renate/cordate: Growth

renate/cordate - growth album cover Label: Breathe Plastic
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 01/31/2014
Band info: Facebook

Growth is the full length debut and follow-up to renate/cordate’s 2013 self titled EP. On it, the Finnish band have shown just that… growth. As a matter of fact, the band have become heavier and more aggressive, transforming into veritable masters of the repetitive riff. Many bands try to use it, and many fail. That is not the case with renate/cordate.

For the most part, renate/cordate are an instrumental band. When the vocals do show up, they blend right in with the music and are barely recognizable. This is not a bad thing. Just an observation.

The opening track “Evolve, submit” starts out with a droning wall of feedback before the drums loosely kick in. This song is a slow burner which attacks at various times throughout its ten minutes and forty-two seconds. “Humankind (not my kind)” fades in with a slow, mounting intro that gives way to some thick fuzzy guitar. The song has a vast, cosmic feel to it.

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The Dead Nobodies: The Wake

The Dead Nobodies - The Wake album cover Label: Pro-Underground Records
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 08/04/2015
Band info: Facebook

The Wake is the third full length release from Wareham, Massachusetts rock band The Dead Nobodies. It follows last years Return of the Tide. A handful of the songs from Return… were rerecorded and appear on The Wake. I’m really not sure why, but it’s OK. Over the years, they have released a few singles. One of those is an admirable cover of Nirvana’s “Drain You.”

The Dead Nobodies come out of the gate swinging on the lead track “Somatic Complaints,” a chunky riff fueled romp. The band does a great job of marrying the hard rock/grunge sound of the early 90s with classic rock rhythms of the 70s. The songs “Pancakes,” “Blues In You” and “Sidewinder” are great proof of this.

The vocals on The Wake are delightful. Several times while listening I was reminded of the great David Bowie, especially the backing vocals on “Somatic Complaints.”

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Jotnarr: Burn and Bury

Jotnarr - Burn and Bury album cover Label: Superfi
Album Type: EP
Date Released: 04/13/2015
Band info: Facebook

Jotnarr hail from Colchester, in the eastern area on the UK which has many a dark offering from nasty pieces of work such as Matthew Hopkins the Witchfinder General through to cartoon vampires Cradle of Filth, so Jotnarr are continuing the trend spewing from putrid black metal.

Jotnarr share personnel with a favourite of mine Meadows, and this gives them the extra added layer to their sound, an element of ‘loud QUIET’ which I enjoy. Track two, “Sunless” spends the first half instrumental with drums and guitar pottering along, until it pauses, then cranks it up a gear including the black metal buzz guitar and rasping vocals that sound like they are coming from another room, or another world.

Jotnarr aren’t afraid of bringing in something different, some simple guitar plucking, breakdowns or silent pauses. I have yet to catch them play live yet, but they are on my list. Jotnarr, Terra and Wren would be a good triumvirate of a line up.

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Skraeckoedlan: Sagor

Skraeckoedlan - Sagor album cover Label: Razzia Notes/Family Tree
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 06/10/2015
Band info: Facebook

Oh yeah! The Swedes have done it again, with a brief intro kicking in to them, well kicking it! “Prolog” is a real quarter pounder of riff barrage. It’s heavy fuzz rock, which Sweden is very good at these days. And these guys have played with the best, live shows with Orange Goblin, Truckfighters and Kylesa. Need I say more?

I hear the slab heavy groove of early Sabbath, the relentless desert sound of mid 90s without being adverse to quieting things down to a hum. When I listen my mind’s eye can see them slinging their guitars about with their hair flailing wildly. They must be awesome live!

And they are coming to the shores of England for a one-off All-Dayer in September in Bristol along with Old Man Lizard and the mighty Wren – oh how I would love to be there for that!

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Twilight Fauna/J. Christensen: Split

Twilight Fauna + Jennifer Christensen - Split album cover Label: Independent
Album Type: Split
Date Released: 12/15/2015
Band info: Facebook

I have played this many times, and tried to write some thoughts about it and I haven’t known where to start. You could say these two sound pieces are two sides of the same coin, or two sides of the same release anyway.

