Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Stonerhound's 15 most memorable albums of 2013

1. Noothgrush/Coffins - Split(Southern Lord)

Noothgrush triumphantly puts out their first recording in 14 years while Coffins deliver the goods as always, this just may be the best combo of bands to be pressed to a split since ever. Although it arrived late in the year, it immediately rose to the highlight of anything new I have listened to this year. While the entire album is immaculate to my senses, the standout track would have to be Thoth from the Noothgrush side and The Wretched Path from the Coffins side. This album was accompanied by blasting volumes and a fast drive with the lady to solidify it as one of the best albums I have ever experienced for the first time.

Available as 12" or Digital Download:

2. Windhand - Soma(Relapse)

As a long-time Black Sabbath worshipper, this album; let alone Windhand in general, is a gift from the beyond. Cottrell's vocals are among a select few that come anything close to sounding as good for this style as Ozzy did, it also has a tinge of Layne Staley at times which works to great effect. This album is very easy to get lost in, especially considering the 30 minute epic Boleskine which is perfectly structured for such purposes. The tonality and riffs take me to a land where I am travelling with a caravan of Hash Priests riding Wooly Mammoth's through hyperborean tundras on an endless nomadic errand of misery.

Available as 2xLP, CD and Digital Download:

3. Kongh - Sole Creation(Agonia)

In my eyes, Sweden's Kongh can do no wrong, this years release proves my theory strong. Much more clean vocals utilized in this release than on those past, always apt usage and still a healthy presence of grated vocals, no over the top ego stroking here just whatever fits the experience of the part at hand. This album makes Kongh sound like Gojira's evil cousin. If I were introducing someone new to heavier music, I would probably show them a song like The Portals as it starts off with some accessible cleans and smoothly transitions into some sickening sounding screams, has catchy chorus part and explodes into some bitchin' solos just before bringing you in for a landing.

Digital Download and links to order Vinyl and CD:

4. Blaak Heat Shujaa - The Edge of an Era(Tee Pee)

A friend(and possible future reviewer for The Doom Review) threw Blaak Heat Shujaa on a few hours after a group of us had shaken hands with good ol Psil O'Cybe and damn was I glad to learn of this uniquely diverse band. Little more than a month or so later they put this release out to my delight and played a last minute show only an hour and a half away that much to my dismay I just could not get wind in the sails to attend. Everything about this album sounds incredible, while exploring many different dynamics and timbres there is always a core sound that ties everything together. There is honestly not one album or band I can really compare this band or album to, they are their own brand of psyched out fuzz rock especially with the unique vocal tones. This is a band for (non-elitist)fans of anything, one of my go to albums for rehab after overdosing on volume.

Stream and buy CD or LP:

5. Kayo Dot - Hubardo(Self-Released)

This well established band managed to release not only what is the best tonality they have achieved to date, also their longest and most diverse. Try and think of the most obscure extreme music sub-genre you can and Kayo Dot portrays some facet of it within this album in a manner that not only shows you how much further it can be taken, but also reveals the creative stifling that occurs when one commits themselves to one singular sound. This album has the potential to make any musician ask themselves "what the fuck am I even doing?".

Stream and Buy 3xLP:

6. Kylesa - Ultraviolet(Season of Mist)

While I have enjoyed every other Kylesa release, this one immediately stood out to me for being the most experimental by far. So many great guitar and bass tones all over this thing and the range of voices utilized serve their riffs so well it should be illegal. Unspoken and We're Taking This have been stuck in my head for the better part of the year.

Stream, Digital Download, CD and Vinyl:

7. Before the Eyewall - S/T(Self-Released)

Between the memories I was left with from the live performance and the experiences this album implanted into my subconscious, Columbus Ohio's Before The Eyewall are an unstoppable force of atmospheric doom. Leaving the vocal canvas empty was a very wise decision for this album as it allows the progressive path of the songs to really take root and imply the emotion through the tonality and structure of the notes. For my feature review on this album click here.

Stream and Buy:

8. Author & Punisher - Women & Children(Seventh Rule)

Author & Punisher is the only 100% Electronic artist to make it to one of my end of the year lists other than Squarepusher. 2012's Ursus Americanus was nowhere near forgotten in my mind and Shone went and spoiled us with an incredible follow up. Shone engineers and fabricates his own mechanical midi controllers to control every aspect of his performance down to vocals. In comparison to Ursus, W&C has a wider field of vision representing a wider spectrum of just how Shone can utilize his technology as well as interesting new arrangements in how electronic music can be constructed and created. A true ground-breaking visionary that projects a sound something like Nine Inch Nails 1000 years in the future on steroids.

Stream and buy CD or LP:

9. The Body - Master, We Perish(At A Loss)

Not surprising that one of the heaviest bands I have ever witnessed live released yet another two of the heaviest things I have ever heard. This album just sounds filthy, and while The Body gifted us 2 releases this year, the main reason I chose this over Christs Redeemers is the arc of the song The Blessed Lay Down and Writhe in Agony, the moment where the cocking shotgun sample was followed by one of the most crushing chords ever struck was one of the most magic moments in my listening this year.


10. Grayceon - Pearl and the End of Days(The Flenser)

Grayceon always has my attention, All We Destroy was on my list for 2011 and here they are yet again in 2013 with another superbly written and engineered album. With this album they have taken their signature progressive sound defined by electric cello usage and finger picked distorted guitars just a little bit further beyond the standard they had set with All We Destroy. This album also contains my favorite lyrical part of this year: "Play your song and play it loudly for all the world to hear, longhairs united what's left to fear? So synchronize, harmonize, find some peace in our demise as the rock rolls closer lets turn up louder". Enough said.

