Monday, April 29, 2013

Drifting Back to Physical

While the spring is unfolding I suddenly realized I hadn't got/bought a single physical audio/video release in years. I mean a "real" CD/DVD/Blu-ray or something... It may seem atavism in the era when everything is so digitally (pirately) available. But I decided to make up for it and feel a-decade-ago-ish again.

A few exclusive items from the Italian label Avantgarde Music, each one is true and with some spice inside (and outside):

My favorite three albums by Sunn O))) from Southern Lord. Was really pleased to also discover Ascend CD (top album!) and High on Fire poster as a bonus inside the package. Thank you, Greg!

Just couldn't miss Ulver's performance in the Norwegian National Opera. Well, not at the time in the place unfortunately, but on the DVD with a nice booklet:

A little XXXLish for me, but I'll be growing bigger hopefully

Sunday, April 14, 2013

For the Aficionados of Sonic Darkness...

A review of the Flatline album by KOMA project on

Some years ago, in my previous incarnation as a reviewer for this website, I had pondered upon the meaning of 'embodiment of darkness' and its manifestation through sounds, while reviewing a dark ambient recording by the virtually unknown artist Agamemnon whose album - namely 'Angry Beyond Forgiveness' - had nothing do to with Metal but had so much in common with the concept of Doom, invoking dark emotions and still darker sonic landscapes. Everybody wants to capture the essence of darkness in this little underground scene, but few ever succeed in accomplishing this very endeavor. 

Which brings us to Koma Project: an unheralded Russian entity which, although its Metallic origins and ties are dubious, has much in common with the concept of darkness, desolation and, well, displays definite Doom-oriented music, if there ever was one. 

With a high sense of understanding and perception of the very pillars and fundamentals of scary, joyless, miserable compositions and their impact on the human soul, Koma Project's 'Flatline' comprises five lengthy tracks of reflective, spiritual and abrasive dark ambient flaked with grainy, vitriolic, guitar-oriented drone and some neoclassical innuendos, resulting in a mesmerizing, hypnotic, and at times unsettling musical experience seldom heard from any dark ambient, neoclassical or drone artists combined, amalgamating these rather foreign styles with a higher sense of comprehension and a clever choice of instrumentation, song writing abilities and execution. 

The first thought, upon initially listening to the album, was that this recording is interesting; an adjective I have rarely attributed to either dark ambient or drone albums, and even though there is a healthy dose of repetition throughout the recording, the restrained elements introduced into the songs - the excellent female singer, the didgeridoo-like bass line, the subtle oriental guitar strumming, the keyboards and the unorthodox rhythm section - push the music forward and make it sound fresh and mysterious at all times, diluting the boredom factor this type of music could have generated in the habitual listener. 

The backbone of the music is mostly melodic and coherent, straying off the path of total abstract and unfriendly cacophony, yet it is by no means linear; and despite the fact some parts are, as above mentioned, repetitive, there is a healthy dose of minor insanities that grab your attention and almost devour your senses, such as the acoustic guitar and semi-operatic female shrieks accompanied by a church organ and distortion, all keeping pace with a gargantuan kettle drum of sorts that rolls and thunders in a slow, constant martial pace (as is the case on track number 4, 'Chamber of Sol', which is this album's highlight). 

A barrage of brooding, ritual-like compositions, intimidating in their intimacy and spiritual darkness, bombard the listener and engulf with a plethora of soundscapes that all silently scream impending Doom. Experimenting with Metal, ambient, spoken verses, drone and classical music, Koma Project's 'Flatline' is, hands down, one of the most rewarding, inspired and unique recordings that have recently grazed my ears and my soul, filling me with desolation and emptying me of what little joy I still might have had and as such, it is darkness incarnated; a recording I will cherish for a long time, despite the fact listening to it might be slightly exhausting and draining due to its brutally tragic and enigmatic nature. For the aficionados of sonic darkness and originality in music, this album comes as highly recommended, regardless of which genre of music you fancy.

Reviewed on 2013-04-14 by Chaim Drishner. Source