A podcast that interviews musicians and provides in-depth, and at times zany, reviews regarding the latest albums from the obscurer corners of extreme metal, dark ambient, and noise.
#209 | Album Review | StarGazer – Psychic Secretions
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Hello, gazers of the void! I hope all is well in your corners of the world. This week, Ryan and I journey into an atmospheric realm of black and death metal epicness conjured by the heavy, intriguing, and downright heroic album that is StarGazer’s latest opus, Psychic Secretions. As per usual, Ryan and I dork the hell out on a variety of the record’s timbres, particularly how the bass f*****g decimates throughout its duration (insert bow now-now). The music/track titles inspired the bizarre concept of a goblin cult arriving on the back of a comet, alongside the origin story of a new FCU character, Chadwick the Golden Slump. We also go into ramblings about movie battles and other mystical warfare as we meander through our ramblings on the album. (I was fully addicted to Valheim at the time of recording, so that tracks.)Psychic Secretions features a solid concept where each track belongs in the same universe, yet this does not prevent StarGazer from crafting tracks that expand into all kinds of sonic territories, featuring moments of frigid and airy northern light-flickering riffs, or galloping, bone-bashing drum marches. You even get moments of progressive sweeps that pair well with the harsher elements. The vocals take on various theatric entities; I pictured an evil necromancer, an ageless toad (as suggested by the album’s lyric), and eventually, my evil cult leader goblin warlord. Once again, some of the grooves and bass lines on this record are pure, undiluted magnificence. Overall, Psychic Secretions is a perfect blend of darkened prowess and stunning enchantments.StarGazer hails from Adelaide, Australia. Psychic Secretions is their fourth full-length album, which released on February 1st, 2021. This avante-garde extreme metal behemoth has existed since 1995, and throughout the decades, they have conjured handfuls of demos, splits, and EPs. The trio’s lineup consists of The Serpent Inquisitor (Guitars/Vocals), The Great Righteous Destroyer (Bass/Vocals), and Khronomancer (Drums)—stage names that only further the feeling of mysticism while experiencing the music.
* * * * * *You can support StarGazer by purchasing Psychic Secretions via their Bandcamp page. You can also follow them on Facebook. Do yourself a favor and listen to the rest of their discography! If you’d like to support us beyond listening to our podcast, you can do so by becoming a patron on our Patreon page. There you can read all of our notes for each album review episode we publish and gain early access to every episode before its official release.Also, if you’re keen on chatting music, shooting us some recommendations,
#208 | Interview | Rattleback
Download this episode by clicking the arrow button to the right of this player: DownloadFor the first time in FCU history, I am joined by burrito boy Benson in an interview! He actually doesn’t end up saying a whole lot, but in it, we chat and shoot the shit with the Melbourne-based hardcore punk trio, Rattleback.By some unknown Bandcamp wizardry, Connor was recommended the group’s debut LP, Weeding the Garden State, shortly after its release in September of 2020. You may recall his poor recollection of discovering Rattleback back in a track reviews episode we dropped last October, and it was from this mealy-mouthed word sputtering that led us two knob-heads to (finally) get this interview set up many months later.All that being said, Rattleback is an intriguing breed of hardcore punk because they have no guitarist. Their bassist, Harry “McBassFace” Ross, uses a signal splitter to effectively emanate the tone of a guitar in some tracks, but he often writhes in the pond-scummy undercurrents of baritone reverberations. This slathers their tunes in a bedraggled climate, which vigorously swelters as percussion blares, and their vocalist, Frank “Drunktank” Hynes, heaves a litany of scathing, cord-frying rasps.The conversation sprawls in several haphazard pathways, the most basic being the trio’s origination. From there, Rattleback discusses the approximate year-long writing process that gave rise to their debut and the two whole shows they were able to play just before the pandemic struck. Much more word spew is volleyed (from me, mostly) during the interview’s runtime, with a healthy slather of banter coating the exchange. We sincerely hope you enjoy our back-and-forth as it was an utmost pleasure chatting with these dudes. Thank you so much for tuning in!
* * * * * *You can peruse the entirety of their debut, Weeding the Garden State, via their Bandcamp page. Be sure to follow ’em on Facebook and Instagram to stay in-the-loop on new developments from the trio.Also, if you’re at all keen on supporting us beyond listening to our podcast, you can do so by becoming a patron on our Patreon page. Or, you can join our tundra of a Discord server to chat music, provide album recommendations, or talk any of other forms of media (videogames, films, etc.). In two weeks, we’ll be dropping a review of the latest LP, Psychic Secretions, from the Australian black/death metal enigma, StarGazer. Take care until then.