Stream and Buy:

11. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats - Mind Control(Metal Blade)

Despite the fact that Uncle Acid is a time machine straight back to the saturated tube fuzz of the 70s, instead of using their powers of time travel to try and sound like musicians of times past they use it to command their own. Every song on this album has the potential to embed itself in your mind forever after just one listen, coincidence that the album is titled Mind Control? Or Deadbeat Acid Wizardry...

Stream and Buy:

12. Corrections House - Last City Zero(Neurot)

Some of my own as well as many others favorite musicians got together and released a conceptual collective project that is too badass on every level. One part performance art, one part industrial post-punk, one part these elements combined Corrections House are one of the most intriguing bands to surface in 2013.

Stream and Buy:

13. Lumbar - The First and Last Days of Unwelcome(Southern Lord)

A conceptual album based on the sole instrumentalists experience of life in the wake of a diagnosis for Multiple Sclerosis...would you expect anything less than crushing weight from an album on those terms? Lumbar's riffs and vocals portray a kind of pain you don't normally encounter in sludge like this, instead of trying to convince you of a non-existent pain, you can hear the disease in these recordings crawling through the speakers and invading your mind. With Yob's . Mike Scheidt manning vocals and the Legendary Tad Doyle engineering, this mighty collaboration of minds has become one of the most emotional releases I have ever experienced right up there with Green Carnation's Light of Day, Day of Darkness.

Stream and Buy:

14. SubRosa - More Constant than the Gods(Profound Lore)

If Sleep was the heavier 90s version of Black Sabbath, SubRosa is the heavier millenial version of Jethro Tull. Coupling doom and folk with the inclusion of violins as a staple this entire album weaves in and out of itself like an immaculately coreographed masquerade. The distorted tones are absolutely unreal, very huge fuzz with enough headroom to breathe. Other instruments to be found include Harpsichord, Flute and piano. This is the kind of album I would listen to if I needed to pick myself up out of a depressed hole. Fuck whoever stole their shit two days before they played my city, beyond the shittiness of their loss that was one performance I was really looking forward to this year.

Stream and Buy:

15. Russian Circles - Memorial(Sargent House)

The virtuosos have done it yet again with their heaviest leaning album to date. With every album, Russian Circles makes strides in the possibilities of what can be done within music as a whole, with Memorial they have done the same yet again while also taking strides in what they themselves are capable of accomplishing via Russian Circles.

Stream and Buy:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Badblood - End Me(2013)

Earlier this year, Simi Valley's Badblood put out their 4th release to date, "End Me". This EP is 12 minutes of pure angry, disgustingly depressed self and world hatred to rip you straight the fuck down from cloud 9 and assure you that nothing is ok and the fact that you ever thought it was is a fucking problem ok?

The vocals are incredibly grating, Tamayo continually breathes misanthropic fire in your face for the length of the EP. The vocal tone is a quite apt amalgamation of both old school black metal and early hardcore vocals much like the rest of the tones and composition relate to these genres. If Nails were a little less Death/Grind and a bit more Punk/Black, they would probably sound similar to Badblood.

Reject opens with some bass slides that immediately have my head bobbing along, lips pursed in reverance. The shortest of the three, this is the most crusty sounding song on the album. Fall comes in as a bit more Sludgy, which leads into the final track Pale which still retains the sludgery found in Fall while adding a few more elements one would describe as Black Metal. For their sound this is the perfect arc for a 3-track album, proving that while Badblood respects those that laid the ground for their sound they are still going to do it their own damn way, I sure am glad that they do because they do it damn well.

Pale is my favorite song on this EP...its like a harder old school Metallica at times and like a sludgy Xasthur in others. At 1:53 Tamayo screams the album title in an eerily convincing manner which brings me to another thing I love about Badblood: the lyrics.

I have become a bit bored with the mass overflow of angry hate the world lyrics...yes shit sucks, and a lot of people agree...but anyone can stand there and yell "SHIT SUCKS!" at you, but Badblood offers insight into their hatred and disgust within their lyrics making the anger portrayed in the songs seem all the more real. To put it simply, they aren't trying to prove anything which adds a hefty dose of purity to their sound.

This album is what its all about for me: loud, heavy, raw no fucks given Sludge & Roll. The tonality of the guitar adds the perfect wrapper of dirt around the blasting bass, coupled with the hardcore leaning kick and snare tone and these guys are unstoppable. I have had the pleasure to see them live twice in the past year and trust me it only gets better when you are wholly enveloped by their blasts of beyond.

I have been keeping an eye on the release details for the 7" version of End Me of which there is a pre-order somewhere...and they are also currently writing a full-length for 2014 so you should probably keep up to date on that, but at this point if you want any merch, in their own words: "Go to shows. Don't be a bo-zo"


Monday, December 2, 2013

Boreal - The Sarcophagus Demos(2013)

If traditional black metal is a slow, painful, misanthropic death, Boreal is a descent into an introspective coma after succumbing to the throes of hypothermia. A one man drone act from Tacoma Washington, Boreal creates cinematically ambient layers of drone using but a guitar and his voice.

The album starts off with waves of distorted drone washing over you as bits crush and disintegrate in an etherial fire. Wretched, distant wails begin to poke their head through the funeral fog, a spectre that is one with the drone instead of seperate and above. This song makes me feel as if I had comitted some unspeakable evil across dimensions and have been locked away in a celestial prison, everything is grey and bleak, I am but a sketch shifting in sprectrum between hate and disgust gazing into a solitary hole in the floor that is forever a reminder of a time and life past. Despair fills me until the walls and floor disintegrate into floods of water rushing in.

