This record sang to me even before I pressed play as I was reading the press release notes, it is a concept album around the issue of pain.
And this is very close to me as I have experienced neuropathic nerve damage pain for about 8 years after a very nasty and unexplained infection.
So let’s get on to Dynfari, who play a black metal infused prog tinged shoe gazing post rock. Using a fantasy writer’s theories on the mind and its processing of pain. Aldous Huxley and Jim Morrison discussed the doors of perception, and Patrick Rothfuss is speaking of the four doors here. To me, it can feel like a revolving door of pain at times. And this musical journey evokes that as well as it moves through differing emotions and moods as it entwines Icelandic poet Jóhann Sigurjónsson’s view of human existence, so we are back with Huxley and Mr. Mojo Risin’!
Trump maybe getting ‘really bad drudes out,’ but this bad Drude is here to stay! And that is because it hides and morphs and blends in like a musical chameleon.
You know how it is, you get comfy with something you know and feel familiar with for a minute or two, then it explodes in to an outpouring of harsh sludge which flattens me to the floor.
Drude hail from Indiana, and I am guessing that it’s Eerie, Indiana (I’m showing my age, aren’t I?) as they mix and contort their sound along the lines of reality distortion expected of some Sam Rami horror movie.
After the opening horror of “Drude,” we slow down to a bong pace for “Barbelo,” as it builds slowly layer upon layer like silt at the bottom of a river… and the music swirls around as the smoke begins to rise.
I am late to the party, but a friend gave me Mustaine: A Life in Metal which was a terrific read, and made me feel 15 again in the summers of the late 80s.
And to cap it all, Death of Kings come along with a top crossover thrash single to be the soundtrack to my imaginary salad days reverie! Hailing from Atlanta, these guys pack a punch, no holds barred full on no messing thrash. With some traditional reference points for sonic boom speed shredding lead guitar solos and power holocaust vocal screams.
This is a taster of the coming long player Kneel Before None later this year, and the vinyl will be a limited edition release, which I will miss out on I am sure, and I couldn’t face the import charges for bringing it over to Old Blighty. But any of you who can afford it, get on this as soon as you can, it will be released on March 31st, and will not disappoint closet old timer thrashers or the neo-wavers that missed it first time round but have youth on their side.
My, they have been busy of late with some excellent tuneage coming near your ears this year! What better way to sum up the events of last year with a release schedule of grunging, stoner, doom and sludge to nourish us nether-beings and keep us hanging on.
Kicking off this mighty crop is 1968, a British rawk band funnelling the colours of Black, Blue and Purple, of the Sabbath, Cheer and Deep kind! Names after their mutual musical love of the albums released in that halcyon year 1968.
This four track EP Fortuna Havana was released on Feb 10th, so is hot off the press, and the amps are still humming with that sweet fuzz vibe! 1968 offer full pelt power rock assault. Riffs, lead solos, and I fully expect dusty flares and billowing shirts to boot! Opener “Vorpal” makes no bones about what is going on here, amplifier worship of the hazy 1960s. and it’s a boogie beauty getting me get my thang on straight away!
Nashville doom band Season of Arrows have left Static Tension Recordings and are very excited about moving to Argonauta Records, and are due to release their second LP on March 24th.
Reminding me of Witch Mountain in more ways than one, Season of Arrows offer a luxuriant album, that first coaxes you in with its warm purple and orange album covers and the haunting pose of the lady as she walks towards you, and then sinks its hooks in like an addictive illegal substance.
“Deep Graves” uses echo to good effect on her voice to add an extra layer and nether worldly dream charm to the hazy stoned heavy metal playing behind enhancing my opium day dream. Whilst “Evil Lord” scares me with those Hammer Horror riifs and “The Bridge” takes me down loooow, with a comedown in to the depths of darkness and solitude, a suffocating pit I struggle to resist her siren like charms. They have the chunk power of Witch Mountain and the mesmerizing haunt of Devil’s Blood.
A terrific introduction to the varied heavy psyche scene of Italy. After Zippo ease us in gently with “After Us,” we get some square-bashing from Prometheus with nine minute “Ornaments” – very rhythmic with angular midway changes akin to a proggy post rock Pet Slimmers or something like that.
Architeuthis bowl me outta my chair with their rolling drums and wah wah geetar kick off. A slacker stoner vibe seeps out of my speakers and drips on the floor pooling into a sticky resin puddle. A drum heavy piece, with guitars slung low amongst bleached flares as it ebbs and flows through its ten minute inner space contemplation. When the tune returns it sounds like the lead guitarist went next door to pluck his strings, adding to that whole disheveled disorientation before space noises add in layered effects.
Karl Marx Was a Broker not only wins the prize for the best band name, but opens up a new chapter with electronic math styled rock, imagine you were too stoned to notice you were playing your old Tangerine Dream LPs at the wrong speed – you get the picture… whilst Otus use that lose Entombed style tuning bringing a deathy feel to their offering “Theta Synchrony,” but only in tuning and vocal growl, musically it is far lighter as it tinkers about.
Or so goes the old joke, but here we have two differing artists conjoined by underlying similarities.
Panphage is the work of one Swede, and on this release, he is telling the folk tale of Grette Asmundsson and alongside the atmospheric mood setting sounds of the sea we have relentless harsh black metal.
At times, it is operatic with its rise and fall on tracks like “Landrensningen” and the vocal delivery is in the punctual statement style of many a black metal release, harking back to the early days.
It is a very competent album, and doesn’t have that ‘solo project‘ feel that some one man bands do. And it delivers well in a familiar way, I can anticipate the breaks, the falls and the rampant burn outs.
When two tribes go to war, one is all that you can score.
Two bands, two sounds, one war in common. Warcrab are seeing their debut album Scars of Aeons coming out on Black Bow Records, which is a fantastic starting block for them. I was lucky to enjoy them play live at one of the (now legendary) Summer Sizzlers in Brixton, and I remember the length of their beards! And there were comparisons to Bolt Thrower and Slayer, chatting to the singer on their merch stand he did a good job of selling their sound to me.
So this new album sees their sound slower than I remember with a powerhouse of six members creating a sludge fest, seeping forth through my speakers. It starts slow and deep and hard, then the head nodding starts and I can still understand the comparisons with Bolt Thrower, especially with their titles such as “Conquest” and “Destroyer of Worlds.” With a large contingent of players they do ooze an immense rumbling racket. Kind of at the junction where hardcore sludge meets heavy doom whilst playing a classic Metallica at the slowest speed on the turn table.
One of my favourite cultural centre cafes has changed its name from Departure to Husk, and now the band Husk have changed their name to Sail. Its only early January and I am confused already!
So, Sail are described as doom/sludge, but I disagree as they are far too musical in the higher end of the scales. It focuses far more on a singing vocal and musical melody than the cathartic expressions of sludge.
And they have now finished Slumbersong ready for release on Hibernacula Records on March 10th 2017, and this clean sound seems a departure for Hibernacula as I always associate them with the dirtier sounds of Terra, Pensevor and Negative Thought Process. But it’s always good to balance I guess.