Funus – MONO

Funus – MONO
Self-Released
Release Date: 25/02/23
Running Time: 36:00
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

The sun is shining through the window of Crow Cottage and Dark Juan is cowering behind the last vestige of shadow in the corner, as far as he can get away from the caustic rays and hunched over his laptop (surprisingly not in a state of indiscretion at this time) avoiding the fuck out of it, for Dark Juan is a creature of the night, a predator of the inky, Stygian blackness and a hunter and haunter of the young and the beautiful. The Smellhounds, however, are fucking loving it and are spread-eagled on the lounge floor baking themselves and emitting the kind of stench that would normally emanate from the Apothecarion of a Traitor Space Marine legion, and Mrs Dark Juan is currently engaged in making a fez for an oversized turkey’s head.

Yes, you DID read the last part of that sentence correctly. To be fair, I don’t care if Mrs Dark Juan makes it a felt replica of an M3 tactical helmet or a fucking tracked, armoured vehicle to live in (to be fair, the pub next door to Crow Cottage does have a Scimitar CVR(T) completed with 30mm Rarden cannon parked in the car park. No, I am not joking, it is absolutely true) as long as I am rid of the baleful, glassy, dead stare of a mounted turkey’s head, several times above life-sized out of my fucking lounge and into the Turk’s Head pub where it belongs and where it can upset the good patrons of that hostelry instead. It’s seriously messing with my karma, dudes, dudettes and dudekin (which is a word I have just made up to cover the other genders – Dark Juan is nothing if not inclusive and a friend to you, regardless of which sexuality or gender you identify with) and I need it out of my house. Birds are fucking weird anyway, being as they are basically the nth generation of (mostly) flying dinosaurs.

Today, the roving Dark Juan Platter of Splatter™ is visiting the Netherlands, and a one-man musical project (yes, another ridiculously talented bastard who can do it all by themselves and makes mere mortals like Dark Juan feel vastly inadequate) by Ruben Vermeulen which is called Funus. Interestingly, Ruben was a practitioner of the dark arts of Black Metal, once upon a time, yet Funus is not like this. Funus operate in a softer, more melancholic musical wave that encompasses the likes of Opeth- style Prog Metal (‘Soul Faced’), the acoustic led tortured lamenting of the likes of Swans (‘Gloom and Dusk’, ‘Would You’) and the ambient, sweeping atmospherics of (also Dutch, and once featuring the absolutely GLORIOUS Anneke Van Giersbergen) The Gathering.

So, yes, here we have navel-gazing Gothic Rock, melancholic Shoegaze, Progressive Metal elements and lots of intricate acoustic guitar work. It was somewhat of a surprise to Dark Juan, who had deliberately not listened to the album before reporting on it so he could listen without prejudice. ‘Embracings Relived’ is a spectacularly Gothic piece of music, chock-full of wispy, whooshing atmospheric synths overlaid with increasingly complex acoustic guitars, layered upon each other and a gorgeous, lamenting female vocal courtesy of Sabina Knol – if Lindsay Schoolcraft was nearby she could have written this with extra harp. But not cowbell.

‘Orb of Inner Voices’ and ‘Soul Faced’ are the songs on offer that are most of interest to the Metal listener, both of which manage to reference the Gothic Prog stylings of Opeth, Alcest’s Neige and his subsequent captaining of his own unusual musical ship and the sweeping vastness of the sound of The Gathering AT THE SAME TIME – both songs are unhurried Gothic explorations of feelings and pain with meaty, yet never overstated electric guitar and multi-tracked, layered vocals that beguile and seduce the listener into the world of sorrow that Ruben appears to live in. Poor Ruben. Lad needs to get out more…

Another tune of considerable interest to the Metal-leaning readers of this nonsense is ‘Never Heard’ which somehow welds the Punkish teenage fury of Troublegum-era Therapy? with the universe-spanning sense of depth that Swans used to display with such tortured ease when Michael Gira decided to unleash the angst with electric guitar as well as acoustic. The acoustic guitar on this song is a particularly emotional and surprisingly empowered thing, where you would expect it to be buried underneath the walls of electric alchemy and as the song progresses we again dip into the melancholy Gothic-tinged Progressive music that Opeth perform so valiantly.