It is on Intermission that I start slowly dropping to the furthest depths of this strange dimension. The sound of glaciers is accented by distant birds calling, birds that I know full well are of a realm that will always be too close to touch. Just when I am finding solace in these familiar sounds, the rug is swept out and I have been dragged even further beneath the ice where the comforting calls of nature are replaced with the uncomfortable whispers from beyond.

By the third track I am released from my icy prison as it dissipates into a vapor that carries me through eternal nothingness while the faint reminders of the past life lurk in the spaces between. The pattern of my fall could best be described as an outwardly arcing, eliptical spiral creating the illusion that I am suspended in a cosmic field of energy on which I could float peacefully forever.

This album is one of the most poignant sonic journeys I have ever been taken on, the clear bell like ambiance with intermittent cracks and peels of distortion dance together to create an audial landscape limitless in mental and visual possibilities. It seems to me that what is being projected is pure, honest and flowing projection of its conduit...something I find can be lost easy when trying to force the ritual experience. I get the sense that for Boreal it really is a ritual, one that if not performed would bring dire consequences not only for himself but for all.

If you have ever wondered to yourself what an even mixture of Earth, Sunn O))) and Xasthur would sound like, this might be the closest you are going to get. Boreal will be releasing a split in the near future, stay up to date at the links above.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Augurs - Old Ways(2013)

Take a Grind band, make them half as fast, give them a tone Matt Pike himself would be thrilled with and throw on top some of the most desperately fucked up sounding piercing howls and what you come out with is Augurs. The name is a plural noun to define individuals in ancient Rome who would interpret the symbolism in natural phenomenon as applicable information. The name absolutely fits, the guys have definitely paid attention to and interpreted for themselves the many facets of extremely fast and/or heavy music.

Old Ways is the follow up to their 2012 demo and was tracked by none other than Billy Anderson at Cloud City studios in Portland, and mixed by the legendary James Plotkin. This EP also boasts Jesika Christ of the almighty Ludicra(R.I.P) on bass, who unfortunately was unable to continue with the band shortly after this recording.

This EP is very versatile while still remaining coherent, a little less clipping distortion than one usually hears in stuff of this vein, but the big, open warm tone of the bass and guitar utilized in a style such as this really solidified Augurs as totally unique when it comes to the vast soundscape of Crust/Sludge.

Drunk begins with some raw power, the deep mid barking guitar groove makes it almost impossible for me not to move during this song, in fact I am quite distraught that I don't have something to destroy the fuck out of right now!

Charles Manson psycho babble sets the mood for the title track before exploding into a crushing mass of black sludge. Lord's vocals greet you like a swarm of misanthropic locusts that don't give any fucks about the destruction left in their wake while the drums hold a groove focusing on snare and kick cadence creating a sparse background for the labored breaths of guitar. I am the ultimate sucker for triplets where the kick drum covers the first 2 and the snare the last, as such I also don't much like it when this tactic is overused which is why I love that the drums are mostly single strokes with some doubles added here and there to taste. The song ends in a cacophany of feedback and noise leaving me quite hungry for more.

Despite the aproximate 9 minute playing time, this is still one of those albums to be "experienced". The way everything flows and the arc of how everything unfurls still creates an internal journey one might usually look toward a more lengthy release for. This comes out on 7" December 25th, I know I will be grabbing a copy and you probably can too if you stay up to date at the facebook and bandcamps profiles linked above.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Herder - Doomed(2013)

Herder wastes no time in heavily pummeling one's head-holes with their newest onslaught of music.  From the get-go, Doomed grabbed my attention and kept me slowly rocking my head as I sat, trying not to leap from my desk and knock over my freshly filled bookshelf in a flurry of metal-induced excitement and zeal.  Some doomier metal, even prior releases from Herder, elicits a calmer response and allows the listener time to let the music wash over them as it meanders its dark, brooding path; I love this kind of music, but Doomed is for other times, times in which one's patience will brook no delay.  Doomed brings something interesting to the doomy, sludgy, and undeniably heavy metal scene - a sense of urgency. 

As the first track gets underway, I am transported back to my first listen to Mastodon's Remission.   The sound in "Stab" is both crushing and heavy, yet the song gallops along at a pace that is equal parts groovy and brooding.  The meandering guitar leads march along in a way that lends a lightened respite to an otherwise heavy dose of sludge-laden, dark metal.  Midway through the track, "Stab" breaks down into something deeper, darker, and more akin to their music of previous years.

"Slither", as well, cuts right to the chase before letting into a mid-song solo that leads a break that could only be called beautiful when compared to the hate-tinged "Stab".  "Slither" seems to be over just as soon as it begins, but not before setting the stage for what will hopefully be a complete album that marks a progression from 2012's Horror Vacui into something for those looking for a bit of speed to go with their heavy.

The vocals (Che really seems to be hitting his stride in this one) elicit a response of pure anger that washes over me in a take-no-prisoners sort of way, and I'm almost compelled to get out of my chair and act on my rage.  I am by no means an angry person, generally, yet "Stab" is the kind of song that makes me want to, for lack of a better phrase, fuck things up.  It is my hunch that, minus the tightly packed venue of metal-heads slamming their brains against the walls of their skulls, this is precisely the response Herder was looking for.  My advice to listeners of Doomed: give these songs a go in a place where you can move, and act, and let the music compel you to get off your ass and rock. 

