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Au De La, released in 2015, was my first exposure to Montreal based dynamic experimental band BIG|BRAVE. It truly blew my mind and I really hope I get to catch them live someday. Simple tags like post-rock and sludge fail miserably at confining or doing justice to the scopious sound of the group, a massive force fit for the climax or vast overhead landscape shot of any epic film. And yet the band also have a certain dry core that calls to mind some of the paths tread by some of the classic Touch And Go Records bands.
If you want to really experience and digest music and not just have it force fed to you until you think you wanted it, this band is for you.
See a trailer for the new album Ardor below! Super thrilled for this release.
As with their previous release, Ardor was recorded a the Hotel2Tango, this time by Radwan Ghazi Moumneh (of Jerusalem In My Heart). Jessica Moss (Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra), who was a special guest on Au De La, played violin on all of the three new tracks and Thierry Amar (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) played contrabass on two of the tracks.
Look for Ardor to be released on September 15th via Southern Lord. Stand by for additional album and tour news in the weeks ahead.
Ardor Track Listing:
RIYL Boris, King Woman, Worm OuroborosAdd to My Radar
Southern Lord will release UNSANE‘s Sterilize on September 29th, 2017. The cover art and track listing for the album have now been made public. This is def one of the releases we are most excited for this year and old school fans will be pleased to see that they didn’t exactly stray far conceptually for the new cover art, hahaha.
Song titles and tour dates BELOW.Add to My Radar
Nowadays you have a lot of caustic and rowdy bands from The Midnight Ghost Train to Couch Slut to Ken Mode, Chrome Waves, Fucked & Bound or Lord Dying to choose from, but was a time when Unsane stood nearly alone in the sludgy and anti-social face peeling department. Sure, bands like Today Is The Day, Helmet, Quicksand and Hammerhead held down the fort as well for mean and lean grooves with vocal bite, but Unsane were perhaps the most dangerous. You could smell the bum piss on a subway support beam and hear the screeching sound of failing brakes, the metallic taste of blood in your mouth and a fear spike of adrenaline amidst the careening guitar and rolling rhythms of Chris Spencer and his band. Matador certainly never put out anything close to as ugly as Total Destruction, a mandatory listen for any noise rock and extreme music fan as far as I’m concerned. I wore that tape out like a motherfucker.
Here’s the thing. Unsane STILL out rip most bands. By FAAARRRR. They make try too hard deathcore bands seem like a fucking joke to me because Unsane never had to work so hard to be intense and it comes off as a hell of a lot more authentic than a lot of heavy styles. Plus, that slide guitar and screaming telecaster! Totally pioneering shit. And seriously, what the FUCK was Hootie and The Blowfish thinking trying to name an album Scattered, Smothered & Covered?!! That shit is on lock. You might as well try to name your album Nevermind or It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back for how absurd it is to try and have the same record title as Unsane’s most famous masterpiece.
It has been five years since true to form stomper Wreck and awhile since I last saw the band with my friend Elodie from New Noise (France) fucking destroy Union Pool with the much missed Made Out Of Babies, easily one of the funnest shows I ever saw in my fucking life. I was just thinking YESTERDAY as the Comey revelations about Conald Dump heat up how I could really use some new Unsane to blow out my ears and vent out all the collected shit detritus and performative emotional labor of being part of society these days.
Dave Curran tracked the new album at Gatos Trail Studios in Yucca Valley, California, it was mixed by Andrew Schneider at Acre in New York City, and mastered by Carl Saff at Saff Mastering in Chicago. That’s a damn good team.
Southern Lord will release UNSANE’s Sterilize on September 29th, 2017 with cover art, track listing, audio samples, and more to be issued in the weeks ahead.
Advancing the release of Sterilize¸ UNSANE has announced a run of US tour dates from July 15th through August 3rd, booked around the band’s performance at AmRep Bash 17 in Minneapolis, with Fashion Week providing support for the trek. Additional tour dates through the release of the new LP are to be expected.
Dates BELOW.Add to My Radar
I feel like people that don’t like Sunn O))) have no real sense of the primal. Is it that much of a leap to combine Black Sabbath at half speed with an aboriginal worthy sense of humming disorientation? I’m a sucker for bands that are keen on having a unique aesthetic, from the retro ritual bluesy and dulcet tones of Jex Thoth to the weird as fuck French black metal noise of Spektr (who have a cool ass new song fittingly monikered “From The Terrifying To The Fascinating”).
