Postcards from Natalie Zed: Part Three

I write a series of postcard-length album reviews for This is the third installment. You can read the original here.

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Keep of Kalessin – Kolossus (Nuclear Blast 2008)

The sheer grinding force of Kolossus‘ sound evokes lightning-blasted rock, a well-orchestrated sonic avalanche. Even more than the sound, the vocals hooked me. Whether screams or growls, black or death, every word with still clarion-clear. The meaning of the lyrics, clearly audible and comprehensible, and the force of the voice delivering those lyrics was a killer combination. Thebon has the voice of a dragon.

Trinacria – Travel Now Journey Infinitely (Season of Mist 2008)

Alchemy, the medieval pseudo-science that blended magic and chemistry, attempted to combine various elements to create something new – to turn iron into gold. The Trinacria (or triskelion) is an alchemical symbol representing movement and multiplicity. Alchemy is a perfect metaphor for this combination of Enslaved and Fe-Mail, taking disparate elements to make something new. While the end result is not exactly gold, it is rough and ugly and noisy and definitely magical.

Birds of Prey – The Hellpreacher (Relapse Records 2009)

This album is ugly. Some stories can’t progress, some protagonists cannot triumph, and the primary voice of this album is a voice that does not really have a chance. From the first line of this concept album, there is no respite, no out. The lyrics were difficult for me – especially “Juvie.” There is no way to navigate out of this maze of horrors , and the destruction of the voice is inevitable. It left me wrung out and thankful that, for all the ugliness I have seen, I have come out relatively clean.

Bonafide – Something’s Dripping (Black Lodge 2009)

Something’s Dripping may be one of the most comforting albums I have listened to in a while. Right out of the gates I knew what to expect, and BONAFIDE delivered my expectations every time. Listening was like stepping into the most worn and comfortable jeans that I own. You know what? I have never gotten laid once because I was wearing my lazy Sunday jeans. I prefer to be surprised.

Beneath The Massacre – Dystopia (Prosthetic Records 2008)

Sometimes I wonder if I see things that aren’t there, if my background in literature makes me see the world through dork-tinted lenses. Sometimes there is no doubt in my mind that I am on to something (I’m looking at you, KEEP OF KALESSIN – I’ve read Ursula LaGuin’s Earthsea novels too), and sometimes I am less sure. Are BENEATH THE MASSACRE referring to T.S. Eliot with a song titled “The Wasteland?” Or Edgar Allen Poe with “Nevermore?” Whether the references are intentional or not, I am willing to draw the parallel here, if only because the brutality of Dystopia seems perfectly in line with the bleakness of modernism. Shit – I feel like giving myself a wedgie for this one.

Kittie – In The Black (E1 Music 2009)

I’m honestly not sure if I dig this or not. I certainly dig female-fronted metal, and Morgan Lander has some pipes. I also dig the packaging – this incarnation is KITTIE is sleek and slick and cool. Even their photography is great. And still. Something about In The Black leaves me hungry.

Job For A Cowboy – Ruination (Metal Blade 2009)

Alright, JOB FOR A COWBOY. I have some aggression to work out too; if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here. But sometimes you don’t have to go straight for the viscera. Sometimes you can just drink a bottle of wine and eat Oreos in the bathtub.

El Grupo Nuevo De Omar Rodriguez Lopez – Cryptomnesia (Rodriguez Lopez Productions 2009)

First, let me just say that I think THE MARS VOLTA is the shit. My lady parts were all a-quiver when I saw this particular album was included in my loot, and I am pleased to say I was not disappointed. The sound is strange and alien, but never alienating. For all the experimentation and aural collage and raw noise, Cryptomnesia retains a plaintiveness and kept me rapt.

U. D. O. – Dominator (AFM 2009)

So, maybe it’s a little bit cold. Not bitterly cold, just a bit rainy and drizzly, so the city is chilled and asphalt-grey. You’ve been running ragged lately, too many deadlines, a bit underslept. Maybe you even go to the gym, and put in a good workout, so your body is tired as well as your mind. Then, and the end of this busy, cold, wet, just slightly shitty day, you come home to a warm apartment and find a rare steak and a bottomless glass of red wine waiting for you. Can you imagine a more satisfying meal, the perfect sensation of bloody meat between your teeth? That’s exactly how satisfying Dominator is.

The Gathering – The West Pole (Season of Mist/Psychonaut Records 2009)

Come on, ovaries.


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