Based in Paris, Alcest are currently on their tour through North America and with Kodama they're showcasing one of the most popular ambient metal records of the past years. Right before their show in Montréal, Alex of Nous Étions sat down and wrote a review about Kodama, which is - according to him - his favorite album of last year.



Alcest has been running their game for quite a long time now - eighteen years or so. They have released five full-length albums and a couple of splits here and there and with Kodama they just released their latest work. This band has always been quite a hit or miss for most people I know, including myself. You either love them or hate them, but I surely can’t hate Kodama, which probably is their most consistent album they put out so far. But, don’t expect a black metal album, because it’s not. This album is basically how I wish Shelter would have been when it came out, not that it’s a bad record or anything, but for me it feels like Alcest's bastard child.


During the six tracks of the record - seven if you purchase the deluxe version of the album - Winterhalter delivers the proof that he can do no wrong on drums. The record is full of tasty fills and patterns that will stick right upon the first listen. The production is stellar and worth a mention since it’s been a while I’ve heard drums that sound as good as those on Kodama. I have had my fair share of bands that excessively use blast beats on each part of their songs and I’m glad it’s not the case on this record. Winterhalter really helps to shape the songs with his drumming and compliments Neige’s melodies, just the way they should - Eclosion, I’m looking at you. The bass work on this record is also a big improvement from their previous work, as it’s not just somewhere in the mix, backing up the guitar lines. Quite the opposite, there are several memorable bass lines, that easily get stuck in your head. The true showcasing here for me is the guitar display and the vocals, Neige’s guitar work on Kodama is very dreamy and catchy, it pretty much picks up where Écailles De Lune left us a couple of years ago and you can tell he’s been having a post-rock binge lately. The vocals are for the most part clean vocals, but when Neige’s black metal shrieks kick in on Eclosion, you can feel that he hasn’t lost it at all. The only weak moment on this album can be found during the closing track, Onyx, which is basically a part of another song - just played backward.


If you’re (already) tired of the new-wave of pseudo-post-black metal bands (whatever the kids call it these days) and looking for a decent heartfelt metal record, give Kodama a spin. This record deserves its place among other giants like Explosions In The Sky, Ulver or Agalloch (sorry, no Deafheaven). It is a demonstration that Alcest is back at it again after a weaker album (hey, Shelter) and still kicking it after all those years. Worth a listen, you’ll be left wanting more. 9/10


Favorite tracks: Eclosion, Kodama.



"Pierce the thick skin that weighs upon my shoulders. Tear it off of me. Limb by limb. Piece by piece. So I may show you who I am beyond my body, beyond my flesh. So you may catch a glimpse of my non-human shards of light."

links: Alceset + Nous Étions

, , , ,

Even if 2017 already has begun it is four releases from last year, which can be found in the latest episode of our review series. Besides the fantastic debut of the Swedish newcomers Kid, Feral, the EPs of Nanette from Toronto and KŸHL from Dresden, we also discussed one of our absolute favorites of 2016 - the split between Lora and the ultimate screamo band.

Unfortunately this is the very first article, which copes without any editing as Carl went on a short-time hiatus due to the work on his master thesis and the stressful preparations for his moving to Taiwan. Hope I didn’t fuck it up.





Lora / the ultimate screamo band - Split

19/09/16

+ bandcamp
+ Lora
+ the ultimate screamo band

Already released a few months ago it’s past time to discuss the split between Lora and the ultimate screamo band. Hailing from Montréal, the one man project with the humble name contributes six songs, which are bundled up to one long track. Well, this characteristic might be quite exceptional but who cares as long as the content is so brilliant. All alone, Guillaume Archambault slowly morphs into one of the most exciting emoviolence acts the international scene currently has to offer as his creation brings out the magic as well as the iconic and chaotic sound of late 90s resp. early 00s screamo bands. The anterior songs of Lora seem to perfectly fit in the sonic image of Guillaume’s recordings, ensuring that this top-notch collaboration is one of our favorites of 2016.

