kacunk's Profile on Ping.sg Paradise Of Black Metal: January 2010

HOW TO DOWNLOAD

Click on the title do you want to download, then an advertise on screen, find 'SKIP ADS' on top right of your display.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Nightbringer Album 'Apocalypse Sun', 'ON THE POWERS OF THE SPHINX' Split, and 3 New Tracks

The first three tracks from Nightbringers' upcoming album 'Apocalypse Sun' can now be heard on their Myspace. The album will be released by Avantgarde Music in Europe and AJNA Offensive in America later this year. The band are currently fixing minor details regarding artwork and layout, and we should soon have another killer release from this insanely high quality US outfit. Click here for a recent interview with Nightbringer for the Fenrir journal of the satanism and the sinister. Stay tuned for updates!

Tentative tracklisting:
1. I am I
2. Supplication before the Throne of Tehom
3. Serpent of the Midnight Sun
4. Upturning the Seventh Chalice
5. Excitium- Litany of the Devouring Earth
6. Goblet of Sulfur and Poison
7.The Coils of Sevekh
8. Nephal- the Seat of Pan-Daimonium
9. The utterance of Kasabe'l
10. Fount of the Nighted God-head

Nightbringer Myspace page
AJNA Offensive


In the meantime, the 4 way split LP featuring Nightbringer, Aluk Todolo, Nihil Nocturne and Saturnalia Temple, entitled 'ON THE POWERS OF THE SPHINX' is officially out now through the Ajna Offensive (US) and Noevdia (EU).

Mount Eerie - Wind's Poem (2009)

For Mount Eerie, whose 3rd album - 'Wind's Poem', has a self proclaimed affinity for the work of Xasthur and the Black Metal movement in general, as well as influence from David Lynch's seminal Twin Peaks series, my interest has just about piqued. And indeed, here we do find fast, double bass drum work layered over fuzzy guitars, coupled with the occasional sample straight out of Angelo Badalamenti's work on the Twin Peaks OST (see my other post here)...on some tracks. Yet, all these similarities that Phil Elverum seems hellbent on making us aware of never detract from the individual feel of the album in question. More haunting synth and gentile guitar work that hovers closer to 'Indie Folk' and ever further away from 'Black Metal' and Mr. Badalamenti's dream pop funeral march love songs. Songs sing about change, destruction, mortality, endearment, impermanence. Too much distortion and too much clarity. "Wind's Poem" also drifts back and forth between a 'dream world', where the wind screams about fleeting existence, and reality, standing on the street, wide awake, looking at the hills outside town, remembering. Give it a go!



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Religious Knives - It's After Dark (2008)

Religious Knives involves the amalgamation of 'Douple Leopards' and 'Mouthus', the bastard offspring of two experimental noise outfits that is in itself, decidedly different. Raw, psychedelic garage rock with haunting organs, eerily catchy chants and impeccable sound arrangements. Attempting comparisons to anything around at the moment would be a mistake. This is (as recently discovered) the perfect choice for a late night smoking session. If words are what we're using, then think psychedelic droned out hazy garage rock with organ work reminiscent of 'Sunset Mission' era Bohren, and vocal chants that seem far too familiar. You'll have these melodies in your head for weeks to come. So just don't say I didn't warn you.

A heavy summers day with a low, noxious heat and the familiar feel of bare feet on raw searing concrete. Thats pretty much how this album feels. Rhythm flows from skin-tight binary thumps all the way down to Sylvester Anfangesque ritual incantations, and this is why 'It's After Dark' is so good. You can literally lose yourself in the album, all the way through, and not be woken up until the very end of 'Noontime' where some sparse and incredibly stark organ arrangements wake you out of you meditated slumber. You can float over all the delicious melodies, finish up with the album, go to sleep, and find yourself humming the choral disparities of 'The Streets' by morning, not knowing where the fuck it came from. Also, departing from long ingrained stoner tendencies, pay attention to this album and you are greeted by a level of compositional skill and artistic integrity rarely enjoyed. This is music that gets under the skin. Its infectious. All I want to do is listen to it over and over.



