Wednesday, November 12, 2014

THE TWILIGHT REVUE: Dampe's Keep, Trigger, Khthoniik Cerviiks, Encoffination

DAMPE'S KEEP "Twilight"
Black Metal/Soundtrack
United States

The concept behind DAMPE'S KEEP might throw you; this is a one-man BM band whose entire output consists of cover songs from The Legend of Zelda video game series. "Twilight" is the second release, and its single, sprawling 22 minute track is a medley of themes culled from the game "Twilight Princess". Fans of the game series who also happen to be fans of raw black metal will instantly love this, as these "black metal-ized" interpretations carry the emotional weight of the game's storyline to new levels. For people not familiar with the games, there is plenty of craftsmanship and technical flourish to appreciate, and in my opinion it would be hard not to be enchanted by the dynamic and emotive range of this excellent release.

TRIGGER "Start Our Revenge"

I admit that grindcore and power-violence are genres that I don't really keep up with these days. That being said, I do love me some GRIDLINK and CLOUD RAT, and occasionally I'll dig out my old Slap-a-Ham 7"'s for a spin. I was WAY into the style in the early 90's, and it still has a special place in my heart.
So a few weeks back my band HARASSOR was on tour, and on the first night we played in Tempe, AZ with touring bands LOVE MACHINE, TRIGGER, and CATHETER. TRIGGER was the second band of the night, and they were a German 3-piece with drums, bass and vocals. Myself and a handful of people watched in casual curiosity as they set up their gear. Then, about 60 seconds into their set, I was chasing after my lower mandible, which had hit the floor and rolled away from me. The room quickly filled up with all the people that had been milling around, and we all stared transfixed as this group of young savages destroyed our minds.

I would describe them as a blend of DISCORDANCE AXIS and ANAL CUNT. The drummer was mind-blowing, he did this move where he attacked his kit with all 4 limbs, hammering out hyper-blast rhythms at machine gun speed. And the singer had one of the most shrill high pitched screams I've ever heard. They were explosive and bristling with fury. After the set, I made my way to the merch table, hoping they had a cassette release. Alas, they did not but this t-shirt instantly captured my eye:

Sadly they didn't have the shirt in my size. :(
I don't know if the recordings below can convey the intensity of the live experience I had. TRIGGER rules.

Black/Death Metal

German label Iron Bonehead Productions, in my opinion, has been consistently releasing some of the most exciting music in the current atmospheric black/death metal movement. Cue up KHTHONIIK CERVIIKS, a power trio that plays a chaotic, dissonant style of death metal. A bombastic and complex rhythm section lays the ground work for a bizarre tremolo-picked guitar style that spends a lot of time in the upper tonal registry, creating a feeling of delirium and swirling dementia. This unique release is listed a demo, and was released on cassette, but it's really a full-length clocking in at just over 43 minutes. Recommended!

ENCOFFINATION "III - Hear Me, O' Death (Sing Thy Wretched Choirs)"
Death Metal/Funeral Doom
United States

I wasn't sure where these guys could go after the last full-length, 2011's "O' Hell, Shine In Thy Whited Sepulchres". That album pushed every element of ENCOFFINATION's brand of death/doom to the utmost extreme. They then released an EP in 2012 titled "Elegant Funerals for the Unknown Dead", which continued the same abysmal course, but with a barren and stripped down production it lacked the same choking-on-cremated-remains atmosphere of past releases, in my opinion. So I was curious to hear the 3rd full-length "III - Hear Me, O' Death (Sing Thy Wretched Choirs)" and see what the next step in the band's evolution would be. "III..." picks up where "O' Hell..." left off, with the band somehow, impossibly, taking their concept even further with an album even more fetid and dank than the last. Their music is slow and plodding, with riffs that creep past in morbid dissonance, rarely supplying any hooks or dynamics, and I'm sure that's the intention. I feel you are meant to experience this music on a visceral level, as ENCOFFINATION creates some of the most overwhelmingly dismal music ever made. They seem to be obsessed with death, not in the blood and guts kind of way, but in funerary rites and procedures. With everything sounding de-tuned, and super-gutteral vocals, they sometimes sound like an INCANTATION record that is 45 rpm but played back at 33 rpm. Follow your nose to the source of the stench below.