilliant?
Chris: Dave Murray is the mastermind behind the metal aspects of the song which also contain the unorthodox polyrhythms. He arranged the guitar parts and I performed them with very slight modifications. Timba wrote and recorded the stunning string parts. As said, Tim was the mastermind of fitting all these disparate pieces together and making them work – with a little help from me and others in the peanut gallery. Most of the rest of it is in letting the performers and the melody shine.
Tim: I will add that the song is a traditional Romanian folk song and Stian is master of that style so he was very helpful and played some mean accordion parts as well as rhythm guitar (a nuanced rhythmic style that fall squarely outside of Chris’s wheelhouse). Stian brought in 2 guest players a Bulgarian violinist and a cimbalom player which really added to the authenticity of the folk aspect.
Interestingly, you are on the Art As Catharsis label, who are Australian, which leads us to ask why an Aussie label and how has that worked out for you?
Chris: We saw Crocodile Dundee and Young Einstein when we were kids and it inspired us to go buy boomerangs, big knives, and score an Australian label contract. When our music reaches the masses in Australia we are hoping to star in our own American-in-Australia wacky rom coms. I’m from Louisiana so I’ll be in Alligator Yankee. Who knows what Tim will do. But for real, we really dig Lachlan Dale (label manager) and his mission at Art as Catharsis. I’m proud to be a part of the AAC family.
Tim: Australia has been a great supporter of interesting music over the years. Mr. Bungle was very successful there and Estradasphere has many fans down under. It seemed like a natural fit to us. Art As Catharsis is a great label that has been a launching pad for many creative acts.
What bands and acts influenced your music insanity?
Chris: Chet Atkins, Arthur Lyman, Dick Dale, Martin Denny, Les Baxter, Esquivel, Perrey and Kingsley, The Three Suns, Luiz Bonfa’,Taraf de Haïdouks, The Shadows, Les Paul & Mary Ford, Santo and Johnny, Mr. Bungle, Secret Chiefs 3, The Ventures, Brian Eno, My Bloody Valentine, Harold Budd, Beach Boys, Slayer, Metallica, Death, Meshuggah, Steely Dan, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Mancini,and on and on.
Tim: to add to Chris’s nice list I would nominate Ennio Morricone and a variety of Italian film luminaries (Piero Picciono, Piero Umiliani, Bruno Nicolai, Nino Rota, and many more.), Joe Meek, The off kilter “world music” explorations of the label Sublime Frequencies, the harmonic mastery of Jacob Collier, Sam Cooke, a huge variety of Doo-Wop artists and so much more.
If you could have a guest musician or two, join you and it could be anyone, re-animated or living, whom would you dearly like?
Chris: If I had that kind of power then surely I could get more than one or two! Though there was one time where I had that wish while making the album: I would have really liked to have brought in Jean Jacques Perrey to do some crazy tape splicing stuff on the title track of our album. I would also have loved to have had Arthur Lyman play vibes on Placentia.
Tim: I would love to have Jacob Collier,whom Stian has collaborated with, guest on a track. I would bring back Joe Meek to produce surf songs for us, and a guest appearance from legendary studio drummer Bernard Purdie would be swell. (Chris: aw hell yeah!).
What is in the future for the eclectic High Castle Teleorkestra?
Chris: A short stack of filthy stinking $10 (USD) bills to divide amongst the band members so that we can take our families and significant others out to pick out their favorite pack of chewing gum or single serving hard candy piece!
Tim: We can hopefully finish off these next 2 albums to complete the trilogy before our bodies become infirm, we are wearing depends, ambulating with a walker, and falling frequently in our low-income nursing homes before we finally break that hip and the trials rehab prove to be the final blow. We will keep plugging away as quickly as our busy family lives will allow.
We thank you kindly for your parley, Tim and Chris, and we also know this album is going to knock some boots off!
Chris: Thank you, it was a gas!
Tim: Yes indeed, we loved this unorthodox interview.
Have you experienced High Castle Teleorkestra yet? If not then let me draw your attention to a good time. Signed to Art As Catharsis records, with members flung across the globe, who have been involved in many bands like Farmers Market, Mr Bungle and Estradasphere, and they are about to fling apon the world their new album, The Egg That NeverOpened, on June the 17th. So, to whet one’s appetite for the onslaught, here is their first video single, “Mutual Hazard“.
There are classical overtones that rapidly breakdown into a cacophony of metal fused with amazing traditional folk music and drumming that only enhances this brilliant piece. And if that is not enough, there is also the wonderful satire video, as it incorporates the televisual component of the band, while the music spirals in it’s dervish whirlings. High Castle Teleorkestra, utterly bonkers and loving it.
