Back in 2013 when I wrote about Hydra it was thought to be the last album we would see from metal poetess Otep Shamaya.
Check out my full review of this latest tome of brutal honesty from the ever-candid Shamaya & Co. here.
Back in 2013 when I wrote about Hydra it was thought to be the last album we would see from metal poetess Otep Shamaya.
Check out my full review of this latest tome of brutal honesty from the ever-candid Shamaya & Co. here.
When I got the initial news that Ronny Munroe was out of METAL CHURCH, I was blown away. “That’s it, the band is done again! How long do I have to wait for them to come back?” I was screaming at my computer screen upon reading the news. The guys had a history of announcing a singer has left and leave us fans “Hanging In The Balance” (see what I did there?) as we waited for them to announce a new singer and come back with a vengeance. After Hanging In The Balance, singer Mike Howe left the band and literally dropped off the face of the earth for years.
6 years later, singer David Wayne had returned to the band to record the Masterpiece album, which was awesome, but then he was out shortly after. David Wayne did release an album shortly after named David Wayne’s Metal Church, which was great, but it didn’t have the same feeling. I would recommend you check it out though. Wayne’s departure meant leaving us without any new tunes from METAL CHURCH for another 5 years until the band came back with new singer Ronny Munroe and they gave us the Weight Of The World album which has been one of my personal favorite metal albums from my teen years. I recall memorizing that album within days of its release and drove some of my bandmates at the time nuts with my constant singing.
I’ve followed Dan Gallar for a few years now. I originally came into contact with him when he was announced as the new singer for UK band NEPHWRACK, which was a band I had come across so long ago, we were in contact on MySpace. Yeah, it’s been that long folks. Dan’s departure from NEPHWRACK brought us a one shot album band called THE NAKED SHOW, before he moved on to VEIL OF DECEPTION.
Their 2nd album, Tearing Up The Roots, may be Gallar’s best musical offering to date. The album kicks off with “Dream Within A Nightmare”, a haunting instrumental blend of clean guitar and heavy machine gun fire drumming that flows directly into “Stench Of Fear”, a fast paced combination of hard hitting drums, even harder riffage and high pitch vocals that set the tone of the onslaught to come. Those first two tracks are a perfect introduction into who these guys are and what they can do. The album just pounds your ears from start to finish, and they don’t let up. Dan Gallar’s voice can be described as a cross between Eric A.K. (FLOTSAM AND JETSAM) and Davey Havok (AFI), but with a much harder edge that really compliments the music and lyrics.
Be sure to stop by www.veilofdeception.com to pick up your copy of the album. (Editor’s note: This album has been out since 2015 so is a bit older, but we let it slide this time cuz Drewdas Priest was so stoked to spread the word on these cats \m/)
Key Tracks -
Dream Within A Nightmare / Stench Of Fear
Personal Holy Grail
Cult of Luna have long been sonic architects with the majority of vocals favored as more of the percussive whole of their sound, save for some acoustic versions and certain passages you’re mostly remembering them for well executed, if Neurosis indebted staggered screams atop ingenious arrangements. And while her howls are already the stuff of legend, the most distinctive aspect of Julie Christmas‘ voice is her nursery rhyme-esque sense of melody delivered with the sophistication of a whip smart and no bullshit taking lady with street smarts. You’re never sure if you’re listening to a biographical or fantastical window into life’s estrangements.
The combination of Cult Of Christmas is winning, fit to score a space opera or serve well in a fight sequence between Punisher and Daredevil in an urban locale with equal potency.
Put these parties together and you have quite the remarkable pairing which will make fans of any of the artist’s current or past related projects gush. 5 lengthy songs that build on the success of Vertikal with further exploration of cosmic metaphor, psyche and innerspace.
“A Greater Call” starts things boldly. It begins as a breeze-think the spacious reverence in some of the more ambient Gospel Of The Witches stuff- but by 6:20 the march (which builds to something akin in bruising force to Kylesa’s recent “Crusher”) has become laced with inter stellar prog psychedelia atop sludge space debris. The void is yawning but still you are proceeding unhindered.
