Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dark Suites Music Reviews

Dimmu Borgir: abrahadabra (2010)

Review written by Steven M Duarte

Ready for some more Norwegian Black Metal? Well you’re in for a treat with Dimmu Borgir’s latest release abrahadabra which translates to “I will create as I speak,” a quote taken from Aleister Crowley’s “The Book of the Law.” In a world of poser death/black metal bands Dimmu Borgir is one of the black metal bands that stay true to their image and music. While their previous album “In Sorte Diaboli,” was a dark medieval tale about a priest, abrahadabra is a brooding journey through a dark desolate icy wasteland with Lovecraftian themes. The album art actually included tentacles to directly associate with Lovecraft.

While Dimmu has always been known for their theatrically symphonic sound, abrahadabra takes it to the next level. Prior albums may have featured the use of symphonies on some of the tracks but this new album sees a majority of tracks containing the symphonic sound. It has been said that Dimmu used a 51 member orchestra along with a 38 member choir to create this album. The use of these musicians also aided in an overall diverse album from what we have been used to.

One noticeable difference is the use of a different clean vocalist. Long time clean vocalist Vortex was apparently fired from the band in early 2010. The new album uses a couple of session singers to lend their voices. While the session singers get the job done the sound does sound much different with the absence of Vortex. He had such a strong opera sounding voice that added great contrast between lead singer Shagrath’s vocals. One minor squabble with an otherwise respectable album.

Final words
Dimmu Borgir would be in my top black metal bands list only second to Cradle of Filth. While not a huge black metal fan I do tend to listen to Dimmu and have seen a decent amount of black metal bands in concert. I would almost have to give Dimmu’s new album a leg up over Cradle of Filths most recent release. The compositions and heavier inclusion of choirs and orchestras truly make abrahadabra an epic album.

Track List

01. Xibir (2:50)
02. Born Treacherous (5:02)
03. Gateways (5:10)
04. Chess With The Abyss (4:08)
05. Dimmu Borgir (5:35)
06. Ritualist (5:13)
07. The Demiurge Molecule (5:29)
08. A Jewel Traced Through Coal (5:16)
09. Renewal (4:11)
10. Endings And Continuations (5:58)

--Steven M. Duarte

LEMMY: The Documentary (2011)
Directed/produced by Greg Olliver and Wes Orshoski

Review by Nickolas Cook

This truly modern classic documentary follows the daily life of the world's most famous hard rack/metal bassist, Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister. He is man of legend when it comes to indulging in life's excessess. His stories of boozing and sexing have been myths passed down through generations of diehard fans, and have in many ways perpertuated the strange behaviors which the band is routinely accused of during the course of a worldwide tour.
At age 65, Lemmy, and his current Motorhead band members, show little inclination to slow things down for the ever approaching grim reaper. No, if this documentary does any one thing, it's to illustrate just how at arms length Lemmy and company intend to keep the forked tongued bastard at bay in their declining years.
There are many moments of humor, both intentional and unintentional throughout the film, which display the nitty gritty facts of life that Lemmy is an aging bacholor (by choice, so no quiet empathetic moans, please) and that he's just now beginning to feel certain parts of his life aren't as fufilled as they might be...and sadly, he admits for the camera, these things aren't ever likely to be fulfilled.
Still, all in all, the documentary manages to also gives a round picture of a man who is still doing the one things he loves with all his heart and hopes to keeo doing for a nother hundred years, Gods willing.
For you HawkWind fans, there's even a little history of their work, and their eventual and inevitiable breakdown from within.
The music couldn't be any better, as we are given backstage privy to rehersals and studio sessions with some of the tops names in classic and modern hard rock and modern metal music. There are several candid and mostly humorous interviews with the likes of Dave Mustaine and Dave Gruel and others and how Lemmy's musical style and his personal philosophies helped shaped them, but also the metal musci world in general.
I found the entire documentary to be uplifting and respecftul, to say the least. I've always been a Motorhead fan and feared this doc could very easily have turned in to a post modern dissection of a musical machine that has delivered with consistant professonalism for decades. But that was not the case. This was an utter delight and made me love not only Motorhead all the more, but Lemmy even more. He's got to be one of the most down to earth legends were sure to ever meet.

