Album Review: Kublai Khan – “New Strength”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Saturday, November 28, 2015 at 12:21 PM (PST)


New Strength from Kublai Khan attempts to capture the bands wildfire live energy with mostly succesful results. The band play a particularly low end heavy brand of metalcore that doesn’t skimp in the energy department. They don’t exhaust ears by overly leaning on deathcore breakdowns, prefering rapid attack hardcore and groove heavy, almost borderline nu metal you wouldn’t find out of place on a downset or emmure album. The cool thing about that is that live you have plenty of basslines breaking things up before jackhammer guitars piledrive sweaty crowds, but can it translate onto their sophomore release?

The results are mixed. While some people will certainly find this to be right up their alley and the band are much more driven, pissed off and self-assured than many contemporaries, tracks start to blend together. “Smoke and Mirrors” will surely please modern metalcore fans with an anti-corruption in the industry theme and a full on pitting focus for the whole tune, the roared vocals really convincing you that the band are hellbent on survival with or without your help or trends. “Come Out Of Your Room” is another highlight, with a vicious opening riff that is as aggressive as the heaviest Gideon stuff, for example. It’s probably the most charged up besides the excellent and emotionally raw “Ghost Pains (pt.3)” with the very honest line “I am the product of a single mother.” Fuckin’ cool stuff and reminds me of the power of early Hatebreed.

read more below.

Megadeth was given an $8,000 advance to produce their debut album Killing is My Business...and Business is Good but spent half of the money on drugs, booze and food and was forced to fire their original producer and produce the album themselves

Album Review: Vastum – “Hole Below”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Thursday, November 26, 2015 at 9:48 PM (PST)


Hole Below by Vastum (purchase HERE) is one of the most genre affirming death metal records of 2015, an ugly, relentless beast that makes you feel uncomfortable but has a presence- let alone riffs-so heavy you will be throwing your whole back into full body headbangs before you know it.

The West Coast band have yet to make a bad record, mining a certain old school territory but with a darkness all their own. More in the true crime then devil worship vein, the band come off like Grave disciples who just wanted to go a lot grimier. There is no technical wizardry here or studio fakery for the Rings of Saturn types to pee over, rather just true, relentless death metal with evil as hell sounding Morbid Angel esque solos (in very limited doses) . Oh, and a BIG tendency towards the slower-mid tempo inescapable marching style of DM. “In Sickness And In Death” is a standout example here, the band capturing the attention fully with 4:59 of pure murder before the even uglier “Intrusions” opening riff smashes down like a nightmare.

The effected vocals and emphasis on function over form is awesome. Like Autopsy since their blessed return the band just seem intent on cranking out quality releases. The production could be more hi-fi to some listeners most likely, but I personally feel like Vastum strike the perfect balance with their sound a little more dirty and underground than many bands. It adds to the sort of “true crime” feels big time. Death Metal doesn’t need to be clean and squeaky and pitch perfect. The best truly heavy stuff I have heard in recent years like Vastum or, for example, the much weirder Orbweaver, are more worried about having cool tones and making you feel unhinged mentally than if the song might someday get played on the radio.

Manny-O-War at Nine Circles has a great review of the lyrical bent of the band that I’ll link you to here, for first time Vastum listeners or anyone interested in reading more.

I should also mention that the band features the super talented  Leila Abdul-Rauf from Hammers of Misfortune, forgoing that bands crazy prog metal for true death here but with the same level of commitment to quality. If you pick up just one death metal record this year, well…you are probably lame. Pick up at least seven! But for real, this Vastum record, Castrator or Morgoth’s kick ass Ungod are all albums you don’t want to pass up owning before the year is out. In my always so humble opinion.

photo by Jorge Riaño

photo by Jorge Riaño

“This is the modern world. We don’t need no one to tell us what’s right or
wrong.” – The Jam.

The Jam’s 2nd album came out in 1977, but we still could relate to the
sentiments expressed in the title track to The Modern World today. It is very
interesting to me how the 80′s and early 90′s seemed the decades of the greatest “shock
value” or censorship battles and today we still have moralizing pundits and morons like
Donald Trump or fake christians who denounce people as trash or sinners yet
support racist platforms or heinously compassion free social positions.