“Chevron” is one of the best tracks, a Made Out Of Babies/KEN Mode/Jesus Lizard worthy bassline clattering up to knock on the buzzing noise-rock pop of the pre-chorus section as shrewd as any of the stuff on GVSB’s Freak*On*Ica (which went over people’s heads at the time). This album won’t have the same problem, as the general sophistication level of the people seeking out this type of stuff has hopefully been strengthened through internet access to the history of the sub genres involved (Mike from Yob and I were talking about that subject the last time I interviewed him).
“The Wreck Of S.S.Needle” will likely please Battle Of Mice fans the most, daringly catchy yet sure to make you seasick with emotional unease, ferocious performances from all involved; life time landmark performance type shit that must have been intense for all involved to create. It’s big.
“Approaching Transition” cools you down initially after the exhausting thrill of the prior track, thirteen minutes that start out far more chilled out than anything we have heard yet. Things almost feel Alan Parsons or really sci-fi for a minute in a way Zombi or Goblin fans will appreciate. This is one of the more proggy tracks here, something at first you could almost imagine being part of Emerson Lake and Palmer’s range at first if they got more into Tool, or at least Rush’s Test For Echo if it was more on he post-metal side. The song is good but really drifts expansively, so brace yourself.
“Cygnus” is a dissonant and intense wonder, thumping with a rhythm that could almost be slowed down ragtime married to noise rock if it weren’t so damn metal yet in a truly avant-garde and beastly fashion.The best pay off riff of the record arrives at 1:38 (naturally) after a semi-possessed verse from Christmas. Melodic yet bossy riffing of the stompiest order and drums that sheerly hammer home with the most vigor since Kowloon Walled City’s last record. Shit, the extra layer of sound around the three minute mark is gorgeous as well. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you hear it. I don’t want to spoil it. But you might experience causal domain sheer by the end. Which is kind of like being a fan of real underground music anyway, as we live in our own little dimensions and tribes on the outskirts of mainstream culture.
Christmas really shows growth on this song, something rarely seen with her because she is already so good! But she proves, like on The Bad Wife, that she still puts herself into every song with a lot of passion. And the band plays on like seasoned champs.
Don’t want to say much more. You should probably hear it yourselves.
Sarke‘s new album Bogefod is one of the best early quarter releases for metal this year, without a doubt. Based on the story of Torolv Bogefod from the Norse classic Eyrbyggja saga, it is a very grim and gnarly record full of undead hate for the “Blood of Men”, a darkly beating rock n roll heart and dirty distortion that gives it, at times, that proto black Celtic Frost edge albeit with the skillful rendering of a metal album forged in 2016. “The wickeds transient sleep” thrashes about with enough murderous, blackened vigor to create both circle pits or isolated invisible orange clutching and scowling at a stormy sky alone in the forest.
Most of the record has a rough edge yet also a professionally executed love for classic heavy metal. The bridge of “The wickeds transient…”, for example, dips into some really brooding, sustained note Candlemass territory for a few glorious moments before a cruel mid tempo stomp riff marches in declaring “anguish”. “Sunken” declares “a final grave/the watery marsh” over a dirty riff that almost sounds like early Megadeth, capping a record that feels more often like an audio version of a bad ass historical horror movie.
“Barrow of Torolv” brings classical dynamics to a slower and more doom based highly impressive string augmented track, truly adding to the mood of the story told in pained snarls by Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto. “Dawning” later on in the record, is even a classical-laced ballad with ethereal female vocals like mourning over a grave. “Evil heir” is another highlight, dark and foreboding as we realize the tale is not over. Both Sarke as a band, and the story Bogefod’s lyrics presents will even take part in a movie called SAGA, where Nocturno Culto has a leading role. If it is as good as this fourth record from an underrated band, it will be very worth your time.
Black Cobra are a band with a sense of purpose. It’s evident if you listen to
any of the sludge punk duo’s onslaught filled and rhythmically rewarding
records that the band cut their teeth on many great bands before them and are
keen to carry the torch. A little bit Melvins, a bit of Karp riff charge and
yet a much more rawboned execution with an emphasis on a live sounding
insistence ensures this band could play with any metal or punk band and more
than hold their own.
