Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dark Suites Music Reviews

Goatwhore - Carving Out The Eyes of God (2009)

Goatwhore is one of those underground metal bands that has been around for more than ten years but has never reached mainstream fame. Now that is not necessarily a bad thing. They have continued to be a force in the underground metal scene with no radio airplay. Their new album “Carving Out The Eyes of God,” is a welcome addition to any fan of metal. From the first track “Apocalyptic Havoc,” to the final track Goathwhore does not fail to deliver. Apocalyptic Havoc starts out with heavy guitar riffs accompanied by a roaring scream. The guitar solo done by guitarist Sammy Duet is well done and only adds to the mayhem. The song was appropriately chosen as the first track as it starts off the album on a good note and really sets the tone of the album. The singing is done in an angered growl which is not as extreme as other death metal bands such as Cannibal Corpse or Behemoth. “Provoking the Ritual of Death,” is another standout on the album. It has a mid tempo start that builds up to a catchy hook. The final track of the album “To Mourn and Forever Wander through Forgotten Doorways,” is an appropriate send off to close off the album with slowed tempo guitar riffing and a guitar solo that breaks up the middle of the song. The double pass guitar peddling of drummer Zack Simmons becomes faster and thundering until it suddenly stops, to which you can finally breathe as you have survived the album. Goatwhore breaks free of the common problem of having every other song sound the same. This is definitely a big issue with death metal bands. Goatwhore provides enough variety and musical changes through this album that provides for a great listen from beginning to end.
I really don’t like restricting bands to one genre as I believe that bands often evolve and bring in different elements from music in general. Goathwhore is definitely a mixture of black/death metal with thrash elements thrown in. If you have never listened to Goatwhore, this album is definitely a good one to start with. If you’re a metal head like me, you already own this album and are just reading this because it’s about Goatwhore.

The Eclipse of Ages Into Black (2000)
Funeral Dirge For the Rotting Sun (2003)
A Haunting Curse (2006)
Carving Out The Eyes Of God (2009)

Goatwhore's home page

--Steven M Duarte

Lisa Gerrard - The Silver Tree (2006)
The day legendary world music/Goth band DEAD CAN DANCE decided to call it quits was a sad day for me. I grew into adulthood listening to their strange blend of drums, ambient keyboards, and dark, intelligent soul-expanding vocals. The singing duo of Lisa Gerrard & Brendan Perry created something special, a blend of melancholy beauty not heard since THE COCTEAU TWINS and THIS MORTAL COIL. After an amicable split, the various members went their own ways, some finding time to work again in pairs or trios. But Lisa Gerrard, despite her brilliant works with Pieter Bourke, including DUALITY (1998) and various film scores, like THE INSIDER (1999), she went mostly solo and moved on to film work, where her soundtrack efforts have become legend in themselves, counting among their number the likes of Oscar lauded GLADIATOR (2000), BLACK HAWK DOWN (2001) and WHALE RIDER (2003). While she continues to still create some of the most exciting film music to date, it’s her solo stuff that really grabs me.
Last year’s release of THE SILVER TREE is a thing of ambient beauty, rivaling even the queen of chill out world music, Enya. As always, Gerrard utilizes various instruments from around the world (supposedly she is adept at over thirty different instruments) and lays down some of the most luxurious vocals, going from low heart wrenching moans to soul soaring cries, I’ve ever heard outside of jazz. It has a rich full quality that seems to grow stronger with each new release.
The songs are absolutely hypnotizing in their power to lay down layers of sound that ultimately insinuate themselves in the listener’s ear and in their mind, creating dark and dreamy visual to match the tracks’ titles, such as ‘Towards the Tower’, ‘Sword of the Samurai’ and ‘Space Weaver’, each slowly building into vast soundscapes. But it is her voice that completes the spell as it washes over the listener, drawing them ever closer to whatever Heavenly visions to which this soulful and talented aspires.

Dead Can Dance (1984)
Spleen and Ideal (1985)
Within the Realm of a Dying Sun (1987)
The Serpent's Egg (1988)
Aion (1990)
Into the Labyrinth (1993)
Toward the Within (1994)
Spiritchaser (1996)

Duality (1998), with Pieter Bourke
Immortal Memory (2004), with Patrick Cassidy
A Thousand Roads (2005) with Jeff Rona
Ashes and Snow (2006) with Patrick Cassidy

Solo Works:
The Mirror Pool (1995)
Whalerider (Original Soundtrack) (2003)
The Silver Tree (2006

Film scores:
The Greater Meaning of Water (2006)
Seoul Train (2005)
Fateless (2005) with Ennio Morricone
A Thousand Roads (2005) with Jeff Rona
Layer Cake (2004)
Salem's Lot (TV mini-series) (2004) with Patrick Cassidy and Christopher Gordon
Man on Fire (2004) vocals for the Harry Gregson-Williams score
The Passion of the Christ (2004) with Patrick Cassidy (score withdrawn)
One Perfect Day (2004)
Tears of the Sun (2003) with Hans Zimmer
Whale Rider (2002)
Ali (2001) with Pieter Bourke
Black Hawk Down (2001)
Mission: Impossible II (2000) with Hans Zimmer
Gladiator (2000) with Hans Zimmer
The Insider (1999) with Pieter Bourke
Nadro (1998)
Heat (1995)

Lisa Gerrard’s home page

--Nickolas Cook

Mississippi Fred McDowell - I Do Not Play No Rock and Roll (1969)

I defy anyone not to tap a foot or even jump up and dance a down home jig or two when listening to this classic blues double album. Mississippi Fred McDowell, explains as he’s warming up to play, that he’s not from Mississippi, but just outside Rossville, Tennessee, and that he ‘don’t play no rock and roll, just straight and nat’chal blues’. These are not words of defiance, but definition from a man who had worked to define the sound of Southern Blues in his most creative years. I DO NOT PLAY NO ROCK AND ROLL was McDowell’s first electric guitar recording, and it’s amazing how easy he makes it sound. With a stripped down rhythm section made up of only a bass, and using an old bone to create his distinctive slide guitar, McDowell proves himself nothing less than a master on this album. There is a sense of storytelling that leaps the decades as McDowell explains himself and his music, even gives background on some of the characters he uses in his songs. His renditions of the classics, such as ‘Kokomo Me Baby’ and ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’, are what the Blues is all about: Sexual, grinding, rhythmic, and soul stirring in their simplistic intensity. Here is a man who understood the importance of spacing, simplicity, and story.
There’s a reason for the album’s title. Throughout the collection he attempts to show a late 60s audience, steeped in ever-evolving rock and roll musical stylings, that there is a still-vibrant music style older than all of Led Zeppelin’s and The Beatles’ catalogues- that his music is a living thing that can still cull forth old dreams and recollections of a lost era of tunes. This is music stripped of all rock and roll pretensions, soul sweet and perfect.
Blues enthusiasts, or even someone who is curious about them, I DO NOT PLAY NO ROCK AND ROLL is essential listening.


There are over 144 albums available from this artist- too many to list here practically.

--Nickolas Cook