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Religious Knives


Inquisition - Nefarious Dismal Orations (2007)

 

The record lable espouses 'NO COLOURS'. This rings true save for the smattering of blood red across an album cover that looks as if it could have been lifted straight from a catalogue of Wrest's tatoos. Musically, only the shades of black are invoked. If there is another hue it is only that same blood dripping upon the altar of the occult. Inquisition's last recorded album is their self-proclaimed '1000% metal' release and this is true to the nth degree, understandable though seeing as black metal has been a extreme vartiation on prior heavy metal subgenres since its dawning in the late '80s.

Power chords sprawl and meander all over the guitar neck with seemingly little effort on behalf of the musicians, at a speed that betrays Inquisition's origins as a thrash metal act. The vocals are stunning in their original sound, droning and ululating in a highly ritualistic manner. Due to a large recent intake of H.P. Lovecraft, I thought a good metaphor would be to liken them to 'a priest of Dagon reciting eldritch rites'... or something to that effect. After a quick glance at Inquisition's metal archives page however, I recalled that the guitarist/bassist/vocalist's stage name is indeed Dagon anyway, so... that's cool.

This is a really great record, though Inquisition's earlier releases also come highly recommended. Nefarious Dismal Orations seems to be a more straight-forward and aggressive take on their sound, straight-up top tier American Black Metal from the darkest depths of Colorado. As a good friend of mine, Bestie from Mother Dirt, told me once; 'This album never fails to make me frown'. Awesome.


1. Ancient Monumental War Hymn
2. Nocturnal Gatherings and wicked Rites
3. Strike of the Morning Star
4. Through the infinite Sphere our Majesty shall rise
5. Infernal Evocation of Torment
6. Where Darkness is Lord and Death the Beginning
7. Nefarious Dismal Orations
8. Enter the Cult
9. Before the Symbol of Satan we vow and praise

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Leopard Leg - The Seven Sistered Sea-Secret of Shh Shh Shh (2006) + Tour EP

Departing slightly from the usual theme of this here blog today I'm bringing you a band I was lucky enough to become aware of completely by accident when they were the supporting act at a gig way back in 2006.
The band, now defunct, comprised of about ten girls playing a massive assortment of instruments (including four differently equipped drum kits) and their ramshackle sound was hypnotic, their charismatic stage-presence mesmerising.


Ever since that day and the band's demise I have been thoroughly enraged by a slew of misogynistic comments on the internet regarding this band, so here I present the music to you, so that you can appreciate it for what it is and can dismiss the comments of the angry, pasty, women-haters as the bullshit they really are. 

 


*Bonus*
I also picked up one of their tour EPs, which doesn't seem to be around anywhere on the internet...but is now!

 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Burzum - Dunkelheit (Video)




The only video Burzum ever made and a reminder of one of the most trance-inducingly brilliant Black Metal tracks ever written. With the release of 'Belus' imminent (March 8th to be exact), we here at lurker, along with the rest of the underground, are eager to see what the count has up his sleeve. With claims like this; "I am aware of the black metal association with the name Burzum, and I have no real and serious problem with that, but I personally see no reason to place "Belus" in any category. I think "Belus" musically transcends all existing categories, but if I have to choose one - and for the sake of simplicity - I will simply place it in the metal category", we already feel like venturing out into the woods.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gris - Il Était une Forêt... (2007)

Canada has long maintained its own identity within the black metal scene. Majestic landscapes and everlasting winters bore the abomination of Blasphemy in 1984, sodden with the typical sonic attributes of only the most extreme and pummelling metal. It's been 25 years since Vinland first made a mark on the then immature black metal movement, 25 years since the storm started brewing. Now the eye has focussed upon the French-speaking enclave of Québec as its epicentre...