Production-wise, this record is absolutely faultless! Especially the treatment of the acoustic guitar, which is never overwhelmed by the other instruments. It would have been so easy to crank up the distortion and drown the acoustic under waves of aggression but that would have been a disservice to the sheer quality of the playing and also the arrangements of the songs. This is an artful record indeed, a masterclass in arrangement, production and performance. Everything is judged with such perfect discernment in terms of what could have been (and I will be honest, Dark Juan expected it to be) a colossal experiment in self-aggrandisement and dick-waving, and your faithful ersatz rock hack is supremely impressed and will be prostrating himself and salaaming piously at the feet of Ruben Vermeulen for quite some time to come because the man is a musical fucking GENIUS and his music travels right up Dark Juan’s spine and sits at the back of his awareness, busily shaking his hypothalamus and getting some endorphins out there.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (het gepatenteerde Dark Juan bloedspatten beoordelingssysteem voor onze Nederlandse vrienden) awards Funus 9/10 for a record that is absolutely superb in execution, performance and production, dripping with emotion and pathos yet not overdoing it, which is both rare and precious and shows a very keen appreciation of both is own music, and his audience as well. Bravo! A mark has been deducted because although there are many Metal elements on the record, there may be only a limited audience for this very eclectic music and I write for a Heavy Metal website…

TRACKLISTING:
01. Gloom And Dusk
02. Would You
03. Soul Faced
04. Embracings Relived
05. Orb Of Inner Voices
06. Never Heard
07. On Unknown Wings

LINE-UP:
Ruben Vermeulen – Fucking everything on the record… (Dark Juan will cease his pitiful ramblings and put himself back in the cupboard immediately for he is clearly untalented and inadequate. Ruben is the superior man here).

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Woods of Desolation – The Falling Tide

The Falling Tide Album Cover Art
06

Woods of Desolation – The Falling Tide
Season of Mist
Release Date: 09/12/22
Running Time: 36:25
Review by Rick Eaglestone
8/10

Australian visionaries Woods of Desolation return after eight years with brand new album “The Falling Tide.”

The Grandiose opening to this return ‘Far From Here’ sets the tone for the entire tone for the album as it’s embedded with a level of raw emotion that interweaves between relenting pace with the backdrop of atmospherics, it’s like being reunited with an old friend where although a passage of time has passed it’s immediately forgotten when they are in your company. This is followed in very much the same way with ‘Beneath a Sea of Stars’ but for me this just seems to resonate with me more which is why it is my highlight track.

No short interludes required as again shrouded in deep rooted emotion is ‘Illumination’ musically the pace is not as relentless as the previous track but it would appear that the band members have incorporated soundscapes from other projects which blend in perfectly. 

Finally, concluding this goosebump filled experience is title track ‘The Falling Tide’ which has some wonderful harmonious elements running throughout and even though much of the track is gentile in comparison, there is room for one last sorrowful farewell and hopefully it will not be too long before we are reunited once more with the Woods of Desolation. 

Bewitching levels of woefulness. 

‘Far From Here’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Far From Here
02. Beneath a Sea of Stars
03. Illumination
04. The Falling Tide
05. The Passing
06. Anew

LINE-UP:
D – Guitar, Bass, Vocals
Vlad – Drums, Keyboards 

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rick Eaglestone and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Crippled Black Phoenix – Banefyre

Banefyre Album Cover Art

Crippled Black Phoenix – Banefyre
Season of Mist
Release Date: 09/09/2022
Running Time: 01:18:00
Review by Rory Bentley 
9/10

Have you ever heard of too much of a good thing? No matter how much you love ice cream there comes a point where you get so full of rum and raisin that the prospect of another scoop of the very thing you’ve craved like heroin during those tough days at the gym now sounds like a sure-fire crash course in redecorating your living room with the contents of your rotund stomach. A very idiosyncratic analogy I’ll grant you, but one that can apply to music, particularly album runtimes.

If you combed through every review I’ve put up on Ever Metal (and I pray that things aren’t so bad for you that you’d subject yourself to that), you’d probably find at least half of them contain some complaint or other about the album being too long. Normally this gripe comes from me getting fatigued by the same ideas cropping up over and over again, but there are occasions where the quality and innovation remain consistent but it’s just a bit overwhelming.

British Post-Rock / Alt-Metal / Prog / Fuck Knows behemoths Crippled Black Phoenix have long left this impression on me. Every album of theirs sounds magnificent while it’s on and appeals to so many of my musical quirks, but by Odin’s beard they’re fucking long! 2020’s “Ellengaest” bucked this trend of excess, swooping in at a comparatively brisk fifty-five minutes that flew by, aided by multiple excellent guest spots from the likes of Anathema’s Vincent Cavanagh as well as now permanent member Joel Segeratedt. However, this shift away from more epic compositions has proved to be short-lived as “Banefyre” clocks in at a whopping ninety-eight minutes. But you know what? I’m down with it.

