Vemod - 2012 - Venter På Stormene


What better way to start a year than with some finely crafted black metal? I don't see why not so let's head off in that direction.

Vemod is a Norwegian band I discovered quite a while ago when I went to see Mgla in concert during their With Hearts Towards None tour. Accompanying bands were Svartidaudi and One Tail One Head. The biggest disappointment of the evening was One Tail One Head which seemed like this really dumb gimmicky 2nd wave worship at the time but I went home I decided to give them a second chance and see how they sound on CD. Wasn't very happy with what I heard but my habit of digging through associated acts while I listen to albums paid off as I stumbled upon Vemod. The artwork captivated me so I gave it a try and I was rewarded with a very fine listening experience.

Vemod's style is deeply rooted in the old school style of black metal, there's not much here in terms of experimental riffs or out of the box thinking compositions. What Vemod excels in is what all good black metal albums should excel in and that is atmosphere. It is melancholic without being edgy, it is somber without being cheesy. It feels very honest and natural in all of the four tracks that this album offers. Complementing the melancholic black metal are ambient passages that feel at home in between and during the metal parts. The third track on this album is entirely ambient and probably my highlight of the whole journey. I also feel like they managed to tastefully implement some post-rock influence as well as there are some less distorted passages every now and then (most notably on the second track). 

Vemod have finally announced a new album for this year and I have my fingers crossed that it will be at least as good as this one if not even better. Until then there is no time like now to get into their first album.

Dig it.

End of 2020!

 Hello friends,

it has definitely been way too long since I made any meaningful posts but despite the silence I still wanna make my annual end of the year post. Even with all of the ruckus with the virus and everything I spent most of my year in travel. My work is now such that I travel all over Europe visiting port cities and doing my thing at shipyards (service of particular electrical systems on vessels of all kinds). I enjoy my job and I enjoy the travel, even the restrictions made the travel more enjoyable as there are less lines at the airports. But with good things also came the bad as I did eventually contract the virus. As luck would have it I got it somewhere during my last return trip of the year so I'm spending the holidays in isolation with relatively mild symptoms.

On a brighter side Spotify came to Croatia finally this year. It's a platform that I never paid much attention to as most of the music I listen is from files on my PC but a friend of mine gifted me a spot on his premium package and I've been enjoying it a lot and I listened to much more music this year than compared to previous two years combined almost (lowest playcounts of all time for me according to lastfm were past two years). Generally I stuck to what I knew but I did discover a couple of albums that I want to share and also a couple of Sun Ra albums as well. I just have to sit down and actually post them. With that in mind and now that I'm more accustomed to my work (ie it's less stressful now) I should be able to write more. But you know how it goes already - no promises. :)

2020 in music

As usual at the end of this post you will find all of the albums I've liked from this year. I didn't go too much in depth for this year, most of this stuff I heard by word of mouth or I already followed these bands from before. If I had to pick a definite favorite then I would pick the new Havukruunu album. For my taste it is maybe too happy but somehow all of it fits together so well. It's grand and it's majestic but I love it, sounds very sincere. It feels like they finally nailed the sound that they wanted to do all along. A couple of more favorites from the list would be the new Korgonthurus (very good traditional black metal with fantastic pained screaming vocals), Nimbifer (only a demo but very concise and promising, all of their stuff so far has been great), Slift (stoner is not a genre I often visit but this one felt super fresh and fun) and Sweven (ex Morbus Chron) made a very melancholic and beautiful album that sounds to me like the whole thing is one long song.

While most of my listening this year was dedicated to metal music I did hear a couple of albums from other genres. Most notably the Sun Ra Arkestra led by Marshall Allen has released their first album after more than two decades of silence. It is much more vocal focus than I would like and most of the songs are interpretations of old material but all of it is quite good. Standout tracks for me are obviously the new ones written by Marshall. I was worried it might be too normal but weirdness starts around the middle and it was a warm reminder that they don't fuck around when free improvisation is concerned. Aside from Ra I also really liked the Black Magick SS album, some folks are avoiding it out of political ideology and I have no problem with that but I like it (sans potential nazi ideology). I think it's a fantastic little album that is pushing the ideas and styles brought on their last two albums. The synths are super strong on it and the pink is more than justified in terms of tones. I didn't like it at all when I first heard it but it crept back on to me one song at a time.

