Poltergeists: Week of August 8, 2016


Vinterriket - “Nächtens”

I have to admit that I stole this amazing find from Heathen Harvest this week - Patrick from Heathen Harvest has a really nice album review and brief band history up on their site now that I definitely urge you to check out - but I have a few things to say about the style of the track “Nächtens” from Vinterriket’s newest release Hinweg. There are so many classic influences in this track that are subtle and still very unique to the album. Dimmu Borgir’s debut album, For All Tid, has one of my all-time favorite opening tracks to an album - it is slow and pragmatic at times, taking on different forms through a few short minutes while still embodying one solid motion of sound - and I think that this track is the closest thing that I have found to that style of early symphonic black metal. The tone of the strings and the subtlety of the track, with a few short phrases - almost spoken - stands out against the signature ambient texture in “Nächtens,” and largely throughout the album. While there are more complex acoustic-guitar / traditional-folk driven tracks on the album, I believe that “Nächtens” really sets the tone for Hinweg, and the project.

Vinterriket’s newest album, Hinweg, is out now on the Russian label Kunsthauch and you can purchase it in many formats from their Bandcamp.

VALHALL - “Тили Тили Бом/Tili Tili Bom (ЈѴѕҬ ВӠӋӀЍЭ ҮѺЦ Edit)”

a Russian lullaby

VALHALL is rad as hell and you should buy everything they have out this very second, including their full length out on Storming the Base.


Makeup and Vanity Set - “Great Leader Has Fallen”

I don’t know how I haven’t already written about this; I’ve been listening to Makeup and Vanity Set’s Brigador, Vol. I over and over for a while now. While the whole thing is a lot of fun to listen to I really like the feel of “Great Leader Has Fallen”. The fast moving arpeggios at the beginning set up the tone of the song wonderfully; there’s a little bit of darkness, a little bit of nervousness. This tone is shifted by the pads and leads that follow, which add a sense of hopefulness - there is still that nervousness but it is tempered. The song drives you forward, and as you move forward the sense of hope builds and the dark, while still there, takes a back seat. I’ve noticed that one of the things I enjoy about synthwave acts is that despite whatever darkness the tracks carry, there is always this sense of triumph to the music, a sense of pulling through despite the odds; “Great Leader Has Fallen” carries that feeling through the bulk of the track as well.

Makeup and Vanity Set is a synthwave project from Nashville, Tennessee. Their latest release, Brigador, Vol. I, is available on Bandcamp.

S U R V I V E - “A.H.B”

I gotta say, with all the Stranger Things hype, it is nice to see other people getting as excited by SURVIVE as I am. I think much of what I said about SURVIVE before continues to hold true in “A.H.B”. The song is crafted beautifully; there are a all these great little transitions from phrase to phrase that move so seamlessly it almost feels improvised. The little plucks and pads meld together wonderfully - the sense of triumph mentioned in the above track continues through here. The elements are pared back to the necessities. Nothing feels unnecessary in “A.H.B”. Every swell, every hit of the metallic, almost trashy snare, feels carefully throughout.

S U R V I V E is a synthwave project out of Austin, Texas. Their latest release, RR7349, is available for pre-order on Bandcamp through Relapse Records.

Poltergeists: Week of July 27, 2015

Poltergeists is a biweekly feature in which Michael and Wes share tracks that they have had on repeat over the past two weeks.


Alice Glass - “STILLBIRTH”

After a lengthy discussion with Jesse James Alexander of FOXXYNEWPORT about this song and the demise/rebirth of Crystal Castles and Alice Glass as two separate projects, I am pretty excited about this new track from Alice Glass and Jupiter Keyes. “STILLBIRTH” is a really awesome and noisy track. One expert, Alex Kennedy of I Die: You Die, said it was like an Imminent Starvation track with Alice Glass singing over the top of it - which I think is the best thing someone can say. Crystal Castles was already a pretty noisy arena for Alice, but I think that this new powernoise-influenced track is a perfect introduction to what Alice can do on her own. It has a nice balance between extremely loud and calmly atmospheric. Crystal Castles will definitely be okay without her, and I am sure glad that she is exploring something much darker. I will be anxiously awaiting the next track preview from Alice Glass - If she continues to work with Jupiter Keyes, I will pre-order it tomorrow.

Apollyon’s Visage - “Black Haired Qveen”

Previously featured guest Apollyon’s Visage is no stranger to the podcast, or to me - so, in all fairness I am pretty familiar with this particular set of Canadians. Mortal Coil comes on the heels of a massive remix EP with some of my favorite artists and does not disappoint! I knew that this was in the works and was very excited for its release. “Black Haired Qveen” is a really solid mix of the dark ambiance I usually need from a witch-house-styled release, and the dark dance beats to feed my internal drum machine. DE▼OUR was a good release, but I feel that AV has stepped up everything for this release. The textures are much fuller and flushed out than anything previously released. If you like the darker ambient stuff, definitely check out the drone version of the intro track “Hypnus” on their bandcamp (labelled “Hypnus (Eternity)”).


Makeup and Vanity Set - “Adolescence”

Makeup and Vanity Set is one of my favorite synthwave/outrun acts. Their music is always expertly constructed, mixing danceable beats with new takes on old synth sounds. The song “Adolescence” - from their newest album Wilderness - is an interesting slowdown on their usual mode; rather than being dominated by little arpeggiated leads and big bright sounds, “Adolescence” pushes back the sounds that normally dominate and allow a vocalist to take the front. The vocals mix with the repeating bass lines and reverberating drums to create a sort of dreamy feeling, complemented by their signature arps plucking away softly in the background.

Perturbator - “Welcome to Nocturne City”

Contrasting with Makeup and Vanity Set’s more pulled back and dreamy take on synthwave, Perturbator always brings us a dark, aggressive vision of a cyberpunk hellscape. Heavy arps, huge drums, and growling saw pads create the dark and furious sounds of “Welcome to Nocturne City.” We’ve talked about James Kent’s music before on the site, so it should come as no surprise this new album is just as great at creating deep atmosphere; it is cinematic in scope.