Part of my enthusiasm comes from a shift in my current listening habits, where my exhausted brain prefers a more patient build up than thirty minutes of synapse-nuking angular hardcore at this point in time; but the main reason why I’m willing to sit in this album’s company until my arse cheeks go numb is the new direction this album takes.

Although the core components of CBP’s sound are still there – the cinematic soundscapes, walls of guitars and Belinda Kordic’s smoky, ethereal vocals, there’s a vibe and tone to this record that’s delightfully menacing and sort of fun! After the unsettling Twin Peaks-meets-coven-leader intro of ‘Incantation for the Different’, I’m treated to the absolute occult Rock riot that is ‘Wytches and Basterdz’. Steaming in with sci-fi keyboards and Kordic’s seductive croon, there’s a palpable sense of spooky fun under the dark surface that came as a real surprise in the wake of the previous album’s melancholic elegance.

‘Ghostland’ further ups the ante by sounding like a more widescreen cut from Chelsea Wolfe’s laconic Doom masterpiece “Hiss Spun”. The cult-like chanting is also absolutely terrifying, like a particularly grim outtake from The Wicker Man, demonstrating the band’s unique ability to straddle the line between film score and Prog odyssey. It’s intense, uplifting and unsettling in equal measure and left my jaw on the floor when I first heard it. A quasi-religious experience. 

In addition to this new Occult Rock approach, there is a consistent Post-Punk thread running through many of the songs. ‘Reckoning’ tips its cap to Grave Pleasures and Beast Milk, whereas ‘Bonefire’ has a more Synthwave seductiveness as it slinks along before crescendoing beautifully in more typical CBP style. As we venture deeper into the album there is a menacing, widescreen sci-fi overtone that collides with 80’s Art Pop in the Pink Floyd meets Bladerunner brooding of “Blackout 77” and its twisted Peter Gabriel hooks. These stylistic additions give the record its own distinctive feel and further bolster the world-building approach of “Banefyre”.

The sprawling grandiosity of the record will likely repel and attract casual listeners in equal measure. Part of me wished that some of the more commercial-leaning sections (relax, I mean commercial as a compliment) were transposed into a more digestible song format, such as the sultry Lana Del Rey Goth-Pop of the epic ‘I’m Ok Just Not Alright’. But Crippled Black Phoenix have always been a vibe kind of band where these sprinklings of catchiness act as an anchor to the swirling ocean of immersive, existential ambience that engulfs the listener over the course of their albums.

As it stands, I was happy to surrender myself to the all-enveloping ethereal majesty of this dense, disturbing and often beautiful record. The gorgeous swelling build up and regal horns of ‘Rose of Jericho’ alone are worth the price of booking annual leave to squeeze in a listening session. It also doesn’t hurt that Kurt Balou handles production magnificently here and I’m automatically predisposed to give anything involving members of Converge at least an 8/10. Give it your time and an open mind and this is an incredibly rewarding listen, and one of which I feel I have barely scratched the surface. Time will tell but this feels like a future classic.

‘Everything Is Beautiful But Us’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Incantation for the Different 
02. Wyches and Basterdz
03. Ghostland
04. The Reckoning
05. Bonefire 
06. Rose of Jericho
07. Blackout77
08. Down The Rabbit Hole
09. Everything is Beautiful but Us
10. The Pilgrim
11. I’m Ok, Just Not Alright
12. The Scene is a False Prophet
13. No Regrets (Bonus Track)

LINE-UP:
Justin Greaves : Guitars, Drums, Bass, Samples, Saw
Belinda Kordic : Vocals, Percussions
Helen Stanley : Grand Piano, Synthesisers, Monochord, Trumpet
Andy Taylor : Guitar, Baritone Guitar, 12 String Guitar
Joel Segerstedt: Vocals, Guitar

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rory Bentley and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Vexes – Imagine What We Could Destroy /// If Only Given Time (Double Album)

Imagine What... Album Cover Art

Vexes – Imagine What We Could Destroy /// If Only Given Time (Double Album)
Self-Released
Release Date: 17/06/22
Running Time: 108:02
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

Hello my dear readers! My, it’s been a while since I actually got time to review an album! But, thanks to Her Majesty QE II being on the throne for rather a long time, we’ve had a couple of extra Bank Holidays here in the UK, and for me that meant the gift of free time! 

