Welcome To My Nightmare... (An Introduction To The Sick And Twisted)
Welcome, my doomed friends, for doomed you are. Welcome to the nightmare, welcome to the end. Before you lay a path that will bring sorrow, pain, misery and hate, but also ecstasy adrenaline. You will be submitted to inhumane visual and physical torture and will encounter visions more horrifying than man can comprehend. Surely, you'll lose your sanity along the way but ultimately, it'll become clear as dawn that the losing of sanity is not an unfortunate side-effect, but the penultimate goal of this wicked journey. Sanity has always been the greatest enemy for those that seek bliss. And bliss we seek.
Those that would rather plod along in their pitiful, meaningless existence, without ever knowing the sacred truth: make your hasty and cowardly return now. Through this decision we can tell the chosen from the futile. Confide in me and the truth shall be laid in front of you, in its purest and most naked sense. Come with me...
Our journey shall be a purely audio-driven journey, although it will not seem that way. Do not fight that, resistance is useless and the quicker you surrender the quicker your goal can be achieved. Darken the room, sit down, clear your mind and immerse yourself. Now, these are your options. Some will be a little lighter and others will be stronger. Ask yourself with what you'd like to start. Some are bleak, some are dark, some are filthy and some are frightening. Some are drone, some are doom, some are black. What connects them is that they will all evoke stronger emotions than you have ever encountered before, either of primal fear, ecstatic bliss or impregnable insanity. Now are you ready to say "goodbye" to life as you know it? Then come with me...
HELLISH & HAUNTING
|Corrupted - El Mundo Frio|
Corrupted, the Japanese masters of Sludge Doom, are never in a hurry. Every time they pick up their instruments they make sure the song has a proper build up, which results in long songs containing well-crafted build ups and ecstatic releases. The best example of their style, "El Mundo Frio", is a single track of a whopping seventy minutes which travels various times to both heaven and hell. With an Irish and Grand harp, deep drones, brutal distortion, eerie spoken vocals, squealing feedback and hellish growls they have created an album that has no equal.
Genre: Sludge Death/Doom
|Coffins - Buried Death|
If you like Death metal and have your own personal vendetta with anything modern or progressive, Coffins are with you. Evolution? Progression? This is Death Metal as if it never turned 1995. Slightly catchy, but most of all brutal, sick, intense and highly uncompromising. As if they're a steamroller on high velocity, they simply go through things. You're better off at the bottom of the ocean, the weight of the water crushing your eyes out of their sockets, than bearing the density of this baby. But guess what? You don't have that privilege.
Genre: Old School Doom/Death
Moss - Chtonic Rites
Moss does not take prisoners and Moss does not grasp the concept of mercy. Moss only has a severe contempt for humanity and will do anything it its power to destroy it. And luckily, Moss has a lot of power. Inhumane down-tuned guitars with corrosive distortion in a trudging pace with piercing feedback and tortured wailing vocals - Moss is not something for the weak. Moss is a long and pitch-black tunnel of psychological and psychical torment, without the clichéd light at the end. No, at the end there is only madness and the unconquerable desire to turn around and go through the addictive insanity once again.
Genre: Drone Doom
DRONE & NOISE
| Skullflower - IIIrd Gatekeeper|
Skullflower is a highly prolific band and an enigma on its own. For the average music listener they are a nightmare, as they are about as far removed from regular music aesthetics and other irrelevant matters. Best described as "improve noise" (or at least best sounding), these guys create soundscapes that will baffle you. At first the noise will sound like, well, noise, but after a while patterns originate and mental images are conjured. That's when you're no longer far from the realization that it's not despite the noise that this is relaxing, but because of the noise. After all, in true noise, there is something to be found for everyone.