The label Blue FX Records, released on the 13th of May, the album Dying World by Boston project, WrongPath. The previous releases for Wrong Path, have all been instrumental, however, this album comes with the bonus of vocals!
Kicking off with the title track of “Dying World” with the driving guitar and deep vocals that tell you no one cares and are insincere because the world is nightmare. “Transparent Man” has echos of Soundgarden in the guitar work and the low tone is almost akin listening to throat singing. I can hear the resemblance to Motorhead in “Mankind“. Could be in the drums or guitar work but there is definitely something as the vocals roughly grind against the music. You have heard “My Way” and now there is “Fight My Way” and Wrong Path are fighting dirty.
Layered vocals echo over each other, in some psychedelic induced episode in “Break Me“. The change in drums grabs your attention in “My Misery” and the whispers wrap around you, trying to weigh you down in the mire of despair. “Breaking The Void” honestly sounds like a belching demon but then progresses into a black mass seance. The 70s is strong in the “The Truth” with those guitar riffs that Black Sabbath could deploy and there is a general fuzzing tone over the top of it all.
Like Rambo,”Meth Itch 2 (The Return)” is on a mission with rumbling rhythms, fuzzed out and clean guitars. When “Death Is Certain” then breakout the Buddhist ohms because that is going to work a treat in this dirge. Oh, the guitar work hear does remind me of Type O Negative in “Hate Within” and a news report from a British broadcaster which is about riots in Russia and it works together very well. “New Horizons” is the final track at a minute long and unlike the rest of the music, this seems to far more electronic and brighter. so maybe there is hope.
The deep rumbling vocals definitely bring something new to the table and possibly is part of the reason this album has a Type O Negative sound, though for me, it is more so in the guitar work. So bring on the doom and gloom of Wrong Path and a Dying World.
The ancient Greeks believed in mythical beings that sang to weary sailors, drawing them to their beautiful voices but in the end only offered death called sirens. ODDKO are an act from Los Angeles and have been around since 2011. 26th of November saw the release of the single “Siren Song“, with the man behind it all, Giovanni Bucci being joined by Francesco Paoli (Fleshgod Apocalypse) and Dave Tavanti (Kpanic) to record the EP, DigitalGods. Bucci is also known for being a filmmaker and specializing in special effects.
“Siren Song” is very much about the commercialism of society, so much so the release date coincided with Black Friday.. An observation about people who feel that life will never complete if they don’t own the latest or the newest product. The producers get rich, those that consume poorer and the environment pays the biggest price in all this greed.
This video is a pretty show of virtual special effects which obviously this is due to Bucci’s prowess in this field but I have to say, he actually writes a mean tune as well. I am trying to put my finger on what I like about this track. Is it the catchy chorus? The orchestration? The huge guitar riffs that thunder through or is it Bucci’s passionate vocals? It is more than likely a combination of this and the theme they are pushing home.
From the wild open spaces of Oregon comes Warm Gadget, ready to help you get your metal industrial on, with their new EP, Rituals, released in April. Tim Vester is the lead vocals and effects, Austin Williams on bass and backing vocals and then it seems Colten Williams maybe the insidious, evil mastermind who plays everything else, did backing vocals, wrote the music and produced it. This makes him a busy fellow.
First cab off the rank is the first single we previously reviewed here, “New Industrial“. There is the head to head clash of guitar versus electronic, that smacks of derision and angst at the system.
“Full Of It” is just angry, so very angry. A fuck you to the world who uses, then casts you aside when there is nothing left after giving promises of false dreams. Full on raging guitar and Vester screaming his discontent.
Not many relationships end on good terms and it seems “If I Only Could” is very much in that vein. I’D REMOVE ME FROM YOUR MEMORY; (YOU’RE DEAD TO ME) IF I ONLY COULD is a very telling line, conceding most songs talk about forgetting the other person. It’s a bit like if Tool met Queens Of The Stone Age in a fist fight.
“Symptoms” could be a commentary on the modern lifestyle where everything can be fixed taking medications. The music is steady and the vocals raw with emotion of wanting to live with the ‘disease’, so that they can just live.
The guitar riffs are great in “Dead To Me“. It’s a more electronically crunchy number that really rocks. The concept that love is binding and that the other person can suddenly turn on you, leaving you wanting to get the hell out of Dodge.
