2015-04-01

Music Review : Dodheimsgard – A Umbra Omega (2015)


 
Music Review : Dodheimsgard – A Umbra Omega (2015)

In the early to mid 1990’s a bunch of Norwegian musicians were a part of the rise of the second wave of black metal, one of the most infamous genre in music history. Of this bunch many disappeared after a few years but those who stayed were representing the true spirit of the genre (Mayhem, Emperor, DarkThrone) or they managed to take the visibility and noise to raise to bigger aspirations (Ulver, Arcturus) but few managed to be cult or kvlt and evolve as avant-garde musicians.

Dodheimsgard with their first two albums playing straight up black metal later explored industrial music and now a sort of avant-garde, jazzy, black metal. Playing on different fields with great talent and no compromise of vocals variations, multi instruments that are not from the purest tradition of black metal.

So far, in 2015 no record has been as challenging and as ambitious as A Umbra Omega. It plays as if someone was taking a condensed class of contemporary music and bring it into a food mixer and then patch it back together while on heavy drugs. At times it is a disparate patchwork of music textures, feelings, and conventions. In A Umbra Omega there are no conventions and as progressive and ground breaking as Ved Buens Ende was in the late 1990’s, Dodheimsgard elevates the bar to infinity. Except from Ihsahn’s Eremita on some level, I don’t think I’ve ever listened to an album as complete, beautiful in its ugliness, and formidable.

Surprisingly as it can be, I am not a huge fan of avant-garde artists and I am eager to check them but without any preconceptions. A Umbra Omega is a true revelation to me just as Old Man’s Gloom’s dual album The Ape of God was one to me last year.

9.3

2015-03-31

Music Review : Enslaved – In Times (2015)



Music Review : Enslaved – In Times (2015)

Coming from a string of acclaimed albums from Below the Lights , ISA, Ruun, Vertebrae, Axioma Ethica Odini, and RIITIIR, the Norwegian progressive black metal masters of Enslaved have put in front their rock influences like Rush, Pink Flolyd and Led Zeppelin.

With In Times, Enslaved are going another step forward into melodic rock and retaining the rage and violence of their original genre. It is a catchy album that without Grutle’s growl would have made a noticeable prog rock product. Not that it is a bad thing or not enjoyable either. But, as far as I am an early fan of Enslaved and I’ve followed and appreciated each and every record they did, I feel a bit tired of the formula and I would rank Below the Lights as their masterpiece and then the later albums slowly decreasing in originality and inspiration.

Some would say that as the guys in the band get older they get softer and turn back onto their early influences. It is, in fact, not a wrong proposition but a very dull one as to say that they don’t make them like Mardraum anymore.

Finally, In Times is far from a complete mess but just the continuity of the slow fall of Enslaved from the aforementioned Below the Lights into the boredom of average albums.
6.5

2015-03-30

Music Review : Melechesh – Enki (2015)


Music Review : Melechesh – Enki (2015)

Mostly known for being one of the most important Extreme Metal band coming from Israel, Melechesh who deported themselves in the Netherlands a few years ago claim to be playing Assyrian Metal mixing some elements of black, death, and middle eastern sonorities. In fact, they play a melodic extreme metal with some elements of orient music. However, never pushing it as Nile would go and introduce instrucments from the middle East or as great and meditative as OM.

With globalization, music and in this case metal has been all over the world and many bands from around the world have done many times the entire globe. With Global Metal, Scott McFayden and Sam Dunn have traveled and documented the genre in the most incongruous place on Earth. So this is no more a surprise when a band like Melechesh releases an album. Borders are now a simple label but music is now universal.

With Enki, the follow up to the celebrated 2010 release of The Epigenesis, which is by the way an average album that is not as ground breaking as many claimed. Well, Enki suffers even more from the comparison to its predecessor and from the many praises. This is an easy album to get into because it touches many paths that have been touched before. It sounds like a numeric version of early Keep of Kalessin that is too well produced and that lacks a deep that could elevate it from the average records.

I must admit that I am sure this is a crowd pleaser with its melodic guitars, nice drum parts, and the semi-guttural semi-clean vocals. Repeat listens don’t make this a better album unlike the dual records of Old Man Gloom for example.

