Colloquial Sound Recordings’ Spring Batch

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Followers of Black Metal & Brews probably have an inkling of my fondness for Colloquial Sound Recordings. While mainstay A Pregnant Light seems to dominate the majority of press related to this label, it seems unwise to leave any release unexamined.  About a month ago now, six new tapes were offered up. Three of these tapes are from familiar, yet less prominent, faces in the Colloquial Sound roster, while the other three are entirely new entities. Perhaps the lack of the “big three” for the label (A Pregnant Light, Aksumite, and Dressed in Streams) is the reason these didn’t sell out immediately like most Colloquial Sound tapes do, so I’m going to share my thoughts on these excellent tapes (in order of catalog number, naturally) that seem to have received a bit less notice.

Ornamental Headpiece

CSR037 is the violent debut from Ornamental Headpiece, entitled Masks of Ash. With members of A Pregnant Light, Citizen, Freedom, and Aksumite, this scorching offering of militaristic black metal is the sound of dedication to death and war. Vocals croak out, bleak and dry like the billows of smoke as enemy camps are set ablaze over a pulsing fury of drums and guitar that often hit in unison, driving home the message even more clearly. This is music for the warriors who become deities when they perish on the battlefield, worshiping none but death. This is not the overtly melodic and inviting music that fans of A Pregnant Light have come to expect. This is a declaration of aggression with elements of beauty to be found by those who seek, especially in standout track “Boots on the Ground,” which is no less relentless with its repeated command to “pray to death”.You will find no comfort in Masks of Ash, but it is undeniably addictive regardless.


Deathless Maranatha

CSRO38 is the sort of release that would surprise me from another label, but Colloquial Sound Recordings has committed itself to defying convention. This cassette is entitled The Joys of Resistance, and it marks the debut of Deathless Maranatha as an entity separate from his project A Pregnant Light. Two original tracks and a cover of Bathory’s “Die in Fire” make up this short but intriguing cassette of acoustic guitar and voice. It exists without real genre, but absolutely stands apart from the typical fare of dudes with guitars you might see clogging up your local cafe’s open mic night. The two originals are soulful, reflective, and at times carry a sense of mourning. The depth of emotion is apparent and makes me wish for more. The cover is slightly more upbeat and jaunty, and is entirely blasphemous and inappropriate in true black metal fashion. While acoustic instruments may have been more than welcome in Bathory’s music, this is an homage entirely separate from convention. With a great sense of energy and falsetto vocals that actually work, it’s a fun, almost lighthearted way to close out a great cassette.


Field of Spears

CSR039 is the second Field of Spears release on Colloquial Sound Recordings, Heathen Youth. This neofolk project has been on my radar nearly as long as any of the classics, as it is the work of the individual who runs Attila the Hun, one of the earliest black metal blogs I ever came across. My initial listens to this project were full of skepticism given my general lack of interest in the style of music, but the years have clearly changed me as I listen to Heathen Youth. While opener “Monument IV” conjures the sensation of revisiting ages long past, the rest of the album is simply stripped-down bliss that stands outside of time itself. The percussion in “Paths” almost sounds like civilization as we know it crumbling as the backdrop to acoustic guitar and solemn voice, while “The Destination and the Journey” evokes pure beauty and peace. This is one of the most beautiful things Colloquial Sound has released; I’d love to see how the black metal elitists (read: internet warriors) react to this. Of particular note for those purchasing digital: proceeds from this release’s digital purchases will go to a no-kill animal shelter, a worthy cause if there ever was one.


Secret Creation

Next we skip a number to CSR041, the debut from Secret Creation, a two song demo titled Holding My Carrot.  The rawness and melody presented here lead me to believe that, had this been released two years ago when Colloquial Sound was a new thing, Secret Creation would be on the tip of everyone’s tongues in the same way A Pregnant Light is these days. Personally, this is easily the best thing I’ve heard from the label in quite a while. These tracks are violent statements of sexuality, hardly the images one might expect for an album with the word “carrot” in its title. I don’t even have words for how awesome I found this tape, so just trust me on this one. Listen, purchase, and let’s hope another Secret Creation tape is released soon.


Vestal Virgin

CSR042 marks the well overdue return of Vestal Virgin, whose release Answer the Call is hazy and dense in all the right ways. There’s a sense of building energy, channeling something otherworldly perhaps, throughout this tape. Rather than focusing on specific recurring themes or melodies, “A Path in Venus” is a constant journey upward through smoke and chaos. With no lyrics presented, the listener is left to their own interpretation of this music, but it feels personal, if not spiritual, to me. This is a perfect tape for nighttime listening, preferably immersed in total darkness. It may mean something different to you, but this is perfect for focusing inward.

Obliti Devoravit

CSR043 closes out this batch of tapes with a new release from one of the label’s earliest projects, Obliti Devoravit. Oblique Diversion is a great chance for folks who missed the first tape to catch up on a classic project. With this release, the band’s inherently strange nature is retained while moving into territory that fans of black metal will find more appealing.  While opening track “Resonate” is slightly more straightforward, the rest of the cassette is exploratory in the best way possible. While the nine minutes of “Morning’s Spell” are clearly begging for attention, the tape’s B-side is just as compelling, begging for multiple repeat plays. Don’t take my word for it though, give it a listen and then make your way over to the Colloquial Sound Recordings store where you can buy each of these tapes, as well as shirts and other goodies. Tapes not your thing? The label’s bandcamp will have you covered with digital copies at bargain prices. Don’t miss out. PMHC Forever.