From the early days of Tenebrae and its metamorphosis into Frozen Shadows, to the modern terrain of Forteresse and Monarque, Québecois Black Metal is growing ever stronger, with a cohort of new young bands determined to preserve the area's ancient culture and folklore through their music.


Gris are very much a part of this improving scene, signed to the Sepulchral Productions label run by Frozen Shadow's Myrkhaal. Slower than most of their local counterparts and more 'Burzumic' in approach, Icare and Neptune speak only in cryptic allegory when asked about their main project. Gris is built on the principles of 'beauty and ugliness, black and white, love and hate and anything that is one... We're striving to fathom the depths and to find there a superior judgement of some kind. Take any old war photography, next to violence and desolation, you'll always find some hope and warm-hearted feeling. Gris is our way to convey those glimpses of truth.'

It's clear with this statement that Gris have already left a majority of the vacuous faux-satanism of regular bands choking on their dust. The acknowledgement of opposite concepts as being one is the basis of Gris' work. This duality can be seen on many levels within Il Était une Forêt.... Beautifully enunciated French vocals tread the fine veil between breaking down in utter despair and exploding in a gut-wrenching climax of unburdened joy. Musically, the dirge-like tempos drag you through a depression quite like no other, fixated on the beauty of life and death. Atmospheric synths carry the razorsharp guitars on an airy bed of ambience and neo-classical/folk influences are prevalent through the work, culminating in the wonderful instrumental piece of La Dryade. An inspiring and original logo design also reflects the project's dualist approach:


If you haven't heard this yet I'd be suprised, but we are here to provide a service to those of you who have not. The record was released to wide acclaim and since shedding their former monicker of Niflheim and the stereotypical black metal trappings associated with such a title they have made an evolutionary leap forwards into a challenging, conceptual entity. Icare and Neptune already know how Gris will end; six full lengths will be released, with the last being a double album. So open the first chapter of Gris' story, Il Était une Forêt... and await more brilliance to come.


1.Il Était une Forêt...
2 .Le Gala des Gens Heureux
3. Cicatrice
4. Veux-tu Danser?
5. Profonde Misanthropie
6. La Dryade


Pelican - Final Breath (Video)


This is the video for Final Breath, the single from Pelican's latest album, What We All Come to Need (2009). It's a welcome return to form for the sludge metal quartet, casting back to the heavier muddiness of their debut, Australasia (2003). The song is also Pelican's first to feature vocals and the accompanying video is stunning. Enjoy.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Volahn - Dimensiónes del Trance Kósmico (2009)


Imagine Nattens Madrigal and Bergtatt as the same album. Really nice arrangements and a great atmosphere, which is where this band differs and excels from the majority of 'Black Twilight Circle' projects that are TERRIBLE. Check out the live video as well, especially as the first real riff kicks in!

Live Video
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THE BLACK FUCKING FLAME!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

AZWAI - As Zeros We Are Infinite EP (2009) (Guest blog by Chris Grenville)


So here's another one of those posts where I attempt to promote a band of personal friends. Worry not, if they were shit I'd tell them they're shit and they wouldn't appear on this blog. However, this time round I'm going to let a friend write this one. Or rather I'm just copy-pasting straight from his blog, Segue. He is a true wordsmith and is in the process of scripting a comic book serial titled Hell's Own so go and peruse the literary goodies he's strewn across his little space on the web.

The band in question are AZWAI or Aszerosweareinfinite. You decide. I don't think the guys are all that assed about it. Anyway they're all sweethearts and number among my best of friends! As usual the download links are at the bottom of the post if it interests you. Without further ado, the words of Chris Grenville:

"It's a good feeling when something you've been working on for a long time comes to fruition. After months of hard slog for very little gain, you might finally feel as if it has all been worth it, and you can allow yourself a pat on the back and maybe a few drinks down the pub. For Malvern-based hardcore quartet AsZerosWeAreInfinite, or AZWAI as they are more colloquially known, that drink should be at least three fingers, and the hand should belong to a big sweaty gorilla.