Genre: "Improv" Noise
|TenHornedBeast - The Sacred Truth|
TenHornedBeast is a monster. A monster of gigantic proportions. With ten spiked horns, ever changing body elements, a free flowing abomination of Drone, Doom and Noise. Abandon all common song structures. As much as you'd like to understand this beast through observation from the outside, you know that's not enough. The only option you have is to delve in deep, without knowing if there's ever going to be back. Do you dare risking your life, will you risk everything in search of the sacred truth...?
|Hjarnidaudi - Pain:Noise:March|
Hjarnidaudi, the reincarnation of the majestic Hlidolf, proves that Drone is not limited to themes such as emptiness, the void, darkness et cetera. No, this time it is something uplifting! Minimalistic fiery drones that build up to orgasmic orgies of instrumental hell, that's what this is about. "Pain:Noise:March" is the ultimate simulation of lying on the ground, with the sun quickly nearing, scorching your paralyzed body and everything else on its way. One of the most convincing musical obliterations, ever. Sounds good, no? If it doesn't, you shouldn't even be reading this.
Genre: "Fire" Drone
|Atavist - II: Ruined|
Atavist is a band to watch out for. Their deceiving subtle acoustic guitars offer a safe haven, where all sludge doomster weary of the constant sound blizzards will desperately seek rest. But as is usual in the genre, danger is never far away and Atavist is a band that surely packs a punch. Combining the godless violence of Corrupted, Grief, Eyehategod and other similar bands, your bowels are in for a rollercoaster ride. Make sure the little boys room is free when you put this baby on, as your digestion might just be unexpectedly interrupted.
Genre: Sludge Doom
|Winter - Into Darkness|
Winter is just about as heavy as it gets. Few to no bands can achieve such solid heaviness with so little. Drums, bass, guitars and vocals, that's it. Wait, change that into: a drum sound as heavy as crashing into an atom bunker at a 100 miles an hour, a bass sound that you can't hear but you can feel how it's ripping your bowels apart, a guitar that releases pure anger through sledgehammer riffs and finally a set of fucked off, hatefully brutal growls. Winter is heavy as fuck.
|Disembowelment - Transcendece Into The Peripheral|
If you find a certain lack of aggression in extreme doom, you're listening to the wrong bands. Because there certainly is an overwhelming hatred and violence present in certain acts. Disembowelment or diSEMBOWELMENT as they are also referred to is one of these acts with their noisy, grinding Death/Doom sound hybrid. But there are also quieter moments, albeit that they are very sparse. And combined with a raw as fuck, but very fitting, production "Transcending Into The Peripheral" is Australia's most soul crushing, body trampling piece of art and it's not likely to be dethroned any time soon. Get their self-titled compilation with the full album and demos and such.
FEAR, FILTH AND TORTURE
|Black Bile - Cloacal Meditation|
Black Bile depicts animalistic fear. Perhaps the strongest emotion of the entire spectrum, as it used to be our primary weapon in the struggle for existence. There's no need for it anymore though, so even fear is domesticated and sold in small doses, such as horror-movies, or, Black Bile. A dark abandoned labyrinth of caves, a wounded man somewhere, haunting vocals from every corner of your soul, you know the deal. Yet, this is surprisingly convincing. So convincing that the occasional chill morphs into a layer of frost on your back and the adrenaline starts pumping. As you almost lose it you feel alive, most alive!
Genre: Black Doom
|Mysticum - In The Streams Of Inferno|
Mysticum were one of a kind in the old days of the Norwegian Black metal scene. Yeah, Thorns was doing something similar a couple of years earlier, but in 1996 Mysticum had the final word in the niche of ice cold industrial Black metal. "In The Streams Of Inferno" is an amazingly cold and ghastly album, with a malicious attitude that knows few equals to this very day. The anguished, truly inhumane screams, the disturbing samples, the furious riffs that pierce the soul and the harsh industrial poundings of the drum machine: this is much more than just the sum of the pieces. This is malicious!
Genre: (Pitch-)Black Metal
|Silencer - Death - Pierce Me|
Silencer is insane. Better said, Silencer's former vocalist is insane. And even though they receive a lot of shit these days for the incredibly over-the-top vocals, no one can deny their riffs are awesome. And after a couple of plays, the vocals become awesome too. Every track has its own shredding riff and throughout the entire album the vocals are in-fucking-sane. Imagine a high cat being skinned, in the middle of the night 'in season'. Basically the question you should ask yourself is: "Do I want to hear what it sounds like to channel extreme psychosis through Black metal?" You will probably hate this, but that's ok, because they hate you too!
