As you may have gathered from my review of Mastodon's The Hunter, I am a big fan of the album, so I was very excited to discover that there is a new video of Dry Bone Valley doing the rounds. Here it is in all its glory.
I would pass comment, but I'm afraid my brain just imploded and leaked out of my nose. Awesome.
I'm always on the lookout for new, exciting music to listen to, so when a wholeslew of blogs I read all started singing the praises of Cormorant, I really had to have a listen. There were a number of things that attracted me to their latest album, Dwellings, including the amazing album art, the promise of 70s hard rock inspired progressive metal and the depth and quality of the lyrics and themes of the album.
As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I'm a sucker for album art, and the artwork for Dwellings is a thing to behold. There is a tiny version shown here, but you need to see the full size piece to appreciate just how much is going on.
The album is full of beautifully described concepts and lyrical themes. Each song tells a story, some literally, some conceptually, and some recounting specific historical events. From Philipe Petit, who walked a tightrope between the twin towers, to Vladimir Komarov, the first human being to die during spaceflight, the range of tales is broad and frequently disturbing. Stories of human achievement on the one hand, and stories of genocide, eugenics and violence on the other. In The Purest Land, the story of Lope de Aguirre, conquistador, tells of grandiose self-delusion. In Junta, violence against the women of Guinea in the 2009 uprising led by Moussa Dadis Camara are described in a harrowing recounting of those horrific events.
Understanding the story is part of the essence of Dwellings. The theme that ties the whole album together is that of human structures, building stories and striving to be more than they are, however they achieve it. From the humble, determined cosmonaut, the arrogant funambulist or the crazed conquistador, they all have their stories to tell.
Musically the album is a joy to listen to. The mix of styles moving quickly, not relying on hooks but fluidly shifting with the story to capture the feeling of the moment. The musicianship is superb, the guitar riffs complementing the drum work and the ever-shifting vocal style. It's hard to explain how the music works because it changes so much, swings between styles and incorporates so much. The stand-out track for me is Funambulist, which has everything from progressive black metal passages to an almost ambient doom section at the end, with a distinctly 70s prog middle bit.
As with their previous album, Metazoa, and earlier EP The Last Tree, Dwellings is self-released and is a labour of love. It really shows. The production is exactly right, the story and music working hand in hand to carry the listener, and to challenge them. Some of it is hard and heavy, and other parts are lighter, melodically lifting pieces that somehow evoke a feeling of great freedom, as in the Funambulist, or of painful nostalgia, as in A Howling Dust.
After the great year that 2011 turned out to be for metal, starting the year with an album as spectacularly good as this has to be a good thing.
Have you ever wished you could listen to Primordial, but just felt too damn poor? Did you wish there were a low cost, value alternative you could try instead of all this premium metal? Then here's just the band for you: Primarkial.
Without having to pay for expensive things like band members or instruments, Primarkial provide great value1 Primordial covers for the bargain price of nothing at all. You can get the debut album, The Gardening Wildebeests, at the Primarkial bandcamp page for zero pounds. And why wouldn't you? Well, quite a few reasons, to be honest, unless bad A.A.Nemtheanga impressions and a Casio keyboard are up your street. It's all a bit beyond words, I'll be honest. The album art does appeal to my more, shall we say, irregular humours, though.
Have a listen and revel in the modern marvel that is budget metal.