Wednesday, 16 August 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Extremity - "Extremely Fucking Dead"

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full length
Date Released: 07/04/2017
Label: 20 Buck Spin



In this first release by the group, you have what sounds like an incredibly promising start. The playing is top-shelf vicious. Carpet bombed in a death metal growl, the songs are forceful in delivery and unyielding in lyrics.

"Extremely Fucking Dead" CD//CS//DD//LP track listing:

1. Intro (Mortuus est Valde)
2. Crepuscular Crescend
3. Bestial Destiny
4. Chalice of Pus
5. Fatal Immortality
6. Extremely Fucking Dead

The Review:

Yelp is truly eBay for reviews. You can discover the most random stuff assessed by a less-than-forgiving public. There, you can even find a list of the best San Francisco bars that play death metal. Yes, it is a real list and is a testament to how much the Bay Area, for all its contradictions, tourists and big red hop-on-and-off buses, loves extreme music.

Beyond that, Northern California has been an epicenter of sorts for metal for going on 30 years or more. With the debut of the Oakland-based Extremity, you have a group that is reflective of such history. This is not the first band for its members by any stretch.

From Agalloch to Vastum, Cretin to Necrosic, among others, the experience that makes up Extremity is sure to prompt attention. Impressive acts, no doubt. In this first release by the group, you have what sounds like an incredibly promising start. The playing is top-shelf vicious. Carpet bombed in a death metal growl, the songs are forceful in delivery and unyielding in lyrics. Herein tracks like "Bestial Destiny" are impressive, with traces of grind undercutting a faithful death blueprint. Throughout the debut, there is ample space for all-star drummer Aesop Dekker, who counts Ludicra and Worm Ouroboros among his work, to ballast the carnage.

What makes Extremity such a fascinating addition to death metal, beyond its collective resumes and membership, is its potential. For instance, its similarity to Scolex, bassist Erika Osterhout’s other death/doom project, is glancing at best. As such, Extremity melds some of the exceptional qualities of what its members bring. Osterhout’s contributions on songs like "Chalice of Pus" are as you might expect, searing. In fact, the whole team has it’s A-game on for all six tracks.

If you love the style, Extremity does it in a fashion you’re sure to enjoy. Haters might call it a touch of playing it safe. A longer listen reveals how complex the songs really are. "Extremely Fucking Dead" isn’t the 99-cent-bin death metal, because its collaborators are far from it. Together, the group hints that their best is yet to come.

"Extremely Fucking Dead" is available here


Band info: facebook

TRACK PREMIERE: Dayton, Ohio sludge trio Maharaja steamroller their peers with heavyweight juggernaut "Blood Moon"


Maharaja are a three piece sludge metal band from the post industrial wasteland of Dayton, Ohio. They are proud to announce that they will release their debut album, “Kali Yuga” on September 22nd 2017 

After spending the better part of the past 3 years touring since their inception in 2014, the band excitedly entered the studio with engineer Jacob Wright (Big Deal America), with full intent of capturing their live onslaught on tape. The band believes they have done so and the results are sure to please metal fans of all genres. The album title, “Kali Yuga”, is Sanskrit (a philosophical language of Hinduism) for the “age of destruction” and the band does little to disappoint those expecting a visceral and figurative representation of demonic destruction. Maharaja has perfected their own wall of sound by way of lead vocalist and bassist Eric Bluebaum's fuzzed out tone, stacked with Angus Burkhardt’s guitars that doom’n’ shred, and drums that are as quick to drop a blast beat as they are to groove you to death courtesy of drummer and vocalist Zack Mangold “Our intent is to break amps, disorient, and make people throw up” Bluebaum says.


Kali Yuga” begins with the blistering, brooding, and insanely heavy “Blood Moon” and today we been tasked with debuting this heavy weight juggernaut for your listening pleasure and you can check it out below.  



Band info: bandcamp || facebook

ALBUM REVIEW: Carach Angren, "Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten"

By: Ernesto Aguilar


Album Type: Full length
Date Released: 16/06/2017
Label: Season of Mist




If you had hopes Carach Angren could dig that hole back in your heart that their previous full-length could not, you will certainly not walk away disappointed.  The overall composition is simply superlative.


 
"Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten" CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Opening
2. Charlie
3. Blood Queen
4. Charles Francis Coghlan
5. Song For the Dead
6. In De Naam Van De Duivel
7. Pitch Black Box
8. The Possession Process
9. Three Times Thunder Strikes

The Review:

Black metal has many signifiers. The harsh thunder of the music itself. Lyrical themes oriented around the darkest corners of our imaginations. A vocal style that is unmistakable. Lost in this cacophony – and to history for some – is a cornerstone of what we regard as black metal, a flair for the presentation.

