[2010] Stian Westerhus - Pitch Black Star Spangled

Stian Westerhus' (Jaga Jazzist, Monolithic) second solo album and latest release is a departure from the seemingly abstract noise of Galore into a mystical realm of disjointed melodies and bursts of noise dabbling into the shadows, without ever abandoning an aura of uncanny beauty. Don't Tell Me This Is Home is the softest song in the album, before turning into the unsettling chaos that is Pitch Black Star Spangled, the longest track in the album, which is kept until the very end. Quality release.

Download it here: [320][V0]

Buy it directly from Rune Grammofon here.

[2002] SPUNK - Den Øverste Toppen På En Blåmalt Flaggstang

Spunk is an all-women jazz quartet from Norway, this being their second album, also released under the experimental/jazz label Rune Grammofon. Unlike most free jazz ensembles, Spunk employs vocal experimentation in an extensive way, going as far as becoming the main instrument in most of the songs. It's ensured to sound bizarre at a first listen, given as all of their output so far is quite abstract, but Den Øverste Toppen På En Blåmalt Flaggstang is one of their most accessible material, in which silence doesn't have as much predominance as Det Eneste Jeg Vet Er At Det Ikke Er En Støvsuger, or Kantarell (which I consider one of my top 20 albums of 2009), the latter being shorter and more spastic than the rest.
I have a somewhat curious history with Spunk, seeing as they were the first "out there" band I ever listened to, which in turn made me more interested in Rune Grammofon releases and a variety of genres I got into much later.

Download it here: [V2][V0] Updated!

Buy it directly from Rune Grammofon here.

[2011] Earth - Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1

Three years after The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull, Earth finally makes a worthy comeback with what it seems it'll be the first part of a series, called Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1. Still rooted in the somewhat clean, acoustic drone and the chilled out melodies that characterize them since HEX, this album however displays a big eastern folk influence (according to them, Tuareg music), borrowing some of the heavy dark atmosphere present in HEX; Or Printing In The Infernal Method to fully illustrate a deserted landscape, in which the country setting is left behind to focus into the mystical vibe of the Middle East.
There's violins in this album (courtesy of Lori Goldston), which surprisingly gives the songs a Bohren & der Club of Gore kinda sound (mostly noticeable in Father Midnight), a jazzy feeling that it's ensured to please their long-term fans, and placing the album at a remarkable distance from the aforementioned HEX, Bees, and even Hibernaculum.
The best song in the album is, definitely, the title track. Also the longest track in the album, its bass-driven melody is a definitive must-have, soothing and overwhelming in a way not too unlike their heaviest albums, except in a more subtle way. Even though it found its way to the internet 2 months earlier to its original release, this is an album to be purchased and listened in a physical format, so I encourage you from here to do so.

Download it here: [192][V0]

Buy it directly through Southern Lord Records here.

[2008] SubRosa - Strega

SubRosa is a a band formed primarily by women playing an interesting blend of stoner doom metal with violins and clean female vocals, reminding me at times of Black Math Horseman, but more fast-paced and fierce, while retaining most of the same peaceful vibe in the vocals. I'm not a fan of the production, but the music sounds alright, this was a good mix of both styles and it deserves attention.

Download it here: [V2][V0]

Buy it from All That Is Heavy here.

[1999] NeBeLNeST - NeBeLNeST

Part of the main lineup of the Rock in Opposition reunion festival back in 2007 (alongside Present and Guapo, most recent representatives of the "movement"), this french band mixes the moog synths and blissed out psychedelic guitars from the 70's (Pink Floyd comes to mind) with the academic avant-prog from Present to create an original blend. For fans of the aforementioned bands, Dün, Astra, and T2.

Download it here: [V0]

Buy it directly from Musea Records here.

[2003] 23 Skidoo - The Culling Is Coming

One of the most known albums of this british industrial/post-punk band, displaying their weird side of industrial that dwelves with dark gamelan music, through the usage of what I could only guess it's metal parts smashed together, with some other less abstract moments in which the post-punk takes place, still with dark overtones. Essential album.

Download it here: [320][V0]

Buy it directly from CD Universe here.

[2004] Gamelan Son of Lion - The Complete Gamelan In The New World

Gamelan Son of Lion is an american ensemble that performs under the traditional javanese form of music known as Gamelan. Gamelan music (and its regional variations) is highly monophonic in nature, focusing mostly on tonal variations and improvisation to a certain extent, allowing the compositions to be as lengthy as possible. Usually gamelan music serves as an accompaniment in religious or ceremonial events in the island of Java and circundant areas, but in this case it serves as a study of minimalist music. Therefore, this kind of music should appeal mostly to minimalist/drone music enthusiasts. This release in particular is a compilation of some of their previous works, so it's a good start on this style of music.

Download it here: [256][V0]

Buy it directly from Locust Music here (scroll down).

[2010] Gospel of The Future - The Eclipse

Czech sludge done right. This is the latest release of a band which started as a mostly hardcore-influenced project, then turned their music into a slower, heavily-pounding behemoth in this album. The Eclipse is an underappreciated gem within the sludge offerings of this year, and while it doesn't surpass their self-titled release in quality, it shows once again that Czech Republic is capable of delivering heaviness while no one's looking.

Download it here: [320][V0]

Buy it directly from Epidemie Records here.