It is too much a generic album that is inspired by classic metal and is far from being avant-garde or ground breaking. I guess that if you liked The Epigenesis you’ll be quite satisfied with the same formulaic offer that is Enki.
5.8
 

2015-03-27

The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz


The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz (Luis Bunuel, 1955)

The delirious journey of a mental disordered man, who is obsessed in making the perfect crime.

Another film from Luis Bunuel’s Mexican period, The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz, works on many recurrent themes of the director’s filmography with the use of dreamt or fantasized sequences, sexual provocation and its politics, and freudian elements of childhood traumas.

As with Bunuel’s other films of this era, this is a visually interesting film with sumptuous camera movements, and an imagery of suggestive sexual elements. With its overture with the death of the governess and the revealing of her legs you have everything that you need to know about this film. The suggestion that Archibaldo de la Cruz desires death to women and links it with sexual desire. Since that movie was made in 1955 it is easily readable as the choices to suggest sexual desire and not attribute the deaths to Archibaldo was to represent a repress sexual desire but also to respect some censorship rules. In fact, the movie is much more efficient in its representation of sexuality and the imaginary criminal life of its subject.

This is a deep film in its meanings and sadly a lesser known film in the vast filmography of its director. Sure it is not as important as Los Olvidados in his Mexican period, but The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz is essential as to its use of many surrealist elements like the mirrors and Bunuel’s foot fetish.

On my main reference list as a movie watching goal, this is the lowest ranked film in the Bunuel selection. However, this is one of the most underrated and this surpasses many titles that don’t even deserve their spot on the list. Sure it is not as celebrated as Un chien andalou or The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie but I believe that once a cinephile starts digging deeper into a cinéaste he must get into the lesser known titles and discover the director’s films as a whole.

Coming soon in my Bunuel reviews; El (1952) and The Exterminating Angel both also from his Mexican period. I’ll also try to get my hands on his most virulent punch in the face of religion Simon of the Desert and the last title I’ll have to watch will be Tristana that never really interested me.

2015-03-26

Link: Editors Guild Selects 75 Best Edited Films of All Time

Here is a list of the 10 best edited films of all time from Rope of Silicon's list of the 75 best edited films of all time.


  1. Raging Bull (Thelma Schoonmaker, 1980)
  2. Citizen Kane (Robert Wise, 1941)
  3. Apocalypse Now (Lisa Fruchtman, Gerald B. Greenberg, Walter Murch, 1979)
  4. All That Jazz (Alan Heim, 1979)
  5. Bonnie and Clyde (Dede Allen, 1967)
  6. The Godfather (William H. Reynolds, Peter Zinner, 1972)
  7. Lawrence of Arabia (Anne V. Coates, 1962)
  8. Jaws (Verna Fields, 1975)
  9. JFK (Pietro Scalia, Joe Hutshing, 1991)
  10. The French Connection (Gerald B. Greenberg, 1971)
What do you think of this list? Should a montage be visible or invisible to be more efficient?

2015-03-25

Catching on 2014 Music : Young and in the Way – When Life Comes to Death (2014)


Music Review : Young and in the Way – When Life Comes to Death (2014)

Formed in Charlotte, North Carolina, YAITW are a blackened crust punk band or a crust punk band playing black metal. In fact, they are using various elements of each genre to form their own particular sound.

As one would have guessed it this makes it for a very aggressive album and a very somber used of many themes like the title Whe


n Life Comes to Death
would suggest. With songs like Fuck This Life, Be My Blood, We Are Nothing, Final Dose, and Embrace Extinction don’t expect any joie de vivre. The revolving of those themes reminds of old school punk  and makes it for a very homogenous record. Surprisingly, this is somewhat of an accessible piece for fans of each genre because of the easy mingle between crust punk and black metal and the opened path by the recent releases of the legendary Norwegians of DarkThrone.


Finally, since this is a crossover of two hermetic genres, When Life Comes to Death reminds us how bands that mix many genres like the finnish power/black/heavy metallers of Children of Bodom have gained many non-metal fans or non-fans of each genre to rally and be the poster boys of metal, well YAITW despite their dangerous attitude are kind of giving a similar message of entry into the genres but not completely immersing into the core of both of the infamous music.
6.0
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