Get Hexed

a3203209171_10Regular IG readers and especially those that know me outside of music blog land are well aware of my affection for John Carpenter, and a sizable chunk of that affection is based on his soundtrack work.  Films such as Halloween and Escape from New York simply wouldn’t be as effective without Carpenter’s sinister, tension-filled electronic soundscapes as accompaniment.

Anders Manga’s Hexed sounds like a long-lost Carpenter soundtrack.  It’s characterized by the same queasy, creepy-crawly synths, but adds a heaviness that’s no doubt derived from Manga’s work with doom/occult rock quartet Bloody Hammers.  A ton of Carpenter-influenced artists have come out of the rotting woodwork of late, creating soundtracks to imaginary films, but Manga is one of the few that successfully captures the spirit and substance of those classic soundtracks while others are merely aping the style.

Hexed is available as a pay-what-you-want download via Manga’s Bandcamp page; fans of Carpenter, Goblin, Zombi, Nightsatan, Perturbator and the like take heed.

Nocturnal Blood @ Starlite Lounge, Sacramento, CA 08/08/2015

11817267_1061987837159767_5049974786752808206_nSacramento gets a ton of great shows, but we’ve been more than a bit lacking in the black metal department of late.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed the shit out of seeing the likes of Melt Banana, Ufomammut and -(16)-, but I’ve also been absolutely dying for the visceral experience that only a straight-up black metal show can bring.  So, I was extremely grateful to Wretched Earth Productions for treating us to this killer lineup of Cali-bred BM at Starlite Lounge, which is quickly turning into my go-to spot for kick-ass metal shows.

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Lycia – A Line That Connects (Handmade Birds, 2015)

alinethatconnetsWhen darkwave legends Lycia returned from the musical wilderness with Quiet Moments in 2013, it was widely hailed as a stellar comeback for the band.  While I certainly enjoyed the album, I couldn’t help but feel that they were just warming up. Quiet Moments is unquestionably a good record, a great record even, but it also struck me as the work of an artist attempting to fully regain their footing after some fairly lengthy gaps between releases (seven years between Empty Space and the Fifth Sun EP, three years between Fifth Sun and QM).

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Cradle of Filth – Hammer of the Witches (Nuclear Blast, 2015)

CoF HammerAfter years of listening to mainstream metal, Cradle of Filth were one of the first “extreme” bands I latched onto as a wee lad.  As such, it has pained me to watch them slowly but surely become a shadow of their former selves.  I’m not entirely sure what went wrong after Nymphetamine (some fans would argue that CoF went to pot well before that) but it seemed that Dani and the boys were damned to linger in the limbo of mediocrity forevermore following that last gasp of greatness, as evidenced by a lengthy string of tepid albums such as Thornography and The Manticore and Other Horrors.  The music was uninspired and Herr Filth’s voice sounded shot, leading me to largely turn my back on this once well-regarded symphonic/gothic/black metal institution.

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White Spot – Everything Changes, Nothing Disappears (self-released, 2015)

a0749226604_10Those of you that read IG on the regular or follow me on social media know that I’m always up for some good noise rock.  As such, White Spot’s Father Songs proved to be one of 2015’s most pleasant surprises so far, a noise rock album that showcased mainman/madman Marcus Lemoine’s knack for concise yet devastating songwriting and an attention to craftsmanship not often seen within the genre.

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Kafirun – Death Worship and Essene – demo (Sol y Nieve, 2014)

KAFIRUNOf the handful of cassette-centric labels I’ve developed relationships with over the past few years, Sol y Nieve is surely one of the most exciting.  While they aren’t the most prolific, they stress quality over quantity, and their passion is evident in every aspect of every release, from the music itself on down to the often elaborate packaging.  The label was recently gracious enough to send me a parcel overflowing with releases including the debut demos from Kafirun and Essene.

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