Sweet Release: Buioingola – Il Nuovo Mare (3/31/17)

Yes, that is a real band name. And yes, I’m excited for it. You should be, too — and not just so you can tout your ability to pronounce “Buioingola.” No, I can’t pronounce it, but I can spell it, something their label can’t even do:

Text from Sentient Ruins' Bandcamp, where the band name "Buioingola" is misspelled "Buiongola."
‘I’ after ‘e’ except after ‘bui.’

All my shithead pedantics aside, what do we make of the music?

Cvlt Nation calls ’em “darkwave/doom-crust,” which is arguably a better band name than “Buioingola” (okay, I promise I’ll stop). But I’m not quite sure if the two songs I’ve heard fit into such a strict genre definition. And I’ll admit, I don’t hear a lot of the Amebix influence in the few tracks I’ve heard, but my familiarity with punk and its myriad rebellious offspring is still rudimentary at best, so that could end up being anything.

But what I do hear is this: throaty yells and mid-tempo blast beats sandwiching dissonant distorted guitars on “Latenza” that swirl together in a stormy whirlpool of pain or angst or conflict or… something. Fuzzy bass notes punch through on “Silenzio” like a right hook from Cookie Monster, while the band’s darker side enshrouds the air. I found it difficult to breathe by its end.

Album art for Buioingola's Il Nuovo Mare.


I’ll admit I’m not crazy about the vocals (the glottal cleans in “Latenza” had me furrowing my brow at first), and they deviate pretty far from the usual blackened-everything far I’ve been listening to these days. But the songwriting is there. Buioingola has an aura of weirdness that, for all the odd genre stir fry they’ve got going on, doesn’t quite explain why I find their music so alluring. I’m looking forward to finding out why in a couple days when it releases on the 31st.

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=3655496022 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]

Sweet Release: Fen – Winter (3/10/17)

I feel like I’ll start slobbering at the mere mention of anything black metal these days. It’s only when I actually listen to what’s on offer that I find the blackened bits too charred — or worse, not blackened enough. For me, a lot of atmospheric black metal tends to underwhelm by falling into the former (although there are recent exceptions), where I feel like there’s simply too much ground being retread. It’s enough to make me dizzy from seeing all the same footsteps.

And that’s when I found myself up to the knees in Fen.

Album art for Fen's 2017 release, Winter.

I’ll admit I felt apprehensive about the 17-minute duration of “I (Pathway),” the premiere song; if it were a mucky, grimy mire of a track, I knew I’d be stuck. But from its first opening notes, I felt heartened that this wasn’t going to be a weary, colossal blast-fest like I was expecting.

For one, Fen’s familiar territory seems to lie in other genres, with phlegmy, swamp witch vocals stewing together with bright prog-rock riffs. For a whopper of a song, there’s very little in it that’s traditionally black metal (which, if you’ll recall from my intro, is something I should be worried about), but the standout parts that are there work together and sound so fresh to me that I’m willing to allow myself to be entranced. Now I’m just following will-o-wisps deeper and deeper into the muck.

I’ll admit I’m still a little doubtful. I don’t know how long the other tracks are on Winter, but if “I (Pathway)” is any indication, I can expect to ensure my stay with Fen to be a lengthy one. Long songs are a hard sell for me, even for bands I know I can count on, so I’m taking a leap of faith here. But then again, I’ve been wrong there too. But believe me — I predict Winter will be a swamp I’m going to dip my toes into, get settled, and then become completely submerged.

Sweet Release: Sunless – Urraca (2/24)

Technical death metal rarely grabs me the way other genres do. Maybe I just feel like bands are only capable of following two trajectories: One, where every song devolves into an incomprehensibly obnoxious shred-fest, and… okay, one trajectory.

But apparently tech death has a lesser known route, at least among the roads I travel. It’s one that leads me into a bright and glorious future where tech death and I ride off into the sunset together… except this is where the metaphor turns to shit because I’m talking about a band named Sunless.

Album art for Urraca by Sunless.

I think this Twin Cities tech death trio appeals to me because they have little of the typical razzle-dazzle charm I’m used to hearing. The two tracks I’ve heard off the upcoming Urraca sound dirty, like they’ve just been pulled up from the vegetable garden, and goddamn they’re good enough to eat, as is. They have this organic, jammy nature to them, but they’re pulled off with what seems to be a skyscraping amount of premeditated skill. Winging it, Sunless ain’t.

Where most tech death bands seem to want to blow me away with notes or bend my mind with odd-time signatures, Sunless has an opportunity to make a real impression here. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but I feel like they’re in this weird middle ground in tech death between “you can’t even dream of playing these notes, you little shit” and “try to wrap your mind around this one, you neanderthal.” But Sunless only seems hard to follow until they all start playing, and then they make a special sort of sense? I don’t like that either, but that’s the only way I can explain how much I’m eagerly anticipating the 24th of February release of Urraca.

Who knows — maybe the whole thing’ll be techy gobbledygook after all, and I’ll feel justified in my ignorance. But I want to believe, Scully. And I’ve heard too much discordant grooving in these songs to convince myself otherwise.