You see, their self-titled EP was recorded over a year ago, but only now do you, the lucky public, get to sample the fruits of their labour.

The opener, 'A God By Any Other Name', kicks in with the lyrics “between my crooked teeth and self-prophesied lies, you will discover salvation for your ache”. This could be as much a comment from anybody who has found their way to the front of the stage during one of AZWAI's shows as it is about the actual subject, one Wayne Bent. Bent, also known as Michael Travesser, is the charismatic leader of the Lord Our Righteousness Church in New Mexico, a religious community who were featured in the Channel 4 Documentary 'The End of the World Cult'.

It's a belter of an opening track, driving home with the force of something big and forceful and un-clichéd as possible. You might be surprised that there is only one guitar at work here, as the entire band works hard to create a ferocious, full-bodied sound. Vocalist and lyricist Adam Murkin is great at taking a perspective and writing intelligently from it, no matter how bizarre or convoluted the perspective of that person might be. The clout with which he delivers his lines is unrelenting across the board, too, and conveys in part his mighty stage presence (both in front of and mid-crowd).

Next up is 'The Snakeskin Wedding Ring', which claims the crown for the longest track on the EP – marginally. And that's one of the great things about AZWAI's refined style. The tracks are long enough to have enough substance to hold your attention (I'm looking at you, Ampere), but aren't so long that the onslaught becomes wearing. I know that this will be a firm crowd favourite – enough breakdowns and catchy lines for them to really get into.

Closer '(Poor Syntax) I Am, and You' stands out as my favourite. I am still in awe as to how drummer Dan Taylor can manage as many stick-clacks in the space of a single second as he does to bring in this track, but this is by no means the highlight of the track. The influence of The Dillinger Escape Plan is clear from the outset, but it's no mere consummate rip-off: the guys know how to build on their influences, rather than rehashing existing songs.

The EP may only clock in at seven minutes and thirty-one seconds, but it's more than enough. It is an unrelenting juggernaut, devoid of unnecessary trimmings or lyrical waffle. Hear me; salvation is coming - and its name is AZWAI."

Cheers for that Chris. If you dig Dillinger, Converge, and other bands of that ilk, you'll dig this. You may even fall head-over-heels in love with it, which I hope you do. I can only wish the best for these guys, the talent and dedication to their art is all here in abundance. Long live Malvern Hardcore. For my previous post on my local music scene, head here for some filthy Mother Dirt.


1. God, By Any Other Name
2. Snakeskin In The Shape Of A Wedding Band
3. Poor Syntax

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Final - Infinite Guitar and Guitar & Bass Improvisations

Birmingham's Justin Broadrick has been a prolific force in underground music for over twenty five years now, having been a founding member of Napalm Death back in 1981 and ushering in a new sound in metal, since then his projects have been numerous and diverse, collaborating with artists from all over the world making strikingly different sounding music, his output has been consistent and innovative and independent of the commercial trappings the modern-day incarnation of Napalm Death embodies.

Before Justin introduced grindcore to the world, his first solo project Final was already in development and this incarnation of his music is still going today.

Incorporating aspects of his drone, ambient, electronic and shoe-gaze projects, Final has always been a less obvious, more subtle venture, rewarding total immersion and avoiding obvious anthemic release.

Whilst Final have always produced beautiful, lovingly crafted records, nothing seems to quite match the live experience.  A single hooded finger on stage, silhouetted by bright lights, Justin carries and mysterious and menacing stage presence without all pomposity and faux-grandeur employed by Sunn O))), whose speaker-rattling capabilities Final easily matches.  Overall, an engulfing experience difficult to capture on record.



The closest he comes to achieving this difficult task is strangely on his least-known and least-available recordings, the Infinite Guitar and Guitar & Bass Improvisations series.
On the three volumes of these two parallel threads, the focus is more on texture and presence, incorporating dissonance, reverberation and decay into mesmerising psychedelic episodes, capturing the best element of the live Final show.

