Every day, blows by in a world of corrupt addiction …

•October 8, 2014 • 11 Comments

The extreme busyness of Bindrune has done much to stymie the flow of Worm Gear words to you, our dear readers, but though we must necessarily divert after-day-job attentions elsewhere time to time, we shall always return to the discussion of the extreme sounds that motivate us all. That said, let us skip past any rambling long preamble and get right to the reviews. Please post your playlists, and also let us know what experiences you’ve been up to in the past month of our absence!

Jim Clifton Playlist
Death – Spiritual Healing LP re-issue
Dissection – The Somberlain
Diskord – Oscillations
Falls of Rauros – Believe in No Coming Shore
Panopticon – Roads to the North
Bathory – Blood Fire Death
Bathory – Under the Sign of the Black Mark
Evoken – Atra Mors
Destruction – Release from Agony
Adramalech – Psychostasia

Marty Rytkonen Playlist
Falls of Rauros – Believe in No Coming Shore
Nechochwen – OtO
Witherscape – The Inheritance
Obsidian Tongue – A Nest of Ravens in the Throat of Time
Lost Horizon – A Flame to the Ground Beneath
At The Gates – The Red in the Sky is Ours
At The Gates – With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness
In Flames – The Jester Race
Dan Swano – Moontower
Ac/DC – Powerage

Ellorsith – 1959

•October 8, 2014 • Leave a Comment

EllorWith the tens of thousands of extreme metal bands throughout the world vying for attention, and most of these staking claim on the often-tried and ever-trve topics of Satan and related ephemera, the added difficulty of garnering interest by means of subject matter, as well as the ongoing need to do so by music itself, cannot be often overcome by those trying their hands at black/death art. Where many fail, Ellorsith succeed, taking as their lyrical focus the Dyatlov Pass Incident, in which nine skiing hikers perished under “mysterious” circumstances forty-five years ago (read more about that here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2401175/Dyatlov-Pass-Indicent-slaughtered-hikers-Siberias-Death-Mountain-1959.html). Ellorsith do justice to their chosen concept with a black/death evocation of cold and loss, with disharmonic, openly strummed riffs providing the perfect backdrop for sound-based hallucinations of negative temperatures and frozen extremities. Occasional palm-mutes break up the swarming blizzard of riffs so that the listener never falls prey to a drooling drone, and surprisingly tasteful, forlorn leadwork capture the despair of the doomed students as they come face-to-face with their killer/killers, natural and unnatural alike. Augmenting the atmosphere is 1959’s perfectly-wrought lofi production, skilled drumwork and bending basslines of pure death. And all the while, the Yeti death-bark of this Scotland, UK quartet’s vocalist relates the intriguing story through four tracks (five counting the appropriately disquieting intro) across varying tempo and tides of terror, interspersed by a choir chant and the creeping, crying words of some arcane priest which pepper Ellorsith’s frozen admonitions of sound with a dissemination of Russian supernatural legend.
Though little is known about this new band, their debut cassette on the high-quality Caligari Records has done exceedingly well (sold-out for now). Pick it up on bandcamp. Disturbing and dark-world-building composition at its finest. –Jim

Caligari Records

Mare Cognitum – Phobos Monolith

•October 8, 2014 • 2 Comments

MareCogAfter experiencing and re-experiencing again and again the amazing 2013 Sol collaboration between Mare Cognitum and Spectral Lore, I expected Mare Cognitum’s follow-up to be the musical equivalent of terra-forming, and it does not disappoint. From the opening/ominous keyboards that rise from the space between stars, to the densely-layered choir of guitar lines and riffs that take your mind by the hand and pull you into an astral plane by the means of noise-canceling headphones, you will know a scant two minutes into this wonderwork that what lies before you can be classified as black metal high art. Moreover, Phobos Monolith stands (like my placement of the aforementioned Sol last year) as one of 2014’s best extreme metal releases. Thus, out of sunny Santa Ana, California cometh once again the dark musical vehicle of Jacob Buczarski, the singular talent behind this, Mare Cognitum’s third full-length release. Through unrelenting drums, droning yet harmonious black metal riffs with death metal underpinnings and Jacob’s strangling throat, you have adequate propellant to take you closer to a cosmic genesis than you ever have before. But make no mistake – this is much more than a contemplative glide to the far reaches of the Universe. Phobos Monolith launches you as you’d expect a starship actually would: excoriating, buffeting, jarring, and tearing you free from our familiar magnetic field with a unique combination of hyper-tempos and always combined melody/dissonance that never quite settles or unsettles in the ear; the music just forces your mind’s eye ever-forward, attentive to the glorious riffery and awe-imbued arrangements that await you. Mare Cognitum’s assault isn’t without some mercy, however; on ‘Nuomenon’ an interstellar aural play of the broadest kind brings through an array of emotion as widely-varied as the disparate, Ouroborous-like guitars could possibly have the capability to display. But the whirling, death metal dervish of ‘Ephemeral Eternities’ comes quickly thereafter, again firing forth from the speakers with enough zeal to break anyone out of any elliptical orbit of contentment.
There are moments when I fear Metal is coming close to saying all it can say, and bemused I find myself returning for long periods to albums past for the feeling of that old spark of depth and ingenuity. But then albums like Phobos Monolith – though rare – are found, always waiting around Art’s corner, ready to restore my faith in this music stemming from the shadow-side of existence, this music that resonates, and will do so, always. -Jim