#207 | Album Review | Evil – Possessed by Evil
Download this episode by clicking the arrow button to the right of this player: DownloadHello hello! It’s been a minute since I’ve written one of these, but it’s a welcome, albeit short-lived, return as Connor is pre-occupied this weekend lighting a set for an experimental short somewhere in San Jose. That being said, I want to briefly reiterate that we’re now publishing our podcast episodes on a biweekly basis, as opposed to the previous weekly frequency. With that out of the way, let’s shift focus to the album of discussion in this week’s installment.Evil is a black/thrash metal quartet from Tokyo that has existed since 2011. I was an apex curmudgeon when I saw their band name land in our promo inbox and essentially wrote them off for a couple of days because… well, in retrospect, my reasoning was supremely doltish, but I found the name so generic that I figured the tunes couldn’t be terribly intriguing. However, don’t let the simplicity of their name fool you as it did me. After a day or two of plundering the deluge of soon-to-drop albums, I struggled to find a record that hooked me, and thus, I decided to spin their sophomore LP, aptly titled Possessed by Evil, for the hell of it (pun partially intended). Not even ten seconds into the opening track, “The Cycle of Pain”, I realized I had made an utmost critical error.Possessed by Evil is an excoriating cluster of belter after belter. Be it the searing melodic leads, galloping drum rhythms, or the infrequent, but exhilarating power metal shrieks, each track exudes contagious energy that only evaporates as the album’s final track lopes into a blistering sunset. Twinges of black metal permafrost most tracks, imbuing streaks of malice amidst otherwise electrifying compositions. And although we did not have access to lyrics prior to recording this episode, we perceived a narrative-driven momentum felt through the ebb and flow of the album’s track sequencing. All that being said, we had quite a few words to exchange over this LP.We are much too early into 2021 to stack this record against others that will come out in the months ahead, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this floats somewhere in the reaches of my year-end list, at least as it pertains to releases that are an absolute detonator to listen to. I’ll halt my word vomit there and urge you to spin this record if an iota of what I’ve said piques your curiosity. Thank you all for your support and we sincerely hope you enjoy our rambling!
* * * * * *You can snag a physical copy of Possessed by Evil via the Nuclear War Now! Productions Bandcamp page (cassettes and CDs; vinyl coming later). Be sure to follow the quartet on Facebook to stay in-the-loop on new developments from them.If you’d like to support us beyond listening to our podcast, you can do so by becoming a patron on our Patreon page. There you can read all of our notes for each album review episode we publish and gain early access to every episode before its offici...
#206 | Album Review | Beaten to Death – Laat maar, ik verhuis naar het bos
Download this episode by clicking the arrow button to the right of this player: DownloadHello, fuzzy sentient creatures of the void! This week Ryan and I delve into the latest Beaten to Death album Laat Maar, Ik Verhuis Naar Het Bos, which roughly translates to Never mind, I’m moving to the woods. This is an idea I’ve been pondering since I was a child (in the episode, I also poorly recommend the book, The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit). I’m just a little forest obsessed dude.Beaten to Death originally made this fifth LP of theirs a vinyl-only release. Unfortunately, it is sold out at the time of this writing. Fret not, however, as the melodi-grind crackpots separated the record into four EPs, with each connected to a forested area on the blue marble. One of these was Endor, aka the Northern California redwood forests. And, as you could likely surmise if you’ve listened to just one or two of our past episodes, my undying love for hiking and Star Wars instantly compelled me to want to review this album based on the existence of the Endor EP alone (I’m sure Ryan just loves me bringing up Lord of the Rings and Star Wars all the time!).Interestingly, Ryan (who bought the vinyl) and I discovered that the album’s tracks flow much smoother if you follow the vinyl’s track sequencing in contrast to listening to each four-track EP in isolation. Irrespective of this quibble, we absolutely adored the zany riffs, sun-gilded melodies, and meaty bass protrusions throughout. I poorly attempt to sound out some of the riffs via mouth mumbles and although I undoubtedly fail, something about the harsh yet rambunctious grindcore vocals pairs lovingly well with the melodic surges, grooving bass lines, and bum-blasting drum patterns. They also incorporate many textures into their compositions to keep their succinct outbursts dynamic and entertaining. Hell, one track ends with the sound of zombies snarling as a psychopathic murderer sews together a costume for us to wear. In other instances, you get punky gang vocals or sludgy atmospheric flourishes that just make you want to move. I can’t tell you how many times I got amped on the track “The Night Is Young And We’re All Out Of Nekro”. With that song alone you can tell these unique dudes know how to have a fun time!Beaten to Death is an experimental grindcore quintet from Oslo, Norway that has existed since 2010. We reviewed their fourth studio album, full of what sounds like melodic tractor noises, Agronomicon (2018), back in 2019. Laat Maar, Ik Verhuis Naar Het Bos officially released September 25, 2020, with each EP dropping in November or December of 2020. They even comically state that band bios are boring and that you just want to hear the music. That being said, go stick your gourd in the sonic wood chipper that is Beaten to Death and experience the brain-scrambling that is their music.