"Tu n'as jamais été là parce que tu es bien trop rancunier. Élevé comme un vrai homme. Une ville en constante construction. Je n'ai rien appris de toi. Je n'ai rien appris de toi. Je n'ai plus besoin de mon nom. Je me sens soudain moins con.“

Nanette - In Pectore

20/12/16

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+ Facebook
+ twitter
+ Tumblr
+ instagram

In Pectore by Nanette, is another short but sweet release, which comes in as an hybrid of emotional hardcore and emo mixed up with mathy guitar riffs. The versatile threepiece from Toronto makes use of bowed instruments, performed by guest string player, Simon Lukasewich, in the course of the wonderful opening track called If Ifs and Ands Were Pots and Pans and also knows how to surprise during the rest of the dreamy Extended Play. The five and a half minutes seem to fly by as David, Van and Kai deliver a four song collection, fascinating with its combination of ambient sounds and angry screamo parts.

"And you just stood there, cold and calculating like a thermometer in February air. I've been shivering since 2011. I've been numbing the pain humming the same refrain. One last coup de grace. One less frost to thaw on the frigid barren campus. It was just like old times.“

KŸHL - Drittweltstrauma

25/04/16

+ bandcamp

Co-released by a bunch of great labels such as Dingleberry, Pure Heart Records or Adorno Records, Drittweltstrauma could be consulted as the perfect and most current example for the generic sound of German screamo. Inspired by overseas hardcore back in the mid and late 90s, bands like Yage, Jet Black or 30TageNacht lead the way, as they developed their very own and unique style out of those influences. With their recordings for their latest Extended Play, political screamo outfit KŸHL from Dresden stick to those blueprints as closely as possible and it’s songs like Zivilisierte Arroganz and Ungeteiltes Leid, which capture the zeitgeist in the most exciting way possible. The six tracks of the EP were pressed on green transparent 12’’ vinyl and come along with a self-made poster, limited on 300 pieces.

"Singen, tanzen, lieben, weitersehen.“

Kid, Feral - Demo 2016

01/12/16

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+ facebook

Based in Skövde Kid, Feral is Vile, Ossian and Jesper and almost out of nowhere they delivered their first musical output in the form of a two song demo. With Vile screaming “Got up early morning for a walk in suburbia... and every lawn that lied pristine in hazy sunlight.“ on Like it or not, we’re the only game in town the newcomers from Sweden straightforwardly outlining their dissonant spastic sound. Succeeding this 42 seconds banger, it’s Blue eyes white dragon (I'll close my eyes and imagine), which also knows how to impress as the band constantly operates with changes in tempo, walking the thin line between chaos and well-structured melodies. Kid, Feral is definitely a band to watch out for in 2017 and with a bit of luck their demo will receive a physical release as well.

"When it's over. When it ends. When it fades out. I'll be dead!“

,


For the sixths edition of our interview series we talked with Ina of Hope and The Failure. It turned out as our sincerest and most intimate interview to date as the ever inspiring artist from Stockholm, Sweden - among other topics - spoke about her inner motivation to create art as well as her decision to quit her other band called Heart On My Sleeve.




Hey Ina. Thanks for taking the time. Hope you’re doing great. Please give us a brief introduction of yourself and the projects you are involved in.

Ina: My name is Ina and I´m currently 38 years old, I live in Stockholm, Sweden and I previously sang in Heart on My Sleeve and The Hope and the Failure but now THaTF is the only active project I´m in. I´ve been a part of the hardcore scene since the mid-90´s and got into screamo in the beginning of 2000 I would say. Previously I have put up shows and written fanzines but nowadays I´m not as active as I used to be (I´m getting old!).

A few weeks back your band Heart On My Sleeve, which was - and of course still is - relatively well known amongst people listening to screamo music, called it a day. But let’s postpone the topic and talk about your other project The Hope And The Failure first. I was lucky enough to see the band’s heartwarming performance at last year’s Miss The Stars Festival in Berlin. It was one of the first shows you’ve played after a really long period of time. In between your songs you talked about the story behind the formation of THATF, why the band broke up and why you finally decided to reunite. Since not everyone had the pleasure to catch you in Berlin, please share this story with our readers.

