Sol - Black Cloud Of Becoming (2011)

From Denmark, this band (mainly consisting in Emil Brahe it seems) proposes here 3 totally dissimilar tracks, the first one being ambiant doom, the second extreme/experimental doom and the 3rd atmospheric doom. If, like me, you like extreme sonor experiences such as the ones Khanate or Skullflower gave us, you will adopt the second track as soon as you'll hear it. It's totally amazing. On the 3rd track, there is something of the last song on Oxbow's Narcotic Story that is quite surprising but impressive. You can get this gem via cassettes here, on free dl MP3 there, or take it here from mf. Go to their site here to help in buying what you can, this band really deserves it.


Jethro Tull - Sweet Dream / 17 7"(1969)

In October 1969, 4 months before the wonderful "Witch's Promise" single, the band had released another gem called "Sweet Dream", once again generously not an LP song although the albumStand Up, released during the summer of 1969 had been an incredible chart success (n°1 in UK, n°20 in the US) and could have provided many singles. But Ian Anderson was in his most prolific and genius period of his life and could write standards with a fascinating apparent facility. So "Sweet Dream", with its gorgeous chords arrangements, not far from the Barry & Paul Ryan's one, is a classic among classic and reached n°7 in the English charts. On the B-side another new track, very different from the usual Tull style but, will you believe me, great too. Not really easy to compare but I can't help thinking that in it there is something of the future Jacobites style (yes the Nikki Sudden's ones). It's one of the rare examples where the Tull could be classified in the Stones/Faces family. All in all, another extraordinary 7". Both tracks can be found on various compilations, but "17" is much less frequently included so it's a real forgotten song. More to come. Enjoy it here. PS. I think on the below pix they are at Père Lachaise cemetary. Didn't find any video for this song. Seems they did not play it on Top of the Pops or anywhere on TV.

Sweet Dream. You'll hear me calling in your sweet dream,can't hear your daddy's warning cry.You're going back to be all the things you want to be,while in sweet dreams you softly sigh.You hear my voice is calling to be mine again, live the rest of your life in a day. Get out and get what you can while your mummy's at home a-sleeping. No time to understand `cause they lost what they thought they were keeping. No one can see us in your sweet dream. Don't hear you leave to start the car. All wrapped up tightly in the coat you borrowed from me, your place of resting is not far. You'll hear my voice is calling to be mine again, live the rest of your life in a day. Get out and get what you can While your mummy's at home a-sleeping. No time to understand,`cause they lost what they thought they were keeping.


Dark Castle - Surrender To All Life Beyond Form (2011)

Sorry to find almost every week an album that will feature in my top ten of the year (it was recently the case with Battle Path and Walk Through Fire) but once again, here there is one. It's the new Dark Castle. This band consists in the vocalist/guitarist and composer Stevie Floyd and drummer Rob Shaffer and their previous LP (Spirited Migration) was a gem that I promoted the best I could in the various media sources I was writing. Now, I'm confined to this blog and this new one is a complete masterpiece, varied as none would have believed and that is a new milestone in the doom/sludge march towards the glorious end of times. What is so fantastic here is that there is no more codes, barriers, taboos and that the duo decided to do what they were inspired to do. And it's totally amazing. I don't see anything on this album that is a concern for me. First, I was not totally convinced but it was only cos' I wasn't in the mood for a so deep and rich music. I wanted something unidimensional and somewhat archaïc which this album is not. If I post the LP here it's only to give a try but the band needs support and that you buy their stuff on any support you want (preferentially CD or vinyl on At A loss). Their myspace is here. Enjoy this total stunning piece of work there.


Jethro Tull - The Witch's Promise / Teacher 7" (1970)

This is maybe my fave Tull's song, at least one of my faves, the melody is total magic, the instrumentation (this mellotron, this flute) classy as few are, and Ian Anderson sings it without the somewhat pretentious tone he will adopt the following year for the rest of his career. The song was a hit in UK (n°4). Released in January 1970, 3 months prior to Benefit was issued, it was a sign that the success of the Stand Up LP and the Sweet Dream single was not an ephemere phenomenon. On the B-side, there is Teacher, here in its first UK mix, maybe the version on the B-side of the single but I'm not quite sure. The thing is that it allows to propose a rare version of the song and not the trad. LP one (it is to note that this version is available only on the 20 years with Jethro Tull 3CD but not on the bonus tracks of Benefits, contrary to what is written on the rear cover). So here it is really the original UK mix. Enjoy this single here. Below some TV appearances during which Ian Anderson doesn't really try to mimic the playback but he sures likes mimics. The band was at these times fucking charismatic.