At the same time that we live in an age of gamergate and twitter battles
against “the evils of SJWs”, we have morphed into a culture where Nothing’s
Shocking- not because of conjoined topless twins with their heads on fire or
whatever titillated in the early rock alternative days when Jane’s Addiction
popularized the phrase, but because any carnival barker like Trump gets
absorbed into the overall white noise (even when they lead the headlines).
Thus you can seemingly say anything as long as it bleeds and leads and yet the
deeper contextual meaning is lost, ramifications be damned. Like George Bush
literally lying out of his ass about the Iraq war constantly, for example.

So what I’m saying is, God bless John Oliver or Pussy Riot for injecting some content back into the mainstream. Or a band like death metal’s Jungle Rot who released the awesome Order Shall Prevail this year, which looks at issues like marshall law.

We live in a time of a glut of pop and even political desperation. Politicians
will say anything to get elected. Pop stars are rewarded for portraying edgy,
co-opted looks and styles but towing the corporate line.

Protest black friday and read more BELOW.

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Megadeth release “The Threat Is Real” audio.

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 9:16 PM (PST)



Megadeth‘s new track is probably the best thing from the band since the System Has Failed stuff, the last time I was really into more than one or two songs off a record (though Endgame was pretty decent). This new tune “The Threat Is Real” is awesome, though. Kudos to Mustaine for listening to the fans desire for some of the thrashier, more virtuoso side of Megadeth we have been missing. Listen HERE.

That said, I have never been able to listen to the band the same way since the Mustaine comments about Obama being behind the movie theater Dark Knight Rises Shootings. Look, we know he calls shots on the drone kill list but believing in the false flag movie theater shooting stuff as a plot to take away gun rights was really too much. We don’t need to fabricate shootings because they happen way too often. And I’m not even anti-gun. I think it is a tool like anything else but way too many people are not mature or sane enough to handle the responsibility. So yeah, Mustaine saying that made me go running for my Testament CDs instead. I’m not sure I’m ever gonna be won back fully from that, despite this track having some great performances on it. That said, it’s a real shredder and I loved it.

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Prong reveal tracklisting for “X – No Absolutes”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 3:09 PM (PST)


Check out the track listing for “X-No Absolutes”, the new album from industrial tinged noise/thrash legends Prong and quotes from Tommy Victor on the newest addition of tunes in the band’s ongoing heavy agenda BELOW.

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Bask robbed just before coming home from Europe

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 10:57 AM (PST)


My O.G. friend Jesse’s band bask from North Carolina have been having a ball with High On Fire overseas, until last night. This blows goats.

We deeply regret we are forced to cancel our final show in Stockholm, Sweden tonight. Last night we were robbed in Gothenburg and all our guitars, amps & pedals were stolen. Below is a gear list of missing items. Please be on the look out. Any help is appreciated.

full list of missing gear BELOW.

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Album Review: Mirror – “S/T”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Tuesday, November 24, 2015 at 8:59 AM (PST)


Mirror are a new, classic sounding metal band on Metal Blade who will likely
have a pretty good repeat listening value if you are a reader of this site.
Fans of sort of proto metal and NWOBHM influenced bands like Amulet or Night
Viper, who I often plug, will likely dig this. Throw Slough Feg in there was
well, as there is plenty of guitar worship and riff driven songwriting here.
Dueling guitars and willfully throwback tones with a bit better drum sounds
and other benefits of modern production, but never so clean that the spell is
broken. Plenty of head nodding moments on here.

“Curse of the Gypsy” has a certain, rugged “Highway Star” crunch to the
guitars with spooky laughter and “ahhhh” harmonies zooming out of nowhere for
great effect (think Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf” looped coughing type vibe). The
band are not on the super doomy side of Sabbath, save perhaps the semi-
Candlemass sounding very awesome “Year of the Red Moon” track and a few other
moments. “Madness and Magik” is pretty darn close in effect and tone to
“Country Girl” from The Mob Rules album though, not like that is a bad thing.
Mirror are just as often akin to Diamond Head’s Lightning to the Nations
though or something like that, especially in the vocal range department. There
is not as much flair or power as, say, Holy Grail’s James Paul Luna or
Huntress’ Jill Janus (if Metallica had made the recent Huntress album Static
everyone would be flipping out but we live in a sexist world). Still, Mirror
vocalist Jimmy Mavromatis sounds like a true believer and certainly is a fit
choice to front this great band.

