Initial Descent: July 9 – 15, 2017

Expulsion
Expulsion – pic courtesy of Jay Valena

Alright so, I hope you took my advice last week and really listened to something you found. And, I hope you’ll do the same this week as we have much more to get into here on Initial Descent. We all have to have an outlet — a way to just bang it out, you know? And a way to escape and have a little fun from time to time. Well, we’ve got just the thing in our lead off spot with the full length debut, Nightmare Future, from the mega-super-group Expulsion — a raucous good time with members of Repulsion, Exhumed, Phobia and more, get it. Moving on is the split 12″, Procession of the Equinox, from the absolute masterminds of current folk/atmospheric black metal, Twilight Fauna and Evergreen Refuge — a monster of an album that is a must own. Next up is NZ’s Vesicant with their bombastic blackened death metal debut Shadows of Cleansing Iron and closing out the opening spots is Boris with Dear, this amazing band triumphantly returns with their personal brand of rock, drone and experimental soundscapes and again, a must own. So, we are already loaded for bear but as usual this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg — keep reading and keep listening… Continue reading

Album Review: Twilight Fauna/Evergreen Refuge – “Procession of the Equinox”

twilight fauna evergreen refuge split

Over the course of a few albums you begin to take the measure of a band by the steps they take on their musical path.  Some bands are explorers, never content with where they were, always looking to try something else, move further.  Some find their place and stick to it, content to tread the same rhythm over and over again (lest you think that’s always a bad thing, I’ll simply leave you with a “Hey! Ho!  Let’s GO!).  But between the balance of standing in place and grasping for something just out of reach is the band that refines, that chances upon something and digs deeper, finding the hidden corners and unexplored nuances of the terrain they commit to.  And it’s this thin space that Twilight Fauna and Evergreen Refuge have been residing in over the course of multiple albums and side projects, and their latest split Procession of the Equinox demonstrates how subtle shifts and expansions of sound can reap huge rewards.   Continue reading

2017 Mid-Year Report, Part Deux: Managing the Overflow

immortal band
*there is no Immortal in this list.  I just really like the pic.

The style and format of the Nine Cirles ov… articles is such that we limit ourselves to nine entries on whatever topic it is we’re blathering about.  It’s a blessing and a curse: it really helps hone down what you want to cover but, as in the case of this week’s mid-year favorites it can really kill your groove, particularly when there’s so much awesome to cover in the first half of the year.

And man there’s SO MUCH GOOD STUFF OUT THERE.  Someone on Twitter mentioned how he dug the list for the simple reason that none of my choices would have made his list.  Now, after you pick yourself up off the floor in shock that sometimes (rarely, admittedly) social media can be a sensible and warm community, revel in the fact that this just reinforces the amount of quality out there so far in 2017.  So, you all good with a second course?  Let’s dig in… Continue reading

Initial Descent: March 19 – 25, 2017

Twilight Fauna
Twilight Fauna

The weekend, FINALLY. For those of us who actually have weekends off you know it’s something we look forward to and for those of you that never get a weekend off my heart goes out to you, seriously. Whether you’re off or working or whatever, thank you for stopping by and we have a killer bunch of releases to get to so, shall we? In pole position this week is The Year the Stars Fell from Twilight Fauna and on this release black metal collides with emotional heft, Appalachian themes and astoundingly heavy atmosphere that transcends music in a general sense and goes straight for the heart and mind, give yourself over to this album completely and the reward will be monumental. Next up is Memoriam with For the Fallen and honestly this record gives me chills for a couple reasons: the tie in with Bolt Thrower and just how damn good it is, definitely recommend you seek it out (see below). Carrying on, Pallbearer hits us with Heartless, their third full length, and not only have they matured over their last album but they’ve incorporated progressive rock elements to better balance the mournful melodies the band has become known for — it’s early still but this may well be their best. Last but not least is the absolute skull crushing aggression Sloth Herder lays down on their debut full length No Pity, No Sunrise which combines black metal with grindcore and serves as a nice counterpoint to the albums we’ve already mentioned. And as usual, thats not all so take a deeper dive after the jump. Continue reading

Album Review: Twilight Fauna – “The Year the Stars Fell”

twilight-fauna-stars-fell

Push away the tags, move past the labels and niches of “Appalachian metal” and “black/neofolk” that have been used to describe Twilight Fauna and artist Paul Ravenwood over the years. The concept of music recalling and communicating a sense of place, of community and time is well and good and entirely accurate, but there’s another layer to what Ravenwood is unraveling for the listener in Twilight Fauna’s latest, The Year the Stars Fell. By weaving his musical heritage into his own personal history Ravenwood exposes a raw nerve of grief and tragedy, a painful narrative buried deep under a foundation of feedback waiting for someone to take the time to dig.   Continue reading