Another notable event for me in music was that I managed to attend the Im Wald "private" premiere of the album in Switzerland. It definitely was an interesting experience even if it "just" was listening to black metal with strangers. This was my first time in Switzerland and I absolutely adore the country, I wanna go back there for some holidays again. The moment I saw the forests and mountains and the small town where he lives - all of his music I've been listening to years and years clicked instantaneously. The albums itself is... alright? Generally it's pretty good but I think it's bloated, a lot of fat could be trimmed and nothing would change. It was nice seeing that the guy behind Paysage d'Hiver genuinely enjoys the music he makes and is generally a very loveable and down to earth guy so in a way I can excuse the self indulged time length purely because of his personality. Attending that event was definitely an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life. I was pretty sad that the album got leaked beforehand as it hurt the guy pretty badly (from what I could tell from his posts) but also surprised it took a lot of time to leak. In the end it all turned out ok, a lot of people bought and loved the album.

With all that out of the way here are all the albums I've liked in alphabetical order:

Black & Death metal:

Abigor - Totschläger (A Saintslayer's Songbook)
Afterbirth - Four Dimensional Flesh
Akantha / Hajduk /Nimbifer / Sørgelig - Ruins of Humanity
Arkhtinn - Astrophobia (split w Starless Domain)
Ars Magna Umbrae - Apotheosis
Awenden - Golden Hour
Battle Dagorath - Abyss Horizons
Black Curse - Endless Wound
Bone Awl - An Obelisk Marks The Line
Cemetery Filth - Dominion
Dearth - To Crown All Befoulment
Faidra - Six Voices Inside
Fluisteraars - Bloem
Havukruunu - Uinuos Syömein Sota
Imperial Triumphant - Alphaville
Inquisition - Black Mass for a Mass Grave
Invincible Force - Decomposed Sacramentum
Khors - Where the Word Acquires Eternity
Korgonthurus - Kuolleestasyntynyt
Malicious - Deranged Hexes
Mystras - Castles Conquered And Reclaimed
Nimbifer - Demo II
Obsidian Tongue - Volume III
Omegavortex - Black Abomination Spawn
Oranssi Pazuzu - Mestarin Kynsi
Ossaert - Bedehuis
Paysage d'Hiver - Im Wald
Perdition Temple - Sacraments of Descension
Porta Nigra - Schöpfungswut
Precambrian - Tectonics
Putrid - Antichrist Above
Serment - Chante- Ô Flamme de la Liberté
Skáphe - Skáphe 3
Spectral Lore & Mare Cognitum - Wanderers Astrology Of The Nine
Svrm - Занепад
Sweven - The Eternal Resonance
Titaan - Itima
Ulcerate - Stare Into Death And Be Still
Voidsphere - To Sense|To Perceive
Warp Chamber - Implements Of Excruciation
Yaldabaoth - That Which Whets the Saccharine Palate
Ygg - The Last Scald

Everything else:

Andrew Jackson Jihad - Good Luck Everybody
Black Magick SS - Rainbow Nights
Bohren & der Club of Gore - Patchouli Blue
Boris - NO
Botanist - Photosynthesis
DJ Poolboi - it's good to hear your voice
Elder - Omens
Hail Spirit Noir - Eden in Reverse
Haunt - Mind Freeze
Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids- Shaman!
Lychgate - Also Sprach Futura
Mamaleek - Come & See
Midnight Odyssey - Ruins of a Celestial Fire
Slift - Ummon
Sun Ra Arkestra - Swirling

That's it for 2020! See you all next time and happy new year!

Sun Ra - 1979 - Days of Happiness or God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be

Days of Happiness or God Is More Than Love Can Ever Be is an album that came at a time when Sun Ra was encouraged by Paul Bley (according to the bio that I've read) to express and focus more on his pianist talents rather than on big band settings. According to Bley, Ra was hiding behind a big band due to insecurity over his playing and he needed encouragement to play solo. Probably the most famous record that came out of this was the St. Luis Blues one but we also got this album during that period which was a trio setting.

I'll be honest and say that I dislike solo piano albums because I find them sounding barren and inhuman. Ra to me never seemed like a very interesting player to me anyway, it's what he wrote for the band that interests me. This album though is perfect because while Sun Ra really is the focal point of this he is backed by a drummer and a bassist which gives much desired depth to the whole thing. Helping with all of this is also a solid sound mixing and production making all three instruments visibly heard and distinguishable at all times.