These volumes are available below, and hopefully should whet your appetite until the opportunity arises to see Final live, which I cannot recommend too strongly.








Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rahu - Caput Draconis (2007) & Ride Of The Eight Black Seeds (2008)

Ululating, reverberating invokations from beyond the veil. Like your very own hallucinations deep into the astral realm. Journeying through the noumenal and piecing together the final elements of an ancient, forgotten knowledge. I bring you two self-released demos from Finnish Rahu, who write driving, lo-fi, melodious Black Metal that is a pleasure to listen to. The Vedic astrology and Hindu mythology influence fits surprisingly well, a welcome change from the vapid satanic wankery of today's scene. Musically, the demos follow the same suit, obombrating melodies all over the show. Ride Of The Black Seeds sees an advancement in production technique, but if you're listeneing to Black Metal for the production values and not the ideas then I don't want you on my blog. Both demos are fucking killer. The lyrics as cryptic as the imagery is mystic, I have high hopes they put their talented ideas to a full length. HERE, enjoy some mysticism in the form of word and sound, and then transcend.

Slash, whip
Stir, whirl
The renegade

Neelkant

Two, one
Four, seven
Forever and ever
Times of the leper

Magic potion
Vibrant motion
Ecstatic lust
Ultimate dusk

Two, one
Four, seven

Forever and ever
And then... Never!


Caput Draconis (2007)

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Ride Of The Eight Steeds (2008)

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Thee Kvlt Ov (((Ouroboros - Blvd (2006) & Demo 2007 - Rehearsalis Megatherion (2007)

Photo by Jana Miller

If there is one band in the world that has managed to seamlessly merge black metal, sludge, doom metal and drone I would have to concede to Thee Kvlt Ov (((Øurøbørøs. This Florida horde brings the best parts of all these subgenres together in a neat little package. The vocals would be comfortably at home in the most vile, malevolent sludge band while screaming bloodied lungs out atop a glacier in a frostbitten black metal band. A pounding rhythm section pulls the sludgey menace along like it weighs a megaton (which it does), hammering out at a rate slower than the blackest ov metal yet faster than your regular doom band. Thee Kvlt is so damn heavy they don't even need guitars. Or rather, they're so damn heavy because of forsaking guitars altogether in favour of a double bass guitar attack! 

Don't look at me like that, I too was skeptical after having heard a couple of bass-only bands in my time. The result of which is often just too noisey and fuzzy to garner any real enjoyment out of it. I now realise that those bands were horrifically sub-par. The use of bass here could fool the casual listener into thinking there's a very downtuned guitar in this nutritious sludge soup, but musically these guys are just plain on top of their game. Riffs are as flamboyant, melodic and complex as any guitar-led band and this bass-heavy sound forms a perfect sonic metaphor for the rumbling hooves of the apocalypse. I've uploaded their debut EP, Blvd and the follow up demo, Demo 2007 - Rehearsalis Megatherion for your delectation, the latter of which has a more drone/doom orientated sound with a few blackened sludge chops.

Plus, Blvd closes with a vastly superior cover of Blve Öyster Kvlt's (see what I did there?) Godzilla. Your dad may disagree however. How could you not download this!?

  

1. Corpvs Mysticvm Referedvm
2.  Gnosis Ov Thee Ancients
3.  Thee End (Is Nigh)
4.  Thee Horde Descends
5.  Godzilla (Blue Oyster Kvlt Cover)




1. Blaze In The Southern Sky / Doomed From Birth
2. A Serpentine Haiku
3. Crvshed Lvng (meditation I)
4. Black Cancer
5. Bvrned To Cinders
6. Shitt Distvrber (meditation II)
7. Thee Horde
8. Avra Ov Flame
9. Necrodvdial Chasms (ultimate warrior mix)
 10. Long Gone (Weedeater cover)
11. SmokeFogg (meditation III)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Mother Dirt - This is a totally flawed recording, make of it what you will (2009)


 

1. Belly Crawler
2. Tomb
3. Fallen
4. 5 Bar Prison Blues

"Mother Dirt have been a band since late 2008. In our own minds we sound like some kind of bastardised necro doom punk. Really that just translates into our songs being really fast or really slow. But never good.