Doomed, while perhaps being more uptempo than previous Herder efforts, is heavy in its own way and stays true to its sludgy tendencies.  My only complaint is that Herder only provided us with just over five minutes of new material, a taste that is not nearly enough to satisfy my doomy, sludge-chugging needs.  This is not music to be taken lightly, or to listen to while slogging through the mundanity of the everyday.  Rather, Doomed, at least on "Stab", seems to take the essence of what Pantera could have been had it sped up its sound and became, well, a bit more interesting. Slay on, Herder, and bestow upon us another swamp-load of heavy, southern-tinged Netherlander riffage as soon as you can.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Before the Eyewall - S/T(2013)

An Eyewall is the most devastating part of a hurricane, a ring of intense storms surrounding the calmest portion of the storm, the Eye. A more than apt name for the sound that they project, BEFORE THE EYEWALL are a unique experience surrounding calm post-rock passages with huge, triumphantly crushing riffs all while leaving the presence of vocals absent to create the perfect storm of introspective journey taken musical form.

In March of this year they released their self-released, self-titled Full-Length which I happened to be lucky enough to grab one of the limited 500 copies at one of their California shows. The artwork is very grabbing, an eye that seems to be awakening to a multitude of forbidden knowledge glares at you from the center of a beautifully colored, ornate stained glass window design. Drummer Aaron Oakman personally handles all design for the band, and its clear how much dedication he has when one notices that different crystalline polished surfaces have been edited into the different panes of the window design to pull off a very convincing stained glass effect.

Each song proves just how wide Before the Eyewall's field of vision is, incorporating elements from all over the doom and post spectrum with the conviction of seasoned professionals to create an experience that leaves me feeling invincible, like nothing can penetrate the Eyewall I am immersed deep within, and at other times totally lost, frail and alone when the rug is swept out from under my feet and I am left falling through a haze of galactic atmosphere that seems very familiar to the inner depths of the soul. If there is one thing I can count on, it's that the surrounding warmth of riffery will return to remind me that even though everything is the same time nothing is everything and it will remain that way until the Sky Falls.

A neat conceptual theme they have added to this album is that it opens with a song titled SKYRISES and ends with a song titled SKYFALLS. Just as all of the other aesthetics involved in the projection of their art, it fits the puzzle by immaculately encapsulating the arc that this album takes.

This is one of those bands that is impossible for me to do a song by song run down, It's hard enough translating it overrall as this really is a ride I feel like everyone should take. It is my honest sentiment that this album can be appreciated by anyone who enjoys music on any level. The instrumental factor leaves the heaviness accessible and allows more of an internal audial visual experience than normally possible with bursts of vocals butting in. The closest I can come to explaining the sound in comparisons is a guitar tone/approach halfway between Opeth and Pelican, boosted at points to Yob level crushingness.

If you are into heavy atmospheric music, this album has the potential to be one of your best allies in this life, there are still some copies of the CD available on their bandcamp and trust me, this is one of those albums you really should dedicate the length of to, get your set and setting in order preferrably somewhere where this can be blasted at full and ride the vibes.

Toneparisons: Yob, Pallbearer, Intronaut, Opeth, Pelican


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Falcony - III(2013)

Oscillations are a very fascinating underside to the physical realm. Seemingly everything vibrates, and when you sway these vibrations back and forth together, depending on the frequencies utilized to do so...different effects are achieved. FALCONY is one of many that provides a great referential framework for your brain to grow a deeper understanding of these principles by adding in the neuroplasticity factor and wrapping it in subconscious, controlled and mysteriously arranged bursts of frequency most of us like to call: DRONE.

Sole member, Andrew Rider, achieves his crestfallen galaxy collapsing black holes through what is listed only as "Synth/Pedal" on his bandcamp. Imagine synths into a mission control like pedal board, then into a bank of Solid State and Tube amps, now imagine that all these amps are bonafide takes a lot of passion and dedication to amass a drone center such as this. After finding a picture of him performing live, I find that a bass is probably driving a lot of those pedals as well...and what's more? A TRAVIS FUCKING BEAN(based Kramer)

I am immediately drawn in by the song titles that all seem coherent with one another, especially when one of the titles is one of the 4 states that drones have the power to set your mind in. The Theta state is where Intuition, Focus and Memory come into play. As this song opens up, I feel as if I am at the gates of life...about to reach forth and make the mistake of opening the door yet again...the sputtery, voltage sag sounding bass undertones keep building coercing me to just stop thinking about it and jump through the portal. At this point my ascension/descension(I can't even tell whether this is up or down) is given aid as the basscillations start creeeping higher and dirtier into the mix. Some serious SWANS sounds going on here, there is a specific sound on the latest Swans album that I had never heard before nor since, this is the closest yet.

Iota has me passing through the doorway that was revealed in Theta, wrapping me in chaos as I am shot through the space between worlds at a speed the frequency of oscillation depicts for me until this oscillation builds to an apex and I am being pulled by large hands into a strangely familiar world at which point I start screaming in horror that instead of completing the circle, I have returned to its cusp of inception. Only when the frequencies are brought back down to the bass spectrum am I allowed to reflect on this irony and laugh madly at the sentiment.

Kappa is where I am left on this side of the veil once again, and the other side laughs cruelly, yet empathetically at my plight. Just when I thought the torture was enough, it rears its ugly head for one last deep bellied laugh that I had failed to get the proverbial "it" yet again...

Falcony's III is available as a pay what you can on their bandcamp, release it from its digital confines and blast it through something worthy, smoke up, chill down and drone out.

Toneparisons: Swans, Neurosis(drones), Godflesh(drones), Sunn O))), ASVA


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rhin - S/T(2013)

Kicked off with immediate energy, some nasty fucking vocals, and Very old punk sounding tones and riffery Rhin are a 3-piece Garage Punk band from Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

Second song is a bit more hardcore in delivery, but the vocals still keep it in the traditional punk arena. These guys have the classic tone, bright overdriven guitars with galloping mid range fuzz grind bass. If eyehategod were more punk leaning, they might sound like Rhin.