Ina: We started the band in 02 I think, me and Chris (guitar) met through a community on the internet and started talking about our common interest in music, it turned out that we both lived in the same area so we met up and started talking about creating music together. The first time we met, he actually had the first riffs to Prozac Hell. He knew Magnus (drums) from art school and also knew some other people named Lars and Jon who were interested and we all decided to start creating music together. Chris had access to a rehearsal space for his other band (Yamon Yamon) so we started creating music there. What is funny about the story of our band is that not that many people in Sweden really understood our music when we were active, the hardcore kids thought that we were playing too much emo and the emo kids thought we sounded too hardcore. We actually had to beg to get shows because no-one wanted to book us. We squirmed ourselves into shows by asking friends who booked or played in more popular bands. In total we only played 3 shows in the years we were active, haha. This was before screamo was a thing in Sweden and people just did not understand what we were doing I guess. We recorded a demo in a rehearsal room that we tried to spread around and there was talk about recording a full-length on Denovali Records but everything fell through. The band was put on ice when our guitarist Lars (who is American) was deported and had to return back to the U.S. We tried for a bit to replace him with a number of other musicians but it never really felt the same so eventually we decided to call it quits. Years past and eventually I started singing in Heart on My Sleeve instead. Here´s another fun part of our story though, about 6-7 years after we stopped playing with THaTF, a friend sent me a link to a Youtube clip where someone had put our demo up. I have no idea where they got it from but I realised that more people had put up different videos with our demo on Youtube and the comments were very positive and people seemed to love it. They wrote that it was original skramz and I actually had to Google it to find out what skramz meant, haha! Anyway, years after we stopped playing we finally got some kind of recognition and it seemed our demo spread like wildfire because all of the sudden all these reviews of our old demo started showing up on different music blogs and people were really praising it. It´s a weird but really nice feeling! Me, Chris and Magnus still kept in touch and sometimes we talked about rehearsing again but it never happened, until Alex from Miss the Stars asked me if we were interested in doing a reunion. A week before the fest in May we played our first show in Stockholm in 13 years.



The third Edition of the Fest was undoubtedly as great as expected and a full success for the MTSF orga-crew. Everyone seemed to have lots of fun and enjoyed those two beautiful days back in May. Since you’ve been in the position to be an active part as a musician as well as a regular visitor, you’ve experienced two different perspectives of the festival. How would you describe the atmosphere from both views to someone who hasn’t been there yet?

Ina: Oh, I love Miss the Stars Fest! I´ve attended all the previous years of the fest and will be at this year´s fest too. Like you said, I have been there both playing and just visiting. I would however say that I experience the festival the same, no matter if I have played or not. It´s a great place to meet nice and amazing people, see great bands and most importantly, finding out about new bands. I´ve discovered so many new bands that I would never have known about if it was not for the festival. Alex has this great ability to find all the gems of the genre and get them to come play. The whole atmosphere of Miss the Stars is so open minded and lovely, you can watch awesome bands, eat amazing food or just hang back in the garden and drink beer and buy merch. It feels like a lot of people who attend the festival are genuinely caring, I´ve met so many great people there. I love it when someone I don´t know come up to me and talk about whatever is in their heart, wether it´s my band, their band, other bands, vegan food, politics etc. 


During your set you also talked about your depression and your everyday fight against it . Your vocals for Heart On My Sleeve and THATF are full of passion and heart-wrenching desperation. A lot of great song writing has its roots in depression and negative emotions, some would argue. Do you think you would have written and would still be writing songs if it wasn't for your depression? In what way do these feelings affect your writing?

