Here´s a good cause to support:
New Shining video just out: http://www.nocleansinging.com/2015/05/27/an-ncs-video-premiere-shining-vilja-drom/
“The sampled footage in the video is disturbing, because it’s real.”
The cover of “Dark Bird Is Home” features a photo of a woman observing an asbestos clad building. Asbestos is fire-resistant and cheap; making it an ideal building material, but it also causes cancer. The photo of this demon of the industrial age is the most dangerous thing about this album, which otherwise is about as offensive as tea and biscuits. The Tallest Man On Earth is a Swedish solo artist in the so-called singer-songwriter genre. “Dark Bird Is Home” consists of ten mellow melodies presented on piano and guitar and with The Tallest Man’s sad and pleading voice accompanying the listener throughout the album. There’s not much excitement to be found, but you will find some relaxing background music for a rainy day.
“Little nowhere towns” is the best tune on the album, a song that gets stuck in your head almost instantly. With a lonesome piano, lyrics about growing up and then a discrete choir towards the end, this song is dressed down and almost naked to the ear.
Unfortunately for an album that puts so much emphasis on the voice there is not much content to the lyrics. The song “Sagres” talks of the Portugues coastal town with the same name. It is an inspiring place, looking out towards the Atlantic right on the edge of the Eurasian landmass. Portuguese seafarers and explorers took off from here already more than 500 years ago without knowing where they would end up, even risking falling off the end of the world. I was there 12 years ago and wrote something along those lines in my notebook. The Tallest Man On Earth does the exact same thing: “We were travellers so blind, went to where the world did end”. It’s not the greatest moment on the album.
Careful not to step on anyone’s toes, The Tallest Man On Earth has released a collection of nice and pleasant songs that will excite few and offend even fewer.
Read more about asbestos here: Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risk.
/ KEAL for The Black Dandelions.
The first four months of 2015 have offered so many good new releases that I decided I might as well put together a quarter of the year list of the albums that have interested me the most.
1. Marduk – Frontschwein
Starting from the top, Marduk’s Frontschwein is a beast of an album. Dirty, smelly and with a complete lack of compassion. There are songs here that make me feel uncomfortable, like “Afrika” which is inspired by the war between Nazi Germany and other colonial powers in northern Africa during WW2, but I suppose that’s exactly what Marduk is about – crossing the line, shitting on taboos and making you feel uncomfortable. They’re really good at that. At the moment, I’d say “Wartheland” and “Rope of regret” stand out as the most memorable songs from this album. Listen to Frontschwein here.
2. Tribulation – The Children Of The Night
This is an incredibly well put together and well-designed album on all levels, from the record label promotion strategy to the members’ makeup and, of course, the music. This album is full of good melodies and interesting songwriting with a constant haunting feeling underneath it all. Beautiful. The guitars work well together and manage to maintain my attention throughout the album. There’s something about this melodic metal that makes me think of the band Ghost and their first album “Opus Eponymous”, only “The Children Of The Night” is even better. Listen to Strange Getaways Beckon here.
3. Skenet – Allting Rullar
Far from being metal, Swedish band Skenet play instrumental folk rock inspired by traditional Scandinavian tunes and Swedish folk rock giants Kebnekajse. Don’t let that scare you off though, the album “Allting Rullar” is well worth looking into for some great melodies and cool craftsmanship on guitars, violins and drums. Trust me, had there only been some more distorted guitars on this album and heavier drumming you could almost have confused Skenet for Pelican! On a sidenote, please do yourselves a favour and check out the album “Aventure” by Kebnekajse from 2012. It’s amazing. Listen to Allting Rullar here.
4. Napalm Death – Apex Predator – Easy Meat
The weird title track is actually one of my favourite songs off this album. It’s very different to the rest of the songs but still fits in well with the rest. Taken as a whole, however, this collection of songs is of course nothing but a cesspool of madness, as you would expect. Listen to Smash a single digit here.
5. Millencollin – True Brew
I still don’t get how Foo Fighters can be so popular. “The Color And The Shape” was a good album but everything else they’ve put out is just bland radio rock. Millencollin belong to the same genre, call it skate punk or American radio rock, but they do it far better than Foo Fighters. The album “True Brew” stays true to the foundations of latter-day Millencollin, following in the footsteps of “Pennybridge Pioneers”. It’s not the most exciting album you’ll hear this year, but it’s still good rock. Listen here.
6. Stornoway – Bonxie
Final track “Love song of the beta male” is my favourite song off this album. I love the sliding bass and the lyrics as well. Stornoway will sound a little too cheesy when you hear them the first time but they’re worth getting into. Listen to a live version of Love song of the beta male here.
7. Belle & Sebastian – Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance
The first track “Nobody’s Empire” is Belle & Sebastian at their best in terms of songwriting, music as well as lyrics. This stuff makes me melt. I’m not so sure about disco tracks “The party line”, “The power of three” or “Enter Sylvia Plath” but I suppose this band has been around long enough to have the permission to experiment a little… Listen to Nobody’s Empire here.
8. Feanor Omega – Anima
I’m not fully convinced of the vocal skills of these lads, but that’s just the way it is with a lot of metal bands. Feanor Omea offer an interesting mix of melancholic post rock mixed with a healthy dose of black metal. Less of the clean harmonics though, please. Listen to one song off the album here.
