coprofago - unorthodox creative criteria

.:: With technical death metal making gains in the States as of late, and bands from Sweden and Poland being some of the biggest international beneficiaries, it becomes hard to figure out how Coprofago have been ignored during this upsurge.

Then again, the painstaking compositions and awe-inspiring engineering/mixing job (done by names most have never heard of) that comprise Unorthodox Creative Criteria contain some spectacular ventures into jazzy interludes and ambient soundscapes, which could definitely be called fusion. And even the most ardent and erudite fans of metal and hardcore have historically been slow to understand, let alone appreciate, fusion bands. Furthermore, many works from the most well-known masters of progressive metal/jazz fusion have been out of print for far too long, which has spelled the improbability of re-discovery by younger, more open-minded metal fans.

Although Chile's interestingly-named Coprofago initially burst out of the gate with a standard-fare death metal sound in the mid-nineties, it was 1999's Images of Despair and 2000's Genesis that provided a window into the fast-growing musicianship of its members. If there are indeed multiple peaks to a mountain, Coprofago have finally hit one with Unorthodox Creative Criteria, their fourth and finest album, which is easily up to par with modern death metal fusion created on domestic shores.

"Streams" is one of the many examples on Unorthodox Creative Criteria where the band ventures into creating a sensuous soundscape by using almost a looped beat and prog-metal guitars, while "Isolated Through Multiplicity" sees experimental guitar and keyboard/organ arrangements that bring to mind Disco Volante-era Mr. Bungle.

There aren't many bands like Coprofago. It takes a sense of culture, professional musical ability, and most of all ballsy creativity to create an album like Unorthodox Creative Criteria. There are tracks that bulldoze like Meshuggah's finest work, and others that massage the eardrum with ambient sounds and jazz elements.

Having finally gained distribution in North America thanks to Canada's answer to Willowtip, Galy Records, there is no excuse for fans of classic fusion death metal or modern experimental metal to ignore this. --Reviewer: Michael Gluck

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sun kil moon - ghosts of the great highway

.:: Where it's the gorgeous string trio underpinning "Last Tide," the melancholy epic "Duk Koo Kim," the unexpected driving rhythms of "Lily and Parrots," or the compelling personal reminiscences of "Floating," the material both expands and refines Kozelek's trademark sound. The songs on Ghosts of the Great Highway concern themselves more than ever with matters of life and death, without ever forgetting the inherent magic of a pretty melody or a gripping beat.

.:: Ghost of the Great Highway is the sonic equivalent of a tightly woven patchwork quilt, a sprawling aesthetic manifesto overflowing with empathy, warmth, nostalgia, and an intensely resigned anger and yearning to reclaim those who time has taken. The album's wistful opener, "Glenn Tipton", serves as a testament to this desire to recover the most modest of moments from one's past. In the song, Kozelek reminisces about debating over boxing legends ("Cassius Clay was hit more than Sonny Liston") and Judas Priest guitarists ("Some like K.K. Downing and some Glenn Tipton"), while mirroring these discussions to memories of his own dad watching Clark Gable movies on TV…

Sun Kil Moon's Ghost of the Great Highway is a modest win for great music everywhere: it is the triumphant sound of an industry underdog finally making good on his past potential, and consequently demanding some long unappreciated due. The fact that it wasn't with Red House Painters is an irony that only makes this victory of an album that much sweeter.

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black sheep wall - i am god songs

.:: An organized mess composed of intense energy, hatred, and sadness could be an accurate first impression of I Am God Songs. Oh, and exhausting, by the time you finish it. Black Sheep Wall has made an album in which every cliché about Death, Black, Doom or any other extreme metal sub-genre can apply with. Some of which may be intense, bleak, hopeless, crushing, punishing…demented, even. Scary has never been so raw, so immense. Or exceptionally chaotic.

Down-Tempo with minimal songwriting approaches is the game for this band, caused by having only two main emotions: Anger and depression. Sounding like the unwanted spawn of Meshuggah and Neurosis, with a little seed from Sludge Metal, Black Sheep Wall’s debut is a grinding, skull-exploding animal. Because of its somewhat minimalistic nature, I Am God Songs needed to have, or sound like it has, experience in this sort of music. And while this is only a debut, Sheep’s musicians can promise in mixing rage filled emotion with dispirited, depressed aspects. Most of it has to do with the way the album is produced.

