Tuesday, July 28, 2015

THE TWILIGHT REVUE: Conjuro Nuclear, Ambergris, Carma, Mòr

CONJURO NUCLEAR "Reacciones Paganas"
Darkwave/Black Metal

Last year's self-titled release from CONJURO NUCLEAR was a favorite of mine for 2014. I even wrote a review for it in an earlier post on the Twilight Revue. So when the new album "Reacciones Paganas" showed up in my inbox, it was warmly welcomed. CONJURO NUCLEAR takes the best elements of grim, cold black metal and 80's synth/darkwave and combines them into a catchy yet sinister confection. Sole creator Emesis from Barcelona has conjured up a style that seems effortless in its simplicity, yet it has a uniqueness and appeal that is all its own. This new album shows a firm step up in all aspects, from the songwriting and instruments to the mix and production. There's a bit more emphasis on atmosphere and vibe, and more variation from song to song with different synth sounds and beats. This feels like a greater realization of CONJURO NUCLEAR's potential, and I think will ultimately win more people over as they discover the music of this very enjoyable band.

Cassette edition also available on the band's Bandcamp page!

AMBERGRIS "Ambergris"
Math/Post-Black Metal
United States

I had a bit of trouble tracking down info on AMBERGRIS, other than they are/were a duo from San Diego, and this self-titled EP is one of 2 releases they have thus far. AMBERGRIS has done a sort of "de-construction" of traditional black metal arrangements, with jagged, unpredictable transitions and off-kilter timings that make use of the element of surprise. This approach, along with the jangly, dissonant riffing and shrieked, distorted vocals, makes me think of the sort of "math-rock" bands found on Skin Graft Records in the 90's, such as DAZZLING KILLMEN or ZENI GEVA. And yet, even with a sonic landscape that is constantly shifting, there is still a thread of some distant longing or melancholy that finds its way out of the maze.

CARMA "Carma"
Atmospheric Blackened Doom

Slow burning, charred-black doom with a haunting melancholy and moments of devastating beauty. Some really fantastic vocals in the mid-range between a black metal shriek and a death growl, communicating some sort of incalculable anguish and pain, and with all of the lyrics in the band's native language. An ebb and flow approach featuring some extreme dynamics, from quiet, moody contemplation to absolutely bludgeoning riffs with all knobs cranked to 11. This is a very well crafted and arranged release, and a great and promising debut. Excellent!

MòR "Aequinoctium"
Raw Black Metal

I don't know about you but this one floored me the first time I heard it. Another band I had a hard time finding info about. I almost tried to contact these guys to see if I could release this demo on cassette. I just love it. MòR has these great, thrashy riffs and dual harmonic leads that are infused with melodies, and the compositions are skillfully arranged. However, in stark contrast to the musicianship, this release also has a very harsh, raw and burnt-to-a-crisp production that reminds me of ILDJARN or BONE AWL in its unapologetic savagery. And it's this odd juxtaposition of the musical proficiency on display crossed with the abrasive recording that is the magic formula. It just fucking rules. Apparently there is another older French band called ASMODEE with a demo called "Aequilanx" that MòR has been compared to. If anyone has a rip of the ASMODEE demo hit me up.