Ina: I started becoming depressed when I was 13 years old and I have been struggling with it since then. I have had periods in my life where I did not want to continue living and I have to admit that I have tried to commit suicide a couple of times. I was diagnosed with chronic depression when I was 21 years old, how the fuck you can diagnose someone that young with that is beyond me, but that´s what happened. The problem was that it became my whole personality, all I was; someone who will be depressed my whole life, someone beyond saving. This really fucked me up since I saw no need to do anything to change it, this was who I was. The only way to deal with these feelings was to write about them, I wrote a fanzine, I kept a diary and I started writing lyrics. Writing about it helped me to deal with the anxiety and the death wish in a way that no therapist had ever been able to help me. My problem was that I didn't want to deal with the shitty hand that life had given me, I didn't want to deal with the experiences, the self-hatred and the anxiety so I kept putting my head in the sand and just lived this lifeless life. When I started writing, it helped me confront my fears and try to handle everything in a new way. By forcing myself to face the problems I also dealt with them and tried to come up with solutions to them. Writing about it became a way to become better and I started realising that I was not beyond saving. As long as I don´t give up on myself and as long as I keep on struggling and try to find things in everyday life that matters, I will be okay. I have never held back or censored my lyrics because putting them out there has been the ultimate way for me to admit that they reflect my life and my feelings. Even though some people might never understand, there might be someone who does. All the lyrics I have ever written are a reflection of what I was feeling at the time when I wrote them and all of them are a part of me. In many ways, writing has helped me save myself from me and ultimately saving my life. I still have really bad periods but I´m much more equipped to handle them now, I still get anxiety but I have the methods to calm them down and now, at 38 years old, I finally have a life worth living. I appreciate everything I have, the people that care for me and the good things in life that I could not see before.

What would you like to tell people who are struggling with mental problems and depression?


Ina: Don´t give up, the darkest hour is just before dawn, no matter how shitty life feels, there will always be good times ahead, try to live for those moment if there is nothing else to live for. Talk about what you´re feeling, if your friends or family are not receptive, write about it. Creativity has always helped me and I know others who feel the same way, be creative, not for others but for yourself, to deal with what you´re feeling. Write, paint, craft, play music, write lyrics, scrapbook, take photographs, film, do anything that can take your mind of the pain but also to deal with the issues that causes your anxiety. They will no go away by themselves, you have to deal with them no matter how hard it is, it´s the only way.

After coming back with THATF you already released new music in the form of one song, which was released on a split record with the Canadian band, Heavy Weather. How did this collaboration came about and what are your future plans with THATF?

Ina: I found Heavy Weather on a Miss the Stars sampler that Alex released last year and I went to their Bandcamp and bought their demo. I thought the music was so incredibly good that I wrote them on Facebook to tell them how awesome I thought they were. Me and Will from HH started chatting and eventually he asked if Heart on My Sleeve wanted to do a split with them. We in HOMS had just released our full-length at the time and had no new songs in the making but I really wanted to do a split with Heavy Weather so I asked the rest of the guys in THaTF (we had just started rehearsing) if they wanted to record a new song which we did. We recorded the song in early spring last year in our rehearsing space, it was the first thing we had recorded in almost 14 years. I like the song but I don´t know if it is representative of our new sound, we have not played together for so many years so I don´t know if we have figured out how we want to sound yet. At the moment the band is down to three people, Chris and Magnus and I , we have decided that we need some time to figure out what we want to sound like before we continue to make and record new songs again. There will be new songs but time will tell how they will sound like.

On September 3 you’ve played your last concert with Heart On My Sleeve at Cyklopen in Stockholm. After the breakup it’s probably like a huge chapter of your live is being closed. How does it feel and what were the main reasons to call it a day?

Ina: I think our last show was probably one of our best ones so I´m happy with it. We got to play with some of our friends´bands that we played with before and the whole night was filled with amazing people and awesome bands.

I was the one who wanted to quit Heart on My Sleeve, I was afraid that I would regret the decision afterwards but I haven´t. I had been thinking about quitting for quite a long time and my heart was not in it anymore so it felt like it was the right decision to make. We had played together for more than six years and I did not want the same things as the rest of the band. For instance, touring and playing shows have always been really hard for me. Because of my anxiety problems, it takes a lot of me to get on stage and sing. Every time I play live it feels like I´m giving a piece of myself, it might sound pretentious but that´s how it feels like. Every show I feel exposed and vulnerable, I can´t remember any show where I didn't panic or had anxiety afterwards. The rest of the band loved playing and touring which eventually created a conflict because I felt like I held them back by not wanting to play shows or by being negative about playing shows. I held out for 6 years and performed many shows during that time but it was hard for me, especially on tour where you had to do it every night. I still love all the guys in HOMS and we are still friends and hopefully they understood my decision to break up the band.




Thanks a lot for the interview. Conclusively we’d like you give you the chance to recommend a few projects.

