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The Flenser Vinyl, CD & tapes from Norman Records

Drowse
Cold Air

Oh what has happened now? Almost every record released these days seems to be on the back of a breakdown, a relationship catastrophe or some kind of hardship. It's terrible. People have it bad  - especially musicians.  All this happened to Kyle Bates during the making of this record: -  a nose broken while blackout drunk, ...view item »

AILS
The Unraveling

Bay Area avant-metallists Ludicra called it quits around the start of the 2010s, but vocalist Laurie Shanaman and guitarist Christy Cather still had something left in the tank. Now they’ve got a few mates together and ground out this bracing LP as AILS. The dual-screeching on display here is blood-curdling...view item »

RLYR
Actual Existence

Chicago experimental rock trio RLYR follow up their 2016 debut LP Delayer with this four-track album. Featuring members of Russian Circles, Cleared and Pelican, RLYR create a heavy but melodious racket here. The instrumental chops are impressive, with m...view item »

Kayo Dot
Hubardo

Originally released in 2013, the seventh album by Toby Driver’s crew spans three pieces of vinyl and a vast array of stylistic ground. Combining seething black metal, choral vocals, angular post rock, serpentine jazz, psychedelic chaos, brooding goth, crushing doom, and much more into a progressive and multi-faceted whole,...view item »

Planning For Burial
Desideratum

Planning for Burial are forerunners of the gloomgaze genre. Desideratum is their second album following on from Statement of Purpose, which was released in 2010. Planning for Burial are essentially a one-man bedroom project, that man being Tom Wasluck. The music takes in every gloomy genre from...view item »

Trevor De Brauw
Uptown

As our internet cycles through death and reincarnation in turns so dramatic I fail to understand how exactly we became certified as a mail-order website, I’m comforted by the knowledge that the guy from Pelican has made an ambient record. Shirking his responsibilities as a lord of post-metal, he brings out &ls...view item »

Toby Driver
Madonnawhore

Revered avant-metal grump Toby Driver has done so much in the last few years, moving from Cookie Monster death metal through to the retro-synth ideas of John Carpenter with a peppering of his erudite persona for every project. I’m not sure I have great hopes for him creating a record based on F...view item »

Wreck and Reference
Indifferent Rivers Romance End

Wreck & Reference have been described as an experimental metal duo: so much so that large stretches of their music is unrecognisable as metal at all. Until the throat-shredding howling starts anyway. Indifferent Rivers Romance End is heavy with electronics and strings, sa...view item »

All Your Sisters
Uncomfortable Skin

There is a track on here that is near perfect which makes it almost doubly disappointing that I can't find anything here I enjoy as much. I may have written before about hearing a song in 1982 that I never found out what it was. It sounded.... just like this  - terrifying guitars, drum machine that eerie sense of lurking doom that post punk...view item »

Kayo Dot
Plastic House On Base Of Sky

Toby Driver's avant-metal crew Kayo Dot continue to fly in the face of expectations, if any remain, with the wonderfully titled Plastic House On Base of Sky. If you recall, they've sounded comparatively whimsical in their latter years, with the humour-tinted extreme metal epic Hubardo p...view item »

Muscle and Marrow
Love

Muscle and Marrow is a pretty visceral name, and this duo often live up it, with blasts of crunching noise and heavy drums. But they also play soft and wispy, and the delicate balance between these two contrasts that they maintain is where they really succeed on Love. A darkly beautiful LP, on The Flenser....view item »

Black Wing
Is Doomed

Black Wing is another project from Dan Barrett, the latest in a stack of names he works under. The Black Wing sound is dark and hazy, driven by stern drum machines and featuring very distant post-punk vocals. ‘Depressive Chillwave’ is Barrett’s term for it, and...view item »

Have A Nice Life
The Unnatural World

Its always disconcerting to us when something starts flying off the shelves when we haven’t a) reviewed it b) listened to it c) even heard of it. We are, believe it or not, comprised of deeply flawed and sometimes useless human beings and so on occasion it is possible to completely miss stuff. As it is with this second album from t...view item »

Boduf Songs
Stench of Exist

Mat Sweet’s music is so quiet, and insists on itself so little, that you barely notice it disappearing. That is by no means a slight: on his newest and most brilliant record -- which at once has shades of Perfume Genius, Dirty Beaches, ...view item »

Mastery
Valis

Dark extremity from the blackened soul of only one man, Mastery’s Ephemeral Domignostika (definitely the name his mother uses). Valis is the most fully realised and widely available Mastery release to date, and features a frantically complicated black metal style, exploding everywhere. Out on The ...view item »

Botanist
VI: Flora

Here's another selection from my rather metal-heavy pile this week. This one's from California's Botanist and is the sixth in a lengthy series of albums which will eventually make up a grand sci-fi/fantasy narrative about "The Botanist", a twisted scientist who lives in the "Verdant Realm", isolated from humanity...view item »