Somewhere down: Trapped Within Burning Machinery; Crawl; Monuments of Urn (Promenade métallique # 48)

TheFifthElement  RiseFeastBroken

My dear friend,

I think I’ve already told  you that I like albums, that I try to think in terms of albums. Still, no shame in getting stuck sometimes in single tracks. This weeks, for instance, I got really stuck in three quite long tracks, for no particular reasons, but that they are very good and well meant.

The first one is a funeral doom song, taken btw from an excellent funeral doom album: it’s the opening track, Leeloo, of Trapped Within Burning Machinery’s second album, The Fifth Element, which I think completely deserves your darkest attention. It has almost everything that is needed: the mandatory lenght, just under 15’; the slow chanting introduction; the mighty riff – well, really mighty, able to support almost ten minutes of repetitions and variations; the screams, the despair & the glide towards the low end; the epic feeling; the crescendo into diminuendo ending. It may seem that I’m talking about an average f-d track: definitely not! Because everything is put together with a lot of sense & sensibility. You can easily restart it how many times you want – and that riff is really made of stone.

The second one is a huge slab of drone/doom, signed by Claw, a powerful trio of gentlemen from Atlanta, Georgia. It’s called Rise. Feast, and it’s a 18’ track published as a single. Built upon a very little sonic cell, deeply explored and exploited, it’s a beautiful exercise in obstinacy, which you know I like a lot. It’s a dark string meditation, slowly descending like a spiral towards a black subterranean lake of resounding nothingness.

And then we have the seventh one-track ep from the quite mysterious, and prolific (I urge you to explore everything), New England one-man-band Monument of Urns: Broken. A 20’ dark pit of sludge/drone/doom, with no windows, no air, no light. What is there to like here, you may ask. Don’t ask, just drown in the sound, in the raw, rough & restless sound that seems to gush from some kind of being trapped down below.

Yours heavily, mp

Trapped Within Burning Machinery, Leeloo, in The Fifth Element, Midnite Collective 2015; Crawl, Rise. Feast, Stone Groove Records, 2016; Monument of Urns, Broken, Hand Hewn Timbre 2015.



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Into Black Air: Disrotted, «Divination»

DisrottedDivinationDear friend,

I remembered them well from the last year, with their self titled debut. Well, to be honest, if you’d asked me, I’d say I remembered the heaviness, and this is what I just found again in their second album. Yes, Divination by the Chicago trio Disrotted is all about heaviness – sublime, unadulterated, sheer heaviness.

You may argue that this does not come as a surprise, as far as I’m writing to you about heavy metal. Well, yes, but not every heavy metal band build their house just on the heavy. Disrotted do, at maximum level and with excellent results.

Aside from the strange and unsettling interlude of Beneath the Earth, you are presented with three long tracks (the last one very long) saturated with a quite perfect string tone, tortured growls and screams, and a colossal drumming (and we all know that slow drumming is way more difficult). Then you have the riffs: three slow giga-riffs going endlessly downwards, just a step before absolute stillness.

Droning with such a heavy sonic material is not easy, but they succeeded in combining the two drives, and at the end of this enormous digging, at the end of the beautiful and epic sixteen minutes of The Arcane Oath you find yourself somewhere very deep but also unexpectedly breathing.

Yours heavily, mp

Disrotted, Divination, Nerve Altar 2016.


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Background radiation: Ommadon, «Fundamentalist Drone»

OmmadonVIIMy dear friend,

you can either consider Ommadon’s music of the space, or music of the Earth, but in both cases you have to add ‘deep’ – deep in the outer space, or deep down in the ground (and maybe also deep in time). The music of Glasgow drone/doom duo (Mr David Tobin & Mr Ewan Mackenzie) comes from ‘somewhere’, it is the record of a place where primal elements confront themselves.

I’ll put an end to this silly flow of metaphores, but let me say that the cathartic power of their sonic Behemoths is huge – not easy, if you are not accustomed to such dark musical explorations, but rewarding.