Some people wrongfully think of legends Earth as a one style band. While, for
instance, “Badgers Bane” and, say, “Tibetan Quaaludes” both feature long,
droned out guitars with an emphasis on feel, there are still lots of subtle
differences related to the year of composition, intent of meaning, etc. Black
Cobra, like Motorhead or Black Tusk, also get kind of pigeonholed as a rad but
mostly one trick pony but that sells their action packed performances and
kinetic records far short.
Let’s check out new sci-fi infused record Imperium Simulacra (order HERE).
“Challenger Deep” arrives victoriously, charging in with giant balls. I am
loving how the vocals, particularly on title track “Imperium Simulacra” are
kind of sounding more and more like a punk rock version of Venom these days ,
a bit more tangible to understand and more snarled. As always the band are
tight as fuck, rattling out fist pumping anthems that tow the line between
poison spitting High On Fire charge and locked in machine gun snare and payoff
riff build (particularly during “Eye Among The Blind”).
Read more and hear “Obsolete” BELOW.
Vancouver’s Auroch have a winner in 20 Buck Spin first time on vinyl release From Forgotten Worlds. Death metal as Hell itself, the very conception of this record seems like it must’ve existed in a Platonically ideal metal mode. Dark and legit like a modern take at the early recording quality of Carcass thrown into a blender of the shatteringly insistent type of drum persistence that made Kataklysm and Cryptopsy fellow Canadian sensations, this album is dirty and possessed. It is awesome more people will get to discover this batch of songs thanks to the vinyl release.
“From Forgotten Worlds”, the incinerating title track, is a rewarding barrage of kick drum attack, shredded old school growls and carpal tunnel inducing fretwork that is as techy as the mostly more old school leaning band gets. The riff 3:50 into “Slaves To A Flame Undying” packs enough metal to fill the average person’s lifetime quota before an even heavier slow bridge drops us into the blissful depths further.
But the most powerful song of all might be the very no fucks given and 3:15 no joking around, to the point blitzkrieg of “Tundra Moon”, a near masterpiece of raw attack that is as brittle as a blizzard scoring your face (complete with a very Morbid Angel friendly raging guitar solo). “Fleshless Ascension (Paths Of Dawn)” even has a few dissonant riffs that could fit on the slower sections of an early Goatwhore record.
This eight song monster (order HERE) is as satisfying of a death metal on vinyl deal yet to hit the market this year. There is an unstoppable energy coursing through this release to more than hold you over until the new Gorguts. Bad ass stuff.
Sometimes pacing is everything. While we all have metal favorites that
bludgeon us to death right off the bat (Say, the majority of Kreator albums)
other times entertainment can be even more powerful through a steady, slow
build with sudden shocking moments of adrenaline. South Korean revenge film I Saw
The Devil builds terror and suspense through a rising feeling of dread and an
eventual complete blurring of moral lines, for example.
Boise, Idaho’s Wolvserpent have been refining themselves over the years, the
duo expanding their sound and coming ever close to really manifesting their
classical influences as equally as the “metal” aesthetic. These days the
boundaries are fuzzy anyway, with recent records by The Visit, Insect Ark or
Helen Money all stirring examples of what can be done with a cinematic
imagination and a ton of soul.
Wolvserpent’s new 40 minute single song Aporia:Kāla:Ananta (Pre order HERE) is breathtaking,
haunting and all the overused adjectives you can think of. Brittany
McConnell’s violin will make you cry and the 7:45 minute mark of the song had
my friend enter the room asking what movie I was watching because it sounded
like an epic western. But fear not, there is some real doomy Blake Green vocal
action also akin to some moaned Sunn O))) chanting behind the climbing wall of
sound, breaking at 11:30 and reverting to a mere trickle before we start a
similar process again.
Sweeping vistas of darkness and light interplay with the burdens and triumphs
of the human spirit, and if that sounds pretentious you just really need to
give this a listen. It feels like being vulnerable and brave all at once as
forces swirl around you. It’s very much as high art as anything from the metal
world can get, and that is a good thing. It feels like Wolvserpent are more
worried with creating “life works” than mere albums or time killing metal
jams. At 16:00 in you’ll feel like you watched a two hour movie, in the best
way. And that is scarcely the halfway mark.
