Label EXPOSED – Caligari Records

Well, it’s been awhile since we did one of these, in fact back before the new site became active, so it has to have been about three or four years now.  And what a fitting reunion!  We have here, that’s right, a label exposure for Caligari Records, owned and run by the former owner/editor of this very site back in the old days.  Now, of course, you immediately think this is about to be one of the greatest textbook cases of conflict of interest.  Maybe the only one you ever need to cite for example, eh?  Wrong, just like anyone else we don’t care who it is, we take it as it is and we call it for what it is, so that quitter can forget any favors!  Seriously, though, being totally honest now, he runs a great tape label and has an ear for certain things, but perhaps not others.  Let’s find out what the hell that means with this selection today in our comeback article for our Label Exposed feature.  Once you finish reading, or before, check out Caligari Records at their official site.

Disterror – Catharsis

Well this starts off on a positive note, crumbling with decay.  Disterror come from Mexico, and though once covered in stench like good crust punks, they never fully scraped off the grime.  Today, they are a thing of the thrash, but the crust is yet there, featuring big words about emotional release for album titles, which is great since here Catharsis will be achieved through smashing something, anything.  Release your emotions through pummeling, there is no better way.  So consider this blackened or crust thrash, and ball up those fists.  What’s really splendid is that Mexican-metal sound that’s hard to explain, you can just feel it from experience.  When it comes to gritty crush, they seem to have a native knack for it, like they do in Spain.  Is this something in their blood?  The mixture of crust with that splendid Mexican vibe, most noticeable in the picking action, is what you can always enjoy, something expected.  Don’t come into this one looking for anything fresh, crust usually benefits from not being against its own grain, and Disterror stay on the same well-worn, broken-bottle-and-missing-stud-strewn path as the rest.  Also, awesome art.  Disterror Official Facebook  Score: 4.4 / 5

Heavydeath – Dark Phoenix Rising

This is a total underhanded granny toss of a name, T-Ball even, where you don’t toss at all.  When a band wants to make it’s doomness clear, it can either summon the word ‘witch’, or, as we find in this case, literally say what they’re doing.  So Heavydeath is heavy, and, hmm, death.  At least they didn’t go too easy on us.  Black cassette and coffins/bat imagery all over the art, though?  That you do get.  All joking aside, for the moment, this band has some experience behind it, including a member from The Funeral Orchestra.  This shows quite clearly in what they’ve done in Dark Phoenix Rising.  Relying primarily on slow, simplistic groove, Heavydeath know how to drag the listener through the doldrums, but with dual-meaning.  It’s depressing at times for sure, as we like it, but also something of a bummer.  Not poetic depression, we mean the annoying kind.  The vocals are delivered with some excellent variety, but occasionally a false, operatic-styled clean blasts heavenward, and though melded well, comes off as the right place, wrong Goth.  Luckily, these moments are few and some rather crushing blows from the old riff fist keep your embarrassment in check.  Heavydeath Official Facebook  Score: 4.1 / 5

Jupiterian – Aphotic

Jeez what is this, more doom?  Take note next time, former editor who has abandoned us.  Brazil’s Jupiterian went cosmic for their name, picking the largest freaking planet, or biggest Roman deity, as their namesake.  There’s also a hidden reference here to palm reading, so, yep, witch stuff.  Best to be indirect with that these days, and honestly that was an awesome way to do it.  For the album title, they went indirect as well.  Aphotic is the part of a large body of water where little light pierces the darkness.  Their music however, is most certainly direct, if not too direct, because they rely on slowness more than slow itself.  Jupiterian drag, and to do it without spreading yawns and sleeping bags you need clever writing to take away from the utter simplicity of this funeralesque approach.  At times, the speakers rattle with grief, but yet the simplistic slowness is also its downfall as Aphotic has little to offer for variety.  It’s doom, it’s slow, insert witch.  Interestingly, this is a weaker effort than their debut EP, and part of the issue is the vocal delivery.  In Aphotic, they’re deep, but somehow lack resonance and that ghost moan, hate echo to chill your blood.  It misses the essence he interestingly captured perfectly before.  Where did it go?  They show their best skills on the title track, where some sickening dissonant chord work breaks up the drudge.  But the final track, previously released as a single, almost feels like they ran out of ideas and regressed to a time where they never even existed.  Jupiterian Official Facebook  Score: 3.8 / 5

Lung Molde – S/T

Okay, doom again?  Jeez, except jeez here means “yes more please oh gawd who is this wonderful Lung Molde?”  There are just some musicians out there who get it, entirely.  They were born into it.  A genre was created so that some day, when they were brought forth, it would be there for them to conquer.  Lung Molde, probably, is one of those bands for doom.  They were formed from a zygote on weed, fed acid from a fetid breast, and then weaned on opium.  Proper doomsmiths don’t just smoke weed, are you kidding?  Who does only that if you’re going to create misanthropy?  Too trite, there are way too many bands who toke and hope it’s still scene.  Isn’t.  And, see, Lung Molde’s joint was sitting in a spring cellar for about fifty years.  This S/T‘s all about disgust, coughing up the last bit of hope and love as bile with which you seal that weathered joint.  It’s not a clean toke, it a suicidal toke unto death.  The riffs lay down the rolling paper shroud over your body, the smoke seals under its folds as you breath dank filth in and out until it becomes a noxious poison, and that‘s what actually makes you high.  One of the grand aspects is the vocals, which have a unique, yet incredibly fitting tone.  It’s something like a lecher standing before a pulpit, spouting the true opiate gospel of consumption.  The one complaint we could find is in spite of the awesome vocal delivery, it begins to wear itself thin through the entire listen because it sets its own standard and keeps it there.  Regardless, this is easily the best tape we’re reviewing here, from an unknown band that really needs more exposure.  But better art next time around, please.  Lung Molde Official Facebook  Score: 4.8 / 5

The Unquiet Grave – Cosmic Dawn

Everything about this is wrong.  First, let’s start with Encyclopaedia Metallum, which lists The Unquiet Grave as doom.  This is not doom, this is stoner, leaning heavily towards rock until it loses itself in a pile of 70s LPs you’d call stoner today so they’re relevant to the same crap you’re writing.  And that title, seriously, can we please avoid anything with the word ‘cosmic’?  Who even dares using such a word in doom or stoner these days?  That and witch (unless indirect), thank you, can we please have no more?  For the love of God.  Aside from the that, the real problem is the sound, which is stuck way in the past.  The melodies, the themes, they’re ancient.  At this point they’re so old most of those listening have parents who weren’t even born when Black Sabbath or Lucifer’s Friend started, yet Christ almighty all these bands sound like goddamn Sabbath and no one else.  Now, to the credit of the single soul behind The Unquiet Grave, he has a hell of a lot of clout, just check his resume on the site we made fun of above for its cutting-edge accuracy.  The problem is experience in several genres doesn’t mean one needs spit into others.  Cosmic Dawn lacks all of the force you expect out of doom and all of the heavy-headedness you expect out of stoner, and it’s filled with witchcraft references incredibly typical.  Thankfully, it’s only three songs in length so the extent of its redundancy is restricted, otherwise we’d probably have started a new Witch Craze to hunt down such albums, toss them on a Judas Cradle (we’d find a way, somehow), and then burn them in a pyre.  The world needs no more bands, or releases, like this.  The end.  The Unquiet Grave Official Bandcamp  Score: 2.8 / 5


Written by Stanley Stepanic