A perfect example of what I’m trying to say are the hypnotic 36 minutes of their last output, Fundamentalist Drone, which you can find in their split lp, titled Crumbling Experience, with Legion of Andromeda. A grandiose black river of noise (guitar & keys), flowing without interruptions, coming from and ending in some sort of background radiation. There is not just one ‘current’ in this river: you can hear collapses, deviations, bongs & demolitions. The sound is always moving, shifting, and carrying you away. And as it seems to get heavier and heavier… you just feel lighter.

As with the previous installments of their journey, I want very much to hear where Ommadon will go next.

Yours heavily, mp

Ommadon, Fundamentalist Drone, in Crumbling Existence, At War with False Noise 2016.



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Intensity & Intention: Monoliths, «Monoliths»

MonolithsDear friend,

sometimes it’s like when you read a recipe: you consider the ingredients, and then, after a quick thought, you’d say: this must be good. Same thing with Monoliths (btw, as a metalhead, let me dream of a world where everybody is able and willing to discuss similarities and differences between Monoliths, Monolithe and Monolith): when I read that Byrne from Bismuth, Tobin from Ommadon & Davies from Moloch, to quote their words, «came together in Nottingham through a love of raw and heavy metal [to] play heavy and slow. No plan, no goals, just riffs», I said: this must be awfully good.

And it is.

You may ask in which ways this could be called ‘good’. Well, in several ways, actually.

First of all I always find exciting when you can hear the birth of the riff, starting from the raw material sunk in the feedback: it takes nearly three minutes to the three guys to extract and set in motion the riff of the first track – quite aptly titled Perpetual motion –, and then you have it: a black engine (a «monster of a traction engine», as Paul Quinn of «Ghost Cult» says), a reactor with unlimited fuel that can take you really down below.

Moreover the doom is definitely there, in that half an hour of music. It’s the kind of doom I like the most: heavy but not too angry, serious but not stuffy, obstinate but vast, slow but not motionless. With the strong use of repetition comes also a strong sense of drone, which is always the testbed for the power of the riff.

Then you have a sharp sense of spontaneity and need – the noise of the strings (and the drums) being played with as much intensity and intention as possible. Still, you can easily imagine them playing their riffs for ever, as if there were nothing else left to do.

As you can see, I always try to find poor words for what is just good metal, very good doom in this case, so let’s say that Monoliths sounds like a powerful and healthy radiation, and let’s hope this is just the beginning.

Yours heavily, mp

Monoliths, Monoliths, Dry Cough Records 2016.


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A big snake: Omega Monolith, «Fungus»

FungusDear friend,

sometimes I feel immediately at home in a record. More often because of the sound, more  rarely because of what is being said, and I don’t mean the lyrics. In Fungus, second album by Greek duo Omega Monolith, there are no lyrics at all, but there’s definitely a speech, a discourse, and I’ve founded myself listening to it attentively since the first notes. Their music is a way of thinking, and I liked it a lot.

I would say, first of all, start from the very beginning, take your time, and develop every idea without haste; when you land on something, stick to it, because it’s only with enough repetitions that you can squeeze some meaning from a (musical) idea; try specific ingredients out of their usual context, and let be taken away by the power of compulsiveness.

Fungus is a very serious record, deeply rooted in drone and repetition, and offering a wide spectrum of sounds, ideas, and wisely chosen effects, with a lot of things going on under the surface, especially in the rhythm department. Fungus is a big, hypnotic snake that wrapped you in its coils and rock you to oblivion (no surprise that at its centre you find a Rust Cohle sample). It’s heavy, when needed, it’s mysterious and coming from who-knows-where (the beginning of The Future is Gone), it’s cryptic (the first minutes of The Past is Now), it’s quite often surprising.

You have to be really sure of what you’re doing to avoid a single second of bore, and OM succed at this without any sign of effort: they mean exactly what they’re playing. I’d bet they’re really satisfied with Fungus – they should.

Yours heavily, mp

Omega Monolith, Fungus, 3 Shades of Black 2016.


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