The last two tracks are remixes of “Symptoms“. The first by Witch Eyes which illicits a more old school industrial sound. The second is by Snowbeasts and this propels the track into a whole new stratosphere, going far more electronic and cutting out all the vocals.
This looks back to the metal bands of industrial such as KMFDM, Ministry and My LifeWith The Kill Thrill Kult, while giving it a more grungy effect, making it dirtier and slightly more unhinged. Keeping the blood pumping with their musical force, Warm Gadget gracing your lobes with Rituals.
Far Away From All Of This are a Swiss band that released their second album last year in September. Called Outward Bound, this duo comprised of VEGA (guitars, synthesizer, harsh vocals) and IX (vocals, bass, synthesizer, drums), describe their music style as space rock/post rock/metal.
These guys obviously like an epic, as “Haven” goes for over eight minutes and is not even the longest number. The track honestly took me back to the early 90s. Teenage Fanclub and the Lemon Heads, IX even sounds a bit EvanDando. The return to psychedelic swirling, wall of sound guitars and keyboards that take you away on a cloud.
Nice light guitar starts “Reality Check“, a whimsy about not looking too hard at life or it will lose its magic by ‘breaking the spell‘.
They say we are getting older everyday and that this is the “Last Call” to get on life’s roller-coaster. It’s a very positive and uplifting piece with rolling drums and VEGA having momentary cathartic screams.
Break out the synths for a gliding space journey in the “Stellar Stream“. Smooth and relaxing as the engines whisper in the solar slips of this ambient soundscape.
“NGC 4063” is the final and longest of the tracks. It is a gradual build up of electronics, filling the empty places, like a space exploration facing the dark voids to bring knowledge and light, even though this is a very overwhelming prospect.
The first half is all the crazy human emotion of living with hopes, dreams and modern life, with guitars and a more frantic pace. The last two are after they have left Earth with its electronic life-support, going into the unknown. Really enjoyed this album due to my fondness of guitar jangle and wall of soundscapes which Ride were famous for doing beautifully as well. Well worth giving Far Away From All Of This a go with their Outward Bound.
For those that love their cyberpunk industrial music, should be thrilled that Seattle act Rabbit Junk released a new album on 23rd of October, Xenospheres.
Wired a little differently? You’re on the vertical while everyone else around you is the horizontal? “Neurodivergent” will speak volumes to you as it calls for a standard world to be more flexible or prepare to be broken. It’s vocal, it’s loud and it’s going to catch your attention.
“The Bends” is bass heavy metal with that injection of industrial sensibility. It is almost bipolar with going from nu/core, straight into synths, without missing a beat. For those unfamiliar, the bends occurs when deep sea divers surface and then suffer from decompression sickness.
The harder the bastards push you down, you get back up to push back harder. This is “Relentless (Omicron Nu Epsilom)” and it soars vocally, with the great aggresive guitar and synth highlights.
Really like the mix of male and female vocals here in “Prismatic“. It works so well in a responsive sassy way about feeling invincible and wanting to get down to partying.
For something completely different, reggae style vocals greet you in “Angry People” and we all know these sort of people who want to start fights but take the stance of the injured party.
This is just rising levels of guitar angst for “Curse” and then in the middle it hits you… is that a passing nod to the “The Passenger” by Iggy Pop?!
Talking of Mr Pop, RabbitJunk have taken the single “Kick It“, that Iggy sang with Peaches and given it an industrial makeover. It was already a punchy, punk number which now has an even sweeter, juicier bite to it.
A really nice mix of metal vocals and that beat heavy industrial noise in “Bits AndRazors“. Intense guitar heralds the growing swells of the chorus.
The last track, “From The Stars II (Kite and Vireo)“, is a wonderful science fiction story that becomes a headbanging epic. This is the invasion of the alien technology within humans… or is this the other way around? Humans invading cyber space….
All in all, this is a rip roaring album, thumbing their noses at societal conventions whilst bringing the beat heavy noise.
Xenospheres is a free download from Bandcamp because the band decided that in this current economic environment, it would be worth giving back to the fans. Just goes to show though that Rabbit Junk are really a nice bunch, so please support by getting Xenospheres.
Pablo Zumarraga is the man behind the act known as Trust In None. He hails from the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires and this year released his EP, Inhale, with five tracks in all on it.
“The Law of the Weak” is the intro track with a near imperceptible beat before a sudden explosion of guitar. I feel like I’m listening to some lost Trent Reznor track from the Pretty Hate Machine era.
A nice piece of guitar work and the second track that seems to be nameless brings in the drum machine. The whispers become musical screams that say “I never, never trust you!”. This has an extremely bluesy feel even though it is also very industrial at the same time.