MOTHER DIRT IS A RESULT OF TOO MANY LINE UP CHANGES, ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND A GENERAL LACK OF FAITH IN EVERYBODY AND EVERYTHING. FAST AS FUCK, LOUD AS FUCK, UNHOLY SONS OF BITCHES, FUCK YOU." - Mother Dirt on Mother Dirt (www.myspace.com/motherdirtband)

I live in the small and sleepy town of Malvern, Worcestershire where it nestles in the lush, green bossom of some really quite beautiful hills. It's a very nice place and I am without doubt priviledged to reside here. However, there must be something in the (Malvern) water as over the last 10 years the humble town has started churning out fucking livid band after fucking livid band, a couple of which I know personally and will endeavour to promote from this blog.

Mother Dirt are one of these bands. In fact, I won't hesitate to say that they are one of the meanest, dirtiest, horrible bands that I have ever heard, let alone from our town! And I mean all this in the most awesome way possible. If you glanced at the above quotation you probably have some idea where they're coming from before you've even heard the music. Their debut demo is utterly soaked in this seething, uncompromising bad attitude.

The cd appears to lack any title save for a minute text across the seal saying simply 'This is a totally flawed recording, make of it what you will.' And they're right. But does it really matter? Not to me it doesn't. The demo lurches and lashes at you at a constant pace over four songs that range from 2 - 9 minutes in length. This is hardcore punk/noise rock at its most violent and nihilistic. A lazy comparison would suggest acts such as Daughters, Converge, Young Widows and The Jesus Lizard but in reality Mother Dirt are a completely different kind of animal.

The recording quality is of a really base level, but having seen these guys destroy live on more than one occasion the scatty scratchiness of the sound really suits the defiant chest-beating of it all. Really it's just another healthy dose of 'fuck you' attitude that this band live and breath through every dissonant note and panicked shriek.

It's anything but perfect, yet the unrealised potential is almost bursting at the seams. Download the demo, support this band and tell everyone you were there from the beginning.



Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Vault Dweller - Messengers Of Doom (2009)


"What do you want?"
"To see a valley filled with my enemies' heads mounted on spears. A silent valley, except for the wind whistling through their ears."

Monday, January 04, 2010

Wraiths - Oriflamme (2008)

Like standing beneath a skyscraper, watching its shadow wheel around the pavement, chased by the arcing sun.  Behind the monolith the sun slips down the sky and the shadow settles over you.  From within your cold dark cell, you watch as the bright world outside wane and washed with darkness, spilling over into your sanctuary.

Wraiths' subterranean drones seem to reverberate up out of the sewers, echo around corners, slowly creeping in, a building unease, subtle tension roots you down as you close your eyes, try to escape, but you only hear it more.


Sunday, January 03, 2010

Angelo Badalamenti - Twin Peaks - Official Soundtracks



If you’ve ever seen a David Lynch production you’ve probably heard Angelo Badalamenti whose ethereal work helps to create the plethora of emotions, dispositions, moods and affectations on show in some of Mr. Lynch’s best work. He’s done the soundtracks to Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, The Straight Story and then, both seasons of Twin Peaks as well as the score to the movie Fire Walk With Me.

Floating anywhere between dream jazz to funeral march love songs, Angelo Badalementi’s work on the Twin Peaks soundtracks has won awards for ‘Best Pop Instrumental Performance’ (for ‘Twin Peaks Theme’), become instantly recognisable to anyone versed in the Twin Peaks mythos and has hands down beaten every other television score yet to grace my set. The largely instrumental works drift between delusion and nausea as electronic pianos, twangy guitars and subtle synth drench the listener in David Lynch’s bizarre but brilliant convoluted meandering storyline of a brutal murder case and the often ludicrous repercussions of a community descending into chaos. Impossible to convey the depth of insight and the breadth of expression on show, countless emotions and human experiences paraphrased under such a magnanimous artistic vision. Each song, each character – uniquely its own yet the undeniable similarity of the same work flows through each and every piece and scene.
So if you’ve seen Twin Peaks, enjoy the soundtracks. If you haven’t, go out, find it, watch it. Buy it! Support! All I can say is if you’ve enjoyed what we’ve posted so far on this blog, Twin Peaks is nothing but a great continuation of our deluded vision of the true arts. Godspeed!

