Thursday, May 19, 2022

Individual Review Analysis on New Music and Video Releases

Four exciting new audio and video releases are the focus of this sites diligent critical attention. Storied legends with lengthy discographies (still going strong) share space here with newer established artists along with debut entries as well. With touring now back in full form, some here are about to commence on, or are already in the middle of nightly live shows. The rewards of deep listen analysis inspire coherent thoughts on these sound and vision communications.

Evolving from an already-established brand name to an entirely new one can be a risky move, however PR Rep extraordinaire William Z appears to have pulled this off almost effortlessly. Changing over from New Dark Ages to Moon Coil Media shows no slow-down in the distinct style of artists presented. One of the most prominent and exciting new entries is the latest just-released album by legendary gothic death-rock pioneers Christian Death. With their long history that dates back to original formation in the 1980's, equal parts adoration and controversy have surrounded them ever since. The focus here is strictly on their current music stemming from this 17th studio album, however anyone interested in researching their long and sometimes contentious history will find no lack of opinions in both print and video to satisfy anyone's curiosity.

New album “Evil Becomes Rule” is a continuation of themes presented in their previous album “The Root Of All Evilution.” Far from the simple exploitation that some death-metal bands may overuse the word “evil” in their titles, original formation band leader Valor Kand explains the connotation references “the evil within our society,” within our day-to-day lives. Co-collaborator Maitri (who has been a member since 1991) contributes a complimentary presence as bassist, song writer, and female vocalist.

A creative and elaborate video accompanies featured track “Beautiful,” adding gorgeous imagery to an already powerful song. As the video opens overlooking a tranquil lake, an island with high-spire architecture reveals the voice and figure of a priest speaking the words “I'd like to welcome you all on this sad day. As we mourn the loss of our friend” (echo, “our friend, our friend – taken from us . . . ”). Snowy grounds pan closer to Valor playing a mournful violin, as the screen splits to reveal a ballet dancer engaging in their own art of physical movement. Tinkling bells share space in the mix alongside deeply resonant violin tones while tom-tom drums accent the forward transition. With the dominant melody riff underway, it's full-on rich textures are boldly enhanced by Maitri's bass guitar.

Cutting to a painted red house with green frame doorway, Maitri evokes the likeness of a Germanic Warrior Queen adorned in jeweled forehead band and full-length long black coat with brown piping that she seductively opens while delivering her lyrics. “Golden promise- face against the wall. Burning candles – you whisper – I listen” is declared, as a driving guitar line pairs with bass and crisp-hiss drumming complements simultaneously. Live figures of Valor and Maitri stand like guardian statues outside the stone church as the track progresses into it's instantly catchy, dominant hook.

I want you to look beautiful – at my funeral – at my funeral” she sings in full passionate voice as Valor's magnetic guitar hook matches pace with amplified appeal. Partying cabaret dressed and painted revelers at this celebratory funeral party (taking heed of the request that you “look beautiful”) is cut between shots of Maitri in split-screen imagery at her own death party, as well as in outdoor Nordic settings.

Oh, so sorry” the second verse begins - “while I wipe my tears away.” “A voice that whispers – a voice that sings along. A whisper – whisper – I listen – I liS-ten” (sung with ascending Siouxsie-Sioux-style accent ending words). Immediately back into the earworm-hook-laden chorus, more shots of Valor and Maitri outside and within the church, displaying it's iconic religious imagery along with their own instantly recognizable logo. The pretty cabaret funeral party continues, accentuating a hybrid style of traditional goth with commedia dell'arte harlequinade pantomime. The final pass through chorus adds deeper tone enhancements while the party reaches it's ultimate high-point with exploding bursts of confetti.

Check out this amazing video:

The full album “Evil Becomes Rule” is currently available on digital and CD formats as well as vinyl LP variants in transparent blue, red marble and black colors.

Buy Via Season Of Mist – North America

Buy Via Season Of Mist - International

Find out more about Christian Death here.

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3 Robots Records is an indie label that focuses on music in the ambient, ethereal, dreamgaze, pop, electronic, and psychedelic styles. Having featured a number of their artists works here on this site over the past few years, a high-level of quality is always anticipated. A new release by the project Sueño con belugas (Spanish language meaning “I dream of belugas” - which are white whales) does not disappoint. The track “Normal” is now available, and will be included on an upcoming album “Memoria Cósmica Ep.”

Inspired by a 75 million year old rock formation in Thailand that when viewed from above, create the visual illusion of a family of whales. The track itself is a re-recorded update on a song resurrected from previous band sessions. The cut bursts out of the box immediately with bold electric guitars, throbbing bass and cymbal-wash enhanced drumming. Vocals are female fronted and in Spanish language, as the heavy sonics temporarily give way to rich acoustic guitar strumming. An overall airy quality is present early, with descending (then ascending) minor key vocal driven digressions. The heavy guitar and bass interplay quickly returns, providing stronger rock and roll hooks between verses.

The lyrics translate to a spiritual state of mind, approximating at something to the effect of “I'd rather be free. Swimming in nothingness. Regaining my wings. To be normal I stretch my mind on a precipice - I prefer to fly to the sidereal space - To be normal.” A fuller explanation of the song title is revealed within these lines, as is a poetic desire for the beluga to continue swimming. From the two minute mark onward (with vocals completed) instrumental passages take over, with emphasis on the original hook rhythm and an array of soaring guitars swirling above. A new, dominant melody emerges in the form of climbing guitar figures and harsh extended note textures. With that peak reached, a minute of after-effects fill the soundscape on a long-fade trajectory that reimages the oceanic world of whales.

Listen to and find out how to acquire this fascinating track here:

Keep in touch with 3 Robots Records here.

A previous review featuring this artist can be found here.

