ROTW: split decision

Our Boxing Day Records Of The Week are two truly weird af extreme metal splits that came out fairly late in the year, and the Nuclear War Now! label happened to have a hand in each, so why not honor these two together?

Bunkur Vs. Mordor sees Swiss ambient industrial doom cult Mordor making their first recorded appearance in, like, 23 years (!), a surprising enough occurrence all by itself for those who remember them from the Wild Rags days of the very early '90s, and then to find them in the company of Dutch ultra-dooooomsters Bunkur (who themselves haven't put anything out since 2009's Nullify, incidentally recipient of one of the more amusing 0% Metal-Archives reviews we've run across) doing a conceptual covers album is really unexpected. And absurdly awesome.

On Bunkur and Mordor's respective sides, olde gods Carnivore and Venom are paid tribute to... very, very sloooooowly. Each side is just one song, but liberties have been taken. You get an extremely stretched out, slowed down, super-sized, epic-ized, chopped, screwed, etc. reinterpretation of the original being "covered." Voila, a full-length release to baffle all 'bangers!

Much more hectic and certainly no less whatthefuck-y, the With Gangrene Edges / Voiidwarp split (vinyl version care of NWN/Iron Bonehead, cd via the impeccable I, Voidhanger label) brings together two of the most guano bonkers bands in the whole unholy black/death realm: the recently split up (darn it!) Howls Of Ebb from somewhere 'round here in the Bay and our fave eccentriic extremiist krauts Khthoniik Cerviiks. You may need your EpiPen, this is nutty, nutty stuff! A great intro to two amazing, crazing bands ibb you are unfamiiilar with either, and absolutely necessary if you're already a fan of one or both as well.


ROTW: Dungeon Crawler!

Sure, we've picked a couple metal albums as Records Of The Week on this blog already, but nothing properly, truly old school heavy metal, until now. Until Legendry!

This particular example is very much up Allan's alley as a fanboy of epic D&D-ish medieval metal but it was Andee who first discovered this and told Allan about it (and of course he digs Legendry like crazy too).

As for me (Allan), well I figure if I pretty much run and order something as soon as I first hear it, and it immediately busts right into my year-end top ten, then it's fairly ROTW-worthy! Not sure how I hadn't heard of these particular Pittburgh Steelers (as in, swords of steel) before, they even have another cd from last year, too.

But, not being previously aware of 'em, from the (admittedly cool) cover art and album title, I almost thought this was gonna be cheesy modern power metal or maybe equally cheesy dungeon synth. Instead, the charmingly rough-hewn and slightly ramshackle-sounding Legendry conjure magickal Manilla Road-worshipping epic metal with one foot planted on a stage monitor in the early '80s NWOBHM era, the other tapping its toes in the mystical, proggy '70s. They've got galloping rhythms, rockin' riffs, soulfully psychedelic guitar wailing, sincere singing, some tasty use of organ, and perhaps most astonishingly, they are pretty gosh darn poppy in parts!

They don't sound like Uncle Acid, but we get the notion that what Uncle Acid is to Black Sabbath, Legendry are to their inspirations like Manilla Road and early Iron Maiden.

They also sound a lot like they could jump in a time machine (they might already have one), transport themselves back to 1976, record a 45, and eventually wind up, back in the future, on a compilation like our big fave Warfaring Strangers: Darkscorch Canticles.

Just the thing to crank the first time I get to play my newly acquired copy of the Dungeon Degenerates boardgame. But this isn't just about retro-nostalgic fantasy fun times, everything they play and sing here is also so obviously heartfelt. Lovin' it.

RIYL: Tarot (NZ), Realmbuilder, Ravensire, Eternal Champion, early Manilla Road, Legend (US), Brocas Helm, Pagan Altar, Lords Of The Crimson Alliance...


ROTW: Exotica!

In celebration of tonight's heartening victory by Democrat Doug Jones over creepy Republican bigot Roy Moore in Alabama's special Senate election, let's have a Record Of The Week from our favorite visionary Alabamian, the late great Sun Ra!

It just so happens that a lovely collection of the out-there Afro-space-jazz icon's most 'exotic' sides – stuff that, in its own occasionally abstract way, perhaps surprisingly aligns with the likes of Les Baxter and Martin Denny – was recently released for the so-called Black Friday "Record Store Day" by Sundazed subsidiary Modern Harmonic. And of course, it's pretty great! There are several previously unreleased cuts among the twenty-five gems selected by compiler and outsider-music expert Irwin Chusid, who provides extensive liner notes along with Brother Cleve of Combustible Edison.

Super groovy, super recommended to both Sun Ra and exotica fans, or anyone into beautiful rhythmic reveries and mellow mood music derived from real and imagined primitive/jungle/ancient (and cocktail-drinking?) cultures.

Due to the whole Black Friday RSD collector thing, the swank colored triple vinyl version is, unfortunately, going to be hard to come by (and expensive) if you missed it then, but the label still has copies of the double cd version available at a normal price. Or, you could do digital download via Bandcamp, if you're like that, via the below link, also good for listening...


ROTW: Music For Nine Postcards!

After the beautiful, but noisy, onslaught of Metallic OK by Bruce Russell last week, not to mention the noisiness and nastiness of our other recent picks from the likes of Brainbombs and Tetragrammacide, perhaps it's time for a Record Of The Week that you could, you know, take a nap to.

Well, okay, if you're like us you can happily fall asleep to lots of crazy stuff, but we're talking something that a normal person might actually agree was lovely and restful.

For that, we've selected the pure bliss of the 1982 debut Music For Nine Postcards from Japanese New Age/ambient musician Hiroshi Yoshimura (1940-2003). It's a record that's recently been reissued for the first time domestically by new label Empire Of Signs, run by Spencer Doran (of Visible Cloaks) and our old pal Maxwell Croy (of En and the Root Strata label). Thanks doods! Minimal, serene, tranquil studies home-recorded on electronic keyboard and Fender Rhodes, these are nine tracks to chillax with for sure. Exquisite.

Available on LP and compact disc via Light In The Attic (though, it seems that the vinyl is being repressed already, look for it again in February perhaps).