So, without further ado, let’s see what we have in store from American Alternative Metal band, Vexes. I’ve never come across these guys before, but I do like to explore something a little different. Vexes first appeared on the scene in 2018 with their debut album “Ancient Geometry”, which got the chatter about them started, due to its experimental nature. And, on first listen, it has to be said that this album is deliciously Progressive and experimental. It’s filled with cross rhythms, close harmonies, and dynamic changes, which create an interesting listen. 

This behemoth of an album is, according to the press release, not a concept album, but a view of the world in the last 4 years, and how our lives are driven by our obsession with presenting the ‘perfect image’ in the public eye. This bleak, stark, but unfortunately accurate vision is presented here with a feel of being in two halves, emotionally. The first half of the album certainly has an air of confused, anxious calamity about it, which does indeed reflect the ever-more unbalanced world in which we now live. 

Musically, I really like the experimentation that is thrown into things. Unusual chord progressions, and the aforementioned rhythmic and dynamic changes litter the album, in a very pleasing way. It’s got a Post-Rock feel to it, which merges beautifully with the almost Grungy guitar riffs. But it is very definitely Metal, I feel, with the crunchiness and chunkiness of the downtuned guitar work throughout making it so. 

They use samples effectively to fill out the sound, which ends up being really massive. I now have the privilege of having some spectacular speakers to listen to this on, which is helpful, as this is an album that needs to be listened to loud for full effect! 

However, they also dabble delicately with classical instrumentation; atmospheric piano, and I think Double Bass or Cello and violins being used to great effect, particularly in ‘Imagine What We Could Destroy’. This haunting instrumental piece marks the symbolic ‘halfway point’ of the album, centering things after the rollercoaster ride of the first section. This is also the first of a few instrumental pieces. 

The second half of the album is not as fractious – it’s almost like a concession and acceptance of the madness that’s all around – a flowing with it, rather than fighting a losing battle against it. 

I want to mention the vocals at this point. They are a bit good!! Vocalist, Charlie, has a wonderful lilting, floating voice, which cuts through the engulfing calamitous heaviness of the music beneath it. It makes a really interesting metaphor for life in my opinion. The pace and movement of the daily bedlam, that somehow delivers us moments of clarity, between meetings, or while hiding in the bathroom to escape the madness, even if only briefly.

This is a band who know what their sound is, and considering this is only their sophomore album, that sound is an extremely mature one. They have also self-recorded and produced this album, which is commendable, as the quality of it shows what can be done if you try – other bands, take note! 

“What We Could Destroy/// If Only Given Time” is a very pleasing listen, and although it’s long, I implore you to listen to it as a whole entity, because this is how it works best. It’s dark and melancholy, but conversely soothing and relaxing. Maybe that’s because I’m still a Goth at heart and find solace in the depressing! I don’t know, and quite frankly, don’t care! I am a happy Beth – this was a great choice to start me off back into the realms of album reviews. 

TRACKLISTING:
01. Digital Trust
02. Beyond The Sinking
03. End With Me
04. We Are If We Dare
05. E.O.T.W
06. A Darker Motion
07. Gather Your Bones
08. Dryspit
09. Twisting Of The Points
10. Inexerol
11. Imagine What We Could Destroy
12. Low Choices
13. Phantom Pain
14. The Symptoms Of Dying
15. Collapse At Limit
16. Energy Vampire(s)
17. In This Destruction
18. The Dream Disease
19. Bleak Machine
20. At Nothing
21. Invisible Shine
22. Tangents
23. Away Stars
24. If Only Given Time

LINE-UP:
Charlie – Guitar and Vocals
John – Guitar
Justin – Drums
Bobby – Bass

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

KYOTY – Isolation

Isolation Album Cover Art

KYOTY – Isolation
Self-Released
Release Date: 25/02/22
Running Time: 01:10:00
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings
8/10

I took a punt on this one. It wasn’t something that stood out as hip or fashionable to review. I knew nothing about the band or their music. So, a short history lesson for me is important. KYOTY play atmospheric Sludge and Post-Rock. They are based in New Hampshire and formed in 2009. Abbreviated from Keep Your Opinions To Yourself, the band are regarded as cryptic and secretive. Consisting of two members, guitarist Nick Filth and bassist Nathanial Parker Raymond, they released an album entitled “Undiscovered Country of Old Death and Strange Years in the Frightful Past” in 2012 with drummer Rob Brown. The album was remastered and rereleased as “Remanufactured Realm of Ancient Annihilation” in 2017. Their discography lists a live recording, split releases and a number of singles. Since Brown departed in 2020, KYOTY has utilised selected drummers to enhance their sound. 