Mirror was the brainchild of Tas Danazoglou, perhaps best known for playing on
one of Electric Wizard’s most underrated albums Black Masses. Did I mention
fucking Matt Olivo from mighty Repulsion plays on this! It will be a lot to
wrap your head around if you are a fan of the much faster and grimier
Horrified, but who says metal dudes only have to like one type of metal?!
We’re family here in satan’s armpit!

Check the whole album out HERE.



Walking Bombs, the solo/collaborative project of singer/music journalist Morgan Y. Evans (also of hard rock band GET OUT., ex-Divest) has released the second single from pending full length debut Know You’re Wild via Bandcamp HERE.

“The song “snow globe” was partly inspired by that band G.L.O.S.S. or War On Women, bands who have spoken out against small minds or objectification and started putting that back into the scene,” Evans says. “I play a few roles in the song and switch voices. It’s like grunge meets doom with Ozzy harmonies. The engineer and I were really into Sub Pop stuff growing up and so we wanted to include at least one really grungy song on this album. You can hear my dog barking at me when I really start screaming.”

The song “snow globe” features Evans on bass and vocals and is the heaviest song on the record, which features everything from indie-garage to acoustic emo to ballads to a weird hip hop track and some spoken word.

“I was always a fan of Beck’s Mellow Gold , The Melvins’ Stag album or Beastie’s Check Your Head where you had no idea what the next track would sound like,” Evans says. “I played some instruments on this album as well, which was rad because in 20 years I’ve mostly just sung. Nowadays people know me mainly as a writer though. But I’d like to change that. This record Know You’re Wild was mostly myself and engineer Jay Andersen of the noise rock band Surmiser bugging out in the woods with weird gear, though other guests are on it as well like Nate Hall of USX fame and Brian Goss of The Noise.”

As far as future plans Evans adds ,”After Know You’re Wild and some stuff from my main band GET OUT. I am doing another Walking Bombs EP that draws from different influences like Julian Cope, Sunn O))) and Nick Cave. That’s gonna be a lot weirder and probably heavier than some of the singer songwriter stuff on this first album, but with like baritone, storytelling vocals. The band name is basically about how I have been trolled by assholes over the years for depression issues and the name is not explicitly about terrorism, certainly not for shock value. I’m a bi sexual music journalist and very inclusive person. I know the name offends some people and it feels weird to be releasing this after the Paris killings but you have to be able to discuss why people become extremists or have mental illness or the effects of intolerance, for example. Stop separation and killing each other or attacking one another. So the band name is kind of a fuck you to that and a rebuke to people who have called me a loose cannon.”

4 bands I wish would make another record.

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Monday, November 23, 2015 at 4:55 PM (PST)


In recent years many bands have reunited and made releases we never thought we in the metal world would get to hear. Saint Vitus newer ripper “Let Them Fall”  was a monster song as good as anything they’d ever written. From At The Gates to Carcass to Faith No More to Failure, many of these have been worth the wait. The recent Refused record was a bit spotty but for the most part some of the “maybe they shouldn’t” legacy worries of some of these bands have proven unfounded.

Some people are still pining for an Isis reunion, but in these times of terror threats I can see why those guys would be hesitant to look backwards. Sumac is awesome, anyhow and so is Palms.

I decided to make a list of some lesser known bands who I think deserve more attention but, for the most part, these seem to be some groups we might never hear from again. With the exception of USX who have still been gigging semi-frequently but who have said they are looking for the right home for the band, most of these are fairly unlikely but would probably be worth every minute of new hypothetical music.

Read the list and hear some tunes BELOW.


So, I’m sort of postponing watching The Walking Dead this morning on cable catch up because (spoiler alert) I already heard that they brought Glenn back in a really implausible way. Just read Kim Kelly’s awesome new road article on C.O.C. for Noisey (and sort of wishing they’d still play recent non-Pepper gem “Tarquinius Superbus” live in this formation) and then browsed some new Riding Easy patches. Bitching to myself about the inconsistent self-centeredness of humanity or people I’ve dated. Walked the dog. Thinking of ways to make more money to move West eventually. So in other words, it was a usual day.

