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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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Lost Souls Carnival – Collection of carefully selected

lostLost Souls Carnival brings about an incredibly refreshing stream of audio, amidst my daily dose of metal. Their collection of seven tracks feature irresistible positive vibes, a groove you simply must give in to, and a sweet overall sound. There are lots of influences from the stoner and southern rock department. One being the perfectly dosed fuzz and overdrive on the guitars. Another being the general riff approach, with typical drum beats and catchy riffing. And even the vocals feel like they were custom built for this job.
It’s ofcourse a no-go to classify the album strictly as such – there are some deviations from the genres proper (towards the bluesy and the postrock), but who cares anyway? This is one of those albums where you just need to turn the volume up – the music will take care of the rest. Some of these tracks I can almost imagine being aired on the radio – but they’re borderline heavy and the guitars are pretty gritty. A tad more docile compositions would certainly stand a chance though. As it stands, I think this album achieves great succes in energizing and satisfying the listener and personally, that’s all I ask.
And one more thing: I fucking love the harmonica leads.

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Deuil – Shock/Deny

deuilDeuil produces a hypnotic kind of black metal. It provides a constant blasting rhythm, but spiced with slower triplets and shifting accents. At a glance, both songs (fifteen minutes each) are balanced between inducing a trancelike state, and entertaining with changing riffs and ideas. The ingredients are all there, in a mix that is both qualitative and raw. Yet I have difficulty deciding whether this album can fascinate me sufficiently.
The vocals are the default raspy screams – not bad by any means, but predictable and a tad too omnipresent, like in the second part of Shock. I guess the dronelike nature of the riffs, combined with similar repetitive screaming, throws that precarious balance off to the bad side.
Musically though, both the sludgy and agressive black metal parts are composed solely to breathe a dissonant, gloomy atmosphere. I do very much appreciate the up-tempo parts, as the blastbeats, floating guitar melodies and even vocals merge and soar to a higher level. Not truly epic, but still evoking emotions. These are great parts. The sludgy sections aren’t as convincing. They do sound evil but they lack the intensity or a true dark spirit – for that, you’ll rather listen to Leviathan, Nightbringer or Svartidaudi. With Deuil, for me it’s just too empty musically in their slow passages. I want to get fucking overwhelmed by hateful sounds, and that’s the feeling I’m getting only half the time (you guessed it, on the faster sections).
In the middle of Deny, there’s very Taake-like riffing. Write a whole album in that vein, and it would be amazing.

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