Saturday, 20 October 2012

Popetentacle (UK) -- Spirit of Yod

This is a short post, as there's really not much to say about Popetentacle. Minimalistic instrumental psych/drone from Belfast. Droning guitars. Hypnotic tribal drum rhythms. Occasionally they speed up. Occasionally they slow down. Occasionally they stop.

This is good shit.

Popetentacle -- "Spirit of Yod" (2012)
1. 1...
2. 2...
3. 3...

Get it for whatever price you choose at:

Be generous, with a bit of money they could afford to buy another chord or two.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Loremaster (US) -- Temple Of The Oracle

Another offering from the realm of Dungeon Synth / Dark Ambient; I'm a little obsessed with this area of music at the moment. Loremaster is an interesting little obscurity I discovered recently whilst trawling BandCamp for Dungeon Synth releases. I personally think it falls within the bounds of DS, however some of you may disagree.  It is certainly more relaxing and meditative than most DS, as well as less obviously "synthy".

Despite the Northern European theme of the cover illustration (a scene from the Bayeux Tapestry), the music it represents has (to me) more of a classical Mediterranean feel. The 3 lengthy tracks give me the feeling of slowly walking around an ancient deserted temple, maybe Greek or Egyptian; the dusty gloom is penetrated by faint beams of sunlight; the stale air holds an almost subliminal hint of exotic incense long faded. You are surrounded by soft tones and slow sensual melodies, the deep drone of low horns, softly plucked strings and sparse reverbating percussion. During the first 2 tracks, there is no oppressive threat, no ghostly eeriness, no triumphant warmongering; just a sense of great age and the lingering memory of forgotten rituals. The third track is somewhat more ominous in tone than the other two. Maybe your contemplative explorations have unwittingly roused the sleeping god to whom the temple is dedicated. Or maybe my imagination is getting the better of me...

In some ways this album reminds me of the Sarah Wexler tape I posted a few years back, it has the same dreamy meditative feel. It also has echoes of some of the more ambient moments of Trial Of The Bow (who I also posted some time ago).

For those among you who enjoy letting your mind wander down long-deserted corridors, Loremaster is much recommended.

Loremaster -- "Temple Of The Oracle" (2012)
1. Temple of the Oracle
2. Inquisitor
3. Sigil of the One God

Available to download at whatever price you choose, from:


This project was brought to my attention via the superb Dungeon Synth blog. Erang creates wonderful nostalgic soundtracks of (mainly) synth-based music that evoke lost memories and forgotten places.

There are currently two albums available: a self-titled debut, and the recently-released "Tome II"; plus I am reliably informed that "Tome III" will be released before the end of the year. Both albums contain folk-tinged Dungeon Synth of the highest order, contrasting moments of stark sparseness reminiscient of Burzum's "Dauði Baldrs" album, with moments of fantastic grandeur a la early Mortiis. Here and there I also pick up fleeting echoes of artists like Isan and E*Vax; the fragile and nostalgic brand of abstract electronica that sprang up in the late 90s/early 00s in the wake of Boards of Canada and Autechre etc. This however, is only a passing similarity that is heavily outweighed by the more obvious Dungeon Synth qualities.

There is a certain "lo-fi" feeling that creeps through in places, more prominently on the 1st album; a woozy, slightly warped feel to the higher frequencies, as if the music had been recorded on an old analogue tape before being transferred to digital. I suspect (though I may be wrong), that this is a deliberate attempt to give the music a more aged quality. If so, it is certainly effective.

In a scene that is forever dominated by past masters like Mortiis, Erang is certainly among the handful of current leaders who are seeking to keep the Dungeon Synth genre alive and growing.

Erang -- "Erang" (2012)

Erang -- "Tome II" (2012)

Both albums can be downloaded for the meagre sum of $2 each (or more, if you choose), from:

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Ophir (USA)

I've been trawling the depths of BandCamp just lately, and there are some real gems to be found, such as this act that I discovered the other day: Ophir. At first I was intrigued, then I was hooked, as I delved into the challenging but rewarding music produced by this mysterious band. There are 3 releases here, all available to download at whatever price you wish (including free if you wish).

The music of Ophir could best be described as post-Black Metal ambience; long droning ritualistic dirges constructed with layers of guitar lines drenched in reverb and excessive distortion, sounding like cascades of golden poisonous honey burning into your ears...Whilst all of the tracks on offer here follow a general formula, once your mind locks into the artistic world they offer, variation and detail start to emerge from the apparent cacophony. Some the tracks are achingly beautiful, others chaotically dissonant. The 1st release "Nutmeg" is by far the most challenging, seeming more random and atonal than the others. The 2nd and 3rd releases, "Cebu" and "Spikenard" respectively, both offer relatively more "listenable" tracks, though still challenging to the casual listener.

I can find no further information about the band/project, but I will be keeping an eye out for future releases.