Genre: "Suicidal" Black Metal
|Skepticism - Stormcrowfleet|
"Stormcrowfleet" is the début album of the Finnish funeral doomsters Skepticism. Slowing down the dirty death metal sound of the eighties to eerily slow-paced doom dirges, with heavy use of organs, they where the co-originators of the wonderful sound that is nowadays known as "funeral doom". A genre which knows but few equals in terms of sadness, and probably none in terms of slowness. "Stormcrowfleet" is one of the few outstanding albums in this genre which now is marked by few brilliant, but many average bands. Creeping slow heavy riffs, deep growls and eerie organs are the soundtrack to a nightmare in slow-motion.
Genre: Funeral Doom
|Tyranny - Tides Of Awakening|
Tides Of Awakening is the testimony of man that died at sea. Or rather, at the bottom of the ocean. With an atmosphere as crushing as the countless tons of water flowing over you. Tides Of Awakening is Funeral Doom the way it is supposed to be, with incredibly slow dirges, a bleak atmosphere, tragic lead guitars as the bubbles that only just escape you and forever escape to the surface. You can only hope that drowning will be quick and Chtulhu doesn't drop by before you die.
Genre: Funeral Doom
|Esoteric - The Maniacal Vale|
Esoteric has always been a band that did their own thing, and did it brilliantly. Every new album so far has been a step up from the last and this year that resulted in the mind-blowing masterpiece "The Maniacal Vale". A hundred minutes of whirling, breath-takingly beautiful and extremely inhumane funeral doom is what "The Maniacal Vale" offers, spread out over two discs. Well-crafted, sweeping lead guitars and solo's, a maelstrom of sound and emotive growls from beyond the hellfire make this one of the best Doom releases ever. Just look at the artwork: doesn't that say more than enough?
Genre: Psychedelic Funeral Doom
|The Angelic Process - Weighing Souls With Sand|
Ecstasy, fear, madness, insanity, bliss. And lava. Those are the keywords for The Angelic Process' "Weighing Souls With Sand", an album by today's very own sirens. Lava because the massively distorted guitars will through up such huge waves of red-hot drone that you'll envision yourself flowing down an erupting volcano in a stream of scorching but amazingly colourful lava. No album can match this one in terms of colour palette. But that is not all. What's more is that this album contains one of the most intense expressive vocals of all time. Ecstatic, frightening, maddened, insane and blissful - and at all times clean and pure. All in all an overwhelming release of massive proportions, this will stun you by its serene and utter beauty. Breathtaking.
Genre: "Volcanic" Drone Doom
|Urfaust - Geist Ist Teufel|
Urfaust is a Dutch band and probably some of the most original Black metal you'll ever hear. Perhaps this is the little odd beast of the entire bunch, but that does not make it any less good. The most minimalistic of drumming and guitars and a dull production are not the most attractive features, and neither is the vocalist with his off-key wailing. But this is actually good. The instrumentation is basic but sets the mood as such and the vocalist - well, the vocalist is just dancing around a campfire at night, with the white foam of madness on his lips, singing his ungodly songs of worship. Pierce through the bad first impression and join the ecstatic dance.
Genre: Black Metal
|Mayhem - Ordo Ad Chao|
"Ordo Ad Chao" is a wicked beast, from an unusual band. You all know the stories and rumours and you all know about the bands experimental but often not well-received past. Well, now they seem to have finally found exactly that sound which they were looking for and the band re-establishes itself as visionary musicians. "Ordo Ad Chao" is a thick, schizophrenic, dark and far from usual album with more progression in it then Dream Theater could ever hope for. Journey through the dark corners of the mind of a wicked genius and discover things that would be best kept in the dark forever.
Genre: "Psychotic" Black Metal
SPACE & EMPTINESS
|Darkspace - III|
On their third album, the elusive Darkspace perfectly combined the dense speed of the first album and the astral ambience of the second, creating a perfect journey through the cold, dark void. Darkspace is this: penetrating screams of a poor soul that has his legs on one end of the universe and his head on the other, with both arms in wormholes, drawn and quartered on a whole new level. Guitar riffs that rage through the void with twice the speed of light. Lead guitars of sweeping, melodic beauty. Astral keys of cosmic cold. And the wall, the unimaginable border, the cosmic maelstrom that forms the edge of the universe, where time and fabric is ripped and lost souls suffer their eternal torment. Everything about this album is cold, dark and empty. Put this on and experience utter emptiness.