Twin Peaks - Season One Official Soundtrack

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Twin Peaks - Season Two Official Soundtrack

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Twin Peaks - Fire Walk With Me Official Soundtrack

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Buy Twin Peaks!
Angelo Badalamenti
David Lynch

Friday, January 01, 2010

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: maudlin of the Well - Part the Second (2009)


As another year draws to a close and every blog emerges with it's own numerary summation of the year past, here at lurker HQ, where art is judged purely on merit, where reputation counts for nothing, we are slightly more stringent in our opinions.  A top ten?  Why not a top 8 or top 17?  Why not rank everything which occurred in the past year in order?

Or we could stop squabling over the relative subjective merits of one product of artistic endeavour over another, and instead focus entirely on the positive, and show our support for a piece of music which has made the years lows bearable, its highs even higher, and shifted our perceptions of what it is possible to acheive with music.

maudlin of the Well - Part The Second

Forming in 1996 and splitting in 2001, the short three year period between their 1999 debut (My Fruit Psychobells... A Seed Combustible) and the 2001 swan-song companion albums (Bath/Leaving Your Body Map), Toby Driver's troupe showed so much promise and stood so squarely in face of bland metal traditionalism, that their albums are still a point of contention to this day, as they rise slowly out of obscurity.

2009 saw the reunion, quiet and without undue ceremony, and an album was recorded under the sole-funding of a few well-wishing believers, and self-released through the band's website, for everyone, for free.

Moving further from the stylistic trappings of the metal world, incorporating greater instrumentation and more complex composition, they moved out of the metal-ghetto and went it alone, producing an album so multi-faceted and complex, airy and dream-like that any comparisons to metal become purely symbolic.  Such a successful transposition of Driver's immense compositional skill from the near avant-garde death metal of earlier releases to the delicate, emotional progressive rock of Part the Second should be hailed as a huge achievement not only to himself and his surly companions, but also to the fans that made this work possible.

The songs range from the quiet minimalist approach of Excerpt from 6,000,000,000,000 Miles Before the First, or, the Revisitation of the Blue Ghost to a harrowing brush with jazz fusion guitar licks in Clover Garland Island on to the avant-metal swagger of Laboratories of the Invisible World (Rollerskating the Cosmic Palmistric Postborder). However, the overall sound of the album compares more to maudlin of the Well's sequel band, Kayo Dot who specialise in dissonance, bizarre rhythms and blissed-out atmospherics while still maintaining the unique melodicism of the band's earlier incarnation. Each piece complements the other perfectly and there is not a single flawed, out of place moment on this album.

To be honest, I find it very hard to write about an album that has meant so much all of us this past year (The most excellentsword took over this half-written article when Slicedmind went to see his misses for New Year). Don't be put off by the excessive song titles, Mr. Driver is an eccentric gentleman to say the least. I like to think that it's this excess and refusal to create anything at all derivative that has enabled him to become one of the most relevant and enjoyable composers of modern times. I'll just shut up and let you get on with clicking that link at the bottom.

Kayo Dot/maudlin of the Well for life. Long live Toby Driver and his glorious music!

1.Excerpt from 6,000,000,000,000 Miles Before the First, or, the Revisitation of the Blue Ghost
2. Another Excerpt: Keep Light Near You, Even When Dying
3. Rose Quartz Turning to Glass
4. Clover Garland Island
5. Laboratories of the Invisible World (Rollerskating the Cosmic Palmistric Postborder)