Artist: Best EPs of Quarter 1 2016 Part I
Album: Is – Glimpses of Sorrow; Horns & Hooves – Consecrate the Marrow; Vorpal Sword – Pain
It is difficult to give enough attention to the huge amount of EPs that are released throughout a year. Normally they are from smaller bands, released with much less fanfare, and are sometimes just playing around from a band, rather than a concentrated effort. However, I really enjoy the EP format, because I feel it lends itself more towards experimentation, conceptual sounds, and it’s just generally a shorter and simpler listen.
To that end, I wanted to gather up what I think are the best EPs (of what I have been able to hear) and share them with everyone. It will have to be broken up into multiple parts, because there was too many that I felt needed their moment to shine. Without further ado, here are the Best EPs of the first quarter of 2016 (Part I)!
Is – Glimpses of Sorrow (Independent)
Is is an atmospheric black metal band and Glimpses of Sorrow is something like their sixth release, although they only have one full album to their name, last year’s Songs of the Northernlands. This EP is fantastic; I cannot get enough of it. It’s just over 30 minutes long, but once it ends, I just want to turn it on again!
It’s composed of three songs, all named after the EP and appended with Pt I, II, & III. While Glimpses of Sorrow is a single piece, calling it a single song might be a stretch, because there are fairly clear ends and beginnings of each song. What Is does really well with this format is to reintroduce elements that were present in previous songs. It ties together the EP really nicely and it gives you a chance to revel in the amazing riffs one more time.
The music can be described best by saying that it is a heavier atmospheric black, with guitars driving the whole thing. While there are some moments of stillness, the meat of the EP lies in its guitars, which are layered and epic, always bringing these amazing tunes that get stuck in your mind. The energy present in these guitars is amazing. The vocals add a nice intensity, and the drums are constantly crashing away, providing a very consistent beat to bang your head to.
I really love Glimpses of Sorrow, so much so that I went back and listened to everything else I could find from Is. Even still, in my opinion, this is the best thing they’ve released. Go check it out immediately!
Grab it at Bandcamp: https://kareliannokken.bandcamp.com/album/glimpses-of-sorrow
Horns & Hooves – Consecrate the Marrow (Independent)
Horns & Hooves is thrashy black metal, presenting some of the most wretched vocals I’ve heard in a long time. They are so dirty and nasty that I cannot avoid them. They are the kind of vocals that pierce your flesh and will not let you get away. They have this shaking insanity, it’s just so good!
Consecrate the Marrow is three relatively short songs, with the release clocking in at 13 minutes. Now, I will note that this is Horns & Hooves first release, and thus actually a demo, not an EP, but I really enjoyed it and felt it had a place here. Beyond the vocals, which are clearly my favourite part, Horns & Hooves play very fast, very sloppy and dirty, almost edging on crust black metal, but I really do think the thrash nod is more apt.
To me, this release is three short songs that are fun, evil, and catchy. Horns & Hooves get the point across very well and introduce themselves in great form. Check this release out just to hear the vocals. They are seriously great.
Listen and grab at Bandcamp: https://hornsandhooves.bandcamp.com/releases
Vorpal Sword – Pain (Rising Beast Recordings)
What can be said about Vorpal Sword? First of all, when you turn on Pain, do not shut it off immediately. There is a wall of static to start the thing, and that continues quite noisily into the beginning notes of the song. But if you wait, you will start to hear these amazing fuzzy guitars playing these perfect little melodies. The feedback is so harsh, Vorpal Sword falls very close into pure noise, but buried underneath is slow, fuzzy black metal, akin to last year’s amazing release from Moonknight, Valinor. Just to note, Vorpal Sword is the same guy, so the fuzziness carries over, as well as the soft melodies.
Pain is such an interesting EP because it is a single song, fifteen minutes long, that switches sounds every few minutes. It’s almost like changing the channel on the track. To punctuate each shift, there is a first a wall of noise that you must pass through. I love this! It is just such an interesting thing to listen to, and you never know what is coming next. Throughout the fifteen minute run, we have a collection of ideas. Some of them are sluggish black metal, some sound like fuzzy stoner, some are simply noisy black metal with a sharp drum tying the whole thing together. It’s experimental, it’s harsh, it’s noisy, but it’s also really fun and interesting.
Vorpal Sword’s Pain is definitely only for those curious enough to stay through those opening moments and accept noisy fuzz. But if you do stay and listen, you will find some really awesome melodies, some great riffs, and awesome intensity. I really like what Vorpal Sword is doing, and I can’t wait to hear where they go next.
Listen and grab at Bandcamp: https://risingbeast.bandcamp.com/album/pain