Until I checked out the new jam from The Moth Gatherer via the fine label Agonia, purveyors of numerous killer metal slabs of darkness, usually on the blacker end of the metal spectrum like Aosoth or really soul splitting and barren stuff like the rad new Hypothermia record. I had heard of the band but the name sort of reminded me of Ashton Kutcher and The Butterfly Effect and I already love The Atlas Moth way too much, so did I have room for another “moth” band in my steel heart? Well, I never should’ve put off listening to them because the band revitalized a dull day with a nine minute new banger called “Attacus Atlas” that melts collective minds like the most ritualistic Cult Of Luna or Ghost Brigade side was melded to even heavier guitar passages that are nearly as doomy as they are post-metal. The song comes from new album The Earth Is The Sky, which you may pre-order here. These Swedes are now firmly on my radar and I am stoked.

Commented  the band: “The Earth Is The Sky is an album where we tried to take everything as far as we could. There where points during the recording where we honestly spoke about giving up and calling it a day, it felt like we would crumble under the album. But we suffered through. The result is a desperation about how humanity drags it all to the end. Where A Bright Celestial Light was an introvert journey into decay, The Earth Is The Sky is a journey to the highest point on Earth where you sit down and contemplate about our existence while watching the flames from the burning world”.

Album Review: With The Dead – “S/T”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Monday, November 23, 2015 at 10:51 AM (PST)


After Cathedral’s monumental swan song The Last Spire, easily one of the best
doom records and farewell records in the history of metal and a huge win for
post 00′s true heavy metal, many wondered if we would hear Lee Dorian’s raspy,
unique voice again. The high wizard of Rise Above Records has returned much
sooner than some may have expected with the new, less active band With the
Dead, featuring fouding Electric Wizard rhythm section Tim Bagshaw and Mark
Greening.Their new S/T record is excellent.

This was a huge year for doomy, sludgy, stoner bands-especially those on the
more extreme side. From Demon Lung’s A Dracula‘s groovy but bewitching might
to Crypt Sermon’s classic sound to Hooded Menace’s death infused slime sludge
to Lucifer rising and proving we’d still have Gary Jennings of Cathedral’s
mighty talent in the scene as well! Hearing Dorian intone ,“Illuminate this
cosmic heart” on With The Dead’s “Crown of Burning Stars” is more than a
simple pleasure in life. If you love the real history of metal, this album
will hit you like numerous super hard birthday punches from your best mates.
It’s all there for doom fans. Haunting, occult samples to rattling, room sound
drums with cutting cymbals to bulldozer riffs at ponderous tempos from beyond
the grave, your mind will drift to brink of the edge of outer space with
Dorian narrating like Lewis Carrol’s mad hatter was an undertaker and Master
of Reality was mandatory listening at your funeral. “I Am Your Virus” features
some cleaner passages on guitar and great use of space, but the majority of
the passages on this album are crushing, doomy yet melodic and fully
charred like a dying, still smoking caldera.

Album Review: Sunn O))) – “Kannon”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Friday, November 20, 2015 at 8:51 AM (PST)


Pre-order Sunn O)))‘s Kannon HERE.

Sunn O))) are a band where you show up for the experience. Be it live immersion ritual or the banquet of movements that tend to make up their diverse (to the keen ear) yet droning records, the band are purveyors of the finest sonic wines when it comes to the intermixture of textural arrangements. Listening to the band at times can be like travelling through some symphonic cave of feedback, strings, half heard voices and grasped for revelations. It’s very much a fight between the headiness of the music and being removed by the overall overwhelmng body impact of the tones.

New record Kannon is not as complicated in construction as the massive Monoliths & Dimensions, an admittedly towering achievement of a record. That said, Kannon‘s “goddess of mercy/perceiving the sounds or cries of the world” philosophical and spiritual facets are a refining of many elements that have been present in the group’s aesthetic for awhile yet, as the band admits in the press release, more figurative than their usually more subjective records. “Kannon 2″ howls like “Boris” by the Melvins was slowed to a 4th of it’s already famously ponderous speed and no drums were involved, instead letting some of the biggest rung out riffage in the band’s recent years swallow the whole world before semi-Gregorian sounding chanting cements the vibe. It could have been an instrumental but you feel caught up in the presence of the whole.

