Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hails & Horns on Arriver "Tsushima" LP

I missed this one when it was published last month...


Chicago troupe ARRIVER documents a little known yet historic battle with a multi-faceted metal proclamation on their eight-track affair The Battle Of Tsushima. Recreating a significant part of the Russo-Japanese War with a tactile array of metallic hues at their dispose from slow and somber (“Singapore”) to sharp and grinding (“Dogger Bank”), this group bridges the generation gap between aficionados of conflict like Iron Maiden and Iced Earth to modern metal storytellers such as Mastodon with progressive death metal dexterity and smattering of symphonic instrumentation guiding the band through the rigors of war (“Dark Clouds Above the Fleet”). Drawing a stirring and bold reenactment of this century old clash up with a variety of shifting viewpoints that compellingly tell both sides of the story, ARRIVER trades in the textbook for a wall of sound and aims to educate while blasting your skull. (Mike SOS)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Out Now: B!172 Chris Connelly "Artificial Madness" LP

Webstore link:

BloodLust! is very pleased to announce the release of the vinyl version of Chris Connelly's outstanding "Artificial Madness" album.  This is the LP version of the CD that Relapse released in late 2011.  "Artificial Madness" represents a momentous step in the progression of this very accomplished Chicago-based, Scottish-born musician, offering a suite of contemporary, heavy, high-energy rock songs that reveal measured lyrics paired with meticulously crafted songs.  While Chris has certainly delivered beautiful records in the past, the maturity of this album may surprise some fans who have followed his prolific, diverse and rather hedonistic career in music.

Lyrically, the album offers a set of narratives that seem to accurately define a truly dystopian landscape, setting stories in invented locales, in which the inhabitants lead a dark, dehumanized and anxious existence.  Stylistically, "Artificial Madness" sounds very modern, even as it draws from an arsenal of heavy post-punk music elements that Chris has built upon since the mid- to late-1980s, whether solo, with Ministry or Revolting Cocks, or with current and former members of Killing Joke and Public Image Limited.

This album also happens to feature numerous friends of mine.  Perhaps Chris needs no further introduction, but his impact on the world of dark and heavy music, both in Chicago and beyond, should not be underestimated.  And for those who think his “electronic” work is limited to the Wax Trax! style of industrial music – as if such as thing was that easy to classify – let me tell you about a very memorable 1989 show at Dreamerz, when Chris opened up for the still-new My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, shocking (most of) the crowd with a vicious, assertive, straight-up power-electronics set.
  On a label-related note, Chris previously sang on the Plague Bringer "Burning Inside" CD single box set (B!155, 2010), an exclusive Record Store Day release that featured a cover version of a well-known song by one of his former bands, Ministry.
And for this album, Chris assembled a veritable who’s who of heavy-hitters from Chicago.  Sanford Parker (keyboards, engineering and production) is known from the bands Buried At Sea, Minsk, Twilight and Nachtmystium, and he previously played alongside Chris in The High Confessions.  Sanford also recorded the forthcoming BLOODYMINDED album, "Within The Walls," and he recorded and played synth alongside me on the imminent Wrekmeister Harmonies album, "You've Always Meant So Much To Me."  Will Lindsay (bass) is a good friend, who has also sat in on bass with Anatomy of Habit, while I have contributed live synth and vocals to Will's band, Indian.  Will is also known for his work with bands including Nachtmystium, Wolves in the Throne Room and Middian.  Dallas Thomas (guitar) is known for his band The Swan King and he also happens to be playing with the celebrated group Pelican, these days.  His amazing guitar style and tone is unmistakable on this LP.  Noah Leger (drums) has recently been helping out on drums with Anatomy of Habit and he is known from a number of diverse local groups, including Electric Hawk, Head of Skulls, Tight Phantomz, and Milemarker.  Noah most recently joined the exciting Chicago group Disappears.  Safe to say, I am really excited to be releasing Chris' record!

- Mark Solotroff, BloodLust!

Chicago Sneak on Connelly LP

The release has not been officially announced yet, but Chicago folks wishing to pick up the Chris Connelly "Artificial Madness" LP on BloodLust! (B!172) may do so at either Reckless Records or Permanent Records.

Here is what Permanent had to say in their new update:

YES!  Chris Connelly's Artificial Madness was arguably one of the most overlooked records of 2011.  Originaly released on CD by purveyours of heaviness Relapse Records, Artificial Madness gets some serious hometown love in 2012 by Chicago based BloodLust! Records.  BloodLust! has been steadily releasing outstanding records by the likes of Anatomy Of Habit, Sun Splitter, Arriver and Rabid Rabbit.  We've dropped drooling praise on their previous releases and now to finally get our grubby hands on Chris Connelly wax has us over the moon to say the least.  Artificial Madness is first and foremost a rock record, which it being released on Relapse might lead one to believe this is a metal release but Connelly eschews his time spent in such legendary industrial bands as Revolting Cocks and Ministry and instead plows straight forward into thick muscular post apocalyptic rock with his warming croon over top of some punising rhythms and walls of guitar majesty; we're hearing echoes of Killing Joke, Wire and even some Public Image Limited tinges here and there, but like they put all those influences in a blender then blasted it out of a cannon.  Higih octane, high energy dark jams from start to finish is what you'll get on Artificial Madness; after it's all said and done see what remnants of your mind are left.  Connelly enlisted some of Chicago's finest to fill out his band of outsiders featuring members of Nachtmystium, Indian, The Swan King, and Electric Hawk giving Artificial Madness a walloping heft that is yet to be matched.   Fans of Total Control, Pop 1280 and the paranoia-stricken sci-fi roster of Sacred Bones Records should definitely take note on this one.  Mega Recommended.

