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!J.O.O.E.!
Thought Police

Posts: 15459

Age: 30
From: UK

  05.09.2008 at 11:48
Thought I'd try my hand at putting my favourite band on here, see if anyone's actually heard them and appreciate their genius.

Skullflower, for all intents and purposes, play noise rock. It's very likely that Skullflower pioneered, in some form, the "drone" sound we see in Earth and Sunn etc. whether or not those bands were even aware of Skullflower's influence is unknown given the very different scene Skullflower conform to, not to mention the band's obscurity that seems very much contained within the UK, even today, over 20 years after their inception in 1985. Mathew Bower is the long running and consistant (and currently only) member of Skullflower but he's recorded songs with Influential artists from the likes of Nurse With Wound and Whitehouse.

Skullflower's discography is as varied as it is vast. Their early work consists of a very rocky orientated sound: sabbathian riffs overlayed many times to create a hazy soundscape, using percussion as part of the structure. 'Ruins', 'Xaman' and 'IIIrd Gatekeeper' are prime examples of this era, and some of Skullflower's best work to date. From here Skullflower went on to experiment with much noisier, less structured sounds using guitar feedback much like 'Obsidian Shaking Codex' but jumped back and forward with styles like on 'Exquisite Fucking Boredom' of which 5 of the 6 tracks consisted of the same riff played over and over, each version showcasing a different mix with variations of noise and distortion. 'Orange Canyon Mind' offered Skullflower's most accessible effort to date, playing an extremely psychedelic dronefest with winding riffing and electric fuzz, this was my first foray into Skullflower and it's still one of my favourites, even if it is far less out there than his last two efforts: 'Tribulations' and 'Desire For A Holy War' which signifies Bower's most extreme output to date. White noise feedback, no melody, seemingly no structure just layers upon layers of low-end guitar feedback. It's pretty unpalatable stuff but the intricacy and thought behind it is without comparison and multiple listens are very rewarding indeed.

This thread probably belongs in the rock thread but the extremity of the music warrants a more metal audience I feel.

There's a whole bunch of full tracks on their Last.fm page, I recommend trying out a few as their sound and style varies a lot between albums.
http://www.last.fm/music/Skullflower/+charts?rangetype=week&subtype=tracks
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jupitreas
Djerk

Posts: 6544
From: Poland

  05.09.2008 at 13:27
I like Skullflower.
Im also pretty sure that drone bands are more than aware of this band's influence on the genre. They are classics after all and the same scene spawned the likes of Loop/Main, Godflesh and Slab!, all very influential bands on various genres of metal.
Anyway, other than that, there is nothing there to add that you haven't mentioned already.
!J.O.O.E.!
Thought Police

Posts: 15459

Age: 30
From: UK

  05.09.2008 at 23:52
Just remembered I have this from a while back. Was bored so I wrote a review of Orange Canyon Mind which I was going to send to MS in the hope it'd be put on here. Then I re-read the rules and realised they don't add non-featured bands, doh. Might as well chuck it on this thread instead of letting it go to waste. Should give a bit more insight into this album which I recommend people check out first.

Skullflower - Orange Canyon Mind

Released - 2005
Genre - Noise Rock

Track list:
1. Starry Wisdom
2. Orange Canyon Mind
3. Annihilating Angel
4. Vampire Breath
5. Ghost Ice Aliens
6. Goat of a Thousand Young
7. Star Hill
8. Forked Lightning

Length - 61 Minutes

Matthew Bower is undoubtedly the key behind the British noise rock scene, appearing in and contributing to a dizzying array of influential outputs including the seminal Double Leopards, the weird and beautiful Sunroof! and his more recent work in Mirag to name but a handful but Skullflower has been his constant in terms of quality, varied experimental music and noise and early works such as 'IIIrd Gatekeeper' and 'Xaman' are held in high regard for shaping British noise rock today.