This is precisely when things start to get really doomy and the bottom drops
out on the old West (er, North West) feel to reveal a yawning chasm of void beneath the
prairie. Charred black metal orchestration reigns triumphant for well past the
30 minute mark, the song eventually almost sounding like orchestral industrial
noise/feedback drone. The whole second half takes the real constitution of an
experimental music fan, but is equally rewarding and worthwhile.
Wolvserpent have made a true statement that defies casual listening and
becomes a veritable life force, self defining.
Delain are one of the funnest bands around and have always had an endearing ability to cross over to different fan basses with catchy vocals, strings, big rock guitar and unbridled ambition. The Human Contradiction was a recent win and tours in support of the record with Sabaton and Within Temptation (in particular) found the band playing to some of the biggest crowds of their lives. One gnarly testicle injury aside, things have been pretty awesome for the band.
My appreciation for the group has grown since I reviewed their last album here and said I wished it had more shredding. All around awesome guitarist Timo Somers became my friend and sent me videos showing he could shred his ass off. But that isn’t always what is best for a song. The band really act as a team, and that is more evident than ever before on this EP. I interviewed Charlotte Wessels for New Noise a year or so back also and not only was she nice and professional but her answers were very thoughtful.
These are genuine, cool people who rather than preach “rock aint dead” simply prove it by kicking ass. Once they draw you in it is hard not to keep rooting for them.
Two new songs and some excellent live renditions greet fans here. It isn’t essential but it sure aint unwelcome either. “Suckerpunch” has a few clunky lyrics but the sweeping, cinematic opera metal of “Turn The Lights Out” and a new, more futuristic sounding version of “Don’t Let Go” that is sure to add awesome dynamics to any concert make this worth purchasing.
On top of the new and re-imagined studio tracks you also get some live songs from this ever hustling and bustling band of rock warriors.
“Stardust” , a newer fan favorite is delivered to a huge sounding audience along with takes on “Lullaby” , “Army Of Dolls” and even an additional live version of the new single”Suckerpunch”.
This is surely worth your time.
John LaMacchia of Candiria fame returns with the latest record from the Brooklyn resident’s acclaimed Spylacopa project (purchase HERE). Like anything else he has been a part of, Demon John shows a huge range of musical capability while retaining a sense of adventure and reverence for art itself. This is not mere showboating just because he can.
From the collage/electro weirdness/soundtrack feel of “Van Sicklen Valley” to the almost shoegaze/dark post-rock meets grunge feel of lead single “Duskeyhead” ,there is a swirl of influences too numerous to break down. Besides, that would only be another form of showing off and it is cooler to let the music wash over you in movements than to nitpick it all apart.
“Nolita Lullabies” appears to be recorded street noise of someone kind of ranting about how real friends will never harm you. It’s a cool :52 interlude and kind of funny if you have ever heard someone slightly intoxicated on a street corner. Sabrina Ellie’s backing vocals on the dark , almost Nice Cave meets Bee & Flower reminiscent “Lovely One” are also a highlight.
“mAlice” is an alternative rock gem that bears the most in common with the recent Parallels or previous Spylacopa EP in terms of tone. LaMacchia sounds like he has grown a lot more confident as a singer while also displaying some of the great melodic lines here that were sprinkled throughout the semi-controversial more melodic (yet nonetheless banger) Candiria record What Doesn’t Kill You…
There is an almost Alice In Chains meets Swans by way of Brooklyn disillusion-feel to much of this record. It feels very much a postcard from John more than some of the other Spylacopa albums which, while bad ass, at times were more like an assemblage of bad ass tracks than the smooth narrative Demon John is.
“Christmas In the Desert” assures the lonely overall feel of this beautiful album is not lost, LaMacchia really showcasing his virtuosity as a player yet not tipping his hand on a reverb heavy acoustic instrumental that could have fit somewhere on a record from Burton C. Bell’s Ascension Of The Watchers.
“Frenz Lyke Theze” is another true highlight, a classical sounding dark ballad that is audiophile gold. Weird looping hand drum patterns and other aspects lend to a growing feeling of ascent as blips and a glitchy beat create a skeleton before your eyes.
Can’t wait to hear what is next from this restless spirit. This record proves beyond a doubt that LaMacchia can keep Spylacopa strong with any collaborators or on his lonesome.