Not all metal and hard rock needs to be coated in dark yet hooky polish or bounce at the mid tempo arena pace of a Disturbed or Korn or throttle you with the breakneck energy of Testament , Municipal Waste or the more lightning-side of Fear Factory. Sometimes the most glacial music can be a heavier, more world moving experience than the 18th millionth disco-tinged Rob Zombie solo record (all due respect to John 5 who is an awesome fucking guitarist, IMO).
Dømkirke is a less obtuse experience than some of the flagship Southern Lord acts output, a live ritual recorded at the Bergen Cathedral in Bergen, Norway during the Borealis Festival in 2007. The four-song double album was initially released in September 2008 and is available on vinyl only, with one track featuring on each side of the records.
This performance features intrinsic members of SUNN O)))’s mythology, including Attila Csihar (vocals), Tos Nieuwenhuizen (Moog), Lasse Marhaug (noise), Steve Moore (organ, trombone) with Greg Anderson (guitar) and Stephen O’Malley (guitar) vitally remaining at the center of the constellation.
Dømkirke will be re-released on February 5th, 2016 on 2xLP only.
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Having mercilessly dropped their Slaves Beyond Death LP through Southern Lord at the end of September, BLACK BREATH now adds their impending participation in the Blood Mantra Across North America Tour with Decapitated and Theories to their upcoming live actions in support of the record.
First up, next week the BLACK BREATH horde will take on the Pacific Northwest on a mini-tour running from December 17th through the 20th, with shows in Seattle, Walla Walla, Spokane and Vancouver, joined by Skelator on all but the final show. December 30th sees the band close out the year with a one-off show in Bellingham supporting Red Fang.
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.
Preparations continue to be made for the release of SUNN O)))‘s upcoming LP, Kannon, this December. The album will see its release via Southern Lord Recordings, and this week the album’s cover art and preorder options have been issued.
Consisting of three self-titled pieces of a triadic whole, the roots to SUNN O)))’s new album trace deeply into the sessions of their 2009-released Monoliths & Dimensions LP and very recent collaborative recordings with Ulver (Terrestrials, 2014) and Scott Walker (Soused, 2015), culminated and fully realized this year. Recorded and mixed with SUNN O)))’s close colleague and co-producer Randall Dunn at Studio Litho, Aleph and Avast!, Kannon is as always composed around the immense guitar and bass interplay of founders Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson, and includes performances by long term allies and collaborators Attila Csihar, Oren Ambarchi, Rex Ritter, Steve Moore and others.
The literal representation of Kannon is as an aspect of Buddha: commonly known as the Guanyin Bodhisattva (Chinese: 觀音菩薩) amongst a plurality of other forms. There is a rich lineage behind this idea tracing back through many Asian belief systems, with as many names and cultural personifications of the idea.
Some new insight from artist Angela Lafont Bolliger on her inspiration for the creation of the sculpture for Kannon’s cover artwork has been issued:
“I was working on a visual concept inspired by Gian Lorenzo Berninis “Ecstasy of Saint Teresa” (a life-sized Italian baroque sculpture in white marble) and had shared a short description about this project. I took a great interest in the conceptual thought behind the album…
…SUNN O)))’s compositions are minimal but intensely sculptural in depth and detail. This was my inspiration and it was important to me to transcend that idea into the sculpture I would create for the album artwork. Stephen and I both loved the idea that this sculpture could be something really ancient, like a comet – yet also indefinable and timeless…
…I started with an intense research of Guanyin, the imagery, the history, and immersed myself completely into the subject. I then put together a very detailed presentation of ideas… we came to a unanimous decision and went for an idea of “the abstraction of the God of Mercy”. It started by sculpting different black reflective materials, which I then combined with ancient rocks and crystals allowing the surface to be rich and to be viewed as something unseen – an undulating form representing Guanyin’s many hands and heads..
…Highlights were the creation of the sculpture, different materials with versatile textures and creating a tactile object, a sensuous, meditative process. During the photographic shoot of the sculpture, every glossy highlight and detail was amplified. Rotating the sculpture a completely different form would emerge through the lens. This is what fascinates me in art – creation can surprise and transform.”