Ophir -- "Nutmeg" (2012)

1. Cassia
2. Nutmeg

Ophir -- "Cebu" (2012)

1. Cardamom
2. Cebu

Ophir -- "Spikenard" (2012)

1. Opal
2. Spikenard

All the above can be downloaded from Ophir's BandCamp page:

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Nàda (SWZ) -- "KomAmoK" EP

New Nàda! And it has evaded my radar for almost a year! Close followers of this blog will know that I have always held Swiss tribal industrialists Nàda in great esteem; their debut album "Celmètra" was one of my first posts, and their 2nd album "Ùr" has become one of my favourite albums ever. When I posted Remo Seeland's post-Nàda project Hollow Bone, I assumed Nàda had been laid to rest forever. However, they released this new 10" EP late last year, and it is available for free download from their SoundCloud page.

These 2 tracks are certainly very interesting; "KomA" is a fairly restrained sombre piece, featuring textural sounds with occasional bursts of power. "AmoK" is more immediate and primal, evoking tribal sludge kings Neurosis at their finest.

I have no idea if this is the final burst of life from Nàda, or if there is more to come... here's hoping.

Nàda "KomAmoK" EP (2011)

1. KomA
2. AmoK

free download from:

Monday, 21 May 2012

Wedding (UK) -- Demo 2011

Wedding hail from Margate, Kent. I caught them last Friday at a gig in Ashford, and I was impressed enough to give them a bit of promotion here. A two-piece lineup up of bass/vocals and drums, they certainly made a formidable noise. Musically, I would probably file this under Post-Hardcore or Noisecore, but I'm sure there are myriads of new genre-tags that I'm not even aware of these days. The songs are short and to the point, mainly hovering around the minute mark (harking back to Grindcore ethics), consisting of distorted bass melodies backed by punchy and fluent drumming, all topped with strained hardcore vocals. The prominent bass does give it all a bit of a post-punk/rock/whatever feel, which I think is what caught my attention.

Wedding -- Demo 2011

01. No Intro
02. Smash Kings
03. Dogs
04. Christmas Party
05. David Watts
06. We're New and We'll See
07. Cool Town is Big Town
08. Pathetico Madrid
09. Air Conditioning
10. Istanbul
11. Wicked and Bad

Download it for free here:

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Mangled Dehumanization (UK)

Mangled Dehumanization was a recording project of Lee Barrett, founder of Candelight Records and ex-bassist for Extreme Noise Terror, To-Mera and Disgust. He recorded these two brief tracks of primitive and rudimentary Death Metal in 2002 using "a £10 mic, an old drum machine, and no clue of what I was doing" (his words!). This was never officially released, and only came to light recently when Lee was cleaning out his garage! I have ripped these tracks from Lee's YouTube videos; I have no idea whether the abrupt endings are intentional or not, but they add to the raw, primitive feel.

Mangled Dehumanization -- Demo

1. Ultra Nuclear Destruction
2. Orgy Of The Damned


Wednesday, 11 April 2012


A bit of a mystery post... I recorded this strange track off the John Peel show back in 2001, and an internet search reveals nothing more than what is detailed on this page which lists the playlist for that night (15th Feb 2001). It doesn't seem to be any of the Lockjaws listed on Discogs, or anywhere else. (UPDATE: it would actually appear to be Lockjaw (10) on Discogs, who have an earlier CD on the same label from 1998, from which John Peel also played a track.)

The track is broadly speaking experimental electronica, with loops and textures underlaying a found recording of a humourous anecdote spoken in very precise English tones. Whether or not this track is representative of the rest of the album is anyone's guess.

If anyone can shed any light on the band/artist or album, please get in touch.

Lockjaw -- "Arse of Biscuit"
from "Do You Believe In The Afterbirth" CD (Blip 080)


Friday, 17 February 2012

Balbulus (UK) -- "Preview" demo 2006

Another personal post. Balbulus is the name of my own recording project/band since 2003. During 2004-2008 it went through a phase of being a live band, initially as an instrumental duo, then as a trio with Andy H from Nancy's Place on vocals. We began recording an album, but this was never finished. This 3-track taster demo was the only finished product in this lineup. I have a lot more solo instrumental demos that I may post at some point soon.

Info (Metal Archives)
Info (MySpace)

Musically, this is broadly Industrial Metal mixed with various influences from Alt-Rock and Prog/Space-Rock.

Balbulus -- "Preview" demo 2006

1. Nothing To See Here
2. Hi-on-Life
3. Pierrepoint


Moondragon (UK) -- "Moondragon" tape 1990

A quick post this. Somebody sent me the link to this debut cassette from Cornwall's space/psych/punk crusties Moondragon, whose 2 later albums I have posted previously (click HERE to see them). This album has less of a punk element to it, the reggae influence standing out much more prominently.