I, Voidhanger

You are not what you own

•August 20, 2014 • 3 Comments

Happy Wednesday friends! 2 new reviews this week for something new to ponder. 2 things this week. First the topic. “You are not what you own” so poignantly penned on Fugazi’s Repeater. A statement against consumerism that rings true as a harsh reality. As I listened to that album this evening and heard that chorus, it made me think about my music collection and how I value it. I have been a metal collector since my teens. Unapologetic. I find buying new music to be comforting and possessing a big collection to be rewarding when sharing with friends. It made me think about being a metalhead… again… unapologetic till the end, but Ian MacKaye made me think about the things I have surrounded myself with. Does it define me? Does it define you?

Secondly… Some of you may know that I own/run/co-own Bindrune and Eihwaz Recordings with fellow Worm overlord, Jim Clifton.

Last week we launched a free/donate what you want compilation via bandcamp featuring new and relatively new tracks from many talented artists on both labels’ growing rosters. This also includes a non album/exclusive track by Nechochwen. A lot of good stuff here for you to check out and I’d like to take this moment to encourage all of you to go stream the comp and download it if you like. Our gift to all of you. Thanks for the support!

Until next time, share your thoughts and your playlists! Take care. -Marty

Jim Clifton
Brimstone Coven – s/t
Falls of Rauros – Believe in No Coming Shore
Endlichkeit III–V
Horrendous – Ecdysis
Dissection – Storm of the Light’s Bane
Possessed – Seven Churches
Motorhead – Bomber
Horn – Naturmacht
Bolt Thrower – For Victory
Darkthrone – Plaguewielder

Marty Rytkonen Playlist
Untamed and Eternal (Bindrune Compilation)
Ulver – Vargnatt
Ulver – Bergtatt
Ulver – Natten Madrigal
Algaion -Oimai Algeiou (thanks for the reminder Unaerth! Haven’t spun these guys in some time. Was a nice reminder how awesome they are!)
Algaion – Vox Clamentis
Falls of Rauros – Believe in No Coming Shore
Fugazi – Repeater
Brimstone Coven – S/T
Vallenfyre – Splinters

Act of Impalement – Echoes of Wrath / Hyperborean Altar (demo compilation)

•August 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment

ActOfImpalement (200x200)Caligari Records continues its cassette assault upon the underground with a demo compilation from Nashville, Tennesee’s Act of Impalement, a trio with ears open to what has worked in doom/death’s slow-to-mid-paced past and the minds to lash it all together effectively for the present. Imagine a ‘Morbid Tales’-era Tom Warrior employing a Boss HM-2 instead of a tube screamer over-drive pedal, and you’ll get an idea of not only the thick and persistent guitar tone, but also the well-worn songwriting style that hasn’t lost its decayed-flesh luster over the last three decades. Act of Impalement aren’t writing new manuals for the modern extreme metal minion to find guidance, but that’s just fine; the band’s amalgam of early Celtic Frost/Hellhammer (heard somewhat more on ‘Hyperborean Altar’) and ‘90s OSDM remains infectious and engaging throughout both sides of the tape. ‘Teutoburg Forest’ will blissfully carry those in the know back ‘To Mega Therion’s more nightmarish, slow doom-ridden moments, with bends and fourths a-plenty augmenting the evil pouring forth from your speakers, while the latter half of opening track ‘Echoes of War’ has the sound of a baked-in-the-sun ‘Left Hand Path’ LP. All the while, vocalist Dark Druid’s blend of LG Petrov cadence, NYDM-style low roars, and the throat-shredding capabilities of a young John Tardy keep the dirges moving along with an intensity that matches, and in some moments even surpasses some of their blast-beating brethren. A worthy addition to your rectangle-shaped physical audio collection. -Jim