From the start it is superior, even though Worship was a solid return to form. Not only do we get to hear what Jonathan Donais can REALLY add, the whole thing just sounds better sonically than pretty much anything the band has done prior. Plus, peep that Alex Ross artwork! Another very memorable and amusing cover!
“You Gotta Believe” is good enough to carry the record by itself, but the rest is no filler. Still, the opening rager (after the build up intro track) is a future classic that finds Belladonna sounding modern and in full command. It is one of Joey’s best performances in a long time and a fair match for the best of John Bush, despite me having a big love for The Sound Of White Noise era. The sense of nostalgia is because we all grew up with these guys but the songs are more than some mere retread of past victory. Melody, fiery battle charged riffs and great unison sections beneath red hot leads…pure Anthrax glory.
“Monster At The End” has a big elbows in the pit stomper riff with some superb leads again over the top. The vocals are crystal clear but gritty and Frank Bello’s bass rumbles like the Running of the Bulls. Pure headbanger’s delight.
Benante also needs to be commended as his solid backbone and well placed accents are perfect. He has his Anthrax team player hat on fully but gets to do some great signature rolls, speed up parts and flat out cuts loose as we all want in other parts.
Raleigh’s Valleys have crafted a well executed progressive metalcore album with Experiment One: Asylum that is almost inhumanly spot on for genre style points. Like notes in a wine, the band cycle through atmospheric or djent-guitars, high vocal melodies that strive to fit into the progressive metalcore club rather than stray too close to clean mall emo vocals, etc. At their best they are a blend between some of Veil Of Maya’s edgier passages with potential (evident in the amount of hard work that clearly went into this) future Periphery-sized ambitions. For now, Valleys lack however the more original traits that make bands like Intronaut and Wings Denied or the ferocious new After The Burial stand out more.
Much better than most metalcore by numbers and capable than many new wave of prog metal bands, but not quite ready to write their Polaris.
Being a life long MEGADETH fan, I admit that I was devastated in 2002 when it was announced that the band was disbanding due to Mustaine’s nerve issues in his arm. Shortly after, issues between the Daves [Mustaine and Ellefson] surfaced, giving me that feeling that the final nail was in the coffin of MEGADETH, and I’d never get to see my favorite band ever again. Sure, their last two albums had been Risk and The World Needs A Hero, both of which I had liked, but weren’t nearly as strong as their prior releases. It seemed like this was truly the end.
You can only imagine the sheer ecstasy I had when I learned that Mustaine had relearned to play, and was coming back with a new MEGADETH album (2004′s excellent The System Has Failed) with a returning Chris Poland [guitarist from Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good! and the groundbreaking Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?). Little did I know that album would mark the start of an amazing “Decade Of Deth”. (Yes, I actually air-quoted that as I typed it. What, you wanna fight about it?) The lineup changed a million times over, but the tunes were all killer during that decade.
2004 gave us The System Has Failed, paired up with the incredibly cool Gigantour in the summer of 2005. 2007 gave us United Abominations, with the amazingly good “Washington Is Next” single. Endgame came in 2009, and 2011 gave us a returning David Ellefson and the album Thirteen. (For the record, the song “13″ is one of my top favorite recent MEGADETH tracks). The band was on fire, so it can only be expected that 2013′s Supercollider would be fucking incredible. Am I right?
Ok, so Supercollider was anything but “super”. Definitely the most lackluster of any MEGADETH record to date, but seeing as their first album hit in 1985, their track record so far has been pretty good. I mean, the album wasn’t so horrible that half the band felt they needed to quit shortly after its release, was it? (2 side notes here: First off, if you haven’t already heard Supercollider, it is worth a shot. “Kingmaker”, “Dance In The Rain” featuring DISTURBED’s David Draiman, and THIN LIZZY cover “Cold Sweat” are worth listening to. Secondly, Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover both formed ACT OF DEFIANCE after leaving MEGADETH, and their album kicks serious ass. I suggest buying that one now. Well, not “now”. Finish reading my babbling here, and then go purchase it.)
Read more BELOW.
Agoraphobic Nosebleed somehow went from being an insider’s dream concept to a full fledged legacy band (in certain circles). The closest thing we still have left to anything as vitriol fueled as Brutal Truth, yet with the industrialized power/edge of Pig Destroyer/and the relevance of Drugs of Faith to boot.
