Friday, 28 April 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Hawkbill - "Self Titled"

By: Grim Trashcan


Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 23/03/2017
Label: Independent



Track by track these rusted broke-down tractor boys weave a landscape that is reminiscent of the groovier parts of Grief or perhaps an even more slowed down and swampy take on some Weedeater.   With a natural emphasis on groove and natural timing and feel, this album moves like a sloth with a spliff in its mouth.

“Self Titled” DD track listing:

1). Blackened
2). Fever
3). Hate
4). Snakes
5). Knives

The Review:

A simple internet search on "Manchester, KY demographics" reveals the catalyst in order to produce such a suffocated and frustrated brand of Southern sludge from the gloom merchants that go by Hawkbill. According to the County's facebook page; under sightseeing- one of the main attractions next to the Baptist Church is the Clay County Correctional Facility. Charming, wouldn't you agree? Become a pill-billy, praise Jesus or do what these fine young Southern Gentlemen did- channel your frustration and despair into a trance-inducing, hypnotic groove anti-hymnal for the dejected. 

Track by track these rusted broke-down tractor boys weave a landscape that is reminiscent of the groovier parts of Grief or perhaps an even more slowed down and swampy take on some Weedeater, with a natural emphasis on groove and natural timing and feel. I've always been a proponent that if it's from the South, it moves like a sloth with a spliff in its mouth. With track titles such as "Blackened", "Hate", "Snakes" and my personal favorite "Knives"...this stoned sloth has been left out in the rain for a week and ran into some train-hopping crust kids and is babbling incoherently about the vicious nature of a Clay County existence. The abstract, albeit psychotic metaphor of that last sentence may be an indicator of where this band's first self-recorded and produced effort puts you after a listen or two. 

Inspired guitar work, precise and tactful rhythms carried upon the rhinoceros that lives in the low-end via bass are drizzled and poured all over by psychotic and tortured howls that drip and melt all over the aural landscape. Imagine a stack of pancakes, made of solid hash and then pour a heroic dose level of some kind of maple syrup mind-fuck mushroom concoction that some mountain wizard bartered for with some ammunition a few years ago and that's what you're getting into with this Hawkbill endeavor. No...Manchester I will not be stopping by to see your highlighted social media suggestions anytime soon. I'd rather admire what social quagmires and abject level poverty have produced from your denizens from a safe viewing and especially listening distance. Hat's off to Hawkbill. Grim Trashcan definitely approved!!!

Hawkbill” is available here




Band info: bandcamp || facebook

CANADIAN RIFFS: Cancelled – “Tenebrific” & Die Hexe – “Coven”

By: Mark Tremblay

Cancelled“Tenebrific” (Cambridge, Ontario)



“Tenebrific” CD//DD track listing:

1). Restitution
2). Head Over Handlebars
3). Social Impressment

The Review:

Tenebrific” is the brain child of Fuck the Facts/Greber bassist Marc Bourgon. He trades in furious grind core for a more spacey/introspective solo album. These three sorrowful jams focus on self-deprecation, and personal-reflection.

 “Restitutions” is a modern spin on doom metal. Sparse drums are layered with thick bass-lines and synthesizers. The electronic elements of the music are really what bring everything to life, and bring together everything surrounding it.

We then move onto “Head Over Handlebars” which introduces clean vocals from Marc Bourgon; something not previously heard with any of his other projects. This song has more of a “National” influence than anything in relation to heavy music.

As a bass player, Marc Bourgon’s bass passages are catchy and not over done.  Each song on this EP features a bass line that that gets stuck in your head. If this EP featured any guitar, it would feel like a hindrance to the music.

Tenebrific” is available here



Band info: bandcamp || facebook


Die Hexe – “Coven” (Toronto, Ontario)



“Coven” DD track listing:

1). Tough Love
2). Black Crown
3). Unrest
4). Distress
5). Buried
6). Coven
7). Comanche

The Review:

Die Hexe are a sludge metal/hardcore/ post metal band that fill all of your desires from each genre. Their album “Coven” is a no-frills exploration of everything within these genres.

 “Coven” is a concept record about loss that flows effortlessly from one movement to the next. Die Hexe strike a perfect balance between crushing heaviness, and beautiful melodies that is reminiscent of Deafheaven’s New Bermuda”. Very rarely do you hear a heavy band play with dynamic tools, like crescendos and decrescendos, so effectively.

This EP is neatly compacted into under fifteen minutes, and is a must for anyone for anyone who enjoys sophisticated heavy music.