This leads us neatly to “Isolation”, their latest release and one which certainly impressed on first listen. 70 minutes of deep, dark sonic soundscapes varying in length from four to 12 minutes and all weaving musical threads that envelope the listener. It isn’t warm, but at the same time it doesn’t chill the bones; more a variation of sounds that enable the listener to become immersed in the waves of sound that the band generate. Huge swathes and heavy passages are interspersed with lighter, almost ethereal moments that capture emotions and feelings on a tide of musical magic. 

Written during the pandemic, the music captures the divide of quarantine. Shared electronically throughout the past two years, music was completed and finalised before being released in single instalments. For fans of the band, tracks including the opening ‘Quarantine’ and ‘Ventilate’ have already been available via streaming sites and they provide the first 15 minutes of the release. The music is crushing, thick riffs and crushingly heavy passages dominate, but there is time to breath and catch one’s breath. 

Having stated their intention to release a song each Friday, I was unsure how much new music apart from the bonus track ‘A Fog, A Future Like Place Imagined’ would be on this release, but what is evident from further listens is how the album flows when it is played in full.  There’s the dark, angular challenge of ‘Holter’ and the gargantuan delivery of the 12 minute ‘Faith’ which opens gently, before expanding into a cinematic soundscape which detours from place to place with some style. 

Mastered by Will Killingsworth at Dead Air Studios and with artwork designed by the band, ‘Isolation’ is another album in a long list this year that demand time and investment. I need to spend longer with it to give it full credit. Yet, even on the first few listens, it is a captivating release that is likely to grow into a firm favourite, time allowing. 

Quarantine’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Quarantine
02. Ventilate
03. Onus
04. Holter
05. Languish
06. Rift
07. Faith
08. Respite
09. Memory
10. A Fog, A Future Like Place Imagined

LINE-UP:
Nick Filth – Guitars
Nathanial Parker Raymond – Bass

LINKS:

KYOTY Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Hutchings and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Daxma – Unmarked Boxes

Unmarked Boxes Album Cover Art

Daxma – Unmarked Boxes
Blues Funeral Recordings & Majestic Mountain Records
Release Date: 19.11.21
Running Time: 57:21 
Review by Rick Eaglestone
7/10

Directly inspired by the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi’s poem, Oakland’s Daxma return with their new album “Unmarked Boxes”, which explores difficult personal topics such as grief, depression, longing, and the process of overcoming.

Opening track ‘The Clouds Parted’ woefully weaves into elements of 90’s style My Dying Bride – it’s thirteen and a half minutes of bleak yet undeniably beautiful soundscapes, with varying directional changes. I particularly love the slow build up into the heavier parts and back again. When tracks are done this well you really do not notice the length of them. This is followed by the shorter instrumental ‘And the Earth Swallowed Our Shadows’.

My highlight track ‘Hiraeth’ is up next, and yet again it is another thirteen-and-a-half-minute track. It’s heavier than the opener, and the guitar parts blend fantastically well. I also love the dual vocal parts. This, much like the previous tracks, is followed by another instrumental track ‘Saudade’.

Given the subject matter ‘Anything You Lose’ is emotionally charged in the right places, the heavier parts are subtle, and when the dual vocals take hold it really encapsulates the overall mood and feel of the album.

Lastly ‘Comes Back in Another Form’ has a minimalistic vocal presence which is only really highlighted in the middle of the track, as between those parts, building drum patterns and bleak soundscapes take over.

Daxma comment, “As a band, we have been working on this material for some time, only recently feeling like we’ve undergone the musical and spiritual growth necessary to achieve our vision and put this album out into the world.”

Overall, the orchestration, guitar tones, and melodies are wonderful, for me I would have liked to have more of the above, with the dual vocal, and slightly fewer instrumental pieces.

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Clouds Parted
02. And the Earth Swallowed our Shadows
03. Hiraeth
04. Saudade
05. Anything You Loose
06. Comes Back in Another Form

LINE-UP:
Isaac R. – Guitars, Vocals, Bass
Jessica T. – Violin, Vocals, Guitar, Piano
Forrest H. – Guitar, Bass
Thomas I. – Drums

LINKS:

Daxma Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rick Eaglestone and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.