Consider the classic black metal image in your mind’s eye. Performers like Venom, Bathory and, of course, Mercyful Fate surely spring out first. Their fidelity to the visual even before the ascendance of music visuals made them infamous. Today, with all manner of indie and international horror films engulfing what would otherwise be our wildest mental pictures, not as much black metal is as adept at setting the blackened altar as back in the days of the founders. That assertion could be heresy to some devotees. Still, many black metal bands are gifted at carrying on the story just inside the fearless, and feared, basement of a house that metal music built.

Dutch black metal trio Carach Angren offer their fifth release, "Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten," amid much anticipation, not to mention high expectations. The multilingual act is lauded worldwide for its symphonic brand of black metal musicianship. Although its 2015 recording, "This is No Fairytale," was regarded by critics as a disappointment, the band’s body of work is enthralling. Blistering guitars, an ominous build, delicate violins and a dash of piano have long been part of the canon. It was nevertheless unclear if this nine-song release would return Carach Angren to form.

In addition its music, Carach Angren has cultivated a rabid following through their incredible music video presence, which combine crisp, quality visuals with crushing and often sublime music. No sleeveless t-shirts in an empty warehouse here. The group carries forward textured storytelling in the vein of some of the many greats. You can find online many terrifyingly dazzling visuals already for songs from "Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten," and they’ll be worth your search, if you do not mind a sleepless night or two.

Many of Carach Angren’s best music has been rooted in folklore and other tales. Such is the case with "Blood Queen," a sonic departure for the group though its themes of death, despair and infernal dealings appear in other cuts here. The specter of a Ouija board floats through the many stories here too, mostly as an usher to that aforementioned despair. It is the vehicle for a malevolent spirit in "Charlie" and reaches its zenith in the album’s closer, "Three Times Thunder Strikes." "Scrambling for matches/Determined to burn it to ashes/She threw the Ouija board to the flames and kneeled to pray/’I wish I never ever, ever listened to my friends’/’Who had said it would be fun to play’/’Now the one that follows me’/’A predator, and me its new prey.’

There’s so much than can be said about the performances, completely separate from the group’s imagery or lyricism. The overall composition is simply superlative. Guitar and drums are fierce as they are jarring on "In de Naam Van de Duivel" (“In the Name of the Devil" in Dutch, though the song is in English). The orchestral crests in "Song for the Dead" are haunting. If you had hopes Carach Angren could dig that hole back in your heart that its previous full-length could not, you will certainly not walk away disappointed.

"Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten" is available here:




Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Void Ritual - "Heretical Wisdom"

By: Conor O’Dea

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 18/08/2017
Label: Tridroid Records |
Throat Productions




Beautifully textured, and masterfully layered, Void Ritual has summoned a depth of composition here which is elegantly minimalist in its structure: neither too little nor too much




“Heretical Wisdom” CD//CS//DD track listing:

1). The Flood
2). Breathing Ice
3). A Mockery of Flesh & Bone
4). Heretical Wisdom
5). The Frozen Altar
6). The Maelstrom
7). Dead in Blackest Night
8). Nachzehrer


The Review:

The latest output by one-man black metal band Void Ritual, “Heretical Wisdom”, is a deeply melodic, folk-tinged hymn to darkness and the primal elements. The first full-length for the band evokes the strongest and most beguiling aspects of that style of Finnish black metal practiced by Moonsorrow and Havukruunu, as well as lesser-known artists such as Sarastus. Surging rhythms and tidal melodic passages invoke the feel of harrowing journeys amid roaring hibernal blizzards and brings forth images of hearth-fires and skaldic songs in the darkest passages of Winter nights.

Beautifully textured, and masterfully layered, Void Ritual has summoned a depth of composition here which is elegantly minimalist in its structure: neither too little nor too much. This is complemented by a very strong vocal performance by Daniel Jackson. Strongly recommended. Favourite tracks include “Breathing Ice”, “The Maelstrom” and “Dead in Blackest Night”.

“Heretical Wisdom” is available on CD//DD here and cassette here




Band info: facebook || bandcamp

TRACK PREMIERE: New Haven noise trio Grizzlor raise the finger to mediocrity with “Fruitloopville”



 



Spewed forth into existence in the year 2013, GRIZZLOR hit the Earth with a misanthropic thud. Hailing from the toxic depths of New Haven, CT, these are three dudes power slopping their way through the daily drudgery, weighed heavy with fuzz, sludge and an itching disdain for the mundane. Their anthems are sonically beefy for the sardonically bored. 

Coming 3 years after the release of their 7” “When You Die”, GRIZZLOR will finally release their first full-length album, "Destructoid", on September 8th via Hex Records  and their unique brand of lurid, sludgy weirdness is perhaps more potent than ever.  Coming across like the Melvins providing a twisted soundtrack to Saturday morning kid’s cartoons, "Destructoid" is a barrage of sharp angular riffs, aggressively pummeled rhythms and vocals spat through a wall of misanthropic fuzz and today we are excited to deliver a  brand new exclusive track, for your listening pleasure.