“Inhale” has echos of White Zombie/Rob Zombie with the drum machine having little metal blast beats and is quite a heavy number. Lots of distortion and feedback with a revisitation at the end just to remind you of where you have just been.
The rather interesting named “Squirt”. Pablo mixes his violent whispers whilst dueling with his guitar work. This is full on rock and roll and you could roll on down the highway with this blaring out. The guitar riffs just keep on coming and persistent, spiraling out of control.
Last is the single, “The Circle of Shame”. Again you here Zumarraga’s love of the blues coming through. Heavy and dirty. The vocals are distorted and pain filled. The guitar work here reminds me of the old Soundgarden sound from BadMotorFinger
Not kidding when I say it reminds me very much of the early industrial days of Nine Inch Nails, especially vocally. This is brooding and dark and with the distorted guitar work, is indeed heavily blues influenced and yet this adds to the sinister heaviness of it all.
So if you are looking for something that ignites your blood with punk attitude and industrial smarts, then check out Trust In None.
From the Ukraine, hails the band Mirratal. Since 2013, these guys have been honing their skills by releasing singles and E.P’s but now have unleased their debut album, “Castaway”. These natives of Kyiv describe their style as progressive symphonic metal.
“Abyss Of Lunacy” begins with an actual real cello playing which is really nice to hear instead of the normal computer generated classical instruments which can be very prevalent in this genre of music. The frentic cello is the intro of a band about to give us a really big sound and then the blast beats of the drum kick in. This is a powerful first song with nice harmonizing and a good use of creepy whispering as well as play off solo’s of guitar and synth. They even managed to fit in a choir behind. This has started well.
Then next song has a hail of guitar before the synths break through. The lead, Igor Roshenets doesn’t sound like Vile Valo but something is the way he sings makes me think of him. Maybe it is the passion he sings “Poison” and other songs. I really like the slightly middle eastern sound they incorporate into this and yet there is much wailing guitar.
With the title “Timeless Sea”, you expect a more sedate piece, an oboe wistfully plays and some fellow is talking about psychology…… and then…. it goes full bore. No taking it easy for these guys. This is pretty deep talking about multiverses and time beyond us all that is the endless journey to this timeless sea.
Duelling synths and guitar of Andrii Pavlenko and Sergii Stygar respectively, mark the beginning of “Distinguished Phrases”. Then Roshenets wastes no time launching himself right into the middle of the maelstrom. A song about depression brought on by the cruel words of others. This goes though lulls and then frenetic neck breaking speeds.
No fooling me this time with a nice sedate piano and violin. You know that isn’t going to last and true to form “Mystery” takes off but it is very pretty in some ways. The harmonies and the poetic lyrics though no less metal. The charged piano playing is quite delightful.
Number six has a lovely intro of classical proportions and joins with a nice clear guitar. “Find Your Name” is a duet with female singer, Kateryna Kapshuk (Scarlet) . It is one of those pieces that builds and builds apon itself, with layers of music, instruments and vocals.
Next is “Run” which evokes all sorts of ideals. Monastic choral singing with bells tolling with a provincial French over tone… getting a ‘In The Name Of The Rose’ vibe. This is a slower power number with doomsday is nigh connotations.
And so we come to the title track. They have blown me away already with the electronic beginning changing it all up. Clearly these guys like to be constantly giving themselves a challenge but by using different techniques even within the one song. This goes from power and questioning to ambient and peaceful. Of course this doesn’t last, so bring on the metal choir!
Ever feel like you are going insane but unable to tell anyone? Then you will understand “Sounds” perfectly. Was it the loss of something or someone? Love, love, love the sound of a harpsicord and it is used to blinding effect to help create that disquiet, uneasy tension. I somewhat wonder if this song is what it would be like inside the head of one Captain Jack Sparrow.
BONUS TIME!!! and last number on this album is called “The Wind”. Fabulous percussion with again that wonderful use of orchestration. This shows a great appreciation for the art of music and an ability to incorporate real symphonic instruments with metal and bring a purely instrumental piece to life.
For fans of good drumming which Sergii Ivanov delivers in spades (that guy must be so tired after shows because I felt exhausted just listening to the blast beats he was putting out} or those that really like great guitar solos or thoughtfully crafted music with a very classical grounding, then this is for you. The vocals are strong and soaring for those that want that revelling high.
This album has obviously had a lot of thought put into it by Mirratal as well as passion. This is one of the better symphonic releases in a while and I urge you to check out “Castaway”.