Jennifer Christensen offers the track “Sickness unto Death,” a bleak strings based affair. It sounds like cellos and violins, as if Sherlock Holmes is struggling on a two pipe problem. A six-minute tune, which is probably much quicker than two pipes, it does seem to end too soon for my own particular taste. It feels to me as if it is opening up for a more grander piece, and it leaves me wanting. Maybe this is intended, as the title suggests death and I am left with a feeling of unfinished business.

The second side is Twilight Fauna’s “Crossing the Threshold.” Is this the next installment? After the death one crosses the ultimate threshold. It opens with a relentless black metal guitar sawing with some distant golumesque vocals. A very spooky setting indeed. The breathy vocals come forward as the guitar eases as Twilight Fauna are very good at, and with one last rasping gasp the pedal is put firmly to the metal and the buzzing guitar ensues.

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Make: The Golden Veil

Make - The Golden Veil album cover Label: Independent
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 07/17/2015
Band info: Facebook

On their second full length The Golden Veil, Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s Make are back with their first new release in four years. The band have crafted a damn near perfect record, one that infuses unrestrained doom laden chords with epic post-metal riffage.

Rain. Thunder. White noise. Acoustic guitar. Feedback. The instrumental opener “I Was Sitting Quietly, Peeling Back My Skin” gets things going in dramatic yet calm fashion.

You can feel a sense of urgency begin to swell as the guitar chord gets yanked from the amplifier and the drums kick in on “Breathe,” a song with a repetitive, mounting intro that had me bouncing my legs and desk drumming while I waited for the vocals to commence. They do eventually… some three minutes and ten seconds later.

This type of long, drawn out intro is one of the elements that I absolutely love about a Make song. While the tranquilizing “Immortal” doesn’t have an extra long introduction, it does have hypnotic guitar driven rhythms and clean vocals, which work very well.

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Possessor: Stay Dead

possessor_stay_dead_album_cover Label: Independent
Album Type: EP
Date Released: 03/21/2015
Band info: Facebook

Keeping the fazed and dazed vibe going I am now spinning the new Possessor ep, three-piece London-based band blend their 60s horror movies occultism with a medium paced jaunt through 4 new tracks of chugging doom rock. After some rave reviews for their ‘Electric Hell’ album of last year I am pleased to be scared again by tracks like ‘Night of Venom’, and ‘Cobwebs’.

They are tight, I love threesomes, as you will have read elsewhere on these very pages. There is nothing wasted here, they open up, and keep moving right to the very end. If you were a little addled, you may think you are playing Electric Wizard at the wrong speed, but you’d be wrong sir. It’s fuzzed downer rock, but at the same time has a good boogie going on!

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Light Sabres: Demons

light_sabres_demons_album_cover Label: Independent
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 11/135/2013
Band info: Facebook

After the soft introduction of the minute long ‘Fangs’, the first song ’Black Hash’ kicks in like top quality Primal Scream. This is a one man band affair of John Stromshed, from Sweden, and it belts you like screaming psychedelic fuzzed rock should. It has the urgency of punk, as most tracks are around 2 minutes, as well as the stoned fazed glory of late 60s California, or the resurgent psyche rock of the early 90s.

This isn’t a new album, as it was originally self-released in 2013, but is now available as a proper cassette by Medusa Crush, and hurry as there’s only 100 being made!

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Codas: Currents

Codas - Currents album cover Label: Crowquill Records
Album Type: EP
Date Released: 06/02/2015
Band info: Facebook

I find this a quite suffocating sound. Mario Quintero started Codas as a one man side project whilst in Sleep Lady. It doesn’t help that there is a sound on “The Sun Martyr” that sounds like harsh, rasping breathing. And it make me uncomfortable. There’s pounding drums, regulated guitar sounds, which I guess is math rock style in its planning and execution.

It reminds me of the industrial stuff I listened to in the early 90s, but this is cleaner, more clinical, much more contained and formulated.

Track 2, “Follow the Blind” starts with some guitar that offers a higher tone than the previous track, although this too is contained by pounding drums and smashing cymbals, then it gets all a bit proggy with angular and funky bass sounds, only to be then trumped by frenetic black metal style guitar attack.

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