Rhin are very versatile in the variety of music on display. It's like with metal's need to blacken or doomify everything, Rhin needs to punkify everything because it sounds fuckin' cool when they do!

I am gonna guess that these guys are into Weedeater, because like Dixie, the bassist: Dominic Gianninoto; supplies the vocals for this band, the tone is very similar especially in songs like Shrimp and Blooze where the vocals are slightly similar as well.

There seems to be a good alternation in a few styles that Rhin are good at as a song resembling a more southern sounding Dickies song, Feed, follows after their previous exaltation of stoner rock bliss.

After pummeling you with punk blasts on Feed, you are greeted with another EHG esque stoner rock victory, Filth. This is my favorite song of the bunch and at this point I am just going to go ahead and call Rhin "Stoner Punk"

This sounds like a very well produced punk band from the 80s and contains many original ideas, especially in the collage on sounds found on Self-Righteous Prick(Spoiler Alert!!!: Wu-Tang sample).

At the end of the tape, Frost dethrones Filth as my favorite. I love when fast bands with good tone do at least one slow song to display how the tones breathe and mesh with each other. In this song, a tinge in the vocal delivery brings me to the most obvious and final tonparison: The Melvins. How did I not see it before now!? Rhin is a band that I believe have the same potential as the Melvins, especially in terms of longevity and the ability to keep a fresh perspective so as not to grow complacent and stale.

Rhin are an excellent band that definitely know their rock and punk, all I hear is flawless execution of both not only in tonality but also delivery, buy a copy of this limited edition cassette on their bandcamp today!

Toneparisons: Eyehategod, Weedeater, The Dickies, The Melvins


Monday, October 28, 2013

Curse the Son - Psychache(2013)

A masterful piece of Sabbath worship that was released on the very first day of this year, Psychache is the second album presented to the world by Connecticut's CURSE THE SON.

Bass and guitars all combine sonic forces to create a smooth blast of warm, hairy fuzz, following each other to a T to ensure that the sustain remains as hypnoticly coherent as possible.

The vocals are a great blend of 70s rock falsetto with some stylings from 90s Grunge and Alt thrown in as well. They remind me a lot of the vocalist from Royal Thunder, but male, as well as containing hints of Jus Osborne in there.

Saying goodbye to Henry Aslinger is a bittersweet experience for sure, in that it has this air of unease, of a lurking darkness behind the tone wall...then when the Spider Steals your Weed, CTS let you know that its all gravy baby, just ride the fuzz and it will all be fine in the end.

I now have a Psychache which is giving me visions of tribal drums coupled with mouth harps, these riffs blend together so smoothly, and rip roaringly I feel like this is something I should have taken a Valium for? For no other reason than to just sink even further into the thick fuzz than my current state of stoned will allow, to get right up close and personal with those hammer pulls.

As the valium makes its way into my system, with tremolo picking that has such tone, it chugs...I realize the proper head med I should have reached for was a Soma. Curse the Son graciously provides this Soma at no extra charge and delivers unto me my favorite riff of the album with some sinister horror lyrics to match "this is where the nightmares go to find you when your all alone". I would be scared if it weren't for the valium and soma that were donated, but I know that these nightmares are friendly by now.

Now that the nightmares have passed, Curse the Son believe that I am ready to know the secrets of the Negative Ion...I don't know if I am, the opening bass line has me shaking in my boots with an ominous crawl that is reminiscent of the clean interludes in Dopesmoker, when the fuzz kicks in finally, its like a souped up version of one of my favorite riffs of all time: Electric Funeral. This fact alone and The Negative Ion has stolen the show for me, to be able to incite the memory of two legendary songs while also retaining originality is no easy feat, and its a balance Curse The Son seems to be at home in.

In a world where Sabbath worship runs rampant, Curse the Son stand apart by delivering it with conviction, style and coloring the riffs with some individuality.

Toneparisons: Sleep, Electric Wizard, Black Sabbath, Royal Thunder


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Galaxicon - OId Gods(2012)

Yet another band in my absolute favorite configuration of all time: The Power Trio. Black Sabbath, Sleep, Yob...for some reason the legendary heavy bands seem to favor this configuration, there is just something so inherently badass about 3 people sounding so heavy and huge, especially when it sounds more brutal than your average dual guitar band. Memphis Tenessee's sludgy psychedelic Lovecraft worshippers, GALAXICON, have obviously been paying attention

The three are a very dark sounding trio indeed, the only brightness to speak of early in the recording(other than what it took to piece these compositions together of course) comes from the cymbals and vocals.

Serpent Saviour introduces the dominant, raspy vocals. These high screams are definitely unique. A specific type of delivery I have not yet encountered in music, they are comparable to Jason Landrian of Black Cobra's vocal tone, but I know for a fact he uses some pretty hot gain to get that sound so i'm imagining this is a more natural approach. The piercing shrillness of it cuts through and above everything else perfectly.

The lead tones are very smooth, im thinking neck pickup with some tone rolled off which fits like a glove with the barky, buzzy rhythms.