“Coven” is available here



Band info: bandcamp || facebook

6 NEW BANDS: Nikos Mixas' 666 Pack Review for April 2017


The 666 Pack Review

 

It’s the April edition of The Sludgelord’s 666 Pack Review and the Easter Bunny is drunk and horny for fresh blood.  Just kidding, just seeing if you actually read anything other than the reviews.  If you’re new to this, each and every month we handpick 6 review submissions and critique them by only using 6 words, then we rate them on a scale from 1 to 666!  Check out our awesome rating scale below: 


1 – Worse than a eating a handful of Peeps covered in shit.      
2 – Kim Jong-Un would consider this excellent music, um…we don’t. 
3 – You’re average, kind of like Swiss cheese...
4 – You just earned yourself a basket full of jelly beans.  Mmmmm….jelly beans…
5 – Better than the new Deep Purple or Krokus albums, that’s for sure. 
666 – The Easter Bunny got so high off your metal that he challenged The Sludgelord to a fight!!! 


April means the first quarter of the year is almost finished and there’s only a couple of more months until the metal festival season kicks off.  Keep them chops up and send in those demos!  The Sludgelord is a picky listener…and doesn’t care what you think of his opinions….




1). March The Desert - “Tidal Mind” – Reading/Brighton, UK    Rating: 1


This band doesn’t deserve six words…

 




2). Black Tundra - “Black Tundra”Warsaw, Poland   Rating: 3

Heavy Pelican worship, good, not original.





3). Sparrowmilk - “Articles of Separation”Cleveland, Ohio   Rating: 666!

This is how you instrumental son!






4). Polemos - “As Within, So Beyond”Calgary, Alberta   Rating: 2
 

Black metal mixed with punk vocals?

 




5). Rope Trick - “Red Tape” Providence, Rhode Island   Rating: 3


Very raw, garage band fuzz worship.






6). Shadowake - EP” – Canada   Rating: 1


Zzzzzz….zzzzzz……zzzzz….zzzzz…..snort…zzzzzzzzzzzzzz……….

 





Wednesday, 26 April 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Cowardice - "Without Condolence"

By: Stephen Murray

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 29/12/2016
Label: Independent


the sound is relatable and as tender as a fingernail wrenched from its bed. It drifts between aching sadness and violent bouts of self-disgust. This stratum of emotional, chemical and physical self-destruction is the calling card of genuine, heartfelt sludge, and “Without Condolence” is definite rap on the door.


“Without Condolence” CS//CD//DD track listing:

1). No Sovereignty
2). The Tearing Down
3). Synthetic Edens in a Crippled Will
4). I Yield My Prayers
5). Eroding Ethos
6). Lower Tiers of Life

The Review:

I missed the release of “Without Condolence” at the end of last year. Cowardice is not a name I have seen about too much, either, but it should be. Somewhere between the despairing chug of Arizona’s gone-but-not-forgotten Wellington and the searing angst of His Hero Is Gone, this debut is the collective effort of some New Jersey scene regulars. It was recorded last summer and it moves like a soot crusted diesel-electric freight train leaking oil and coughing a dark brown carcinogenic fume.

The drumming is a thing of beauty. It slinks and slouches; explodes, shimmers and tinkles. The vocals have that clawing desperation that perfectly exploits the emotional weight of the music which sways between melancholic, gritty, picked melodies and fully blown out chords as evil as pitch-shifted black metal. The whole tone of the album is so well judged that the acoustic number sandwiched in the centre doesn’t feel like a break from it but rather it attacks the target from a fresh vantage.

The overall recording reminds me of those classic 90s underground bands and I absolutely adore it. It sounds like it was taped off a friend’s record player and has a scratchy quality like the back of your throat right before a heavy cold. This record is as grimy as it gets, but in the moments when the guitar is cleaner, peeling back the layers to reveal the bedrock of reverb, guitar buzz and snare rattle, I get an intoxicating whiff of a becalmed Dystopia, which is a perfect invocation for any sludge band.

This isn’t the NOLA sludge sound we rightly love. This apple falls on the other side of the tree. The melodies are not so indebted to delta blues. Nor would I say they are forbidding in the way you would expect doom to be. Instead the sound is relatable and as tender as a fingernail wrenched from its bed. It drifts between aching sadness and violent bouts of self-disgust. This stratum of emotional, chemical and physical self-destruction is the calling card of genuine, heartfelt sludge, and “Without Condolence” is definite rap on the door.