Compared to his other releases, and most definitely his more recent work, 'Orange Canyon Mind' is a far easier listening experience, conveying a warm psychedelic buzz rather than a harsh, low-end white noise assault, achieved by being very much a rock album at its core with prominent Sabbathian riffage throughout. Entirely without drums and vocals, instead, meticulous layers of haze, distorted droning guitar feedback and mind altering noise conjure images of vast digital extraterrestrial fields of rainbow coloured grass saturated with drugged up robotic insects. The lengthy songs both reward and test listeners, intoxicating them with a fluctuating and unpredictable melange of ever winding static and guitar groove, like trying to crawl your way out of an acid trip turning bad. Despite the somewhat extreme nature of the style one cannot help being enveloped in a gleeful hypnotic daze, especially with comparatively subtle tracks like 'Starry Wisdom' and the album title track. With respect to this, the album structure is somewhat methodical, the initial aforementioned tracks bleeding into more challenging and seemingly chaotic compositions, finally relenting with 'Forked Lightning'; an uncompromising harsh noise onslaught and intriguingly, a logical lead on to the follow up album 'Tribulations'. Highlight tracks include 'Annihilating Angel' with its swathes of soft terror and expert use of what could almost be construed as noise breakdowns and 'Ghost Ice Aliens' catchy and repetitive riffs harking back to the delicious monotony of the 'Exquisite Fucking Boredom' LP.

The aesthetics of the track names have always been a good indicator of what Bower might have intended with his music: contradictory extremes, the infinity of space and nature and even human mental breakdown. This, combined with the album art's stark contrasting alien green and earthy muddy brown/orange, create a weird tapestry that amplifies the sonic textures exponentially.

I dare say this is an ideal start for Skullflower beginners (and precisely where I began my journey down Noise Lane), and perhaps a good introduction to some of the more unusual and modern noise rock releases today. Though decidedly less complex and easier going than say 'Desire For A Holy War,' on its own merits this is a fascinating and evocative piece of meta-metal that should prove an interesting departure for open minded metal fans. To noise connoisseurs however, this release may seem somewhat standard, instead preferring the indecipherable levels of both older and new Skullflower works. Jonathan Selzer of Terrorizer made an interesting comment about Skullflower describing them as "Sunn O))) inverted." The slow, ten-ton drones translating into high frequency bursts of heated light; searing brain cells and shattering teeth. Food for thought?

8.5/10
----
Lucas
Mr. Noise

Posts: 13426

Age: 23
From: The Netherlands

  08.09.2008 at 22:39
I like Skullflower too.
Mostly IIIrd Gatekeeper, Orange Canyon Mind was a little too harsh for me. Last time I heard that was a loooong time ago though, and before my tastes got as extreme as they are now. Perhaps now that album will be more to my liking.

By the way, any recommendations?
----
SLUDGE. DOOM. DEATH. Wait, what?

"The reason I'm running for president is because I can't be Bruce Springsteen." - Barack Obama
!J.O.O.E.!
Thought Police

Posts: 15459

Age: 30
From: UK

  08.09.2008 at 23:19
Written by Lucas on 08.09.2008 at 22:39

I like Skullflower too.
Mostly IIIrd Gatekeeper, Orange Canyon Mind was a little too harsh for me. Last time I heard that was a loooong time ago though, and before my tastes got as extreme as they are now. Perhaps now that album will be more to my liking.

By the way, any recommendations?

Skullflower-wise? If you like 'IIIrd Gatekeeper' you'll definitely like 'Xaman' and probably 'Ruins', both are firmly in the noise rock category. I'd still recommend 'OCM', I did find it pretty unlistenable at first but over time I saw it for an extremely pleasant, colouful spectum of psychedelia and, aside from Exquisite Fucking Boredom Skullflower doesn't come anymore melodic than that. Everything else is variations on noise and feedback. Gah, they have so many albums. If you don't want harsh, steer clear of 'Tribulations' and 'Desire For A Holy Mind'.

For non Skullflower there is one album I recommend above all others and that's Double Leopards - Halve Maen. TRULY incredible and a lot more focused on ambient and droning soundscapes much like Nurse With Wound and sometimes reminding me of Sunn's BassAliens track. I seriously recommend that album for being somewhat representative of the best drone/ambient/noise (to a lesser extent) there is.
----
Lucas
Mr. Noise

Posts: 13426

Age: 23
From: The Netherlands

  08.09.2008 at 23:20
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 08.09.2008 at 23:19

Written by Lucas on 08.09.2008 at 22:39

I like Skullflower too.
Mostly IIIrd Gatekeeper, Orange Canyon Mind was a little too harsh for me. Last time I heard that was a loooong time ago though, and before my tastes got as extreme as they are now. Perhaps now that album will be more to my liking.

By the way, any recommendations?

Skullflower-wise? If you like 'IIIrd Gatekeeper' you'll definitely like 'Xaman' and probably 'Ruins', both are firmly in the noise rock category. I'd still recommend 'OCM', I did find it pretty unlistenable at first but over time I saw it for an extremely pleasant, colouful spectum of psychedelia and, aside from Exquisite Fucking Boredom Skullflower doesn't come anymore melodic than that. Everything else is variations on noise and feedback. Gah, they have so many albums. If you don't want harsh, steer clear of 'Tribulations' and 'Desire For A Holy Mind'.

