Sjätte Vansinnet, (Swedish for The Sixth Madness) is the fifth album from Malmö alternative, indie rockers Scraps of Tape. Having been playing together since 2001, the quintet have gotten progressively better at honing their craft and Sjätte Vansinnet really delivers across the board. The album is easily accessible and is just dripping in melody from opening track ‘We, The Leftheaded’ right through to closing instrumental track ‘Alla utom jag måste dö’. Main highlights here include the remarkably titled ‘Vultures With High Heels’ which enters with a discordant riff that, at it’s heaviest, heralds the halfway point of the record. It is not all guitars though as the delicate keyboards of Jerker Kaj compliments the verses with effortless gentility. Incidentally, Kaj is also a member of experimental/instrumental duo Lymland, who’s splendid debut album Ensamtidsroman is also well worth checking out in its own right. No two songs sound the same, yet when played through it is obvious that it is the same band playing, which is not an easy thing to do for most bands, further reinforcing the groups creative capacity. Most tracks on Sjätte Vansinnet would not sound out of place on mainstream radio, it is clear that a lot of energy has been pumped into this record. If there is any justice this will be heard by many, many listeners of a somewhat over-saturated genre.
Sjätte Vansinnet is available now through A Tendervision Recording.
Scraps Of Tape are:
Fredrik Gillhagen (Drums), Jerker Kaj (Guitar, Keyboard), Johan Gustavsson (Vocals, Guitar), Marcus Nilsson (Vocals, Guitar), Kenneth Jansson (Bass).
Wild Years of Remorse and Failures is a reissue of two albums by Stroszek. It incorporates the albums ‘Songs of Remorse’ and ‘Life Failures Made Music’ as well as the ‘Wild Hunt’ EP and two cover songs. The albums were originally released between 2007-2009 and were notoriously difficult to obtain hence the re-release. Both albums have been remastered and the ‘Songs of Remorse’ album has had all its vocals re-recorded. The musical style is an acoustic folk combination mixed with dark rock. Clean vocals on the tracks immediately set Stroszek apart from most groups in the dark rock genre as well as the use of acoustic guitars. The first album ‘Remorse’ has a strong folk band or country music feel with acoustics and gentle drums punctuated with the occasional burst of electric guitars and heavier drum beats merging with the melancholic vocals. Stand out tracks on the first album include a cover version of Dick Curless’ ‘Bury the Bottle with Me’ ‘The Railroad Track’ and ‘Sand’. The second album ‘Failures’ has a heavier rock sound compared to ‘Remorse’ with a more oppressive theme of sadness and despair complemented with some dark metal style riffs and heavy drums reinforcing the theme of failure. It still retains the acoustic sound but it’s not as prevalent as it was in ‘Remorse’ with more songs employing electric guitars. Highlights for ‘Failures’ include another cover song, this time Townes Van Zandt’s ‘Tecumseh Valley’, whilst elsewhere ‘Land of Silence and Darkness’ and ‘Secret of the Earth‘ sound splendid. In Conclusion Wild Years of Remorse and Failures is a great album for those curious about Stroszek and long-time fans eager to hear how their old favourites sound remastered. It also provides an opportunity for those who missed out first time around to get their hands on a copy. It’s an extremely accomplished collection of two fine works (Personally ‘Remorse’ just wins in the better album contest) and on the evidence of this it isn’t difficult to see why it has been so difficult to get hold of.
C. (Vocals & Guitar), Davide (Bass), Richard (Drums).
Floridian blackened hardcore punks Centuries are winning fans across the globe with their fresh and organic sounding album Taedium Vitae. Featuring huge drums, scything guitars and coarse vocals, this is a record that has great potential to be remembered many years from now. After the subdued opening on ‘Incipit Tragoedia’, things really get going on second track, ‘Caeruleus’. A full throttled blackened hardcore track with ferocious blast beats and raw throat screams from front man Eric Verporter. However, it is the truly sublime ‘Gelu’ that really stands out amongst all the fine tracks on Taedium Vitae. The recording which was carried out by Kris Hillbert at Legitimate Business in Greensboro is second to none, the songs blend teasingly into each other, such as the aforementioned ‘Incipit Tragoedia’ and ‘Caeruleus’. The whole record flies by, and it’s longest song is only three and a half minutes in length. Elsewhere the build up of anticipation and expectation on ‘Egelidus’ is rewarded with interest on the blinding raw furore of ‘Grave Cordibus’, yet another impassioned number that is oozing unprocessed emotion and distemper. The band have gained credit following their intense live shows in their native America. Therefore, it is with great anticipation that we await their upcoming tour of the UK this March.
Eric Verporter (Vocals), Vincent Conti (Guitar), Dionisio Rodriguez (Bass).
The second offering from enigmatic UK drone act Orbis is yet another dark and depressing affair. This is extremely intense dark music, quite possibly the darkest music I have come across since I started this webzine. Orbis is the sound of post apocalyptic barren landscapes, with devastated wastelands that are perpetually extinct of life. ‘The Awakening Of Planet Earth’ has a devilish, menacing pulse-like rhythm and a blood-curdling static weighted, wave like drawl. ‘Mass Apocalypse Of Planet Earth’, smoulders and prowls forth at a tortoise pace, similar to a demonic mist, engulfing everything strewn in its misty path. Every now and then a frightening buzz pierces the obscure calm. If interested, then pick up this on cassette as it features three extra tracks on side B (Cosmic Dust Particles Of Earth Reforming #1, Have Mercy As The Stars Meet In The Darkened Sky, Cosmic Dust Particles Of Earth Reforming #2). These three tracks are regarded as bonus tracks by the artist, and are well worth checking out.
Cosmic Dust Particles Of Earth Reforming is available to buy direct from Darkness Shade Records.
Shade (All Instruments, Compositions, Arrangement).