--Nickolas Cook

Burial--Untrue (2007)

Review by Nickolas Cook

With this second album from the UK's newest electro-dub rising star, Burial (aka William Bevan) continues to incorporate solid undercrurrents of menace, emeotionally dark and other electro-beats styles into his works. But most importantly, because of his industry legend disfavor of the machine controlled cut and paste style of adding drum sequencing to his songs, he laboriously sits through hours and hours of cut/splice session for every single beat in every single songs on every single album. He spents massie amounts of time putting together these rythym sections, both single beat and polyphonic. And it shows in each of the songs as they sit slightly to the right of what one expects to hear in these songs.
Also Burial has a brilliant inante ability to find just the right pitch of voice to add to his own mixture that helps to bolster the haunted quality to his music. In fact that is one of the main selling points to Burial's two LPs to date: that sense of wide open dark spaces on all sides of the listener, a ruined cathedral, perhaps, inhabited by one of old M.r. James' hungry, greedy spirits seeking a way out through the beats and phrases.
Coupling that sense of ancient unseen hunger with modern upbeat samplings from such artists as Beyonce and India Arie and Christina Aguilera provides a template by which most modern music lovers can find at least one thing to appreciate in this man's great and unique music, now being dubbed as Hauntology or Spirit Dub.

1."Untitled" - 0:46
Contains a voice sample from David Lynch film Inland Empire
2."Archangel" - 3:58
Contains samples from "One Wish" by Ray J
Contains a sample from the intro video of Metal Gear Solid 2.
3."Near Dark" - 3:54
4."Ghost Hardware" - 4:53
Contains a sample from "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera.
Contains a sample from Metal Gear Solid.
Contains a sample from the film Girl with a Pearl Earring.
Contains a sample from the Metalheadz: Talkin' Headz documentary, spoken by Andy C.
5."Endorphin" - 2:57
Contains sample from "Lost Carol" by Akira Yamaoka and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn.
6."Etched Headplate" - 5:59
Contains a sample from "Angel" by Amanda Perez.
Contains a sample from "Ready For Love" by India Arie.
Contains a sample from DVD extra cast interviews for the film Bullet Boy (spoken by Claire Perkins).
7."In McDonalds" - 2:07
Contains a sample from "I Refuse" by Aaliyah.
Contains a sample from the film Bullet Boy.
8."Untrue" - 6:16
Contains a sample from a cover of "Resentment", originally by Beyoncé
Contains a sample from "Whisper" by Ernie Halter.
9."Shell of Light" - 4:40
Contains a sample from "Whisper" by Ernie Halter.
10."Dog Shelter" - 2:59
Contains a sample from "Eastern" by Blackfilm.
11."Homeless" - 5:20
Contains a sample from a cover of "Who's Lovin' You", originally by Smokey Robinson, probably via "Hold On" by En Vogue
Contains a sample from "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera.
12."UK" - 1:40
13."Raver" - 4:59
Contains a sample from "Show Me Love" by Robin S.

--Nickolas Cook

Easy Rider (Original Soundtrack Recording) (1969)

review by Nickolas Cook

Taken from one of easily the most imporant counter-culture films ever made (written and directed by the late Dennis Hopper, who also co-starred in the film as "Wyatt") these were songs that at once speak to the heart of the disenfranchised in the late 60s and to a modern audience who fill as disenfranchised by the same social elements in our society
as they did back then. There're songs of cycnicism and hope, next to earnet lyrics of hope for mankind--if we can get our shit toegether long enough to come together for one another and make some positive lasting changes for our genration and the ones after ours;
All weell and good, but you people came here to to dig the music, right?
Although it's ostensibly a soundtrack, this truly turns out to be a sort of best of collection for that era of music--before the corporate greedheads got a chance to start adding their 'singles' minded fingers into the process.
Even by today's post modern standards there is no better opening to a movie than Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild", and Jimi Hendrix's "If Six Were Nine" still hold truer than ever today. All in all, each song is a definition of a time and place in this country's history and mentality which will never come again. So you better enjoy it while you can and for what it meant to a country in emotional and culturual turmoil.

1."The Pusher" (Hoyt Axton) – 5:49
Steppenwolf - Steppenwolf (1968)
2."Born to Be Wild" (Mars Bonfire) – 3:37
Steppenwolf - Steppenwolf (1968)
3."The Weight" (Jaime Robbie Robertson) – 4:29
Smith (1969)
4."Wasn't Born to Follow" (Carole King/Gerry Goffin) – 2:03
The Byrds - The Notorious Byrd Brothers (1968)
5."If You Want to Be a Bird (Bird Song)" (Antonia Duren) – 2:35
The Holy Modal Rounders - The Moray Eels Eat the Holy Modal Rounders (1969)
6."Don't Bogart Me" (Elliot Ingber/Larry Wagner) – 3:05
Fraternity of Man - Fraternity of Man (1968)
7."If 6 Was 9" (Jimi Hendrix) – 5:35
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Axis: Bold as Love (1967)
8."Kyrie Eleison/Mardi Gras (When the Saints)" (Traditional, arranged by David Axelrod) – 4:00
The Electric Prunes - Mass in F Minor (1968)
9."It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" (Bob Dylan) – 3:39
Roger McGuinn (1969)
10."Ballad of Easy Rider" (Roger McGuinn/Bob Dylan) – 2:14
Roger McGuinn (1969)

--Nickolas Cook