Weekly Song Roundup: Merzbow, Ulver and Enter Shikari

Week of February 17: This week, BlackLab unleash doom, Vodun drop a new video and Wrekmeister Harmonies take us on a sonic journey.


Enter Shikari check us into The Dreamer’s Hotel

St. Albans outfit Enter Shikari are one of those few bands who can actually combine multiple genres of music without it feeling contrived. After confirming that their upcoming album, Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible, will be their definitive album, lead single ‘{ The Dreamer’s Hotel }’ seems only to corroborate this. A slapping, drum-filled intro with noisy synth squeals, driving, punk-backed verses, and with a poppy chorus on the right side of catchy, ‘{ The Dreamer’s Hotel }’ is a shining display of what this band is capable of.


Japanese noise master Merzbow meets clarinettist Gareth Davis

While increasingly becoming a meme of sorts, Merzbow still manages to release new collaborative work that will entice audiences less familiar with harsh noise. In this case, experimental clarinettist Gareth Davis adds depth by exhibiting an extremely warped sound that barely even resembles free jazz, while the Japanese noise master himself completely focuses on his vintage signature mix of tension and chaos throughout a sixteen-minute track.


London bruisers Calligram get even darker with ‘Anedonia’

When we spoke to Calligram drummer Ardo Cotones last year about their forthcoming album he promised “Everything has gotten darker.” Boy, he wasn’t wrong. Recently signed to Prosthetic Records, ‘Anedonia’ is the first track to be lifted from The Eye Is The First Circle due out in April and is a vicious slice of furious blackened crust punk that has got us very excited about what’s to come. Brace yourselves.


Embrace the insanity with the spooky witch doom of BlackLab

In the same week the metal world celebrated the fiftieth birthday of Black Sabbath‘s seminal debut album, something equally as dark and doom-laden spewed forth from Osaka, Japan. ‘Insanity’ is a claustrophobic and hypnotic slab of fuzzed-out riffage from the powerful “witch doom” duo BlackLab and is an exciting taster of what to expect from their new album Abyss which drops this May.


Take a dream pop trip with American duo Vacant Gardens

Shoegaze inspired instrumentation, melancholic wistful melodies and the gorgeous voice of Jem Fanvu combine to produce a dreamy track of natural beauty taken from Under The Bloom, the debut album from dream pop duo Vacant Gardens. Already available to stream online, the album gets a 12″ release on 1st March. Perfect for fans of Slow Crush, The Cranberries and My Bloody Valentine.


Superduo tētēma keep us waiting till the mornin’

Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras’ are gearing up for the release of Necroscape, the second album from their collaborative project tētēma. Their wayward experimentation feeds everything the electro-acoustic rock duo release, and this hallucinatory new single is surely a perfect example of what’s ahead.


Eclectic Norwegians Ulver continue to shake things up with ‘Russian Doll’

Drifting further still from their blackened roots, Norweigan experimentalists Ulver dropped ‘Russian Doll’ last week on Valentines Day. The pop-heavy track holds a dark underbelly, and the accompanying video (filmed in Thamesmead, London) features Latvian dancer Annija Raibekaze.


Modern Rituals embrace the restless power of noise rock

The latest number from UK noise rock ensemble Modern Rituals sees the band blend shimmery tones with disjointed noise rock. ‘Scratcher In The Mash’ takes from the best part of the genre’s storied history, drawing from everything from Fugazi and The Jesus Lizard to Sonic Youth and Pile, and reassembling these various influences into their own unique sound.


Italian “Southern gothic” experimentalist Mai Mai Mai unleashes unique cover

We found ourselves so enamoured with the music of Italian noise maestro Toni Cutrone, aka Mai Mai Mai, that we featured him in our fourth print issue. We were excited by the news of this new single, which is a cover of an Italian folk obscurity featuring vocalist Maria Violenza.


Pay your dues to ‘The Hangman’ with brand new metal outfit INNO

This new group features members of Fleshgod Apocalypse, Hour Of Penance, The Foreshadowing and Novembre, so it’s no surprise that their second single is a brilliant bout of doomy and progressive hard rock. Look out for the debut album on 28th February.


Black Rainbows drop stoner rock powerhouse ‘Isolation’

One of Italy’s premier stoner rock outfits released this brand new single last week, and it’s a rollicking, groove-laden number that any riff lover simply needs to hear. It’s taken from the band’s psychedelic new album Cosmic Ritual Supertrip, which comes out on the first day of May.


Vodun release new music video ahead of live ‘Rituals’

The world-beating hard rocking fury of UK trio Vodun will be coming to a venue near you this February/March, and to celebrate the band have dropped a video for ‘Rituals’, taken from their 2018 album Ascend. It features new drummer Lorena Cachito.


Swedish pioneers bring enough riffs to cave in a ‘Porcelain Skull’

Having released their best album in decades last year, epic doom legends Candlemass are gearing up for a b-side EP entitled The Pendulum. ‘Porcelain Skull’ is the second track from the release to see the light of day, and it features some suitably gargantuan guitar heroics straight out of the Iommi riff-book.


Wrekmeister Harmonies unveil new single at ‘Midnight To Six’

Ahead of their new album’s release later this month, self-professed purveyors of “pastoral doom” Wrekmeister Harmonies have dropped ‘Midnight To Six’, a slow-building track that begins life as a lush ambient number full of dreamy piano and alluring singing – until the poignant strings take over, that is. The dramatic close to this track is truly breathtaking.


Words: Adam Pegg, Sean Elias, Marc Puyol-Hennin, George Parr

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