It never surprises me when I find out folks from the metal community have musical interests that extend beyond those realms. Here’s the part where silly war brothers everywhere call those people false and any other cool word they can think of. But it’s true, and it’s actually really refreshing to know so many people aren’t just all metal all the time.
That’s why we’ve chosen to branch out a bit more this year and feature music that, while not necessarily metal, certainly can serve a large part of that audience. We continue that today with a look at “The Uncanny Valley,” the astonishing new record from Perturbator and “Asphalt for Eden,” the great new album from Jersey hip-hop crew Dälek. These might not be easy recommendations for a bloodthirsty metal audience, because many of those people are hard to please. But who cares about them? It’s great to have two heavy music labels such as Blood Music and Profound Lore who refuse to set boundaries for themselves and release what they want.
We’ll start with Perturbator, brought to you by Blood Music, the purveyors of that insane Emperor box set. This music could sit right up there with you Zombi and John Carpenter records in spirit, though in comparison this album is quite different. “Asphalt for Eden” feels like an out-of-control night in the 1980s, with substances coursing through the veins, and the passing neon blur street lights. There is excitement and danger at every corner, and Perturbator’s electronics and synth-bathed music makes that time period, while well in the past, feel ultra-futuristic (he does site anime such as “Ghost in the Shell” and “Akira” as influences). Does that make sense? Well, never mind. Put on the music, and you’ll be right on board. As for Perturbator, its creator James Kent has quite the background himself when it comes to metal. He’s been a part of I the Omniscient as a guitarist and currently plays in L’Enfant de la Foret, but he really seems to have found something in himself with Perturbator. He has been releasing music under this banner for a few years now, and he struck a nerve with “Dangerous Days,” released in 2014.
Starting with “Neo Tokyo,” the ride gets going, piling slicing synth onto massive tempo rushes, balanced out by surreal melodies and Far Eastern strings. “Weapons for Children” has chilly synth and even some doom melodies, making for one of the more menacing tracks on the record. “Femme Fatale” (which features Israeli synthwave musician Highway Superstar) feels like it could soundtrack a modern age Miami Vice, with moody sax melting, weird and steam-filled melodies that shoot out into space. “Vanger” has Greta Link adding her voice to this darkly poppy song. There are other guests who lend their skills including Hayley Stewart who contributes her alluring singing to murky, foggy “Sentient,” and labelmates Astronoid put their dreamy strangeness into “Souls at Zero.” “She Moves Like a Knife” is one of the most jarring tracks on here, living up to its jabbing name and melding glimmering, up-tempo synth that freezes the flesh. This might not be the everyone’s liking if you’re all metal all the time, but if you can pour yourself into the late night and early morning hours, you will be entranced.
For more on the band, go here: http://www.perturbator.com/
To buy the album (U.S.), go here: http://www.blood-music.com/store-us/
Or here (rest of world): http://www.blood-music.com/store-eu/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.blood-music.com/
Dälek’s new record is a comeback of sorts. A year ago, MC Dälek decided he wanted to revive the group, getting the blessing of longtime collaborator Oktopus. This time around Dälek (Will Brooks) teams up with DJ rEk on turntables and Mike Manteca on samples and effects to create this seven-track, 38-minute opus. It’s the first full-length from Dälek in seven years, with their last coming on 2009’s “Gutter Tactics.” Here, we get Dälek at its weirdest and most ambitious, with noisy ambiance, doom, and shoegaze bleeding into the mix and making for one head trip of an album. It often feels like My Bloody Valentine or Merzbow fogging up their jarring hip hop, making for a sound really only Dälek have been able to master. Also, Profound Lore got some shit from a few people on social media for this release, which is fucking ridiculous. If you’re paying even a speck of attention, Profound Lore always put out challenging, outside-the-box stuff including Psalm Zero, Helen Money, Vaura, and Worm Ouroboros to mix in with Portal, Cobalt, and their other heavier bands. Dälek makes total sense here. Get over it.
The first dose of hazy weirdness comes on opener “Shattered,” even as the words are delivered directly, the noises have your head swimming. “You can call me Mr. Brooks, you already know my pen name,” Dälek jabs, as the chorus that keeps revisiting gets jammed into your head. “Guaranteed Struggle” already premiered online, and its full of doomy loops, a wave of dark sound lapping, and Dalek urging, “Look around and watch the whole world crumble.” “Masked Laughter (Nothing’s Left)” is perhaps the most jarring on the whole record, feeling like a psychedelic dream that later turns gazey. The words slur over top, ending with the word “terrorism” muttered on loop to end the track to drone in their message. “Critical” is just a bad-ass song, as is “Control,” one of the angriest cuts on here with Dälek slamming, “They ain’t concerned with the now, just the after/And they got the nerve to ask why we say it’s black lives that matter.” The album ends with somber, agitated “It Just Is,” a fitting way to end a menacing, thought-provoking, nightmarish album that has Dälek flexing their creative muscle again.
Taking a break from metal and sampling what else is out there is healthy for you, trust me. These two records might only be in the metal wheelhouse because of the labels they’re on, but they happen to be collections that are pretty damn good and dark and morbid in their own right. We need more people in heavy music to push boundaries so that they one day disappear, because that’s a way heavy music and metal continues to grow.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/dalekmusic/
To buy the album, go here: https://www.profoundlorerecords.com/products-page/
For more on the label, go here: https://www.profoundlorerecords.com/