Ina: Oh, there are so many awesome band out there but since I´m all for the sisterhood I want to recommend some amazing bands with one or more female members: Osoluna from Spain, Amygdala from Texas, Night Witch from Florida, Snöhamn from Gothenburg and Vivre Sa Vie from Stockholm.

Thank you for sending me the interview and thank you to anyone who likes any of my projects for caring about what I have created, it means a lot to me.

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For SBS #40 we collected four brilliant releases, including a conceptional Extended Play by atmospheric screamo group, They Sleep We Live, the debut of Elle, a recently founded screamy punk supergroup from California, the very first song of Kelut, a six headed emoviolence outfit from Illinois and a fantastic split between Yotsuya Kaidan and KAT, both from Ukraine. In other words, you will find something for every taste.





They Sleep We Live - Escaping The Measures Of Time

15/12/16

+ bandcamp
+ facebook
+ empty shells broken hearts (video)

’The last departure, the end of a history. Leaving footsteps behind that won’t fade away.’ It’s the very first line, that already implies the significance of Escaping The Measures Of Time. They Sleep We Live from Bremen created a conceptional Extended Play, in which they make a statement ’to a life, that gets measured in time, making you forget that you're alive and leaves you in doubts about your own existence.’. Musically Nico, Fabian, Jens and Dirk offer a pleasant and atmospheric sound, spanning the spectrum between post-rock and screamo. With great attention to detail, Escaping The Measures Of Time follows the band’s split with Sweden’s Vi som älskade varandra så mycket and will be co-released on one-sided 12 inch vinyl through Pike Records, Dingleberry Records, Samegrey Records, Koepfen Records, Zegema Beach Records and Framcode Records.

"Pills for the people and profit for the capitol. We lost our empathy. We lost our consciousness. We lost our autonomy. The balance, more far away than ever.“

Elle - S/T

18/11/16

+ bandcamp
+ facebook

A few days back, recently founded screamy punk supergroup, Elle, really surprised us with the release of their sensational self titled debut EP. Based in Oakland, CA, the band, which assembles members of Beau Navire, Loma Prieta and Yearbooks, uncovered their first five songs out of nowhere. Elle extracts elements of indie punk, post-hardcore, emo, screamo and combines them to a unique blend. Right from the opening track called 'The clearing’, the fourpiece invites you to immerse yourself into their sound, which reminds me of a hybrid between ‚Self Portrait‘ and Yearbooks „inside’. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Comadre’s Jack Shirley at Atomic Garden, the Extended Play will be available on one sided 12’’ vinyl limited to 500 copies through Condition Records.

"Feel the heat from our bodies. Still as the trees. The fabric that holds me together. No matter how fragile our minds can be. The clearing, the purge, the place where you said follow. Framed tightly, we were folded into each other."

Kelut - Riflessioni Opposte Producono Risultati Diversi

09/11/16

+ bandcamp
+ facebook
+ Yusuke

Hailing from Illinois, Kelut is a six-headed emoviolence collective, consisting of Tyler, Hugh, Scott, Miles, Tony and Ryan. When they play together it sounds like a symphony of well structured chaos, initiated by metallic guitar riffs and two-part vocals, whereas the listener can enjoy the flawless combination of high- and low-pitched vocals. The band from Peoria, which includes three members of Yusuke, is able to deliver an intense sound package, without invoking the standards of mainstream screamo. As Riflessioni Opposte Producono Risultati Diversi could be seen as an appetizer for what comes next, we eagerly wait to hear more of Kelut.

"Le tormente nella bocca delle speranze. Ti ho chiesto come si mettere una faccia che si puo vestire, ti ho chiesto se hai saputo che cos'è come avere un'altra facciae tu mi rispondi che tu non sai niente.“

Yotsuya Kaidan / Кат - Split

24/10/16

+ bandcamp
+ Yotsuya Kaidan
+ Samegrey Records

By now Odessa’s Yotsuya Kaidan are no longer a sleeper. Quite the opposite - they really delivered with their previously released EP ‚Tired Of Tomorrow's You‘ and their top-notch split with Det är därför vi bygger städer from Sweden. Their new track called 'Тантал‘ is part of a common project with Кат and really fits in seamlessly with their earlier releases as it was written during the same period of time as their older songs. The song, which starts quite melodic, contains a few changes in tempo and convinces with its complex song structures. After almost six minutes the way is paved for the second half of the split. Hailing from Kharkiv, Кат contributes two additional tracks, that do not fail to surprise. Their fresh sound is characterized by the interplay of clean and screamy vocals, harmonizing perfectly with the instrumental background. Polished by Will Killingsworth at Dead Air Studios, this highly recommendable split will be available on 7 inch vinyl, out this winter.

