Finnish band Oranssi Pazuzu isn’t the first black metal group to reconnoiter the celestial realms, but it is one of the most fascinating contemporary astronavigators. The band’s fusion of ill-tempered metal with Krautrock, psychedelia and propulsive Hawkwindian space rock has already made for two enthralling and idiosyncratic albums, 2009’s Muukalainen Puhuu and 2011’s Kosmonument. Now, PopMatters is proud to host “Vino Verso (Askew Sprout)”, the opening track from the band’s upcoming album, Valonielu.
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Eight long years ago, fans of French metal maestro Vivien Lalu immersed themselves in the composer’s successful solo debut, Oniric Metal. The progressive prowess and collaborations therein drew hearty applause from prog-metal aficionados in Europe and the US. On 10 September, Sensory Records releases Lalu’s latest venture, Atomic Ark.
Composed entirely by Lalu, Atomic Ark sees the keyboard wizard joined by members of Dream Theater, Mekong Delta, Symphony X, and many other luminaries from the progressive rock and metal field for a 50-minute-plus jaunt of cinematic metal. The album is driven by Lalu’s sense of fine-tuned technicality and majestic flair. The acoustic gentility of “Mirror Prison” collides with the head-banging hostility of “War on Animals”; classic rock riffing plows into downtuned ominousness on “Greed”; and “Revelations” provides a 20-minute symphony of multi-instrumental soloing, choral vocals, and ethereality.
Fans of expansive and triumphant arrangements, you know what to expect—meticulous progressive craftsmanship, all finished with a virtuoso panache.
It’s hard not to notice the resemblances between the rich textures that Pillars and Tongues conjure up and the lush, mystical soundscapes of Dead Can Dance, aided and abetted, in particular, by Mark Trecka’s placid baritone vocals. But what really brings the Dead Can Dance comparisons to mind on Pillars and Tongues’ upcoming album End-dances are its wide-open sonic palettes, which unfurl their complexities and intricacies when you let their contemplative, meditative qualities play out over time.
Known as Left Lane Cruiser, the duo of Freddy J IV and Brenn Beck defines its music as “voodoo hillbilly punk-blues”. Whatever that might be exactly, it’s actually a pretty apt description of the combination of thrashy, scuzzed-out guitar and trashy, bashed-up rhythms on Left Lane Cruiser’s latest outing, Rock Them Back to Hell. The new album is as resourceful as it is energetic, especially making an impression with found-sound percussion supplied by paint cans and trash cans. Wrap it all up in cover art by William Stout, known for his work for Return of the Living Dead and Pan’s Labyrinth, and the over-the-top tone and feel of Rock Them Back to Hell is more than complete.
// Notes from the Road
"José González's sets during Newport Folk Festival weren't on his birthday (that is today) but each looked to be a special intimate performance.READ the article