Genre: "Void" Black Metal
|Hlidolf - V01D|
Hlidolf - brainchild of Vidar Ermesjø - is minimalism at its most minimalistic. Only the most basic sounds are used here, namely deep drones and ever changing, slow keyboard patterns. That's all there is to it. For the full seventy minutes, Hlidolf drones away in slow-motion, without build-ups or other bullshit. No, this is what the void sounds like and you can like it or leave. All senses off, all brain activity ceased. Nothing.
Genre: "Void" Drone
|Uncertainty Principle - Distant|
"Distant" is the only imaginable title for this album by Uncertainty Principle, except maybe "alien". A drone/noise attack of utter grey evokes visions of alien planets, eerie inhabitants, the confusion of ungraspable noises, the overwhelming powerlessness of sensing the hostile vibe in the air, without being able to do something about it. Chaos and fear. Drone, Noise, Funeral Doom, Ambient. Perhaps we should still wait before we venture into space...
DRUGS, DEPRESSION & DECLINE
|Shining - The Eerie Cold|
Shining, the vehicle on which the dark soul Kvarforth races through life, is the ultimate embodiment of hateful depression and suicidal adrenaline. "The Eerie Cold" is their masterpiece so far and a professionally executed Black metal adrenaline shot. Kvarforth tears his soul out in his vocals while the rest of the band lays down powerful, sometimes bluesy riffs and top-notch drumming. Depression and self-loathing are celebrated issues on this album, but are not allowed to fully manifest themselves until everyone else is mentally destroyed! Kvarforth wants you down and he'll do everything to achieve that, but you have the choice: run away now or revel in drug-infested misanthropy. What's it going to be?
Genre: "Suicidal" Black Metal
|Diapsiquir - Virus STN|
Diapsiquir. With their extremely chaotic music, these guys take the sickness far. Very far. With their own modern Satanism, worshipping Satan through drugs, they embody the moral decline of Western society"Virus STN" is a hymn to this downfall, the cry of the outcasts of our society, that sought their redemption in drugs, misanthropy and the thrill of crime and vile sex. In nine tracks they present over a million different musical ideas and praise drugs, decline, lust and pedophilia. If you want to take a look into the mind of a drugged up, mentally unstable psychopath, go for it. Open up and let the urban filth wash through your veins.
Genre: "Psychopathic" Black metal
|Acid Bath - When The Kite String Pops|
Acid Bath are the masters of bluesy Sludge and together with their more fucked-off brothers Eyehategod the originators of Sludge. "When The Kite String Pops" is their début and masterpiece and will blow your mind. Delicious sludgy heavy riffing, Dax' penetrating screams and emotional clean vocals, fucked off lyrics from the inside of a serial-killer, this is a killer album. Tracks like "Jezebel", "Dr. Seuss Is Dead" and "Scream Of The Butterfly" will have you addicted and craving for more in no time. Black Sabbath with Louisiana blues and filth, awesome!
Genre: Sludge Doom
Obviously none of these albums are easy-listening material. Most will require a lot of work to get into the vibe of the music, but I can assure you each and every one of them is worth the effort. Also note that most of the albums are suitable for more than one "category" and the division may not be a hundred percent perfect, but they are only meant as a fun addition. Of course this is not all there is. Nor have I mentioned all "must haves" concerning some genres. If I were to do that, this blog would never end and you would never get the chance to check some of it out.
Most of these albums have a more in-depth review on this website, either by me or by one of my colleagues. This article only serves as an introduction to the special genre of "sick" music, to which all of these bands more or less belong to. I've tried sparking your interest, now use the internet to your own advance, and do some research on what sounds interesting. If you can't enjoy any of this, know, this is only for the sick.
Welcome to my nightmare...
||Written on 21.01.2009 by If you're interested in extreme, often emotional and underground music, check out my reviews. I retired from reviewing, but I really used to be into that stuff.|
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