Hell Awaits is a column by Kim Kelly and Andy O'Connor that shines a light on extreme and underground metal. This time, Andy O'Connor sizes up new releases from Mantar, Planning For Burial, A Pregnant Light, and more.
Mantar: "Astral Kannibal/Into the Golden Abyss" St. Pauli Sessions
Recently, German doom duo Mantar let the cameras into a studio in Hamburg earlier this year for an intimate performance of songs from their debut, Death By Burning. The second installment features “Astral Kannibal” and “Into The Golden Abyss”, two of the record's slower, but no less heavy, numbers. If you've checked out Burning already, this a chance to see the songs in a slightly more stripped down form; the Melvins influence shines through more in these renditions. They're confirmed for MDF next year, but let's hope they touch down on American shores sometime a little sooner too.
Planning For Burial: "Mischief Night"
You'd be forgiven for thinking that “Mischief Night”, Planning For Burial's side of their recent split with Liar in Wait (out on Broken Limbs Recordings), was Thom Wasluck admitting he was ditching the gloom. It certainly is the most upbeat thing he's ever put to tape, with a leisurely tempo that will throw off those used to his doomier material. Maybe this is the break we needed. After all, Desideratum, Planning For Burial's second full-length and one of the best records of the year, was five of his the most devastating songs, from the melancholic rager of the year in “Where You Rest Your Head At Night” to the goth “fuck it all and fucking no regrets” of “Golden”. Listen closer, and “Night” is still reliable, miserable Planning For Burial, deserted pianos and post-rock surges and all. Despite, or because of, the fact that it wouldn't fit on any of his other released, “Night” righteously stands out on its own. (PSA: Anaal Nathrakh are coming out with a record called also called Desideratum. Don't be fooled by an inferior product.)
Planning For Burial: "Mischief Night" (via Bandcamp)
A Pregnant Light: "Purple Pain" b/w "Ultraviolet"
When we last covered A Pregnant Light, the wickedly catchy black metal entity of Grand Rapids, Michigan's Damian Master, he released Before I Came, a compilation of his best material plus two new songs, “Ringfinger” and “Lilajugend,” which signaled a desire to go big. Well, he recently release two new songs, “Puple Pain” and “Ultraviolet” ,that merge the infectious nature of “Ringfinger” and “Lilajugend” with more of the darkness that informed his earlier work. Of the two, “Pain” is the poppier joint, and not just because it's a play on Prince's “Purple Rain”. Hardcore fury rushes in the beginning, but gives way to dreamy clean vocals soon enough. “Ultraviolet” is moodier, Master sustaining his anger through the whole song. These two songs are also available on 7'' via his label Colloquial Sound Recordings, though by the time you read this, they might be sold out. (And if “Fresh Flower Offering (Purple Night)”, from his forthcoming full-length My Game Doesn't Have a Name, is any indication, the best is yet to come.)
A Pregnant Light: "Purple Pain" (via Bandcamp)
Beach Pneumatic: Beach Pneumatic
The aforementioned A Pregnant Light 7'' isn't the only thing Colloquial Sound has coming out soon. They're also just put out the self-titled debut of Beach Pnuematic, a collaboration between Master and Aaron Aspinwal of Das Oath and Charles Bronson. Ryan Adams–yes, that Ryan Adams–once described Xasthur as “a heartbroken demon sitting beside these ashes in hell and really missing his girlfriend,” and Beach Pnuematic sounds closer to Adams' vision of Scott Conner. The depressive riffs are there, but the loneliness of Aspinwal's vocals sounds less tormented and more forlorn. Slowed down, the riffs could appear on the next My Dying Bride record. Romantic suicidal black metal? Beach Pnuematic may have just invented that. Like the Myrkur EP, this will appeal to the black metal fan who's drawn in from the prettiness of the genre's current superstars like Deafheaven and Alcest, but also wants the mystique of the second wave classics. As mentioned, Colloquial Sound's releases are always quite limited; if you want a tape, don't hesitate.
Beach Pneumatic: "Advancing the Shield" (via Bandcamp)
Dystopia: Human = Garbage reissue
Tankcrimes has done us a service and reissued Oakland despondent crust band Dystopia's classic compilation Human = Garbage, whose title alone has contributed to a lot of bootleg shirts. Garbage fuses West Coast powerviolence with the capsizing self-loathing of Eyehategod's Dopesick and Buzzov*en's Sore. Sludge primarily came from doom, punk, and blues, but Dystopia strip nearly all of the blues influence and amp up the East Bay bleakness. Vocalist Dino Sommese, who also had stints in Ghoul and Asunder and currently sings for Noothgrush, sounds genuinely disturbed here, . It's when the band drops the guitars altogether and the bass flails delicately when the Sommese sounds most harrowing. The use of space and vocal can be seen in a group like Wreck and Reference, whose Dystopia influence can be felt on “Apollo Beneath the Whip” and “A Glass Cage For an Animal” without the use of conventional instrumentation. While Dystopia would release a full-length in 2008, Garbage remains the band's definitive document.
Dystopia: "Stress Builds Character" (via Bandcamp)
Extreme Precautions: Precaution One
Extreme Precautions is a new project from French electronic musician Paul Régimbeau, created when he was going through a real grindcore kick. To say that Precaution One, his debut under the Extreme Precautions banner to be released on November 10 through In Paradisum Records, would be “electronic grindcore” would be a bit of a stretch, but he's not shy with engaging breakneck tempos. The album was recorded in one week, and as such, there's a looseness that most electronic records of any variety don't have. One is dominated by a frantic pace, a simultaneous excitement and nervousness of ripping through a hesher joint and clubland in the same night. This could have came out on Earache in the early '90s, fitting right in with Scorn and Godflesh. And should he come over to to the states, Street Sects would make great tour mates.
Extreme Precautions: "Untitled 03" (via SoundCloud)