* * * * * *If you like getting audibly beaten to death, then support the band!
#205 | Album Review | Crowning – Survival/Sickness
Download this episode by clicking the arrow to the right of this player: DownloadHello kiddies! The other Ryan (formerly Woody) here. This week I had the great privilege of sitting down with Ryan v1.0 and C0NN0RB0T to discuss one of 2020’s eleventh-hour monster releases, the new LP Survival/Sickness by Crowning.Though it doesn’t break the 20-minute mark, this record expertly blends black metal spaciousness into Crowning’s pounding hardcore-tinged skramz. The melodic guitars wind up the emotion in the songs, only to release it in sudden flurries of heavy drumming and wrenching shouts like a spring-loaded bear trap snapping shut. Plus there’s plenty of potty-humor weirdness to turn your stomach, so toke up, turn it up, and let this record snap against your eardrums.Crowning is a five-piece skramz/(melodic) hardcore outfit from Chicago, IL. Their debut EP Funeral Designs definitely f****d my shit up when it dropped in 2017. Their next two releases, a split with Swallows Nest in 2018 and another with Marée Noire in 2019, saw the band move towards darker, uglier tones, making their LP an interesting synthesis of melody and madness. Crowning demonstrates more maturity, growth, and fearlessness with each new record, and I am certain you will find something within these eight tracks to delight or destroy you, whatever you fancy.
* * * * * *You can stream Survival/Sickness on Bandcamp or Spotify, or grab yourself a physical copy via the almighty Zegema Beach Records. For all things Crowning, follow them on Facebook and Instagram @crwning.If you’d like to support us beyond listening to our podcast, you can do so by becoming a patron on our Patreon page. There you can read all of our notes for each album review episode we publish and gain early access to every episode before its official release.Also, if you’re keen on chatting music, shooting us some recommendations, or talking about other forms of media (videogames, films, etc.), please feel free to join us on our Discord server (it’s a desolate tundra currently, but you can help enliven it). In next week’s episode, we’ll be chatting about four fresh EPs from the weirdo melodi-grind quintet Beaten to Death that dropped at the tail end of 2020. The title, Laat maar, ik verhuis naar het bos, roughly translates to Never mind, I’m moving to the forest.
#204 | Album Review | Kammarheit – Thronal
Download this episode by clicking the arrow to the right of this player: DownloadHello, fantastical individuals of the endless space void. This week Ryan and I eject ourselves in a doomed escape pod! This pod (hehe podcast) heats us up like an overcooked bag of popcorn as we find ourselves entering the atmosphere of what remains of Earth. In reality, we are actually going into a deep conversation on the dark ambient album Thronal by Kammarheit. As per usual when we talk about ambient music, we get rather descriptive with the imagery the atmosphere inspires, including abandoned post-apocalyptic landscapes, cyberpunk-like rotting temples, and random dorkery in spacecrafts.Thronal crawls with rumbling drones, enchanting tones, and complex atmospheres. One moment I find myself deep within space (possibly in cryo-sleep) listening to the hum of an engine. On another track I find myself leaving a derelict apartment complex and wandering into a frosty, overgrown forest; or, I find myself balancing on the crumbling remnants of a concrete overpass with rebar daring to stab me with one misstep. Kammarheit gives a brief description that may influence these thoughts. He talks of space travelers returning to the remnants of human civilization on Earth. The music he has composed as the soundtrack for urban explorations works quite perfectly. You truly feel as if you are on a morose yet exciting (maybe even calming) adventure. Just today I explored the wetland waste of old fishing communities that once occupied the South Bay Area. I thought back to this album as I gazed upon the rotting wood jutting out from the muddy bog. The colorful bits of plastic mixed with bones of various avian creatures, foreshadowing what may come for all of humankind. Man, I’m being a total bummer!Kammarheit is a Swedish dark ambient project by Pär Boström. The project was formed in the year 2000. From what we have discovered (mostly Ryan)… Pär has an absurd number of musical projects. Thronal is his fourth full-length title under the Kammarheit name. It was released on December 21, 2020, via Cyclic Law. I truly recommend checking out this eight-track masterpiece.
* * * * * *You can purchase Thronal via Bandcamp and you can locate more of Kammarheit’s music and physical products via his website,
Customer ReviewsSee All
An excellent podcast where you will discover music from the underground as well as hear ground breaking interviews with today's leading voices of many different genres. Highly recommended.
Met Ryan at Fire in the Mountains festival in Wyoming. He has a deep knowledge of obscure, heavy music and this is a great resource for discovering new bands. Keep up the good work!