The playing itself is a great mixture of structure and freedom. Ra reminds me of Cecil (I might be biased here) but he is, surprisingly, much more stable and less free-ish in his playing. Ra was infatuated with the swing era despite what his music might suggest so it's very interesting to hear standard swing/dixie rhythms suddenly breaking down and erupting into a lava of free jazz notes. For someone who is very familiar with a lot of big band stuff that Ra did this album is quite a refreshment for the ears but the best part is that the album can stand on its own and can be looked at without any extra baggage.

in memoriam

たとえば ぼくが死んだら
淋しい時は ぼくの好きな

たとえば 眠れぬ夜は
ぼくの名前を 風にのせて

たとえば 雨にうたれて
故郷をすてた ぼくが上着の

たとえば マッチをすっては
この ぼくの 涙もろい
想いは 何だろう

たとえば ぼくが死んだら
淋しい時は ぼくの好きな

01-15-1953 // 04-24-2018

Psycroptic ‎- 2003 - The Scepter Of The Ancients

Riding on a solid debut album and garnering decent attention the band went on and made a second album two years after their first one. In two years time they absolutely refined and polished their sound up to near perfection.

The vocals are even more insane and impactful than on the first album and the guitar parts got even more wilder and spastic. The interplay between the vocals and the guitars is constantly going on and each is competing to outdo the other. It's almost like a jazz cutting contest at times. The album opens with a song that is a summary of everything that this band is and is probably the best song they ever recorded. As opposed to the first album which ha more of a uncut gem feel this album offers much catchier and more recognizable songs. Most of them seem impactful and more aptly composed. There's nothing that the first album does that this one does lousier. Even tho this one is a clear improvement I still think the first one also offers a good chunk of enjoyment.

Psycroptic after this album sadly parted ways with their vocalist which obviously damaged the developed experience gained making these tracks but I think they are doing well for themselves. I sometimes listen to their later album (Observant is alright and so is the follow up to this one) but generally it's not my cup tea anymore. We still have these two so better something than nothing!

Psycroptic - 2001 - The Isle Of Disenchantment

I...I was absolutely sure I shared this album before. But I didn't for some reason? I even remember typing out the text for it. Maybe I had a dream about it and just accepted that it actually happened. Speaking of which, I noticed I posted a really low amount of death metal. 23? That's it? Maybe I stored it under a different tag (I really need to redo the whole tagging scheme from ground up) and can't find it anymore. But hey, at least I have something to talk about now!

Psycroptic is a band from Tasmania (Australia) that has been around for over a decade or so. I've actually heard about them when they released their second album in 2003 as they offered two or three tracks for free when it came out. Since I'll be posting both albums I'm going to stop with the history here and focus on their first album here in this post.

Psycroptic has two unique things going for them, the first and most obvious is the seemingly endless vocal range of the vocalist and the second is a very intricate fast, short tremoloing guitar riffs. The vocals are the absolute star as they are as unique as they are varied. I guess you could describe them as gasping raspy growling? They sound strained and in pain - which is absolutely great and sometimes as the part goes along it develops into something else like cleans or even deeper growls. They are all over the place and ask for your attention at all times. On this record I can't claim this is good all of the time as sometimes the clean parts sound really bad and sometimes they can't quite reach for the effect they tried to get but other than that it's a real treat. The also mentioned guitar riffs are fast, pommeling and razor sharp often changing speed and tempo several times throughout a single song. They follow the shifts in vocals making these two the main dueling forces on the album. Unfortunately the mixing isn't as great as the music is and I think the drums could have been toned down (especially the snare) but such were the times I guess or maybe just inexperience. They don't make the album unlistenable so It's not that bad.

Takehiko Honda - 1973 - I Love You

Speaking of jazz from Japan, here's another little album that I come back to every now and then. This is a trio of piano, bass and drums. Takehiko Honda is the pianist and he's backed by Yoshio Suzuki on bass and Hiroshi Murakami on drums, all of them played on Kosuke Mine records. Unlike Kosuke Mine records this one is a much more relaxed set that is all standards. Honda leads the group pretty much throughout the set with mostly him soloing and the guys in the back chiming in every now and then. It's fairly good for what it is and that is an exercise in standards but if you're okay with that I think you should get enjoyment out of it. All players seem comfortable and relaxed giving this album a friendly and approachable atmosphere. The album cover is absolutely badass as well.