More info and preorder options BELOW.Add to My Radar
Montreal-based experimental trio, BIG|BRAVE, will embark on their debut European tour this Winter, the dates coming on the very day the band begins their three-city East Coast US run with Southern Lord labelmates Goatsnake and YDI.
Metal Riot conducted an interview with Robin Wattie recently HERE. I recommend reading it and enjoying life instead of suffering and wallowing in the dark with an awful sinus cold like I am at present.
In support of their latest innovative album, Au De La, released on Southern Lord last month, the band members are artisans of everything minimalist yet mammoth, with their sprawling and spacious sonic heaviness. BIG|BRAVE will tour through the East Coast US for three nights this week supporting labelmates Goatsnake alongside YDI on, beginning tonight, with shows in Philadelphia, Washington DC and Brooklyn. Just one month later, on November 19th, their maiden European voyage is set to begin. The tour sees them visiting Germany, the Netherlands, France and Belgium including performances at the Le Guess Who? Festival and and more, as well as supporting drone heavyweights SUNN O))) at the YOYO in Paris. The UK will then be treated to six BIG|BRAVE shows, including ATP’s Nightmare Before Christmas.
Explore BIG|BRAVE’s Au De La in its entirety RIGHT HERE.
BIG|BRAVE Tour Dates below.Add to My Radar
Ken Schalk, well regarded percussionist from Brooklyn’s Candiria once said something to the effect that “heavy” can be as much about feel and vibe as another distorted guitar cowboy screaming over a mosh part. I often have thought back to that quote and paraphrased it over
Montreal’s BIG|BRAVE will likewise seep into your bones and deliver a
listening experience rather than a cheap aggro fix. Whether floating amidst ethereal
drone akin to the wake up chill of a cold wind on a mountaintop or bashing
the listener with tribal beats akin to loops, the trio deliver in full on
Southern Lord release Au De La.
Brian from respected blog Meat Mead Metal even went so far as to say that ,“there’s not another band that possibly could replicate what Big | Brave achieve on this record”. It’s true that some avant garde or truly post-punk bands just have their own sound, be it Killing Joke or Tearist or Swans. Or some films you could sort of describe, such as Lars von Trier’s Depression Trilogy or, I dunno… the space herpe in Ice Pirates. You could do half assed justice trying to explain, but some things just need to be experienced.
Jessica Moss of Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra lends guest violin to the record, but the beating heart of this band is in the guitar and drums interplay and liberated vocals. The band know the space between the heart beat or down hit on a drum is as important as the moment of explosion, and can say as much.
Robin Wattie, in house banshee, checks in to answer my questions on what else she had to say with this record BELOW.Add to My Radar
I was talking recently to a bassist in one of my bands and he was worried our first single wasn’t best representation of full scope of what we do in the group. I argued to let each song be what it is, as over time people grasp a fuller understanding of any artist and certain elements will rise and fall in any band’s sound. Sunn O))) might get some snark at times from people who think they take drone and art and jazz, etc. too seriously, but anyone who has ever talked to the band members knows the reverence and high place they hold everything from black metal to cinema scores to philosophy in.
It is Sunn O)))’s drive to be themselves that arguably has allowed much of the smarter strains of metal to rise forefront again or to at least be encouraged to be sustainable at a certain level. From the swirling textural brilliance of Monoliths & Dimensions to recent triump team ups with Ulver and experimental music legend/not shitty politician Scott Walker, Sunn O))) have allowed things drone, the aesthetic of live shows as ritual and words like “soul” to gain as much attention as guitar tone. Arguably things like the ascendancy of Black Yo)))ga or even some of the rebirth of post-metal wouldn’t be possible if not or their contributions, and certainly the band also helped clear up many older, outmoded ideas of black metal’s influence being limited to purely church burning tantrums.
New album Kannon arrives this December and draws upon Eastern philosophy as well as Darkthrone’s Panzerfaust, perhaps the only time you will get to read a sentence like that this week!
