Coilguns/Kunz-Split EP

Split releases are always intriguing, often revealing new bands and sounds or bringing a mutual union of bands with a connection in some way or another. The new spilt EP from Coilguns and Kunz is no exception with the common denominator being members of the German experimental metal band The Ocean. Musically though the release comes from different extremes though there is still a common need and urge from both bands to stretch and re-invent not only sounds but the senses of the listener too. Direct and punishing the EP provokes with its intrusive drive and inventiveness, and is as eagerly challenging as it is sonically consuming. The release tests boundaries and the ear with an effect as varied as its ideas and sounds.

The first three tracks come from Coilguns, a trio made up of Louis Jucker, Luc Hess, and Jona Nido (all members of The Ocean).  Stunning and mouth watering they mark the release as something special all on their own. Combining punk, grind, D-beat and any other aggressive, intense and striking sound you can imagine, the tracks ripple with quality and the band inspires as deeply as it abuses and rips open the senses. Starting with ‘Mastoid’, the band whips up a frenzy of noise controlled with the keenest of skill and the sharpest variations of invention. From the first note of the song the band hold the head tight as it shoves searing riffs and sonically scarring guitar sounds down its ear, reinforced by harsh bitter vocals and a punishing rhythm that makes a wind tunnel feel like a summer breeze.

Second of their three is ‘Phersu’, a track that continues the onslaught with equal effect with a pulsating dark bassline and highly skilled musicianship. As it progresses it evolves into a filth coated groove that splices sludge with math metal to create a unique twisted sickness. Though not as infectious in accessibility as maybe the opener it contaminates with equally satisfying effect. ‘Kachinas’ completes Coilgun’s triplet of chaos returning to the manic urgency and addict making riffs and grooves from ‘Mastoid’.  The band is jaw dropping intensity and creativity packed into a wave of sound that devours and consumes; wonderful stuff.

Kunz is made up of just Luc Hess & Louis Jucker alone, and a totally different proposition. At first their sound especially after Coilguns appears to just be a wall of noise without structure or direction. Repeat listening and closer inspection unveils a mutated beast fusing a dirty heavy grunge flavour with trampling rhythms, distorted discordance, and the urge to rip a wide one in the senses of its listeners. Admittedly it takes some effort to delve deep enough to find the blissful traits deep within the sonic violation but it is there and worth the effort, it is just that alongside Coilguns it starts off with a disadvantage when placed against their terrific sounds.

The four songs that come our way from the duo all slice deeply and viciously, scrambling the senses with their scattered chords and infected riffs. By the time the band have spread through their opening three tunes of ‘Flow’, ‘Aprea’ and ‘Flush’, one realises they are mesmerised by the incessant drone and scarcely recognisable scathing melodies. Final track ‘What Makes Me Sleep’ is a punk crusted brief explosion of energy and the band’s best track on the EP.

Both bands give music as experimental as it is caustic and it is not really a surprise considering the musicians involved.  The bands are very different but similar too and their split EP is a treat that should be enjoyed often. Coilguns will simply wake up and bring aural radiance to the senses whilst Kunz given more time and work will inflame and excite, maybe not to the same depths as their partner in crime but with more than enough satisfaction.

RingMaster 14/10/2011

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Morta Skuld – Through the Eyes of Death: The Early Demos

Wisconsin Death metalers Morta Skuld has since their beginnings in 1989 made a deep mark on the genre without always being given that credit when more other prominent bands are mentioned, not unknown but rarely one of the first names mentioned when death metal is analysed over the past twenty years. Formed by guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Dave Gregor with the simple aim of making music that was brutal and honest the band steadily and firmly grew as formidable as the following that built up for them. A subsequent career that included an array of shows with the likes of Slayer, Obituary, Death, Morbid Angel, Napalm Death, and Carcass, four albums and a compilation release as well as inclusions on tribute albums to Ozzy Osbourne and Mercyful Fate has come up to date with the signing with Relapse Records and the recent re-release of early demos in the form of Through The Eyes Of Death. That is obviously a quick tour through the years of Morta Skuld to allow concentration on this new release and the treasures within.

Through the Eyes of Death combines the band’s first two demos from 1990, Gory Departure and Prolong The Agony, remastered by Chris Wisco at Belle City Sound for this release. Though raw and basic compared to today’s technology enhanced clean cut noises from bands the tracks all show the sonically coarse searing power of Morta Skuld that rivals any one then or since.  

The first demo here, Gory Departure was recorded in April 1990, the band consisting of alongside Gregor, guitarist Keven Zeitler, bassist Jason Hellman, and drummer Jesse Rofritz. Produced by Eric ‘Griffy’ Greif, manager of DEATH it consists of four tracks ‘Sacrificial Rite’, ‘Gory Departure’, ‘Preacher of Lies’, and ‘Senseless Killing’. In preparation for this recording the band had help and support from fellow Milwaukee metal act Viogression who they were great friends with. The name Morta Skuld actually came from Viogression vocalist Brian DeNeffe, who also assisted in some of the songwriting, whilst Viogression bassist Bryan Jaeger assisted in the reaction of the band’s logo, picture, and title graphics for the cassette cover.

The songs themselves are impressive and leap into the ear menacingly and eagerly. Of the two demos this collection of songs are more vibrant and notable though on neither is there a track that does anything less than show Morta Skuld as a strong and immense band even back then. After a brief hellish intro ‘Sacrificial Rite’ unleashes its mayhem complete with a teasing groove that lures one in before taking over with all consuming riffs and overwhelming intensity. Dark and coated with an ominous atmosphere the track is undeniable and it can be argued whether the band have produced a song since as powerful and satisfying within their catalogue of fine tunes. ‘Gory Departure ‘continues with equal measured assault before handing over to the release’s other slice of glory ‘Preacher Of Lies’. With a galloping riff it tramples the senses under foot leaving the listener as debris under its death metal monstrosity. Closed by ‘Senseless Killing’ again a song that does no less than crush with uncompromising intent, the demo despite as mentioned the raw and its of the time production, brings an immense selection of songs  making the release worth a look alone.

Musically one can hear obvious limitations within the band at the time but the song’s quality and energy make up for it, and continues into the second demo Prolong the Agony recorded August 1990 and with Jef Jaeger now on drums and Jason O’Connell on guitar. An intro and three songs made it up with ‘Feast From Within’, containing lyrics originally written by Jef Jaeger and Bryan Jaeger for Viogression for a song that was retired without ever being recorded, the strongest, though to be fair all tracks are of equal standard if a little lacking against Gory Departure. The tracks here are darker with predatory riffs and black intent especially on Feast From Within’ and the bestial ‘ProlongThe Agony’.

Through The Eyes Of Death also contains a great cover of the Metal Church song of the same name and ‘Eternal Suffering’ a song hosen as a single for Earache Records but never seeing a release. This album has that has something for everyone, existing fans and those new to Morta Skuld and the proof that re-releases can be worthwhile every now and then.

RingMaster 14/10/2011

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