The wonder of this record is that you don’t always have time to question if they could’ve added or taken away at times because you are too distracted feeling it. “Kannon 3″ is 11:26 of ear ringing that shows this drone approach can still compete with the Prurient fans and noise/ industrial types for impact.  With Kannon it comes on like a fake didgeridoo of wall of guitar distortion, ringing out with a solitary,slight twang and natural control you might expect from Duane Denison, yet doomy as fuck. No member or collaborator overshadows.

Another album that runs welcome and counter to the brainwashing meme culture and prison-like pop format chatter of the general public’s limited scope of conceptual ideas.

photo by pony gold

photo by pony gold.

  Critically acclaimed Bay Area post rock collective AMBER ASYLUM will release its new album, Sin Eater, on December 4 via Prophecy Productions. The band’s seventh studio album was recorded at Ear Hammer Studios (OM, Pallbearer, Vhol) in Oakland, CA and produced, mixed and mastered by frontwoman, multi-instrumentalist and soprano vocalist Kris T. Force. The subject matter that helped inspire the album is the cleansing ritual of “sin eating”. Today, Noisey premieres the new AMBER ASYLUM track, “Executioner”; listen now at this location.

“Sin Eating still exists as a death ritual where the Sin Eater consumes a meal or ‘corpse cake’ that is passed over the body of the deceased or laid on the chest,” Force explains. ”The meal represents the sins of the deceased and once consumed by the Sin Eater the sins are released thereby allowing the soul to rest in peace. The album speaks of this process of taking on the pain of others to set them free.”

In honor of 20 years of the mystifying group, the label Prophecy Productions will also be releasing a new set  Anthology  at the same time as the Bay Area chamber group’s new Sin Eater record. It consists of twelve CDs, containing the band’s entire work including numerous compilation tracks, singles and more partially unreleased bonus songs, topped by an accompanying 80-page book bound in leather with all lyrics.

Violation Wound and HPGD release “Broken Idol/Elimination Time”

Posted by Metal Riot on Friday, November 20, 2015 at 7:58 AM (PST)


Horror Pain Gore Death Productions have released the explosive double album of pure punk rock mayhem from Violation Wound entitled “Broken Idol / Elimination Time” today on CD and Digital formats. Violation Wound features Chris Reifert (Autopsy, Abscess) on guitar and vocals, Matt O’Connell (Fog Of War) on drums and Joe Orterry (ex-Fog Of War, ex-Zombie Holocaust) on bass. Below is the official description:

Violation Wound return to Horror Pain Gore Death Productions with the explosive double album release of “Broken Idol” and “Elimination Time”, together for the first time on one CD! 36 songs of blistering punk/hardcore in the classic way… no trendy mall stuff here, just the real gritty deal! Featuring Chris Reifert (Autopsy, Abscess) on guitar and vocals, Matt O’Connell (Fog Of War) on drums and Joe Orterry (ex-Fog Of War, ex-Zombie Holocaust) on bass. Don’t miss this ripping slab of whiskey soaked adrenalized ferocity! 54 minutes of 100% aggression and kick ass riffs, nothing trendy, wimpy or pretentious. Features killer artwork from Nev for both albums and a foldout poster containing full lyrics. For fans of Abscess, Circle Jerks, The Dead Boys, D.R.I., Eat My Fuk, GG Allin, Motorhead, The Ramones and Sex Pistols

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Black Tusk reveal “God’s On Vacation” single, new album news

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Thursday, November 19, 2015 at 7:37 AM (PST)


The death of Athon was a tragedy for metal and it is heartening to learn his final studio tracks will be included on a January release from Black Tusk entitled Pillars Of Ash. Despite keeping an ear to the ground, I had no idea about this and so was thrilled to get the news yesterday. Incidentally, while we’re on the subject of distortion and volume triumphing over tragedy I’d also mention Drew Cook of Dimesland, who passed away unexpectedly last year, is immortalized on that great guitar band’s Psychogenic Atrophy HERE.

But yes, NPR has the stream of a new Black Tusk single HERE. The song is as stomping and awesome as anything in the band’s rad catalogue and underscores their place near the top of metal’s upstart crop of most relentless bands. There is a dark, punk rock heart to this band’s sludge and it gives them a more rock n roll heart possessed by few bands this side of High On Fire, The Bronx and other really rowdy groups. Athon’s presence will always be felt. Truly one of my best memories as a music fan was that I got to share a small bill opening for them once while he was alive.

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