While having lots of elements derived from noise, Black Sheep Walls debut retains polished sonics; because, by contrast with the noise, we have a crisp and edgy approach (except the instances when effects are used) on the guitars, the vocals, and the drums. The bass is a bit murky, whether because it melts in with the strings’ drop B tuning or for shits and giggles, we will never know, but it doesn’t take away from any point in this album anywhere. read on

.:: Most of ‘I Am God Songs’ is cold, bleak and fearsome, like being abandoned on a particularly daunting ice floe. Their monstrous, detuned throb is impressive even on the less imaginative songs, but when they really get their teeth stuck into an interesting idea – as on titanic suicide epic ‘Myolden’, an eight-minute muttering of doom and eerily melodic counter vocals – they come into their own, with a blast that’ll freeze your brains out.

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elvatorium - message from the black sun constellation

.:: Elvatorium is a collaboration between Tom Maggio from USA and Radek Kordasiewicz from Poland. They continue their collaborative work since late 2006. Elvatorium's first album "At Border Of Disorder" (recorded with guest saxophonist Janusz Kruszelnicki) has been released through Amduscias Records netlabel in september 2007. This year sees the duo working with guests Troy Southgate (of H.E.R.R.) on vocals and again Janusz Kruszelnicki on the saxophone.

"Message From The Black Sun Constellation", which is the second release from Elvatorium, continues the mood of their debut album. The bottom line of all compositions is still the combination of Tom Maggio's dark ambience and Radek Kordasiewicz's gothic-like harmonies, both prepared with various sets of digital tools. The infinite and cold landscapes are perfect place for Janusz Kruszelnicki's saxophone explorations, making his second outing with Elvatorium.

Above it all, deep and shady voice of Troy Southgate brings the lyrics written by Radek. With such combination they invite the listener to the world of hidden and dangerous truth of symbols, thoughts and feelings with roots in all of the past human history. Feel invited. words: elvatorium's web page.

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mucc - zekuu

.:: ムック (MUCC) is a japanese rockband formed in Ibaraki, Japan in 1997. The band has four members, 逹瑯 (Tatsurou Iwakami, vocals), ミヤ (Masaaki Yaguchi, guitar), YUKKE (Yusuke Fukuno, bass) and SATOち (Satoshi Takayasu, drums). In 1997, ex-member Hiro was the bassist, replaced by YUKKE in 1999.

The band’s name, decided upon by guitarist ミヤ, was originally the name of a character from a Japanese children’s program “Ponkickies”. The band is also known as “six-nine” from a play on words, since six-nine can be pronounced “muku” (六九) in Japanese. June 9th (6/9) is also known as “MUCC day” by their fans.

In 2000, the band had their first interview in the monthly publication FOOL’S MATE, issue 221. TATTOO (on vocals) changed his name to Tatsurou, and the band’s name MUCC was changed to ムック (pronounced MUKKU). On 6/9, (“MUCC day”) they released their first CD single “娼婦/廃” (Shoufu/Hai) and a second press of their album “アンティーク” (Antiiku). last fm

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tori amos - to venus and back

.:: Complicated is a word for Tori Amos; she might even use it to describe herself. Her sixth recording, the double disc To Venus and Back, testifies to just how wide and deep her river runs. The two CDs -- Venus Orbiting, an unplanned studio effort that Amos recorded suddenly this summer, and Venus Live, Still Orbiting, a set of thirteen live songs from her recent world tour -- are not exactly opposites, but they are far from twins. Venus Orbiting is Amos at her most surreal, dreaming of her past, her pain and her desires in supersaturated musical and lyrical color.

Tori Amos is one of those impossible figures in the music world who, for various reasons, arouse so much hype that one continually has to wonder if there is any substance behind the public image. Tori Amos’s latest release, To Venus and Back, silences any such doubts. It is also an amazing testament to a passionate and talented singer, songwriter, musician, and producer. The 2-CD album combines a live disc with a studio album, and highlights the fascinating musical language that this multi-talented performer continues to develop as she explores the elements of a song: subject matter, lyrics, melody, harmony, and structure.

The only real complaint about the live half of To Venus and Back is that it isn’t three times as long. The disc features live performances from Tori’s 1998 Plugged tour. In contrast to her previous three tours in which it was just a woman, her piano, and a microphone on the stage of a theater filled with a silent entranced audience, the Plugged tour traded intimacy for a more raucous show. It added a fantastic supportive band, Tori’s first for a tour, consisting of Steve Caton on guitars, Jon Evans on upright and electric bass, and Matt Chamberlain on drums.