Reckless posted this on their site:

13th solo album from ex-REVOLTING COCKS & MINISTRY vocalist CHRIS CONNELLY. Much like his other 12 albums, this one sounds nothing like the industrial music he cut his teeth with, but has a much more aggressive edge than any of his solo albums to date. CONNELLY channels WIRE, PiL & KILLING JOKE on "Artificial Madness" with the help of some serious players: NOAH LEGER on drums (TIGHT PHANTOMZ, HEAD OF SKULLS), WILL LINDSAY on bass (ex-WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM, INDIAN) & SANFORD PARKER (NACHTMYSTIUM, TWILIGHT) on keys and behind the boards. A very cool release!

The Sleeping Shaman on Sun Splitter "III" LP

Sun Splitter ‘III’ LP/DD 2012

19th November 2012

Merchants of industrialised psychedelic ur-doom, Chicago’s Sun Splitter have been honing their craft over the last couple of years and a handful of increasingly sharper-sounding releases, getting closer and closer to the perfect meld of Boing Boom Tschak mechanised heavy duty rhythms and white-light-white-out psychedelic overload and with III, their second full-length, they may well have hit the mother-load.

An urgently looping drum pattern and swelling feedback usher in ‘Eye Of Jupiter’, beginning in earnest as the ligature-taut guitars and bass of Francis Hays and Jacob Essak crack the skies and the distorted, heavily treated voice of Anthony A. Dunn begins to chant, yell and shriek.

The track builds from chugging rhythm and swathes of manipulated noise into a white-hot monolith of piled-up molten guitar and Dunn’s inhuman shrieks, evoking much of the spirit of early Godflesh and those other industrial noise-rock pioneers Head Of David.

Those treated vocals are used in an entirely textural fashion on second cut ‘Parasitic Machine’, mangled to within an inch of recognition and seamlessly integrated amongst the moodily bruising guitars, hissing ambience and distantly tolling bells that make up the body of the track. Halfway through its ten minute span, the brutally simplistic drum-machine cuts out entirely and anything recognisable is peeled right back to reveal an abstract sound assembly of brittle guitar strings, indistinct throbbing, hollow chants, dubbed-out snarls and temple bells, leaving me very much in mind of early Sonic Youth – which is no bad thing at all.

In fact, all this talk of early Sonic Youth and Head Of David makes me realise that Sun Splitter would have been very much at home on the Blast First label, eighties home of the afore-mentioned bands, noise-rock luminaries like Big Black, and out and out weirdos like the Butthole Surfers, Glen Branca, Sun Ra and Big Stick – another drum-machine driven band, sadly unappreciated these days.

Sure, there’s a lot of Godflesh in Sun Spiltter’s sound, but it’s the early, dripping with menace and bad vibes incarnation of the band, along with the spooked-out damaged psych of latter-day Loop and Terminal Cheesecake. A potent brew indeed.

‘The Serpent’s Golden Death’ reverses the way of the previous number by beginning with the clanging, chiming ambience and layered vocal drones and tones then introducing a minimalistic bone-crunching drum pattern and a dirgey Sabbathian riff that builds and builds before suddenly exploding into trebly Black Metal riffage and serious drum-machine overload. The track ends with everything bar a naggingly insistent vocal drone being annihilated by oscillating electronics.

These emanations are decidedly trans-plutonic.

Fractured Doom Metal with a menacing vibe drives ‘Into The Broken Lands’, with its brutal beat, intertwining astringent cheesewire guitars and a massive Melvins-esque chugging section. Dunn’s vocals on the end section here are as clear as they’ll ever be and still sound spectral and hollow.

This leaves only sixteen minute closer ‘Two Cold Oceans’ to finish things up, starting with a Jesus & Mary Chain/Stooges-esque raga-tinged riff and rhythm that slowly gets twisted out of shape across the body of the track as guitars thickly roar, vocals are pulled into multiple dimensions and eventually the entire track is fed back through itself multiple times to become a juddering, jittery black hole of kaleidoscopic white noise, Dunn’s roar ever caught upon the event horizon.

More regimented than fellow Chicagoans Locrian, yet not quite plumbing the bestial depths and frying as many soft fragile eggshell minds as near neighbours Drug Honkey, Sun Splitter instead choose their own middle path through the psychedelic experience, taking flight from the same space as Godflesh and their ilk but ultimately flying nearer to the white light of total annihilation than Broadrick and Green ever did.

Scribed by: Paul Robertson