9. Raised Fist – From The North
Raised Fist was one of the first metal bands I got into, after Guns N’ Roses and Metallica and around the time when I started listening to Refused, Rage Against The Machine and Sepultura. One of Raised Fist’s first EP’s was called “Stronger Than Ever”, my best friend had it on CD and we both loved it. That was in the mid-1990’s and since then, the band honestly hasn’t developed much. On “From The North” they get a little too close to rap metal for my taste and I doubt the album will last until the end of the year, but it’s entertaining enough for the time being and I’ll mention it here, if only for old times’ sake.
Listen to “Stronger Than Ever” from the time when Raised Fist was still hardcore: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeacKQatimw
10. Samla Mammas Manna – Måltid (1973)
Samla Mammas Manna was a Swedish instrumental rock band in the 1970s, pivotal to the Swedish progg movement (N.B. not the same as prog rock!) and long forgotten since then. My dad used to talk about this band as I was growing up but I never paid attention until now. Lately, I’ve been listening a lot to Kebnekajse, who returned together and started recording again in later years after nearly 30 years of silence. Samla Mammas Manna belonged to the same movement in the 1970s so it only felt natural to check them out also. I’m very glad I did. “Klossa Knapitatet” from 1974 is also an interesting album but “Måltid” from 1973 is Samla Mammas Manna at their very best in my opinion. Fans of instrumental post rock and experimental rock in general should not miss out on this!!! The full album can be enjoyed here.
And finally, to finish it all off here’s a new track of my own: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
/KEAL for The Black Dandelions.
We’re only six weeks into it but 2015 already looks like a promising year for heavy music with excellent releases by Marduk (Frontschwein) and Napalm Death (Apex Predator – Easy Meat). “Fractures” is a new album by Nesseria, a band I had never heard of before but don’t let that stop you. This album grabs your attention like a wolf biting into your neck and it doesn’t let go. Placing themselves among giants like Converge and Deafheaven, Nesseria is definitely a band to look out for. Listen to their new album here or here and don’t miss this review in Slavestate Magazine.
With eight different versions of the best albums of the year, 2014 wasn’t a bad year for The Black Dandelions as a blog. It’s nice to see that we’re still alive and kicking five years after the start of this poor excuse for a blog.
Summing up a year’s worth of music isn’t easy, and summing up the opinions of eight amateur music connoisseurs can be even harder, especially when the opinions of each writer differ as much as they do in this case (compare Mac P and violent wold). Despite the ambitious title of this blog entry “The Best Of 2014” there will be no mathematic formula or divine intervention to shatter all doubts as to which musical composition of 2014 was The Best. Who would be interested in that anyway? Music isn’t about maths or formulas, unless you’re in charge of the drumming duties in Meshuggah or Agoraphobic Nosebleed. Rather than a summary, this is a commentary on some of the great music to have been released last year. (What else could I say when Enabler ends up topping the list???)
A few words on this year’s collaborators. Having extreme metal fundamentalist violent wold topping his list with Grand Morbid Funeral wouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone. Likewise, Mac P stayed true to his roots, placing at least two Canadian acts on his list: Owen Pallet and Fucked Up (I’m sure there must be more Canadian bands on the list but I haven’t heard of any of the other ones so I couldn’t say). Filnef remains as the oddest and least expected collaborator, putting together a list of bands and radio shows (!) that no other contributor named. While always faithful to his native Seattle, 2014 saw Filnef explore other shores as well, topping his list with a duet of “two middle-aged lugs from Nottingham, England”. ROAR’s mega-contribution from 2013 (50 best albums!) was followed this year by a list of ten music videos featuring songs that he claims didn’t make it onto his real list, leaving the rest of us wondering if we will ever know what then he really liked?
With a shared first place on rado’s list and second place on the list presented by P-JvE, The Black Dandelions’ overall champion of 2014 may have to be La Fin Absolue Du Monde by metalcore dudes Enabler. Not a bad accomplishment for an album where the lyrics basically go:
There’s gotta be something, there’s gotta be something, there’s gotta be something, there’s gotta be something, there’s gotta be something, there’s gotta be something, there’s gotta be something, there’s gotta be something, there’s gotta be something, there’s gotta be something, there’s gotta be something, there’s gotta be something, there’s gotta be something, there’s gotta be something, there’s gotta be something…
Seriously though, this album also received some appreciating comments from other sources:
Another contender for heavy weight champion would be Mastodon’s masterpiece Once more ‘round the sun which finished on a shared first place on rado’s list and an honourable third place on KEAL’s list, making this album The Black Dandelions’s second best of 2014!
Third place is harder to discern but may have to be awarded to Big Business for their album Battlefields Forever (please ignore anyone who’ll tell you the album was actually first released in 2013), a super-heavy, beautiful, sensitive and very welcome comeback from one of the heaviest acts in heavy metal. This album made it onto the lists signed by rado, Dr. Hezelbeef and KEAL.
Other albums that were mentioned more than once on this year’s lists were:
- Behemoth – The Satanist
- Bloodbath – Grand Morbid Funeral
- Skogen – I döden
- YOB – Clearing the path to ascend
- Pallbearer – Foundations of burden
- Pig Eyes – Pig Eyes
- Fucked Up – Glass boys and Thurston Moore – The Best Day
There you go people, call it a summary, call it a commentary or whatever you like but above are the ten best albums of 2014 according to The Black Dandelions.