For non Skullflower there is one album I recommend above all others and that's Double Leopards - Halve Maen. TRULY incredible and a lot more focused on ambient and droning soundscapes much like Nurse With Wound and sometimes reminding me of some of Sunn's BassAliens track. I seriously recommend that album for being somewhat representative of the best drone/ambient/noise (to a lesser extent) there is.


And perhaps an online distro that sells all this? Preferably European. Thanks a bunch!
----
SLUDGE. DOOM. DEATH. Wait, what?

"The reason I'm running for president is because I can't be Bruce Springsteen." - Barack Obama
!J.O.O.E.!
Thought Police

Posts: 15459

Age: 30
From: UK

  08.09.2008 at 23:23
Arg, sorry but I rarely buy CD's, when I do I usually just google it and go through a few pages till I find the cheapest. Other people bought all the Skullflower albums I own. Many apologies.
----
hanna of steel
Poison Girl

Posts: 1585

Age: 61
From: UK

  09.09.2008 at 00:24
Written by Lucas on 08.09.2008 at 23:20



And perhaps an online distro that sells all this? Preferably European. Thanks a bunch!



Cold Spring Records http://www.coldspring.co.uk/

Based in the Uk - but they sell worldwide.

They currently have these albums in stock

SKULLFLOWER -

'Desire For A Holy War' CD (Utech Records)

'IIIrd Gatekeeper' CD (Crucial Blast)

'Orange Canyon Mind' CD (Crucial Blast)

'Pure Imperial Reform' CD (Turgid Animal)

'Tribulation' CD (Crucial Blast)

Prices are around 11 euros plus postage.


I have just ordered Orange Canyon Mind .

I hadn't heard of this band until the other day - I think they are going to cost me a lot of money
I really like what I have heard so far .


Oh , a word of warning about Cold Spring Records - they specialise in "Black Ambient, Dark Ambient, Neoclassical, Neofolk, Medieval, Martial, Orchestral, Power Electronics, Noise, Japanese Noise, Minimal, Drone, Doom, Death Industrial, Dark Soundtracks, Experimental, obscure electronics from Russia, China, Japan, Poland etc."

You are sure to find a lot of albums that you like ....
----
Hell is other people - Jean-Paul Sartre
!J.O.O.E.!
Thought Police

Posts: 15459

Age: 30
From: UK

  09.09.2008 at 00:41
Cold Spring are genuinely awesome as far as experimental music goes. Sleep Research Facility, C.C.C.C., Merzbow, Masonna, South Saturn Delta, Von Thronstahl, TenHornedBeast, Sutcliffe Jugend etc. I could go on!

Hope you enjoy the Skullflower =]
----
hanna of steel
Poison Girl

Posts: 1585

Age: 61
From: UK

  09.09.2008 at 01:02
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 09.09.2008 at 00:41

Cold Spring are genuinely awesome as far as experimental music goes. Sleep Research Facility, C.C.C.C., Merzbow, Masonna, South Saturn Delta, Von Thronstahl, TenHornedBeast, Sutcliffe Jugend etc. I could go on!

Hope you enjoy the Skullflower =]



Thanks I am sure I will enjoy it.

Yes , I agree about Cold Spring - I spend ages listening to mp3 samples there.
----
Hell is other people - Jean-Paul Sartre
Lucas
Mr. Noise

Posts: 13426

Age: 23
From: The Netherlands

  09.09.2008 at 17:11
Ah yeah I know about Cold Spring, don't think I ever bought something there though. The pound/euro currency has always been very harsh on my side.

But then again, buying 4 or 5 albums might not be so bad after all. I just checked and 41 pounds is 51 euros, so its not too bad.
----
SLUDGE. DOOM. DEATH. Wait, what?

"The reason I'm running for president is because I can't be Bruce Springsteen." - Barack Obama
hanna of steel
Poison Girl

Posts: 1585

Age: 61
From: UK

  09.09.2008 at 19:53
Yeah the exchange rate is on your side at the moment .

I noticed that the last time I bought some cds from Finland.

Anyway I got "Orange Canyon Mind" today - I'm on the fourth play.