Witch's Promise. Lend me your ear while I call you a fool.You were kissed by a witch one night in the wood,and later insisted your feelings were true.The witch's promise was coming,believing he listened while laughing you flew.Leaves falling red, yellow, brown, all are the same,and the love you have found lay outside in the rain.Washed clean by the water but nursing its pain.The witch's promise was coming, and you're looking elsewhere for your own selfish gain.Keep looking, keep looking for somewhere to be, well, you're wasting your time, they're not stupid like he is. Meanwhile leaves are still falling, you're too blind to see. You won't find it easy now, it's only fair. He was willing to give to you, you didn't care. You're waiting for more but you've already had your share.The witch's promise is turning, so don't you wait up for him, he's going to be late.


St... - Here It Comes / Tomorrow 7" (1972)

If one single would epitomize the mutation of Strawbs from a folk to a rock band, this would certainly be this one, although it failed to make any impression in the charts. But it's clear that Dave Cousins was inclining towards more rock and even more towards glam (funny to see on the picture below that only Dave Cousins and Blue Weaver could have fitted physically with this movement, the other members being not quite charismatic enough to be credible in glitter stars). Not surprising when you think that David Bowie and Marc Bolan were first folk icons, that Dave Cousins crossed the path of both, and that Tony Visconti, Mr T.Rex sound, was Strawbs arranger for a while. Listen to the acoustic intro and tell me if it's not under the influence of the sound Ken Scott did for Bowie onHunky Dory. The bad thing is that the song is not a winner, neither on the musical nor on the lyrical plans (these are maybe the worst lyrics ever written by Dave Cousins). But it's not a total disaster. The song never appeared on any official LP but only on various compilations and as bonus tracks on the reissued version of Grave New World. Here it is in its original element. The single was released to coincide with the summer tour promoting the Grave New World LP. The LP from which the B-side was driven, "Tomorrow", a (superb and raw) song about Rick Wakeman and the bitterness of Dave Cousins about this departure for Yes. Enjoy it here.


Walk Through Fire - Furthest From Heaven (2011)

From Sweden, this band proposes one of the most deep and intense doom of our times. It's slow, very slow, but it goes so profoundly in your guts that it's difficult not to be moved by the sludgy grandeur of this music. It's apparently their second effort and it's a triumph (strange word for such a music but this is the one that comes to my mind). There is nothing of the sometimes forced atmosphere of UK or US most extreme doom. Here it's like the evidence of mourning was dripping from this music's blood. A must. Try it here and then buy the digital version at their bandcamp there to support them (and to have the booklet I've had voluntary not included in the file). Or buy the CD, it's the only way to listen in decent conditions to this music.


Ensorcelor - Crucifuge (2011)

Sorry if you were waiting for some 70's old treasure (usually it's 2 old stuff for 1 doom/sludge), but I'm still in extreme sludge blackened metal today, notably with this great Canadian band called Ensorcelor and truly ensorceling. Something of Khanate (in particular the voice and the deconstructed parts here and there) mixed with black metal atmospheres and breaks (a growing trend these times), a sludge sound thickness and doom themas on guitar (eg. the 8th min of "Crucifuge"). The perfect mixtures for despaired nights. This band succeeds with 2 long tracks to install its style and to become one of the major acts of the year. The production is loud and powerful, it's never boring or self-indulgent (there is even nice passages with acoustic guitar, yes). In brief, it's great. Shame that on their bandcamp they don't propose any solid format (vinyl or CD). However, you can buy a vinyl version here or there. Dl it here to enjoy and then buy it there to support.


The Ash Eaters - Cold Hearts EP (2010)

OMD (you don't think I'll pray god, the devil is more my interlocutor), 2 hours after a car crash (I'm fine, my car less), that's exactly what I needed to hear. I had this demo stored for some weeks now, but tonight I had a need to hear these crashing guitars fuzzling in my ears as was the rain on the steel of our cars collided one in another. This demo is the new project of Umesh Amtey, ex-member of the great Brown Jenkins (I must post some of their material here one day), and is totally instrumental. If you would have liked that Steve Albini made Shellac go in the doom or black metal atmosphere, this will please you. You may like more bass, maybe a voice, but I find the present options OK, and the choir on "All Your Stars Will Die" is really clever and efficient enough to make you shivering deep in the spine. This project is one of the most interesting of the year so far. Don't need to upload it since it's free on Bandcamp (here) and a link to mediafire is even proposed.