The literal representation of Kannon is as an aspect of Buddha: specifically “goddess of mercy” or “Perceiving the Sounds (or Cries) of the World.” She is also sometimes commonly known as the Guanyin Bodhisattva (Chinese: 觀音菩薩) amongst a plurality of other forms. There is a rich lineage behind this idea tracing back through many Asian belief systems, with as many names and cultural personifications of the idea.
SUNN O))) commissioned critical theorist Aliza Shvartz to write text and liner notes around these ideas and topics. She also explores the relations and perceptions to their approach to these ideas via the metonym of music and SUNN O)))’s place/approach within the framework of music and metal overall. The band also enlisted Swiss designer/artist Angela LaFont Bollinger to create the cover artwork, an abstracted sculpture of vision of Kannon. French photographer Estelle Hanania captures portraits of the core trio (Csihar, Anderson, O’Malley) in the impressive and obscurant Emanuel Vingeland mausoleum in Oslo.
Kannon will be available on gatefold LP, CD and digital formats worldwide on December 4th, with a limited number of clear vinyl available on Black Friday RSD, Friday, November 27th.Add to My Radar
West Coast bile spitters Black Breath have returned for their first record since Jamie Byrum was hit by a car and it is one gnarly record. Slaves Beyond Death is somehow even darker than previous efforts from a band who made early impressions years back with a sunny song called “Spit On The Cross”. Yes, this is bleaker than that. Invisible Oranges has a stream of Slaves Beyond Death in full HERE and you can pre-order the album HERE.Add to My Radar
SUNN O))) announces that their live, cathartic reverberations have been documented and can now be accessed via their live BandCamp page. Compiled of taper and fan recordings, spanning from their 2002 show at the Blackbird in Portland up to their recent headlining show at Temples Festival 2015, these documents are presented in their raw and unedited beauty.
SUNN O))) invites you to contribute to this sonic archive at THIS LOCATION.
“SUNN O))) live archives. Unmixed, unmastered raw footage grabbed by underground tapers which we now present to you.
We would like to invite you to also submit your own recordings of any of our concerts (even ones already posted) to this archive. If you have photos and visuals from the posted shows, please send them too. Hail to our great fans!”
A number of key European festival appearances pending this Summer offer ample opportunities for fans to add to this archive. Such appearances include the recently announced Le Guess Who? Festival whereby Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson will showcase their similar, adventurous musical inclinations with a very special four-day program titled SUNN O))) presents at Le Guess Who? Festival 2015. The program will include a performance by the legendary Annette Peacock, who will return to The Netherlands for the first time in over twenty tears.
Additionally, Southern Lord is repressing the following SUNN O))) titles; Black One in limited edition clear vinyl, øø Void in limited edition green vinyl and SUNN O)))/ULVER Terrestrials on black vinyl. These are now available at the SUNN O))) store HERE.
Tour dates BELOW.Add to My Radar
Currently listening to DRCARLSONALBION’s Gold as I write this, stretched out notes rounding the curve of my mind to carry some desert light to the backmost reaches of persona. Hot day crawling to a close and reading a Jack Reacher book from a pile of stuff my dad gave me before he died.Thinking about how anything Dylan Carlson is involved in seems to really resonate on the same frequency as the rugged, underground American spirit of freedom.
Carlson’s band EARTH are a favorite and I’m pleased to announce they have a slew of good events coming up, including Project Pabst Presents in Portland, Oregon on July 18th, a show in Olympia, Washington on the 19th, and a hometown Seattle performance on July 22nd. According to their PR:
EARTH has also confirmed their return to the East Coast, based around their participation in Necronomicon Convention in Providence, Rhode Island on August 22nd, at the upcoming city-wide tribute to H.P. Lovecraft in the famed writer’s hometown. September will see EARTH taking part in this year’s installment of the massive Ellnora Guitar Festival in Urbana, Illinois. Additional live performances will be announced in the weeks ahead.
Dates below and links to get Primitive and Deadly.Add to My Radar
Gold are really good. You should listen to them. I classified them in our power metal category only because if Gold played power metal that would actually maybe be the weirdest experimental music ever and very rad. They DO play their own awesome kind of music, which is different than what many bands are doing. Optimist has some sweet jams. "White Noise" has a great intro. Prepare to be melted in a metallic wash of BM, post-rock and plaintive melodic musings.