I really like this - guess I'll have to buy some more :p
----
Hell is other people - Jean-Paul Sartre
Lucas
Mr. Noise

Posts: 13426

Age: 23
From: The Netherlands

  02.01.2009 at 16:41
Skullflower is awesome. It's been a while since my last post here. Right now I own three Skullflower albums, namely:

IIIrd Gatekeeper
Orange Canyon Mind
Desire For A Holy War

This weekend is going to be all about Skullflower, I just gave Gatekeeper and Desire a spin and let myself drown in the noise. Lovely.
----
SLUDGE. DOOM. DEATH. Wait, what?

"The reason I'm running for president is because I can't be Bruce Springsteen." - Barack Obama
Zombie, M.D.

Posts: 7390

Age: 28
From: USA

  02.01.2009 at 18:20
Orange Canyon Mind was my favorite release from 2005 by far. I bought Carved into Roses shortly after but didn't find it to be nearly as interesting. If you haven't already, check out the cd Noumena by Splintered. Its in a similar vein, albeit a bit more rock oriented.
----
"I really screwed up this time." - Jeffery Dahmer
Lucas
Mr. Noise

Posts: 13426

Age: 23
From: The Netherlands

  03.01.2009 at 01:28
I'm not sure if I want to more rock orientated, I think I'd prefer more noise. If anyone has any 'white', peaceful and blissed out (pure) noise, please do share!
----
SLUDGE. DOOM. DEATH. Wait, what?

"The reason I'm running for president is because I can't be Bruce Springsteen." - Barack Obama
Southern Wind
Account deleted
  03.01.2009 at 06:23
I used to have an album by them... I don't remember the nane, but it had a frog and a candle in the cover... I think they're amazing, but unfortunately the cd was very fucked up and screwed and sounded like shit, so I rarely went beyond the 30th minute with it. I'll probably order something by them in these days.
Zombie, M.D.

Posts: 7390

Age: 28
From: USA

  03.01.2009 at 08:43
I think you would enjoy Orange Canyon Mind quite a bit, given what I know about your tastes.
----
"I really screwed up this time." - Jeffery Dahmer
Lucas
Mr. Noise

Posts: 13426

Age: 23
From: The Netherlands

  04.01.2009 at 16:28
Just ordered myself a copy of "Last Shot At Heaven" by them. The reason? Uhhh, well... I was looking for a Skullflower MySpace for some more information and stumbled upon this fan profile. The guy there mentions "Last Shot At Heaven" as a monumental album and I really dig the album title, so yeah... It wasn't cheap, but whatever. It'll be cool, hopefully.

Also ordered SubArachnoid Space - Ether Or. No single idea who they are, but any band that's described as "sometimes wild, sometimes subtle... Psychedlic freakouts and ambient grooves... improvisational music... hypnotic guitar work" has my interest.

----
SLUDGE. DOOM. DEATH. Wait, what?

"The reason I'm running for president is because I can't be Bruce Springsteen." - Barack Obama
!J.O.O.E.!
Thought Police

Posts: 15459

Age: 30
From: UK

  06.01.2009 at 14:23
W00t, good to see this thread revived.
----
Lucas
Mr. Noise

Posts: 13426

Age: 23
From: The Netherlands

  06.01.2009 at 16:56
Damn straight. I'm very curious to what Last Shot At Heaven will sound like. It's one of the few times I spent more than 30$ on an album, without even knowing what it sounds like. Oh well. I'm probably going to get myself some more Skullflower soon, as soon as I find some good sites. (I'd like Infinityland & Xaman, and perhaps a bunch of others.)
----
SLUDGE. DOOM. DEATH. Wait, what?

"The reason I'm running for president is because I can't be Bruce Springsteen." - Barack Obama
!J.O.O.E.!
Thought Police

Posts: 15459

Age: 30
From: UK

  08.01.2009 at 15:56
I really like Infinityland and Xaman, though I can't remember what Last Shot At Heaven sounds like exactly but I think it's one of the noisy/drone ones but considering its place on the discography it might be a transitional one from noise-rock to noise. Not sure but I've yet to hear a Skullflower release I didn't love so I'm sure it's good. I'd go listen to it but my laptop broke so I can't get to my ext. hard drive :'(
----
Ozman
Grumpy Fuck

Posts: 36725

Age: 46
From: The Netherlands

  09.01.2009 at 19:32
I haven't heard a single thing of this band yet but have heard loads of gods things about them. But seeing I will be experiencing them live at Roadburn this year I will not check them out beforehand and just let myself be surprised in a positive way (hopefully )
----
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

Lucas
Mr. Noise

Posts: 13426

Age: 23
From: The Netherlands

  10.01.2009 at 01:54
Written by Ozman on 09.01.2009 at 19:32

I haven't heard a single thing of this band yet but have heard loads of gods things about them. But seeing I will be experiencing them live at Roadburn this year I will not check them out beforehand and just let myself be surprised in a positive way (hopefully )


Uuh wtf, I seriously missed all the news regarding Roadburn this year. I knew they were getting Saint Vitus and Neurosis for example, which didn't really appeal to me back when tickets were sold, but goddam Skullflower and Bohren & Der Club Of Gore on the same festival? God fucking dammit.
----
SLUDGE. DOOM. DEATH. Wait, what?

