Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hyios – Consuetudines : Dark Ambient

Reviewed by Gird_09

The cover for this thing is simply beautiful. The dark blue depiction of something that I don't really recognize is captivating and mysterious, and once I pop in the CD I realize that the match is 1:1. Upon leafing through the digipack I am even further enthralled. Runes, greek letters, a pyramid and a pharaonic individual and several oblique and mystical references triggers my natural curiosity. The inside cover also contains the words "cultus subterraneus", and this translates well to the images that float around in my head as I listen to the first track "tephra". I can nearly feel the cold granite against my bare feet as I descend a spiral staircase into the bowels of mother earth, dressed only in an acolyte's humble garments.

The element I really want to bring to your attention on this album is the balanced texture of the music. The well crafted soundscapes are rich and saturated with moist tactility. There is so much surface on this music you almost expect to find moss growing on the CD.

When I was a teenager me and some friends used to hang out in an old German bunker from the occupation. It was a dank and mildewed cavern where we lit dozens of candles and torches and set up tree stumps to sit on. The floor was covered in planks, and it was quite comfortable in there, despite the presence of hundreds of spiders, egg pouches in the ceiling and grimy water dripping down from above. We even brought a oiuja board along at some point. That is the place I would like to bring this album. I'm quite certain the sounds would mesh perfectly with the natural ambiance of the place, to the point where you're not certain what's in your head, what's background and what's music. I think I even hear a bat sonar in there, on the track called "Algor".

It's very hard to imagine this as ever having been recorded in a studio, and as I progress through the tracks the album even makes me forget the sun shining outside my window on this spring day. I'm gonna keep that in mind for the bright sweaty horror that is July.

At some point I think I hear some audio artefacts in the reverb, but I mention that only to point out to you that this album is so good I have to pick it apart with tweezers to find something negative. It's excellent. In fact it's so good I wish I had bought it when I was 19 and had the time and concentration to really enjoy an album as much as this one deserves.

2010 – Malignant Records, CD Album.

1 Tephra [7:17]
2 Algor [8:54]
3 Teiwaz [5:00]
4 Crater [4:29]
5 Aquila [8:17]
6 Rex [7:55]
7 Nasjoir [7:48]

Flores Funebres – A moment before Nothingness : Neo Classical / Dark Ambient

"Reviewed" by Gird_09

The first thing that hits me with this release is digital, digital and more digital. I hate digital spinet, and I hate digital strings. It sounds like shit, always has always will. It's something I just can't see beyond, even though I try. If you don't have access to the real thing or usable samples I say you're not meant to "compose classical music". It sounds like plastic, and even as cheap plasticcy sounds go this one is worse than most I've ever heard.

Additionally it's conceited, pompous and completely anonymous. I usually try to find some redeeming feature about every bad album I review, but with this there is nothing. There is no texture I can relate to, there is no discernable content to hang on to, the sounds are 90% horrible and the compositions are less interesting than nearly anything. It even seems that every god damn awful track is a variation on the same theme.

The only positive thing I can say is that it would probably work well as a soundtrack for a fantasy computer game – where people aren't paying attention or expecting anything of quality.

This album is worthless, and I'm not going to say more about that. If you like this kind of music you're deaf, desperate and born three centuries to late.

I'm not going to be bothered to type in the titles and shit for this album. Just go here if you want to download it, for some absurd reason. It's free, and that's about as much as it's worth paying for.

News Update!

Kaliglimmer is going through some changes, and for now that means that we are not accepting new submissions for some time.

We will continue to post reviews of the material we have accepted so far, and look forward to future updates. Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Burzum - Fallen : Black Metal

Reviewed by Gird_09

Following up on last year's Belus is no easy task, and the cover does make me a bit sceptical. It's a sharp departure from the gloomy aesthetics we've come to associate with Burzum (while still deply rooted in romanticism). Even the fonts have been changed from gothic to a simple plain font with serifs. Belus was a powerful and personal album and one of the best comebacks of all time. With Vikernes' discography in mind he really needs to work hard to stay interesting.

The first track is an ambient introductory track and sets the level of expectations high. Much higher, alas, than the album can live up to. Apart from the two neo classical albums Burzum has been consistently interesting on all the releases, and Det som Engang Var, Filosofem and Belus represent some of the best metal albums of all time, as I see it. Like I said, not easily followed, and evidently Varg Vikernes has gone off on the deep end with this album. One of Burzum's strong points has always been a direct and primitive minimalism with harsh sounds and vocals straight from the throats of a dying troll. None of this is present on Fallen, and the arrangements are even at times something more akin to progressive metal. The vocals are quite simply sad. I will never forget when I first heard Vikernes' vocals, and when Belus came out I was a bit let down by the change in style (but it still worked well) – on this album the change is complete. Melodic clean vocals are combined with some of the most boring attempts at distorted vocals I've ever heard. Very sad, very sad.

It's commendable that Burzum changes style, and I respect Vikernes' intention with this, but it ends up being somewhat mediocre. It's hard to judge objectively considering Burzum's history and legendary status, but I'm not convinced. I can see this album growing on me, but I doubt very much that I will ever grow to like the vocals (though Vikernes sings better than you'd expect). The melodies are interesting and Burzum has matured in its expression and depth, but the content doesn't really match the ambitions. I wish there was a bit more power, and perhaps a little bit more of the primitive nerve of earlier albums. It's not entirely bad, but it's not really good either.

The lyrics nowhere near approach the mythical content of the earlier albums. Varg Vikernes is perhaps one of the very few black metal lyricists with any demonstrable ability to actually write a good lyric, but the ones on this album certainly doesn't represent his best work. The mystic dark gnosis has been replaced by very obvious psychological lyrics. For the most part anyway.

Fallen is Burzum's second album since getting out of jail, and the years of near isolation has evidently had effect – as is to be expected. You might say it sounds uninspired, but I suppose unfinished is more accurate. Despite evidently having been more meticulously produced and mastered than previous efforts. I recommend this album for completists. The rest of us are just gonna have to see what he comes up with next year. I do hope he comes up with something.

Norway, 2011, CD album, Byelobog Productions

1 Fra Verdenstreet [1:03]
2 Jeg Faller [7:51]
3 Valen [9:22]
4 Vanvidd [7:06]
5 Enhver til Sitt [6:16]
6 Budstikken [10:10]
7 Til Hel og Tilbake Igjen [5:57]