The ARC EP finds the band in top form, a sleaz-i-fied riff fest two minutes into “Not A Daughter” the first and foremost real display of a burlier and at times pretty much southern rock sound for the band. You read that right. There are some real barn burner’s thrown in amidst the slog.
The EP- harsh vocals from Kat on full blast – is a true headbanger’s oasis of skull crunching pit worthy riffs that can appeal to fans of stoner, grind, fringe hardcore and even slow death metal at times. It is awesome the band continue to fearlessly evolve, just as Black Flag once did, for example. That’s one surefire way to stay relevant, unless you make a Cold Lake (which I secretly like).
Even the record art is more of a fine art mutation than some of the shockier stuff at bedbathsaltsandbeyond.spreadshirt.com.
“Not A Daughter” ends with a horn thrower of a riff worthy of Alabama Thunderpussy’s much missed Staring At The Divine-era, albeit a lot more evil. It’ll remind you Richard lives in Virginia (I think he still does, at least).
Anyway, this is the sickest fuckin’ band and you know it (or oughta). They make me want to barf out of my eyes. It’s pure bottled charge and pay off after payoff. “Deathbed” is a grungier dirge than the majority of recent melvins and us ugly as the S/T Eyehategod stuff, complete with low male death vocals and synthetic drum poundage. “Gnaw” has some stuff so knuckle dragging in it that it almost sounds like Xibalba was an industrial crust band. Fuck yeah!!!
I wish this record was more than three gloriously hellbent songs and was at least six. It’s a monster anyway and nonetheless will exhaust you with awesome adrenaline rush wall of metal power. But in a flaming heap afterwards you nonetheless want more material, a liberal bloodlusting for good art that will thaw any frozen corpse’s heart in a guitarbang of volume, aesthetic and road.
Pre-order HERE. Right now.
Unless you are birthday boy David Bowie, early January isn’t perhaps the
easiest time to release a record. People are still hungover from New Year’s Eve
or kind of acclimating to another shift in the cosmic calendar. Writer’s are
still relaxing after the mental stress of accumulating their year end lists
and trying to be the coolest. But Cauldron are not daunted by these factors
if new album In Ruin‘s opening cry of “Take no prisoners/feel no pain” is any
Either way, let’s give them some shine! Pre-order HERE!
Out the same day as Bowie’s rumored to be fantastic Blackstar, In Ruin is also
making sure January is already looking exciting. It may be more on the fringes
of Blue Oyster Cult worship than a K-dot inspired jazz heavy record from a
glam pioneer, but good music is good music. That’s something heading into 2016
we should all agree. We’ve got to support the artists still striving to follow
their muse instead of catering to increasingly narrow confines.
Cauldron prove Canada is currently one of the hotbed’s for good metal, a
welcome relief when I get tired of reading the phrase “6 God”. Their anthemic
“Empress” has you commited to the record fully by the second song. Kind of
like the proto-charge of Amulet on a more consistently Sabbathian tempo kick,
In Ruin is a real winner track to track. The band are even doing a full
Stateside tour with the killer line up of Warbringer, Exmortus and fucking
Enforcer! A nice, diverse bill that celebrates true metal through and through!
I’m especially fond of the sort of laid back and yet hoarse and energized
singing style and Chris Stringer production that is crunchy but slightly old
school yet competitive with the capabilities of today. Highly recommend this
bad boy. Full of little riff moments that will sweep you away, from the
dissonant hooky “Burning At Both Ends” to the quite 80′s big intro and
thematic refrain of “Hold Your Fire”.
None or Unknown
Couch Slut from NYC are really interesting in that they provoke but don't always define, reflecting the listener. Eschewing preachy interviews and letting the art be interpreted by the projections of the viewer more often than not is novel these days. The controversy over the context of their Handshake Inc. My Life As A Woman almost Raymond Pettibon-esque cover art faded a bit when people realized the band were a co-ed bunch of noise/metal/post-punk ragers with sophisticated aesthetics, but people should notice more how killer the music is. Shows with Insect Ark, Melt Banana and Pyrrhon have helped, as will a June NYC Vitus Northside Fest appearance sure to kick ass! Key track: the psycho, jazz, dirge headfuck of "Carpet Farmer". pic by Justina Villanueva