"The reason I'm running for president is because I can't be Bruce Springsteen." - Barack Obama
Xnoybis
Duke Nukem

Posts: 12512

Age: 42
From: Paraguay

  10.01.2009 at 09:37
Written by Ozman on 09.01.2009 at 19:32

I haven't heard a single thing of this band yet but have heard loads of gods things about them. But seeing I will be experiencing them live at Roadburn this year I will not check them out beforehand and just let myself be surprised in a positive way (hopefully )


hopefully RB will put up streaming versions of sets for poor bastards like me that cannot make it.
----
get the fuck off my lawn.
Ozman
Grumpy Fuck

Posts: 36725

Age: 46
From: The Netherlands

  10.01.2009 at 12:37
Written by Xnoybis on 10.01.2009 at 09:37

Written by Ozman on 09.01.2009 at 19:32

I haven't heard a single thing of this band yet but have heard loads of gods things about them. But seeing I will be experiencing them live at Roadburn this year I will not check them out beforehand and just let myself be surprised in a positive way (hopefully )


hopefully RB will put up streaming versions of sets for poor bastards like me that cannot make it.


Yes, Roadburn will once again put up as many streaming versions of sets as possible.
----
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

Lucas
Mr. Noise

Posts: 13426

Age: 23
From: The Netherlands

  10.01.2009 at 15:32
Ok, didn't know that either. Then I'll be sure to catch both of them.
----
SLUDGE. DOOM. DEATH. Wait, what?

"The reason I'm running for president is because I can't be Bruce Springsteen." - Barack Obama
!J.O.O.E.!
Thought Police

Posts: 15459

Age: 30
From: UK

  10.01.2009 at 22:27
Thanks to a rather lovely torrent I've managed to get of all the singles and miscellaneous stuff as well the two latest live albums which are both incredible. Jealous of those seeing them live as I've yet to do so. If they play live like they do on Abyssic Lowland Hiss and Pure Imperial Reform then it's gonna be challenge to get through but awesome nonetheless.
----
!J.O.O.E.!
Thought Police

Posts: 15459

Age: 30
From: UK

  10.01.2009 at 23:24
Listening to Transformer for the first time; was the only album I hadn't heard and I can now say that Earth's newer southern post-rock-esqu sound suddenly doesn't sound as original.
----
Lucas
Mr. Noise

Posts: 13426

Age: 23
From: The Netherlands

  14.01.2009 at 17:45
I recieved Last Shot At Heaven a couple of days ago and I'm certainly not disappointed! It is more on the (jammed) Noise Rock side of things, even more so than IIIrd Gatekeeper. It has a few odd points (though quite often, they are really cool like the piano bashing somewhere on the album). It may just become my favourite Skullflower album so far, although it's hard to really point out a favourite. How do you compare IIIrd Gatekeeper with Desire For A Holy War? It's almost as if they're released by different bands.
----
SLUDGE. DOOM. DEATH. Wait, what?

"The reason I'm running for president is because I can't be Bruce Springsteen." - Barack Obama
!J.O.O.E.!
Thought Police

Posts: 15459

Age: 30
From: UK

  15.01.2009 at 11:02
It is actually pretty amazing, I especially enjoy the song 'Dufus' in all its repetitive glory. The piano bashing thing pops up every now and then, perhaps most prominantly on 'This is...' which is slowly becoming my favourite, perhaps due in part to the sheer length and freeform approach. Not to mention it has Skullflower's longest track so far (aside from Pure Imperial Reform) 'The Pirate Ship of Reality is Moving Out...' awesome name for an awesome song.

Yeah IIIrd Gatekeeper and Tribulations/Desire do seem like totally different world's apart but there are a few early albums that demonstrate some of the noisier works so that does kind of show some transition. I suppose the method in which they're created doesn't differ all that much, it's all controlled guitar feedback it's just the rock riffs are now buried under mountains of static. The good thing is I suspect Bower will be never show a consistant evolution in his music so we might even expect some stuff similar to his early work again at some point.
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