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With the recent release of her latest video and single “Tresor,” the evolutionary vision of musician Gwenno has reached a new pinnacle. In anticipation of her third full-length solo album, it now serves as the second one written and sung almost entirely in the Cornish language. “Tresor” (which translates to the word Treasure) will be released in full on July 1st. As someone who is fascinated with history and the cultural formation of people from the early ages onward, this writer is particularly impressed with Gwenno's dedication and influence in this regard. Her previous 2018 album Le Kov (The Place of Memory) introduced Cornish to the uninitiated (sending some of us down a rabbit-hole of research) expanding relevance internationally. This new album can only add to the interest in both Cornish history and it's ancient Celtic language.

The title track and it's accompanying video opens in split-screen on two separate doorways. Filmed in both her native Wales and on location in Cornwall, it's not much of a leap to surmise each doorway represents those respective locales. The mood and music is measured and dreamy, with tubular-bell ring floating on top of it's easy shuffle groove. With gentle hallucinatory overlays of images including flower petals in hand, Gwenno's dark-haired timeless-romantic image sings those mysterious words in soothing cadence. Self-directed and blending her own personal clips with film shot by Clare Marie Bailey, the fuller story of characters Anima and Animus (along with her own occult symbolism) are introduced through repeated glimpses of their presence throughout. The mood and editing suggests a desire to explore avenues influenced by surrealist filmmakers like Alejandro Jodorowsky.

When the chorus hits at approximately one minute in, you are reminded of what makes Gwenno's music so special. Lush background vocals support her captivating melody on top, with brief minor key forays followed by rising, fully voiced expression. Meanwhile the scrapbook style of images touch on 6th century Arthurian legend King of Kernow, along with passing country-sides (surely Tehidy Woods), fingers out windows and the artist herself on stony beaches. A tinkling keyboard melody serves as post-chorus instrumental break, while enchanting travelogue views of St. Ives, Cornwall are overlaid.

Along with all this beautiful sonics and beguiling vocal enunciation are lyrics that translate to the initial questions “do you want a crown upon your head and a woman at your feet? Do I want to fill a room with all of my will and feel ashamed?” The artist explains that the song questions what makes us human. How we have a conscious choice in making a positive or negative impact on our environment and everything around us. “You must fall to rise again, rise again. Touching, extinguishing a flame - A treasure.” It also serves as an homage to an older, analog world and in certain respects a farewell to the 20th Century, with technological advances coming on at a now exceeding rate.

There are other wonderfully engaging details popping up in the video, such as Gwenno wearing a curious cone-shaped high-spire headdress (created by fashion historian Lally MacBeth), red cape, and holding various ancient symbols. Additionally, two magical looking clay figurines appear near the end, a female form with rabbit ears, and a crumbling, cross-legged (buddah-like) configuration. With the traveling images, flower petals and glimpses of the artists face (including eyelash close-ups) flowing in and out, it all adds to the overall mystery and wonder.

Check out this wonderful song and video here:

Meeting the artist during her 2016 US Tour at Rough Trade in Brooklyn, NYC for her first solo album Y Dydd Olaf.

New album Tresor is due out July 1, 2022 via Heavenly Recordings / [PIAS]

Follow Gwenno on her socials here:

For additional research on the Cornish language, see here.

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Every once in a while something truly offbeat finds it's way here into the DCW metaverse, capturing the imagination and sparking further investigation. A collective calling themselves Seedsmen to the World are releasing their debut album on Blue Arrow and Birdman Records. Coming together as a collaboration between Detroit trance-drone practitioners Infinite River (Joey Mazzola, Gretchen Gonzales, and Warren Defever) and folk musician Ethan Daniel Davidson, blend the best of both those worlds.

Opening with the lengthiest piece [12:48] titled “Blood,” individual guitars are initially heard, via distant feedback, longer-held distorted tones and quieter arpeggios. It's a slow-burn build, with a sense of impending tension and mystery rising in these soundwaves. Adding drone elements are instruments found in various forms of Indian music like the harmonium (a keyboard reed or pump organ) and tanpura (plucked string providing a continuous drone). Vocals emerge in a haunting style, evoking an intimate familiarity. It's soon discovered those lyrics are recognizable as Bob Dylan's 1964-65 masterpiece “It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding).”

Those scathing words exposing the hypocrisy, commercialism, consumerism (and more) in our culture at that time (and ring truer than ever today) are now reexamined via Davidson's harrowing vocal rendition. With a deeper toned bass providing something of a steady undercurrent, floating waves of guitars cascade around Ethan's voice, delivering those lines more as a lament than critique. The observational genius of that original prose points out despite all our technological advances in the 55+ years since it was written, the failings of our society are still the same. The vocals take on a near pleading quality midway in on the lines “and though the rules of the road have been lodged - It's only people's games that you got to dodge -and it's alright, Ma, I can make it” (we hope).

photo credit Blue Arrow Records

There's subtle instrumental changes ongoing, descending elements, rising levels of drone, as yet-another still-relevant observation is sung “Advertising signs that con you - Into thinking you're the one - That can do what's never been done - That can win what's never been won, Meantime life outside goes on all around you.” After a brief instrumental interlude, the verse on “authority” which “they do not respect” and “despise their jobs, their destiny” and “speak jealously of them that are free” appears to include an original line “cultivate their flowers.” As the drone levels intensify, more forgiving lines like “I mean no harm nor put fault - on anyone that lives in a vault” are juxtaposed against the nihilism of “Propaganda – all is phony.” Reaching the ultimate conclusion, with instruments slowing subsiding, the final lines say it all: “if my thought-dreams could be seen - they'd probably put my head in a guillotine. But it's alright, Ma, it's life, and life only.”

Check out this expansive track here:

Find out how to connect and acquire this music Here, Here and Here.

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