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Terzij De Horde – Self

slefTerzij De Horde is a Dutch black metal band, and they’re getting their first full-length release on CD, tape and vinyl (each by a different label). The cover alone (depicting ants zombified by parasitic fungi) tells you that this is something different than the default misanthropic blastfest. Indeed this album explores the philosophy concerning the self in relation to the world.
Musically, the band express this topic in a modern and measured approach. While the tempo varies from slow and melancholy to fast and intense, the guitars are turning the album into what it is (the mix also accents them the most). They really got the hang of weaving a tension within each riff, dissonant or not. The focus is on melody and an always questioning attitude, not aggressiveness. Even in the most furious parts (such as the beginning of Contre Le Monde) the tremolo and blast beats convey not a raging emotion but a calculated path aiming for a certain sound. The unfortunate bit is that within their own awesome style, the band do not stray from the chosen path – a change of vocal style would’ve been welcomed, for one.
Terzij De Horde’s effort is certainly worthwile discovering, and might seriously challenge you when doing so. The lyrics might be interesting, but the CD edition they’re not included. Personally, I still prefer ball-gripping, naturally powerful black metal (such as my favorite Dutch band Cirith Gorgor’s older albums). Self is hard and abstract album but probably very rewarding if you can put it on repeat.
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CHVE – RASA

CHVECHVE is the acronym of the one man behind this album; a man that is musically best known as Amenra’s vocalist. But besides that and a few other projects, he has recorded RASA as a solo effort. It is a transient journey to the emotional layers of your consciousness, or even beyond – if you allow yourself to be taken there. Colin remains very minimalistic, in the sense that only vocals, a hurdy gurdy, and some percussion are used.
Due to the rich production, the hurdy gurdy and vocals are transformed into a continuous soundscape that works extremely hypnotizing. The bodhran beats joining in halfway really convey the feeling of a one way trip into the spiritual unknown. The only oddity (as I perceive it) is the use of an actual drum kit later on, which shatters the dreaminess of RASA and somewhat forces the mind back into focus due to the harsher, familiar sounds.
Still, that’s all a personal opinion and regardless of that, CHVE’s solo explorations were definitely worth the attempt. Nice (and intriguingly packaged CD) release.
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Noveller & thisquietarmy – Reveries

NovellerConsouling’s print run of Reveries is in fact a re-release after it sold out in 2014, with two bonus tracks thrown in for good measure. Two well-known soundscape artists have joined forces on this album, and their progeny is one of ethereal beauty.
The duo’s combined guitar effects are extremely delicate: the music has a fleeting quality to it, almost untouchable and soothing in its repetitiveness. Sometimes, another layer, with the slightest touch of power and will in it, provides some tension and brings some contrast to the eversweet strings. Yet overall, the songs are peaceful and their creators intertwined in harmony. The bonus tracks, especially the last one, are different in style (we actually hear guitar chords strummed!) but therefore a most interesting addition.
Reveries feels very basic – there’s little experimental or dissonant stuff going on – but does what it does perfectly.
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Adoran – Children of Mars

adoranAdoran’s new album is the brainchild of Aidan Baker (drums) and Dorian Williamson (bass). What? Drum’n'bass? And two tracks that take up exactly one full hour? I’m buckling up because I have no idea where we’re going with this.
Deimos, track one, is a 22-minute ode to nothingness. That is to say, the bass (although not recognized as such, with effects and all that) produces a haunting but simplistic drone that waves up and down, and up and down. Dark, gloomy and so lifeless that it feels like an eerie wind just howling through emptiness. The drums are an excellent addition, however, considering they’re mixed in rather in the distance. The rhythmic accentuations are (I admit, unexpectedly) effective.
Phobos is a monster of 38 minutes, to which Deimos was just the prelude. The droning goes on, but now with a bulldozing distortion and drums which have broken loose. I’m not going to spoil the whole thing, but don’t expect a lullaby soundscape.
Whether you’ll enjoy this release depends, for a decent part, on how you experience the drumming. With its ever-changing beats, you’ll either go mad or think it’s fantastic.
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Harlowe – Harlowe

harloweThe promo text for Harlowe is rather sparse, but it sounds as if Harlowe is kind of a side project of four musicians. Musicians from, among others, Amenra, Hessian and The Black Heart Rebellion. Harlowe however, is not comparable to anything post metal or sludge. Nope, this seems an alternative exhaust for the lady and gents to vent some of their creativity in a different way.
If one needs to describe Harlowe in one word, that word would be “acoustic”. Of course, this isn’t Twitter so we have room for elaboration. The self-titled album has five tracks (total runtime about 17 minutes) that are solemn and mesmerizing, each in their own right. For example, the song “Providence” has an oriental touch to the percussion and scales, and provides an excellent instrumental, folky tune. “Here before” has a more traditional sound and feels very much singer-songwriter, except that it’s too… melancholy for airplay.
But Lucy’s voice is strong and beautiful and carries itself well over the entire album. The occasional piano is another great contributor to the overall atmosphere, which Harlowe manages to keep consistent from start to finish.
Harlowe’s effort is a welcome affair, inbetween all the loud and noisy music. Their strength lies in slow melodies: the spaces between the tones are the empowering factor. An album both transient and ethereal.
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SardoniS – III

sardonisSardoniS is a Belgian duo, and to my surprise (I didn’t know them until now) one is credited with the guitars, the other with the drums. So… no vocals? That’s right, no vocals. Before we head on to the music, let me just compliment the band on the artwork and layout, although I was almost expecting something like Primordial instead of stoner/sludge.
And that is exactly what SardoniS has to offer: instrumental stoner/doom/sludge. Nothing more, nothing less. Everything that’s on that album, is there to like. There’s a greased-up fuzzy guitar tone that jams out riffs non-stop, flowing from one to another with the necessary twists and turns: from heavy to heavier, then back to groovy and fast, and keep on going. The drums have an equally attractive sound, which is not too polished. I’m not saying it sounds lo-fi acoustic either (not at all) but it sounds authentic and natural. The sound as a whole is perfect for the genre.
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