Caligari Records

Woodtemple – Forgotten Pride

•August 20, 2014 • 1 Comment

woodtempleI’ve had a love hate relationship with Woodtemple since this project first surfaced in 1998. On one hand, I love Aramath’s lofty vision for the music he creates. Synthetic choirs, voice synth tones and generally a fair amount of atmosphere permeates all of his releases (Sorrow of the Wind being my favorite), but the reality remaining on the other hand, is the fact he has been crushing hard on Rob Darken musically, ideologically and just about in every other aspect you can imagine since this project began. Aramath is essentially Darken’s winter-swept Krampus when it’s time to Larp it up. They practice their sword moves together. They are the stoic warrior duo in their pagan metal selfie time. Hell, they probably complete each others sentences by now. It’s actually quite cute. So it’s no surprise that Woodtemple’s affinity for the Graveland musical aesthetic remains unfaltering on Forgotten Pride, Aramath’s 5th album.

One typically gives a band a bit of leeway when it comes to their early works. OK… this sounds like Graveland. No problem. He’ll figure it out and move on. As Woodtemple’s journey unfolds, instead of figuring it out and finding his own voice, Aramath has actually fallen deeper into his Graveland worship. Instead of hearing what’s going on and saying, “Cool bro. I appreciate the sonic high five, but you’re kinda cheapening my buzz”, Darken joins the band. Even though he’s not in the pic that accompanied this promo, he has had a hand in shaping this material. The plodding drums sound kinda real, but the atypical programming gives it away as being fake, acting more as an ongoing guitar riff than a time keeper, mirroring the 2nd half of Darken’s post Capricornus musical career verbatim. The riffs are airy and barren, buzzing forth just the right combination of melody, triumph and war influenced black metal ala that Viking era Bathory nod of respect. It does all work together quite well, other than the production on Forgotten Pride is too clean and it restricts the instruments from uniting in a distorted nebulous fury that really needs to be there to help this material and sound gel. The harshest element in this music is Aramanth’s blazing hell vocals, which find a slightly higher register to dominate, though simply sound like a younger Darken screaming out on classics like In the Glare of The Burning Church or Celtic Winter. As the album plods on, the lack of variation becomes tiring and “heard it all before” because yes … you fucking have! Repeatedly!

The bottom line is, I tend to tolerate, and at times have even liked Woodtemple, because I really enjoy Graveland. Sure there may be a veiled and minute compliment in there somewhere, but the fact that this project refuses to accept its influences and evolve with a more individualistic voice all his own, is really quite sad. Forgotten Pride is about as close of a clone to Graveland as you’re going to get, but the quality of this material isn’t as proud of a statement, or dense, or vibrant as Graveland. Let the pagan metal completists have their fun with this one, but count me out of the collector mentality from here on out when it comes to Woodtemple – unless he can come back with more conviction or something that at least tries to stand on it’s own merit. -Marty

Sacrilege Records


Until only ashes circle around the moon

•August 13, 2014 • 5 Comments

Back in the Worm Gear haven, away from the autumn winds already returning after this short and cold summer, worn down in mind and body from the past few months of toil in the crunch months of a tourist economy, anticipating a few more hours of sleep, and all I can do at this moment is appreciate this quiet moment to discuss and listen to music I love with good friends. If we have a question for you this week, it’s this: What’s the real value of this music to you? What does it help you deal with? How does it inspire you? Is it something that brings you together with others, provides a private moment for contemplation or escape, or some combination? Let us know, and thanks for reading. -Jake

Jake Moran Playlist
Tempestuous Fall – The Stars Would Not Awake You
Blood and Sun – White Storms Fall
Endlichkeit – I-II
Endlichkeit – III-V
Grouper – Hold / Sick
Obsequiae – Demo
Unwilling Flesh – Between the Living and the Dead (promo)
Gehenna – First Spell
Hades – Alone Walkyng
Katatonia – Dance of December Souls

Jim Clifton Playlist
Spectral Lore/Nachtreich – The Quivering Lights split LP (pre-master)
Coldfells – s/t (demo)
Dead Register – TRVNS BLVK (demo)
Agalloch – The Serpent & The Sphere
Shards of Humanity – Fractured Frequencies
Loudblast – Burial Ground
Darkest Era – Severance
A Tribe Called Quest – Anthology
Blaze Foley – The Dawg Years (1975-1978)
Reverorum ib Malacht – De Mysteriis Dom Christii

Marty Rytkonen PLaylist
Brimstone Coven – S/T
Horrendous – Ecdysis
Unwilling Flesh – Between the Living and the Dead
My Dying Bride – As The Flower Withers
My Dying Bride – A Map of All our Failures
Falls of Rauros – Believe in no Coming Shore
Nachtreich/Spectral Lore – The Quivering Lights Split LP pre-master
White Medal – Yorkshire Steel
White Medal – Guthmers Hahl
Wodensthrone – Curse


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