I am loving those high screams more and more with each song, especially Pyramid of the Sea. This song feels very Motorhead, switching between a fast paced gallop and a stomping march, simultaneously switching between excitement and reverance to the Old God rising until you are greeted with a climactic ending that sounds like Iron Maiden if they hung out with ZZ Top regularly

Snake Oil starts off at a crawl with a tom/snare cadence rolling along much like a snake. This is where the Yob/Neurosis influence is apparent. The opening riff is very much what I could imagine a collaboration between the two ending up as. The delay around 2:00 is reminding me a lot of Xasthur tone. The phaser on the end of this song has to be a phase 90...and because it sounds so damn similar to Mike Scheidt in Yob's use of this pedal...I am gonne predict that the guitar player plays a Les Paul through a Marshall head. This has to be my favorite song all around: all tones mesh well with eachother, heavy crushing riffs, wretched filthy vocals, and an age old lyrical concept that is very relevant to our day and age. Heed not the words of the Snake Oil Man!

The Key, The Gate, The Light is where I start to see just how aptly Galaxicon names their songs. This definitely has more of that dark, etherial, forbidden knowledge feel to it than Snake Oil. Lots and lots of northwest influence in this song as it shifts between crushing Yob tinged riffs and cascadian black metal soundscapes. Something really unique about the delivery of cascadian riffs in this song is the utilization of old school d-beat like black metal blasts instead of the normative underlining double-bass with hands accenting chordal shifts.

Back to what I said about this album being very dark in tonality...over the course of this album, things tend to brighten up just ever so slightly...maybe just a few grains in the scope of a handful of sand, but in terms of tone, Galixcon are not a one-trick pony and its clear they know their rigs well. The way the synced bass and guitar drones compress perfectly together and the effortless slight tonal shifts lead me to believe these guys achieve such results through very apt control of pick attack intensity and placement as well as pickup/volume/tone knob settings which is one of the best ways to pull 12 to 24 to any given number of different tones from the same amp setting, especially considering that its free.

Even with all of the connections that can be drawn to tone, in their delivery, Galaxicon are totally unique. There is not one point in this entire album where Galaxicon allows me to immediately relate the delivery of a progression to another song in my internal music library which to me is the most valuable thing a band could ever offer.

Buy Old Gods on CD and blast it through the most powerful systems with the most speakers you can find, after all it was mastered by James Plotkin(Khanate) so you would be doing both yourself and those speakers the ultimate favor.

Toneparisons: Yob, Sleep, Neurosis, Black Cobra, Iron Maiden, ZZ Top, Motorhead


Monday, October 21, 2013

Death Crawl - Accelerated Rate of Decay(2012)

Every ounce of available energy is utilized in DEATHCRAWL with all members handling more than one duty. All three members add vocals to the table, then the drummer and bassist triple their duty by manning synthesizers in places.

This album starts off sounding very akin blackened sludge, especially on Kill or be Killed where I am hearing parts that resemble a hot-rodded, overbuilt Darkthrone that weaves in and out of hot-rodded, overbuilt Burzum sounding parts.

The beginning of Dead is Dead is a bit on the more traditional sludge vein, after just these 3 tracks, it is clearly apparent that DeathCrawl can add their own blackened droning touches to just about anything and they will come out with quite an impressive result.

Dead is Dead to Blight is a wonderful transition which is one of a multitude of reasons that I would really enjoy watching these guys live one day.

When the synths come in around the 4 mark on Blight is about the point that all inhibitions melt away and I have fully submitted myself to the geniuses that DeathCrawl are...very Ufommamut. The guitar and bass part masking the synths continue to slow down further and further revealing ever more the character of the synth lurking behind them.

Another perfect transition between songs and I have landed on Disturbing the Earth. On this song the guys show us their interpretation of clean vocals, which albeit shortlived, are utilized to very poignant, composition serving effect. Thus far, this is my favorite track on the album. If you couldn't tell by now...I REALLY LOVE Thou...I also really like Jesu...and the main theme in this song makes me envision the two collaborating...and even then im not sure it would be much better than how DeathCrawl projects this experience. These guys are the real fucking deal...right after channeling similarities from two bands I absolutely love, the song shifts tone and resembles two more bands that I love...Yob and Dark Castle. Even as I am able to draw these comparisons there is much ingenuity and originality in the overall delivery.

With yet another transition glueing together two songs seemlessly, I am starting to wonder...did I dream this band into existence? If the fuck did they manage to incorporate all my favorite aspects of heavy music into a single coherent flow of songs without pause? I mean usually this is pulled off pretty easy for the more atmospheric leaning bands, but these guys are killing every transition no matter which direction they decide to take it next. If someone needed a good introduction into the heavier side of the underground, I would definitely show them this exact album while daring them to listen to the whole thing and not find one part that opens their eyes.

Maginot, starts off very Noisy, with some FM synth grain filling the gaps behind a deep, massive bass groove until you get a slide in the style of Crowbar into giant Windsteiny riffdom.

The guys utilize many different, very fitting vocal tones throughout this album...all choices of tonality perfectly serving their parts. The whole album the back of my mind was itching as to what the main vocal tone is so reminiscient of, by Despite our Best Efforts, it finally hits: Matt Pike on Whippets.

DeathCrawl is an extremely versatile band that knows exactly what the fuck they are doing and are going to do it whether you like it or not, and by the dark lord himself, they are going to do it DAMN WELL.

Download Accelerated Rate of Decay for $10 at their bandcamp, or buy the physical for the same cost over at their bigcartel where they also have a couple other albums and some shirts for sale.

Toneparisons: Crowbar, Pelican, Yob, Thou, Jesu, Rwake, Ufommamut


Dead Southern Bishop - Hymns of Malice and Discontent(2012)

Dead Southern Bishop look a lot like they sound, like they could think of a million fucks to give but don't even bother, because who gives a fuck?

Mammoth sounding grit kicks off Last Rites that already has me excited to listen to this thing front to back

The tone sounds like a darker Eyehategod, Incorporating Phil Anselmo esque spoken word which is interrupted by the dominant Mike IX style screams.