Takeo Moriyama & Shigeharu Mukai - 1978 - Hush-A-Bye

This album is a collaboration of sorts between Takeo Moriyama (drums) and Shigeharu Mukai (trombone) all backed by Moriyama's regular band. I'll be honest right at start and say that this album is absolutely nothing special or new. It's a very solid The Great Coltrane Quartet sound/style worship peppered with some basic standards. Mukai shines on the Lover Man ballad but otherwise isn't that much of a presence and his co-star while being a pretty good sounding drummer doesn't seem all very much interested in being at the front. Maybe he just wasn't feeling it much on this session. As with a lot of Japanese jazz records that I've heard these guys lack imagination but they compensate with intensity and energy. This is most evident in the opening and closing tracks which are incidentally also the longest ones on this record. Both of these tracks are carried by the pianist and the saxophonist and it feels like the album should have focused more on them rather than on the stars of the album. All in all this is a lovely record and you'll know immediately if you're into it or not. Not very essential but its accessibility and energy make it a good ride that you take every once in a while.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - 1992 - Devotional Songs

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is a religious singer from Pakistan. I am spiritually impaired and have no idea what Sufi or Qawwali is but if it means something to you then you should be pleased to know that Khan is really into it. The music is an uplifting mix of Khan's singing (which reminds me of Mexican/Spanish and Gypsy serenading) with guitars and string instruments all backed by some serious tabla drumming in the back. The star of the show is obviously Khan's very intense and expressive singing but he is also backed by a choir that repeats his lyrics giving the whole thing much more depth and dynamic. I personally think that one needs not to be religious in order to enjoy a religious record and I can feel the intensity of his fervor and joy from singing even though I have nothing to do with it. If you're looking for something that will refresh or diversify your usual palette then I think you should give this one a go.

Akiko Yano - 1976 - Japanese Girl

Akiko Yano is a female Japanese pop/jazz singer and also a pianist. This was her debut album (she has another one from this year according to discogs) and apparently it made a splash in the scene for its unique sound. In retrospective I don't think it's that unique considering that in the 70s there were a lot of more experimental Japanese "sort of" mainstream artists but the hype should not detract the actual value of this record. The music is a big salad of all kinds of styles but if we tried we could pin it on psychedelic pop? Maybe? The album starts with a relatively jazzy track that devolves into scat singing solo by Akiko. As we go on with the tracks you'll notice more congas getting ever present.  But they stop and the music take a more Japanese turn in sound. After a while it tones down and when you reach track six it's all happy piano ballad with prog rock weirdness in the back. The album is glued together with a consistently great vocal performance by Akiko in all of the tracks. For some it might be over-expressive but if you're used to jazzy vocals you should not have a problem with this. As with music her singing changes styles often but she seems mostly comfortable in all of the settings. This album is a journey, if you're up for one then you're bound to have a good time. Background listening this is not.

Ends and beginnings!

Hello and goodbye!

Once more we have come to this ending beginning where a year ends and then it starts!

This time it's maybe a bit more special since a new decade has started but maybe it starts next year? Depends on who you ask really and if they value the number 0 I guess. For me the year 2019 has been fairly pivotal in a personal sense. I moved to a different apartment (fuck moving stuff) and I switched jobs! My new job allows, requires, me to travel all over Europe (and countries close to Europe) on a very steady monthly basis. It's a lonely job because I literally work alone but I like it and I get to see shit outside of my town. Also I get to sit at airports a lot. As fun as my work is (for now) it has been pretty detrimental for my blogging capabilities. I don't just mean I made less posts in 2019 than in 2018, I also mean that I got to consume music at a much slower and less frequent pace. I don't have a portable music player! My phone is old and has a very short battery life so I can't cram albums I want on it. But the good news is that I rectified this problem relatively recently so my obsessive listening habits should return with this year. The bad news is that hotel internet sucks for the most part so I'll probably be able to upload stuff only while I'm home. We'll see how it goes as the year itself goes.

But what about music?

Well I haven't really followed new releases in 2019 so I probably missed a bunch of stuff. I have to admit that I feel like I'm completely out of the loop with the current trends (aside from maybe metal trends) but more importantly I think I haven't heard anything from this year that I've liked! Sure I enjoyed a bunch of metal albums, that's inevitable, but aside from that there's not much else. Even the second resurfaced Coltrane album sucked apart from that one composition. Felt like they're just trying to cash in on the success of Both Directions At Once. NED label had a pretty good year, most of the stuff that came out was really good aside from maybe that new Teitanblood which I couldn't get into.  I might start liking over time, anything is possible. NEDXXX came out of nowhere and it was fucking wild, I love that record. But yeah... not much stuff has caught my ears in 2019. So without any more rambling here's the usual list of stuff I've liked:

Akrotheism - The Law of Seven Deaths
Alkymist - Wreckage of the Raging World
Aoratos - Gods Without Name
Blood Incantation - Hidden History of the Human Race
Blood Tyrant - The Realm That Brings Forth Death
Blut Aus Nord - Hallucinogen
Boris - Love and Evol
Crypt Sermon - The Ruins Of Fading Light
Deathspell Omega - The Furnaces Of Palingenesia
Destroyer Of Light - Mors Aeterna
Diocletian - Amongst the Flames of a Burning God
Djevel - Ormer Til Armer, Maane Til Hode
Drastus - La Croix de Sang
Fetid - Steeping Corporeal Mess
Gardsghastr - Slit Throat Requiem
Hajduk - Кръв
Ignivomous - Hieroglossia
Malakhim - II
Mgła - Age of Excuse
Misþyrming - Algleymi
Mystagogue - And the Darkness Was Cast Out into the Wilderness
Nocturnus AD - Paradox
Pissgrave - Posthumous Humiliation
Saor - Forgotten Paths
Sargeist - Death Veneration
Sinmara - Hvísl Stjarnanna
Strigae - I-Collision
Sühnopfer - Hic Regnant Borbonii Manes
Voqkrre - Wariwulf
Vukari - Aevum
Woe - A Violent Dread

And lastly I just wanna say to everyone thanks for reading and commenting on Flying Teapot for the past year. Happy new year everybody!

Blaze Of Perdition - 2015 - Near Death Revelations

Blaze Of Perdition is a band with who I have a mixed relationship with. I saw them live twice and they were incredibly boring, absolutely no redeeming value. Felt like I'm seeing budget Mgla or something. On the other hand on albums they sound actually really fucking good. While most of their albums are either alright or better this one always stands out to me. Maybe this was because it was made after the band had some really tragic encounters with death and when they regrouped they had something of value to say. In terms of sound they definitely resonate some Mgla (and Behemoth during more chaotic segments) but I'd say they work on the guitar details far more than them and generally have a fairly different approach to writing. Every song has two or three things happening at any point giving them a good proggy and dynamic feeling. There's never a dull moment but songs sometimes feel a bit over designed at places, letting some riffs breathe more would elevate this great album into something even better. It's evident that they were brimming with ideas and they put most of them to good use and I think for a modern "Polish sounding" black metal album this one feels like an underappreciated gem honestly. Give it a chance, skip them when they're playing live near you.

Herbie Hancock ‎- 1974 - Thrust

I feel like this Hancock album is often overlooked simply because of the fact that it came a year after the majestic and legendary Head Hunters. Sure, it is a superior album in both execution and ideas but Thrust can readily stand by its own as an awesome album made by Herbie during his prime creative time. While both albums a very approachable I think Thrust is a much more laid back and has riffs that are demand less of your focus. I don't mean that in a bad way by no means at all. There's nothing in it that's out to get you, everything just kinda flows together. The focus is still so much on keyboards but all the instruments are mixed at similar sound levels and I like that. It feels like the band is just one large stream of grooves. Awesome stuff.

Wayne Shorter - 1964 - Night Dreamer

It has been a good long while since I've dedicated some time for Wayne Shorter but things have changed - today in fact! I was browsing through records at some small record fair in town and I stumbled onto this album. It made me realize that even though I've been into Shorter's solo stuff for years now I don't actually own any of his albums in physical format. This was the album at hand and coincidentally it's one of my favorites as well!

Wayne Shorter is a commonly known musician in the jazz scene but perhaps for those who aren't following it he's not a very exposed one. Shorter got noticed by Miles Davis and got him to play in his groups for a long time, recording many hallmark albums with him. But perhaps to outsider audience Shorter is more known for his work in Weather Report than for his solo or Miles albums but for me Weather Report is too tacky for the most part. In any case when he was starting up his solo career he did three records for a label called Vee-Jay and they're perfectly fine. They're modern be-bop and not much else. If you're into it you'll like and won't if you don't. After those three albums he got picked up by Blue Note and things started cooking.

Night Dreamer was the second Blue Note album that got released (Juju being the first one the same year). On here Shorter and his crew are given much more creative freedom and it definitely shows. It's still a post-bop record in tune with the times but it sounds so much more matured and figured out than those past ones. This record also features Lee Morgan (trumpet) who also gets to stretch his skills by playing less conventionally and less commercially viable (I like the dude but all of his  solo -albums are too much by the book). The approach to the whole album is a more relaxed and perhaps more meaningful approach to playing. There are no maelstroms of chords and riffs here, the playing is more precise, more aimed and less bloated. A good nightly record that has a lot of unique intensity for the time. Good stuff.