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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.

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.


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.


Monnik – Vondeling

monnikMonnik’s a one-man project, and this debut release features two tracks for a total of almost forty minutes. “Vondeling” opens with an incredibly basic but inviting guitar tune, followed by a magical variation of a few measures, which are then looped the hell out of for minutes on end. Yet not a single moment does it sound too repetitive, as underlying synth layers wax and wane gradually. The guitar then surrenders in silence to an upcoming dissonance, that sounds like a vague mist where nothing dares thread.
“Het vlakke land” follows a similar pattern – eerie, strung-out synths are the foundation for a few guitar-based sounds, simple plucked tunes, slides and other such effects. It’s not until the final section of this track that Monnik strays away from dulcet melodies to really gritty noise, devoid of anything agreeable. A climax in gray emptiness.
What Monnik produced has more distinct features than most drone/soundscape stuff (in this case the very real guitar plucking). It’s really something to hold onto during a listening session, but on the other hand, the remainder of the soundscape is a bit meagre. It’s like a painting on which not all details are yet finished – some strokes are missing, although you can already perfectly recognize what the painting depicts. At heart however, the music does what it’s supposed to do: lure you into your own imaginary world.


Dirk Serries – Unseen descending and lamentations

dirkserriesThe latest solo album by Dirk Serries is plainly “one track per side”, a little over twenty minutes each. For lack of titles, let’s take #1 to start with. Here, Serries evokes an ethereal, otherworldly atmosphere through those typical thick synth lines. It’s splendid how little there’s going on (in terms of story, or a climax) but even then how easily one gets mesmerized. There’s a multitude of these synth sounds, each arising out of nothing and fading back into silence – that’s what makes it feel like something’s happening. But they overlap so smoothly and constantly, so that once you’re floating on these cloudy layers, you’re not getting off. Amidst this and zooming and fluttering, time quickly passes by until the song deteriorates into a single, bassy, vibrant soundwave.
#2 contains more inherent contrasts and is thus the more interesting track. A very light base layer of noise opens the way for a simple droning bass line (two notes?), but it’s a perfect setup for creating an enchanting effect and for supporting the melodies in the higher registers. Slowly but surely, #2 grows broader, fuller and distorted, relentlessly demanding all your focus. Just as the spectrum becomes too crowded and intense, a quick decrescendo finishes the vision.
I’m no expert when it comes to Serries’ discography, but the qualities of “Unseen descending and lamentations” make for a worthwile release, undoubtedly.


Kali Yuga – Kali Yuga

kaliThe band’s name sounds familiar to me, and indeed, upon digging in the archives I have found my reviews for their 2011 and 2013 releases as well. It seems they have shifted more towards melodic death metal and reduced the metalcore touches (what’s left of them is disguised as melodic metal). That’s one of my tips they’ve taken to heart. And there’s another advice they seem to have read: finally, the drummer’s tossing in some decorative and creative hits, beyond the ordinary patterns. So little effort and so much positive vibes for the active listener.
The gritty guitars appear to be downtuned quite a few steps, and thus easily manage to construct yet another solid wall of classic sounding death metal. Lots of power chords and lots of melodic lines – it’s an incredibly smooth album to listen to. But smooth also means traditional, in the sense that many of the lead parts are rather cheesy and mundane. A simple approach, but one that works: that’s what counts, right?
As far as I can judge my own reviews after a few reviews, this self-titled release is Kali Yuga’s best: more complete musicianship produced powerful songs that in the end do manage to surpass a predictable, mediocre level.
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