Thou - The Archer And The Owle EP (2011)

This is the 3rd of the summer production of Thou, an EP strangely featuring 2 tracks from Summit and 4 (to my knowledge) previously unreleased tracks, in particular a cover of Nirvana's "Something In The Way" (although I'm not sure this song fits very well in Thou's universe but no matter). To have seen them recently, I know this band is a killer on stage, and it's fantastic to have such a great band in action. Since I have listened a lot to Summit and I'm not totally convinced by the Nirvana's cover, my preference goes to the 3 new tracks that worth the acquisition of this EP (in vinyl) and add some more gems to an extraordinary series. They are more in the doom mood than in the pure sludge one and "Bonnet Carre" is a true masterpiece. There is something particular to this band that makes him greater than anything else. They are not miming any code and bring some fresh air in a scene sometimes stuck on narrow formats. It's punk, it's doom, it's noise, it's sludge, it's Thou (& me). Enjoy it here.

Bonnet Carré. Heads shake at self inflicted misfortune. Hands wrung of responsibility. Ears covered from the ringing trumpets of fact. Father created from the black froth swept off the rim of the cauldron of creation. We are maggots, and we are worms writhing in the marshes of refuse. Flee! Flee! Sink to hands and knees. Crawl through the muck, shrunken genitalia beating against bellies and thighs. Wretched, disgusting beasts. That tree which no man knows has been hewn to it's roots and set ablaze. Our faces are bleached in its ashes.


St... - Benedictus / Keep The Devil Out 7" (1972)

A wonderful song from the strong Grave New World LP, recorded in November 1971 once Rick Wakeman had left the band for Yes, and Blue Weaver had taken the keyboards, not for the worse to my view, even if it was a rude shock for the band. The song is everything I admire in Dave Cousins. This ability to mix traditional melodies with a modern flavour, never sounding passeist or old-times lover, but succeeding in recreating the magical mystery emanating from this ancient music, adding new standards to old ones. The instrumentation is perfect (thx to Tony Visconti, to whom Dave Cousins is actually grateful). It was not a hit but it was maybe a little too much to ask since the song is not quite the model of the ones that excited the glam audience of the period. The B-side is the same than the abhorted "Witchwood" single, a non-LP song from John Ford. I did the cover sleeve myself, based upon a flyer from the US tour to promote the album. Enjoy it here (rs) or there (mf).

Benedictus. The wanderer has far to go Humble must he constant be Where the paths of wisdom Distant is the shadow of the setting sun. Bless the daytime Bless the night Bless the sun which gives us light Bless the thunder Bless the rain Bless all those who cause us pain. Yellow stars may lead the way All diversions lead astray While his resolution holds Fortune and good will will surely follow him. Bless the free man Bless the slave Bless the hero in his grave Bless the soldier Bless the saint Bless all those whose hearts grow faint.


Akem Manah - Horror In The Eyes EP (2011)

This Akem Manah is the US one (from Oregon), not the more gothic one from Belgium. They play a back to the roots (historically and metaphorically) death-doom that reminded me Autopsy when they slowed the pace, or to the old school doom à-la My Dying Bride 1st period. Except for the totally ruined version of Electric Wizard's "Funeralopolis" (where the drummer had put his drums sticks to play so out of pace?), the rest is dirty and sludgy as I love it (in particular the themas that are exceptionally finely developped and easy to remember such as the splendid one of "Creatures in the Wall"). A kind of good old times perfume, except that this lost heaven was the one we lived in cemetaries among living-deads. Taste the thrill here and then go to buy the CD there. It worths it. Their site is here. After Melanie, quite a contrast I admit, but this is the cyclothymic way I feel.


Vestiges - The Descent Of Man (2011)

This band from USA mixes so many genres that it would be too long and tedious to name them all. Let's say that you can hear black metal, doom, sludge and post-rock but much more. This seems to be the mark of the new generation of bands that appeared in the later years (recently the excellent Deafheaven) and that I post on this blog. This way of not being stucked in one style is a welcome evolution and provides albums much more pleasant to listen to than many of the great ancients that honestly were a little unidimensional. Here the band seems to have ecological ambitions in their lyrics, and also music. I'm not sure it's what I like the most, there is always the risk to sound pompous and emphatic. But I don't think it's the case here. What's clear, it's that one of the best thing to have been released these recents weeks (and I listen to a lot of things, most being quite boring to my ears). You can find their site here and then dl freely their album there. Support the best you can, they deserve it. And dl the album here if you don't want to do it on bandcamp.