Four more smoking pieces of plastic/vinyl/magnetic tape/megabytes (whatever your preference / dependent on availability) for your listening pleasure…

Musket Hawk – Desolate (Unholy Anarchy Records)

Imagine being in a car in a desert in a post-apocalyptic world, Mad Max style, and for every mile you drive your car seems more on the verge of breaking down. But somehow you keep it running.

At least at the time of thinking that thought, it seemed like a great way to describe Musket Hawk’s spasmic, rattling, dysfunctional brand of death metal. It might be far away from the death metal of olde, but damn it makes sense!

And like those vehicles of that post-apocalyptic desert, it might be made up of parts welded together to form a weird, undescribable mishmash. It might even at first glance seem like you’ll never get the engine running and the vehicle to move – but once it starts running and you see what it can do, it makes sense at a whole new level, and by all that’s unclean in this world, you’ll learn to love it! Every little break! Every last blastbeat!

Oh – and I’m totally in love with that cover-art!

Eleanora – Allure (Consouling Sounds)

Part post-hardcore, part the more emotive, minimalistic elements of post-metal, this Belgian band attacks with a vengeance, in a screeching whirl of sound and extreme, aggressive vocals, with nods to their fellow countrymen from Amenra.

But Eleanora is not simple copycats. They do manage to convey their own individual approach, not the least in the more mellow, harmonic parts of their compositions.

They have managed to create a work that feels both varied and focused, and there are parts of great beauty and of abbrassive uglyness alike.

I’d really love to see this band live.

Messa – Belfry (Aural Music)

Belfry is one of those albums that has to be felt, rather than simply listened to. And preferably with a decent subwoofer or the like…

Messa plays a kind of drone that’s quite unlike what I usually listen to drone-wise, offsetting the drone (which admittedly takes up a smaller part of the album) with parts of beautiful, lush, laidback doomy yet melodic parts, and the fantastic vocals by Sara simply underlines this counterpoint in their music.

And whoever plays that amazing clarinet (if that is what it is – I freely admit I’m not well-versed in such instruments) on Blood – he or she is a genius!

One of the best debuts I’ve heard for some time, and once again evidence that Italy has a healthy scene of bands that tend to do things their own way.

Sinister Haze – Laid Low In The Dust Of Death (STB Records)

The haze is definitely more sinister and gloomy than it is purple, even though the wellspring might have been the same as the one that was fuelling Hendrix.

Sinister Haze delivers a fuzzy machine of acid-doom with a delightful rumble underlying some groovy psychedelic guitar shenanigans that just keep on building – just the way they are supposed to, leaving you with this kinda empty feeling when the band decide to move on eventually. Add to that a set of mourning vocals, way down on their luck, and you’ve got yourself a fine album for a late, lonely night.