“Without Condolence” is available on all formats here



Band info: bandcamp || facebook

ALBUM REVIEW: Aathma - "Avesta"

By: Jack Taylor

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 20/01/2017
Label: Underground Legends Records,
Sacramento Records, Odio Sonoro,
Cosmic Tentacles, The Braves Records,
Lengua Armada, VZQ, Avestan Scriptures,
Aladeriva Records (only CD), Violence in the veins (only CD)


Wonderfully straddling the line between a live and studio sound, thanks to the efforts of producer Carlos Santos and the unfailingly excellent mastering work of the ever-prolific James Plotkin, ‘Avesta’ sounds absolutely mighty.  A must-listen for fans of Yob, Baroness, Mastodon and anyone interested in ambitious stoner-sludge metal.


“Avesta” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Mah
2). Mithra
3). Atash
4). Ken Za
5). Hvare
6). Aban

The Review:

‘Avesta’ is Aathma’s first full-length since two-thirds of the line-up changed in the period between their last album, ‘Decline…Towers of Silence’ and the ‘Deadly Lake’ EP. As I considered the latter to be one of the band’s finest efforts to date, I was keenly anticipating the release of ‘Avesta’. I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed at all.

The first thing which strikes you about this album is its wonderful blend of sheer sonic power and finesse. Wonderfully straddling the line between a live and studio sound, thanks to the efforts of producer Carlos Santos and the unfailingly excellent mastering work of the ever-prolific James Plotkin, ‘Avesta’ sounds absolutely mighty.

And what about the songs then? Well it’s another strong collection from this Madridian trio, seven excellent songs that stand up to anything in their back catalogue. Frontman Juan Dominguez gives Yob’s Mike Scheidt a run for his money with his excellent varied vocal delivery and stellar guitar work, particularly on the opener “Mah’, while ‘Mithra’ is another stunning track. “Ken-Za” is a devastating cosmic jam resembling Ufomammut at their finest, which segues into “Hvare”, one of the band’s more straightforward pieces which features a satisfying singalong chorus of sorts. The closer, “Aban”, traverses a great deal of sonic terrain over the course of twelve minutes – another stellar epic to fit snugly into the Aathma back catalogue in the mould of ‘Red Storm (Decline of a Breed’ and ‘A Thousand Nails’.

As previously mentioned, aside from singer/guitarist Juan, the other band members were making their debuts on an Aathma full length. They make their presence know, with Mario González’s bass work and Alex Porras’s drumming performances being top-notch throughout. As a result, Aathma sound much more mature and confident than on their debut, ‘The Call of Shivá’, which was released back in 2009.

With ‘Avesta’, Aathma have released one of my favourite releases of 2017 so far. A must-listen for fans of the aforementioned Yob, Baroness, Mastodon and anyone interested in ambitious stoner-sludge metal. 

‘Avesta’ is available in all formats here



Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

ALBUM REVIEW - Necrowretch - "Satanic Slavery"

By: Conor O’Dea


Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 14/04/2017
Label: Season of Mist
 
For something so embedded with crust, rust and cadaverous unmentionables, it is an incredibly refreshing, riff-dense monster of an album, almost ebullient in its putrid malevolence.


“Satanic Slavery” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1.Sprawl of Sin
2.Tredeciman Blackfire
3.Satanic Slavery
4.Evil Names
5.Hellspawn Pyre
6.Bestial Rites
7.Curse of Blasphemy
8.Verses from the Depths


The Review:

There's rigor mortis. There's decay. There's profound deliquescence. And then there's Necrowretch. “Satanic Slavery” is the third full length for these French madmen, and the old school approach to death metal here is almost ancestral in its atavism. While there are some Gallic contemporaries kicking out similar barbarisms, like Venefixion, and while there are obvious comparisons to Angelcorpse and Incantation, what really gets me charged up about this album is how much, for me, it evokes early Sadus and, to a lesser extent, Morbid Saint. I'm talking “Certain Death” era Sadus here. It's in the spastic energy. It's in the unhinged nature of the vocals. It is in the fact that the music feels ever so slightly 'dangerous' in that classic 'if you are a false, do not entry' way.

I'm at a bit of loss to really identify highlights as the album is pretty relentlessly excellent. Songs that really stand out for me in terms of brutally catchy hooks would be “Tredeciman Blackfire”, the title track and the closer, “Verses from the Depths”. However, the real standout factors for me are the decipherability of the thick bass, amazing runs like the Annihilator evocative riff midway through “Sprawl of Sin”, and the reverb-soaked vocals. This album is immensely enjoyable, almost ebullient in its putrid malevolence.