Moondragon -- "Moondragon" cassette 1990

1. The Blue Boots Dub
2. The Bottle
3. The Market
4. The Memories
5. The Quest


Saturday, 28 January 2012

Elemental (UK) -- rehearsal demos

A bit of a personal post this; Elemental was my first proper band (not counting a couple of dodgy Grunge/Thrash covers bands that only gigged once each), based in Ashford, Kent between 1996 and 1998. We played heavy Psychedelic Rock, with smatterings of Metal, Punk and Ambient thrown into the mix. Our set mainly consisted of effects-laden guitar instrumentals based around half-formed structures, largely inspired by Ozric Tentacles and local band Crow. There were some good ideas and riffs in there, but our main problem was that I was trying a bit TOO hard to sound like Crow.

These rehearsal recordings vary in quality. The first 3 were released on a tape that we gave to a few friends, the rest remain largely unheard. "Overdose" even features a rare vocal performance from myself. You have been warned.

Also included are a couple of recent solo reworkings of other Elemental tunes; I have always intended to revisit the Elemental material with the intention of making it into what it SHOULD have sounded like...

The last track is a recording of a one-off rehearsal featuring 2 ex-Elemental members. Not bad for a track that was written and recorded in about 3 hours.

On the whole, these recordings will probably only be of interest to those of you who delight in obscure and badly-recorded underground music.

Elemental -- Rehearsal demos

Rehearsal demo 1996
1. Drift
2. Jamaican Rust
3. Pale Lounge Lizard

from Rehearsal demo 1997
4. Overdose
5. Positive/Negative
6. Drift v.2

Balbulus solo demos
7. Rust (Balbulus demo 2005?)
8. ...And The Stream Flows On... (taken from the Balbulus demo "Stormprayer" 2008)

9. JMBW Rehearsal 1998/9?

Friday, 13 January 2012

Brondniht (UK) -- "Caldast Ofet" EP

This is available on a couple of other blogs (from where I obtained it), and so goes against my general rule of exclusivity, but the obscurity and feeling of this little gem appeals to me greatly. Brondniht were a 3-piece Black/Doom band from London who released this EP before splitting up. I would have been very interested to hear more from them.

Info (Metal Archives)

Musically, the two tracks on this EP are built on sparse Doom-paced drums, with Blackened gargles of Anglo-Saxon poetry over guitarwork that reminds me of a slightly cruder version of Norwegian Doom-gods Funeral (circa "Tristesse"); long meandering guitar lines that twist around each other, at times jarring, at times harmonious, bringing to my mind images of a twisted knotwork of roots; paralleling perhaps the archetypical Anglo-Saxon artwork. Indeed, as a whole this release leaves me with the impression of an ancient carved monolith, left standing alone long after the creators have disappeared into the mists of obscurity.

Brondniht -- "Caldast Ofet" EP (2009)

1. Eardstapa
2. Deor


Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Traditional Ukrainian bandura music

I've been interested in Ukrainian folk music and culture for some years now, inspired by the Black Metal bands Drudkh and Hate Forest, both of whom have used samples and references of their traditional culture in their music. Trawling the net, I tracked down a number of albums of Ukrainian folk music, among the best of which are two albums of bandura music by Taras Kompanichenko and the late Mykola Budnik. The music is incredibly evocative and atmospheric, the spindly sound of the bandura at times strangely akin to that of the African kora.

I have also collected from various compilations two songs (dumas) performed by another bandurist Igor Rachok, the first of which was used (without the brief spoken intro) by Drudkh as the outro to their 3rd album "The Swan Road". I would love to track down some more of Rachok's recordings, as I find the slightly more lo-fi quality adds whole realms of atmosphere to the music; I imagine him sat by a fire in some ancient rural wayside inn, spinning tales of long ago to sombre-looking old men.

For a detailed look at Ukrainian folk traditions (not just music, but dress, architecture, crafts etc.) have a trawl around this slightly cumbersome website:

which includes some informative essays on:

plus another essay on kobza and lyre-playing tradition in the Polissya region:

Right, on to the music...

Mykola Budnyk -- Heigh, on the Black Sea

01. About Mazepa and Paliy
02. About Marusya Bogusiavka
03. About Sava Chaly
04. About Suprun
05. About Khvedor Bezrodmy
06. The Falcon Fraternized
07. A Snowstorm
08. I Will Go Through the Meadow
09. There's No Truth in this World
10. About Oleksiy Popovych


Taras Kompanichenko -- Kobza and Lyre-Playing Tradition

01. A Dance
02. About Bondarivna
03. Snowstorm
04. Hey on the Sea, on the Black Sea
05. The Lament of the Earth
06. The Captive Girl
07. To Christ on the Cross
08. Don't You Hoot, the Owl
09. Oleksiy - a Man of God (To Aleksiy)
10. The Samara Brothers
11. Saint George the Snake Fighter (To George)


Igor Rachok -- Dumas

1. About Extermination of Sich (aka "Song of Sich Destruction")
2. As Our Glorious Cossacks Were Advancing