"This is about friendship. This is for friendship.“


Since November 14 you had the chance to vote for your absolute favorites of the year and with 2016 coming to an end it’s about time to present you the results of our community poll. Mostly located between Emo, screamo and post-hardcore, you had the opportunity to vote for the bands and records, which had the greatest impact on you and us. Below you can also find the winners of specific categories such as: Best Album, best EP, best Split and best demo.





Album of the Year


30.

Eros + Massacre - La Agonia Del Eros








29.

Ruined Families - Education








28.

Suffocate for fuck sake - In my blood








27.

Frameworks - Smother








26.

La Bella - Ides








25.

Modern Baseball - Holy Ghost








24.

Daughter - Not To Disappear








23.

Human Hands - Morning Sun








22.

Pettersson - Rift and Seam








21.

Weak Wrists - Weak Wrists








20.

Graf Orlock - Crimetraveller








19.

Deer In The Headlights - Mental Health








18.

I Love Your Lifestyle - We Go Way Back








17.

Basement - Promise Everything








16.

Gillian Carter - Dreams of Suffocation








15.

Tiny Moving Parts - Celebrate








14.

American Football - American Football (LP2)








13.

The Hotelier - Goodness








12.

Algae Bloom - I am everyone I’ve ever met








11.

Joyce Manor - Cody








10.

Dangers - The Bend in the Break








9.

Youth Funeral - Heavenward








8.

Masada - Masada








7.

Old Gray - Slow Burn








6.

Coma Regalia - There’s Still Time








5.

La Luna - Always Already








4.

Viva Belgrado - Ulises








3.

Amygdala - Population Control








2.

Touché Amoré - Stage Four








1.

Oathbreaker - Rheia













Best Of The Rest


30.

The Hope And The Failure / Heavy Weather








30.

Rêche - Rêche








29.

Yotsuya Kaidan / Det är därför vi bygger städer








28.

Anne M. Christiansen - EP








27.

Anna Phorra - A conversation of consciousness








26.

René Descartes - Demo








25.

Det är därför vi bygger städer / Coma Regalia








24.

Yuri - Breathe In Water For The Rest Of Your Life








23.

saligia - the new innocence








22.

Eaglehaslanded – Eaglehaslanded








21.

Yotsuya Kaidan – Tired Of Tomorrow’s You








20.

Scared Of Everything - 2016








19.

Kepler - How To Disappear








18.

Akallabeth / Asthenia








17.

Vi Som Älskade Varandra Sa Mycket / They Sleep We Live








16.

5000 / rûth / ilill / istilah








15.

What Of Us / Coma Regalia








14.

Flowers Taped To Pens - Endgame








13.

Careless / Det är därför vi bygger städer / sans visage








12.

Old Soul - Blue Heron








11.

Cady - Isle Of Flowers








10.

Lost Boys - Lost Boys








9.

letters to catalonia / ilill








8.

Crows-An-Wra - Kakotopia








7.

Cavalcades - One Down For Youth’s Ideals








6.

Yuri - Demo 1








5.

Coma Regalia / Gillian Carter








4.

Drei Affen - Drei Affen








3.

City Of Caterpillar - As the Curtains Dim; (little white lie)








2.

I Hate Sex / Black Knight Satellite / Algae Bloom








1.

Suis La Lune / Shirokuma













Best LP Best EP Best Split Best Demo Most Underrated Release




This voting was so much fun to do and we're already planning to repeat it for next year. Expect some changes like more categories. If you have some suggestions for improvements feel free to leave us a comment in the box below.

“This is a remix of the same tears you shed before. This is a remix of the same fears you shared before. I thought that they made it clear (and they did). Our sound is not welcome here (you should know)...”
- Give Up The Ghost