Disen Gage – The Big Adventure (2019) – Disen Gage have returned with The Big Adventure, which is just that. We’re taken on a journey that reminds me heavily of a video game atmosphere, from opener “Adventurers” with its triumphant guitar and folk explorations like that of Estradasphere to “Chaos Point” which goes a bit overboard with the harsh vocal shouts (they’re not really necessary, in my opinion) as well as the funky “All The Truths Meeting” a more rock-friendly version of the tango (Selfish Tango) and an escape from a creepy fun house (Carnival Escape), packing more content into an album than I can actually review in just a few sentences. I will again stress the Estradasphere comparisons here, so fans of that now-defunct act will have something meaty to chew on as a replacement. Saying the record is experimental and avant-garde is a bit of an understatement as Disen Gage have shown the world that they’re capable of making music that would suit well in a video game that does not exist – yet. As a bonus, there’s more than enough guitar showmanship to keep metalheads entertained.
(8 Tracks, 46:00)
Ciolkowska – Avtomat Proshlogo (2019) – After what almost sounds like Russian hip hop with the introduction piece, “Map” the record definitely finds its ground with “Ground.” What I’m getting here is a sort of dreamy post-metal, but that changes with “Thereabouts” and “End Of Action” which add more experimental elements into the music, the latter transforming it into a kind of meditation piece albeit with a few elements of guitar distortion. “Ceiling” brings in some clean vocals and enters into slight prog rock, while “At Trees Height” takes listeners right into the ethereal, nearly hitting the orbit of Saturn. “We Are From Jazz” sounds like acid jazz and works well in my book. “108” also sounds meditative, still providing a heavy rock element in areas to carry on with the distorted post-metal style. Closer “About Lord and Buddha” continues to bring on a state of calm, focused meditation and possible gnosis as it removes the distorted guitar sections completely, allowing the music to almost become a sort of trance-inducing drug trip. I’m quite pleased at the end of the day, because what began as post-metal definitely scooped me up and took me on a voyage through stars and planets before dropping me back into the cool waters of contemplation.
(9 Tracks, 57:00)
IWKC – Cargo Cult (2019) – This odd mix of genres starts out with “Survival Instruction” which works through an atmosphere in several parts. The synths seem to be the strongest part of this band, which I will explain in a later number. “Cho Blya” enters into funk, though reaches it’s most interesting node in what one might consider a sort of reggae influenced easy listening. Such a chill factor is unexpected, but works well here. “Spiritus Sanctus” is where the synths are at their greatest, as what almost sounds like a 8-bit chiptune world is only further explored through the sounds of smooth jazz. When the fan made Mother 4 finally releases, these are the kinds of bands that need to be involved in its soundtrack. There’s just so much catchy weirdness here that IWKC almost exemplifies the very universe of the Mother series. There are even sections that sound like UFO’s flying in space, which again; is perfect for an Earthbound remake, at least. The last song here is “Keine Angst” which doesn’t feel angsty at all. As a matter of fact, it’s quite soothing, if not a bit sorrowful. For a minute, it reminded me of the sad music that plays in Castlevania II if you get the bad ending and Simon Belmont dies after defeating Dracula. He may have been able to best the lord of darkness, but not a heart attack; surprisingly. Maybe it was Dracula’s curse? In any case, the latter portion of this song just throws us completely into space – the dreamspace, where an atmosphere like Yume Nikki is nearly explored. If you’re not floating out of your body within the next two or three minutes after this hits, then you’re doing it wrong. Whatever the case, there’s a lot to like on this little disc and I’m sure the band will only get better with future outputs. After all, very few bands can exemplify the kind of soundscapes that you would expect from the Mother series.
(4 Tracks, 18:00)
Transnadeznost – Monomyth (2019) – These guys play a kind of stoner prog rock with subtle dips into realms of the experimental. For the most part, it’s a weed friendly album, but I do think that some hallucinogens may help to make your listening experience of it far greater. You’re being taken on a mostly distorted prog journey, with some clean vocal sections in “Huldra” and a slight dip in “Star Child.” There are no transitions into funk, but jazz compositions are apparent for most of the album. Monomyth ultimately provides a trippy atmosphere, but it isn’t nearly as experimental as some of the other albums I’ve covered this week from the NoName666 label. The record is fine if you’re looking to zone out for a bit, but isn’t too dissimilar from other bands I’ve heard in the stoner rock/prog genre.
(7 Tracks, 50:00)
Zlurad – A Blessing Or A Curse (2019) – Out of all the albums I’ve covered here today, this is the one that will probably appeal to fans of extreme metal the most. Zlurad definitely take a node from TOOH, which have gone in a different direction that wound up alienating nearly their entire fanbase. What were they thinking? Anyway, your TOOH replacement can almost be found in Zlurad, except for the fact that there isn’t as much as a heavy node here despite the pounding drums, frantic screams and all sorts of other mayhem. It just misses the death metal touches of TOOH and sounds more like incredibly frantic and sporadic punk music that most people will classify as complete fucking noise. It’s not too hard to imagine that this sound and style could be easily made by throwing a bunch of musicians into a room and telling them to just play whatever the hell they wanted all at the same time, which is an utterly cohesive mess, but a fun listen. On the other hand, if you’re really stressed out and feel like this album sounds, then it might be therapeutic.
(8 Tracks, 31:00)