They absolutely nail the wooly, woody sound on Bitter. This song greets you with a hellscream that is quite disconcerting, the vocals that follow on this one are reminding me a lot of Rwake.

Bound & Tied contains a very cool vocal cadence matching the tail end of the main riff. Present again are the deep gutteral, matter of fact spoken words ala Anselmo.

Malice sounds like the guys got really chiefed one night while watching Up in Smoke, and during the music sequence at the end someone decided to start blasting Slayer, the four(or perhaps it was at a time when they had 3...) must have looked at each other like Shaggy and Scooby had just learned the location of some scooby snacks and ran straight for the band room.

DSB does a perfect job of creating a huge Dirt wall, especially on Bound & Tied and White Trash Queen. If you really listen closely, you can hear different variances in grit coming from the Left, Right and Center...then when you blur your focus, they are cemented back together into one huge wall of wooly perfection.

White Trash Queen locks into a huge sludge groove at half time as a verse, then at standard time as a kind of chorus which ends up being a really awesome effect. I have heard many bands utilize the age old trick of Chorus being a backward Verse...but this trick works wonders for a listener like myself. Ending in a very sludgy breakdown that makes me imagine Thou adding about 30 bpm to their standard pace, this album has left me in very good taste.

The guys are endorsed by a kickass string company called Knucklehead that makes strings in WTF DOOM sizes for a very low price. I for one will definitely be giving these strings a shot, before switching to huge strings I always loved the sound and feel of the hexcore strings by DR, a luxury that this small company also utilizes within their humble means.

Dead Southern Bishop are one of the purest forms of Sludge I have heard in a long while, commanding a sound all their own while still paying homage to those before that built the sound into what it is today.

These guys have a good groove going in more ways than one, I believe they totally belong on House Core records. This is one of those bands where I don't care how often they release or the quality of the release, I will be watching, waiting, listening and sharing.

Hymns Of Malice And Discontent is available as a free download on their bandcamp.

Toneparisons: Eyehategod, Rwake, Phil Anselmo, Thou


Friday, October 18, 2013

Katahajime - S/T(2013)

KATAHAJIME is the judo term for chokehold. This specific chokehold resembles that of a half-nelson utilizing pressure between both wrists against the carotid arteries to cutoff bloodflow to the brain. The term has also been adopted by this Pennsylvania Blackened Post-Crust quartet.

Throughout this album I get the feeling that these guys grew up with pop-punk and metalcore, and then heard Dystopia  subsequently coming full circle and combining all of these elements into a well-oiled, unique experience all their own.

The wide range of styles proves worlds of inspired influence and the group does very well to coherently flow through these new interpretations of ideas past. For example, the opening to A Bouquet of Rotting Roses Lining the Mass Graves of Humanity starts off with a very Blink-182ish sounding guitar riff...but just before I can pin down exactly which one, there is a wrench thrown into the riff. This wrench is Katahajime's originality. Even when the drums come in they are very Travis Barker-esque, however instead of building into a whiny chorus about some girl that never even mattered anyway, it rises to a chorus writhing in mental anguish.

A lot of these lyrics really hit home for me, my favorite lyrics in this particular song go:

"As i struggle i drown in a sea of shit
surrounded by a fortress I've created
A fortress built out of hate and disgust
Sorrow and turmoil, pain and distrust.
Wasting away, I become nothing"

These lyrics show me just how deeply these guys are affected by the uncertain, changing world around us and they aptly deliver these emotions wrapped in musicality that I can only describe as Crusty Pop-Punk.

Although this might not be appealing to many listeners, I really respect what Katahajime have done with this sound. They took what was once used as a tool to inject false worry and draw attention to many ultimately trivial trials or tribulations, made it sound meaner and attached lyrics that are deeply affected by the bullshit that comes with existing today. They really channel forth that desperation and hopelessness one arrives at when they start learning the dark side of what happens in our world.

My absolute favorite song on the album would have been Night Terrors...but Struggle just bumps it out by containing my favorite lyrics for the entire album:

"I struggle everyday of my life. You don't know a thing about me.
I struggle everyday and slowly waste away. My depression destroys me.
No more ambition, no more desire, no more hope.
My scars will never heal.
No more anguish, no more defeat, no more failures.
Don't tell me how to feel."

These lyrics really resonate with conclusions I have made in my own life and I am sure thousands of others everywhere can relate to this as well. We live in a world where the majority of everyone is so focused on face value, they expect that everyone is the same, that because one person can defeat their depression, everyone can and should. When people meet one another and someone seems a bit odd, their first thought usually leans toward "what a weirdo" rather than "I wonder what could have happened to shape those mannerisms" and sometimes those things that happened to shape those mannerisms are never going to go away no matter how much time, energy, money and medication is thrown at them. As much as it sucks to know others struggle with the same shit, it is equally as comforting especially when the music matches the feeling so well. Where I think screamo and pop-punk failed to utilize their voices for anything other than narcissistic revelry, Katahajime has corrected this travesty.

This album is well worth the $5 they have it up on their Bandcamp for and was followed up by a tape release for the Summer Tour which I can't seem to find anywhere to buy it so it probably was just that, a Summer Tour tape that if you weren't lucky enough to catch the tour you are shit out of luck...but can listen on the bandcamp!

Toneparisons: Bethlehem, Poison the Well, Age of Collapse, Blink-182, Dystopia


Dead Hand - Apex Parasite

Let me first off give a nod to how fucking cool that song title is.

Just in case you are a bit slow, have you ever heard the term Apex Predator? Yes? Ok now alter your perception and subsequent imagery to replacing Predator with Parasite.