Perhaps for balance, or simply for the sake of completeness, Venus Live, Still Orbiting spotlights Amos' more acoustic material, most of it performed with her crackerjack touring band. It's Amos' first live recording, long overdue, and it works equally well as a greatest-hits collection. Crowd faves like "Cornflake Girl," "Waitress" and "Cooling" -- which has never before surfaced on an album -- make showstopping appearances. With To Venus and Back, Amos pays herself the ultimate compliment: She's good and complicated.

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oni wytars ensemble, unicorn ensemble - on the way to bethlehem | music of the medieval pilgrim

.:: Oni Wytars is an internationally renowned ensemble founded in 1983 to further promote early music. Appearing in concerts and festivals throughout Europe, Canada, the Middle and the Far East the ensemble performs music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance as well as classical and traditional Arab and Turkish music. The work of the ensemble centres on the uniting of the many traditions that have influenced and enriched European musical culture for centuries by building a bridge between ancient and still-thriving musical traditions, between East and West.

Oni Wytars perform on instruments from the European Middle Ages and Renaissance, and on contemporary Arab and Eastern European instruments. Blending elements from both the rich cultural heritage of Medieval Europe and from their own diverse backgrounds, the instrumentalists and singers come from Austria, Germany, Italy, Iran, Hungary, Spain, England and the United States.

.:: The Ensemble Unicorn consists of five musicians specialising in early music. Together with guest-musicians the Ensemble is dedicated to the interpretation of music from the Middle Ages to the Baroque and of works of their own. The aim is always lively authenticity, avoiding the merely pedantic.

An original feature of the Ensemble is the approach towards contemporary popular music in new compositions and interpretations of Medieval and Renaissance works, played on original instruments. The compositions by the Ensemble are based on Medieval and Renaissance dances, cantigas and chansons, reflecting the amalgamation of Oriental and European cultural trends. The members of the Ensemble are Michael Posch, Marco Ambrosini, Riccardo Delfino, Thomas Wimmer and Wolfgang Reithofer.

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arvo pärt - tabula rasa

.:: This seminal disc now almost seems like the manifesto for a whole new strain of minimalism that has found an enormously receptive audience. It represented a breakthrough for Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, whose music--like that of his European colleagues John Tavener and Henryk Górecki--pursues an austerely beautiful simplicity that suggests spiritual illumination.

Fratres, given here in two versions, one for piano and violin and the other for 12 cellos, repeatedly intones a sequence resembling chant to convey a sensibility that seems at once archaic and beyond time. Violinist Gidon Kremer, for whom Pärt wrote the exquisitely contemplative and hypnotic title work, grasps the music's koan-like idiom, allowing an inner fullness to resonate through the most fragile, ethereal wisps of tone against the mysterious clangings of prepared piano.

The tolling of the tubular bells in Cantus in memory of Benjamin Britten is an emotionally charged lament, based on a simple minor descending scale, that introduces Pärt's fascination with what he calls "tintinnabulation": the literal and metaphorical sound of ringing bells. This recording is also famous for the acoustically warm presence produced by ECM's Manfred Eicher, which magnificently captures the mystical simplicity of Pärt's sound world. --Thomas May

.:: Let it be said at the outset that any criticisms I have of this CD have nothing to do with performance or, for that matter, the quality of the recording. My reservations relate solely to the programming and therefore, inevitably to the intrinsic worth of the pieces on offer.

None of which applies to the opening work, Pärt's famous Tabula Rasa, written back in the late seventies for violinists Gidon Kramer and Tatiana Grindenko. The original recording, on ECM, is still arguably the best, although, listening to it again I find myself increasingly irritated by the occasional coughs and splutters of the audience: the piece was recorded live for German Radio. This is less noticeable during the first movement, Ludus, but ironically obvious during the second, Silencium. read on

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between the buried and me - colors live

.:: Between the Buried and Me have no problem stretching out, and the live setting gives them an even greater opportunity to do so. Colors Live finds the band working out their entire Colors album from start to finish at one memorable Tennessee show.

The complicated, intertwined guitar work of "Ants of the Sky," with its epic structure and abrupt plunges into meditative quiet, is reproduced expertly, and the Eastern-tinged exotica of "Informal Gluttony" is even more evocative with an audience to mesmerize. The album is available with a bonus DVD that contains studio footage and an additional live set.

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mógil - ró

.:: The line up of the band is half Icelandic and half Belgian and creates, unconsciously, a unique sound combining Scandinavian vastness and European density.

The musicians are Heida Árnadóttir (vocals), Ananta Roosens (violin), Joachim Badenhorst (clarinet/saxophone) and Hilmar Jensson (guitar).

Mógil composes their own songs, which are written to old Icelandic folk texts. New lyrics are similarly written in the folk text style. words: radicalduke.com

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