To quote Fight Club “This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time”, so why not enrich it by playing a cool fucking tune by kick ass band. Check out the magnificent “Fruitloopville” below, preorders for “Destructoid” are available here.

 







Band info: facebook || official || twitter || instagram || youtube

ALBUM REVIEW: Below The Sun - "Alien World"

By: Ernesto Aguilar


Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 26/05/2017
Label: Temple of Torturous




What you get is nothing short of spectacular. The soundscape intersects multiple metal subgenres, including funeral doom, black metal, drone and post metal. Moods throughout are bleak, as if the rumbling seas of Solaris are flicking gently at your mind and bouncing your hopes and fears to and fro.

“Alien World” CD//DD track listing:

1. Blind Ocean
2. Mirrors
3. Giant Monologue
4. Dawn For Nobody
5. Release
6. Dried Shadows
7. Black Wave
8. In Memories

The Review:

Metal has never been at a loss for concept albums. The idea versus the execution, however, is a matter that is worthy of serious interrogation. Stories can get clunky in the context of the songs. Or the songs can overwhelm the narrative a group might have wanted to present. So, when a performer succeeds at an especially grand concept, you are virtually compelled to take notice.

For Russian experimental/post-metal band Below the Sun, the concept of the sophomore release is quite ambitious. "Alien World" is centered around the idea of human memory. The science fiction novel "Solaris" by Polish author Stanislaw Lem inspires the recording. In the 1961 tome, scientists study the mythical oceanic planet Solaris from their research ship, only to discover that the planet itself is sentient and studying them. Moreover, Solaris has the ability to turn its human subjects' innermost thoughts into material form, and to bring them face-to-face with those creations. In the end, humanity is confronted with the truth that the thinking and intentions of alien life are wholly beyond our comprehension.

Below the Sun extended its complicated storyline to its composition as well. As you listen to "Alien World," you may be astounded to know that none of the eight songs contain synthesisers or samplers. Every sound you hear was made by guitars, bass, drums and vocals, though some of it is clearly enhanced by effects pedals.

What you get is nothing short of spectacular. The soundscape intersects multiple metal subgenres, including funeral doom, black metal, drone and post metal. Moods throughout are bleak, as if the rumbling seas of Solaris are flicking gently at your mind and bouncing your hopes and fears to and fro. Those sparse lyrics? You can just about close your eyes and see the anguished vocal in the visage of Lem's scientists, as they fully realize the lifeless planet they smugly believed they were prodding is very much intelligent, and instead invading their most humbling memories. The furious roar in "Dawn for Nobody," which comes about halfway through this package, almost feels a dawn of such a realization.

What additionally makes Below the Sun's new recording so distinguished is how it strikes all these emotional places, as much as brilliant art does, without being easy to classify. You will notice at least two dozen influences, including metal, classic rock, electronic and ambient music acts. Yet Below the Sun doesn't ape them or feel like a repeat. Its concept and sound is autochthonous, a base from which others may emerge.

"Alien World" is available here:




Band info: bandcamp || facebook || Instagram

Monday, 14 August 2017

FOR THOSE ABOOT TO ROCK: Riffs of Canada with Cellos (Windsor, Ontario)

By: Mark Tremblay


Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 5/8/2017
Label: No List Records |
Harbour House Records



The best way to describe this band would be “Torche meets KEN Mode” in the most harmonious way possible. The album is a plethora of serpentine riffs from “Demagogue” and “Bury me on Highway 3”, to the outright sludgy plod of “Out of Phase” and “White Lines.  This record is for anyone searching for something slightly different in the myriad of heavy music releases this year


“The Great Leap Backward” CS//DD//LP track listing:

1). White Lines
2). Demagogue
3). Delirium Tremens
4). Ghosts in the Sky
5). Snake Charmer
6). Out of Phase
7). Bury Me on Highway 3
8). Shooting Star
9). Stranger at the Door


The Review:

Cellos continue the legacy of great Canadian Noise Rock under the No List Records Label (LP via Harbour House Records). The best way to describe this band would be Torche meets KEN Modein the most harmonious way possible. The album is a plethora of serpentine riffs from “Demagogue” and “Bury me on Highway 3”, to the outright sludgy plod of “Out of Phase” and “White Lines”. “The Great Leap Backward” is an emotional rollercoaster that could be best encapsulated by the song “Snake Charmer”; a track that lulls you with a hypnotic opening riff, only to change course with the noise rock twist of Kittens.

Cellos “The Great Leap Backward” has so much crossover appeal that putting it into a sub genre would only cheapen its potential to a wider audience. This record is for anyone searching for something slightly different in the myriad of heavy music releases this year.

“The Great Leap Backward” is available here




Band info: bandcamp || facebook