See what I mean? BAD ASS.

The song kicks off with a feedback swell into a hybrid riff that to my ears is 3/4 Isis, 1/4 early Era Emperor.

The vocals sound like Aaron Turner in a leather jacket with a Corrupted back patch.

At 1:47 a very primal groove locks in with the drums and bass, where all other instruments are slowly brought back in, once brought to the apex of this ascenscion, there is an anti-climactic return to some riffs from the beginning.

Now I have a very positive relationship with anti-climactic build ups...I have shown people songs of a similar principle to be asked, "But it just builds up and just goes back to what it did before?" EXACTLY. That's what it does, and its fucking awesome. Don't Like it? Start your own band and you can make the apex of your own song climactic.

Call it overthinking...but could the refutation of a climax at the apex be the sonic form of the song matching the form of it's title?

To me, climacticism in music is Fantasy and anti-climacticism is Reality...both have their place, deciding to favor one over the other only cheats you from viewing all of the windows this form of art has to offer.

This was sold as a screened CD(Sold Out) to fund mastering this for a split 7" with Repellers. As far as I can tell from DIVINE MOTHER RECORDINGS this will be out soon but for now you can listen to the unmastered version at the bandcamp above.

Toneparisons: Kongh, Iceburn, Dead Hand


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Black Tar Prophet - Note to Nod(2012)

Channeling drones from the inner tarpits of the soul BLACK TAR PROPHET is a 2-piece instrumental Noise Doom band from Tenessee.

The album starts off with a non-chalant, groovin' bass line littered with samples portraying the irony in the world. When the samples drop out, the fuzz kicks in and the drums get to building.

When you thought the heavy was about to kick in, you are pulled back to the clean bass and what sounds like someone flipping through channels with an eerie underlying sound of some heavily breathing beast. If I had to guess it's Lucifer himself sitting back on a couch made of buds grown in the blood of the weak just after a giant bong rip, admiring the results of his influence in the world. Like an infinitely more mystical and badass Dr. Evil from Inspector Gadget.

The fuzz comes back and thats when Bassist Greg Swineheart really starts pushing it. Still relatively the same riff but each pass contains slight nuances in the drone dynamics, sounds like he is really slamming some pedal volume into the front end and lets it ride.

After letting the fuzz rip into wild feedback for awhile, BTP lock into an extremely huge early Earth sounding drone section that I wouldn't mind hearing on loop for the rest of eternity

Side 1 ends with a barely audible loop under a triumphant bass drone discussing beings with plans for humanity and society until she is cut off by a swell of feedback thats leads us into side 2 with a continuation of the monologue on extra terrestrial influence.

As Side 2 gets rolling, the imagery of 15s blasting and clipping to a point of warping and twisting wildly within their enclosures spewing forth sine wave distortion at their own whim. This side ends with a nostalgic acoustic outro with warbly Longmont Potion Castle reminiscent delayed vocal samples feigning alien assimilation. Too. Dope.

One of my favorite aspects of this band is that the music is a crystal clear reflection of the guys making it, although I don't know them personally, BTP are untainted by the narcissism of trying to be perceived as and rather just being.

The songs from this album were put together by Greg and former guitarist Mark Owen who ended up leaving the band before the CD was released. Mark performed the guitars for this album while Greg handled Drums/samples/tracking/mastering. Greg has pushed forward after the departure of Owen, recruiting Erik Dever for the split album with Crawl as well as an upcoming album in January 2014 which you will catch wind of here most definitely.

Take a hint from BTP, find a friend that plays drums and/or guitar, crank it loud as you can and just start grooving, there is obviously nothing to lose! As the cover clearly illustrates, your amplifiers are either a possession, or an your wall with reverence and let yourself be heavy!

Toneparisons: Weedeater(Sunn SS heads on the cover, and a concert lead as their bandcamp cover...this may be why...), Earth(early), Sleep, The Body, Eyehategod

You can buy and listen Note to Nod at the bandcamp links above or the bigcartel link below, make your appreciation for Black Tar Prophet OFFICIAL by also liking their facebook!


Dankhdjinn(Shreveport, LA) Live Video Review

Greetings! Welcome to the first posting of The Doom Review!

With the apt and admirable ethos of "Tune low, play slow" DANKHDJINN are a 4-piece Stoner Doom band from the true home of swamp music, Louisiana. This band is the side-project for 3 bands I hadn't a clue about, WORMRIDER, COSMIC NAUGHT and MASSIVUS, but will most definitely be looking into now (. When the heaviness first hits, I am immediately reminded of Thou...which is perfect because Dankhdjinn are instrumental and it's nice being able to focus straight in on how the amps are reacting and creating your own emotional backdrop for the feel of the compositions.

This is the kind of music that wraps you in a shroud of depressive warmth, telling you I know that this world sucketh...let's make it not sucketh for at least the next half hour. This escape is still bittersweet for prevalent behind the thin veil of hope homage is still paid to the gears of chaos looming beneath.

If I were old Joe headin' to town to shoot my old lady down, I would be lucky to pass by a bar where Dankhdjinn was pummeling the stage to a pulp at which point i'd just forget the ordeal altogether and start a doom band.

While having only been a band for 2 years, they seem to have found a perfect balance between tone and song structure for the experience they are looking for. Huge, grainy tube guitar distortion underlined by crushing SVTesque bass Overdrive with drums punching through with just enough velocity and attack to clear the foggy haze of the droning bass and guitars if only for a moment.

This video more than proves them in a live setting for me, while no official recordings as of yet I look forward to them and hopefully catching this badassery live.


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