This corpse is filthy and moving indefatigably and relentlessly under its rotten machinery. For something so embedded with crust, rust and cadaverous unmentionables, it is an incredibly refreshing, riff-dense monster of an album. Who would have thought such a breath of fresh air would have come from the tomb? Elegantly and savagely decomposed.

“Satanic Slavery” is available here





Band info: bandcamp || facebook

ALBUM REVIEW: Causa Sui - "Live in Copenhagen"

By: Victor Van Ommen

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 17/03/2017
Label: El Paraiso Records


“Live in Copenhagen” CD//DD//LP track listing:

Jazzhouse

01 Rip Tide 6:38
02 The Source 4:42
03 The Juice 8:53
04 Mondo Buzzo 8:35
05 Dawn Passage 9:48 *
06 Eugenie 8:00
07 Ju-Ju Blues 10:45

Dragens Hule pt. 1

01 Eternal Flow 13:01
02 El Paraiso 12:20
03 Mireille 7:39
04 Portixeddu / Tropic Of Capricorn 15:22

Dragens Hule pt. 2

01 First Communication 6:30 (Agitation Free)
02 Homage 9:28
03 Red Valley 10:13
04 Euporie 11:58 *
05 A Love Supreme 16:47 (John Coltrane)

The Review:

Well, here we are, weeks after having received Causa Sui’s live triple-LP set, “Live in Copenhagen,” for review. The album’s release date has come and gone, the limited edition release was sold out during presales. Yet still, here we are, without having reviewed the album. It’s therefore understandable if you – like me – are asking yourself, what’s taking so long for that review? Well, here you go.

At three discs long, Causa Sui’s “Live in Copenhagen is three hours of blissed out psych music. Each hour is a meticulous documentation of two of the band’s live performances; one recorded at the “Jazzhouse” and the other at “Dragens Hule”, both located in the lovely city of Copenhagen. These facts alone make this live registration a lot take in, process, and in my case, write about. I’ll gladly admit that I have yet to discover all of the in’s and out’s of “Live in Copenhagen,” Causa Sui’s most ambitious release to date. If there’s anything you can take home from this review, let it be this, there’s a lot here and it will keep you entertained for weeks, months, and possibly even years.

Each disc is as good as the last. The “Jazzhouse” set is a varied set, cherry-picking songs from 2016’s “Return to Sky,” it’s predecessor, “Euporie Tide,” and the gotta-collect-them-all “Summer Sessions” series.

“Dragens Hule pt 1” is next. This set is made up of mostly “Euporie Tide” cuts but the band has also snuck in a performance of “El Paraiso,” perhaps just to show that Causa Sui still understand their rough edges. No complaints here, a bit of crunch is nice after the gentler introduction of “Eternal Flow” and it is probably no mistake that these two songs are played back to back.

The second set of “Dragens Hule” show stands out because of the ebb and flow Causa Sui put on display. Such is the case with how gently Munk and Papir guitarist Nicklas Sorensen - who sits in on a few songs alongside saxophonist Johan Riedenlow - dance around in the beginning of “First Communication” – a cover – while the synths and sound effects play out like birds chirping on an early spring morning. There’s a playful push and pull in “Euporie” that comes across as studied jazz musicians who are looking for each other before diving into a heady groove. On record, this is a stand out moment, but in a live setting, this search makes even more sense. Once these guys find each other and take off, their firm grip on the groove is proof that if you ever get the chance to witness these Danish boys in a live setting, you shouldn’t hesitate to do so.

Oh yeah, and there’s cover Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” thrown into the setlist like it’s no big thing. That this song and “First Communion” were chosen as covers certainly says something about Causa Sui’s influences. The execution of these songs, on the other hand, proves that the band is more than able to take on such a musical challenge without coming across as snobs.

The umbrella sentiment for this live collection is one of bliss. Causa Sui displays a solid handle on their musicianship and in doing so continue to set themselves apart from the 60s revivalists in the stoner rock scene. Causa Sui plays stoner rock, sure, but it’s also psych, and it’s a brand of psych that is as experimental as it is influenced by worldly rhythms and the free form jazz meanderings of say, “Bitches Brew.” There’s as much thought put into these performances as there is throwing caution to the wind. Walking this line works well in expanding on the studio version of Causa Sui. If you were to ask me though, dive into these live recordings because these are documents of Causa Sui at their best. They’re not rehashing their studio outings, they’re performing and presenting new interpretations of songs that were already as wild and free as they could get.

“Live in Copenhagen is available here




Band info: facebook