Cro-Mags have one of the more turbulent legacies in hardcore and currently are ripped in half into two bands who each fairly have a serious karmic claim to aspects of the legacy. While Harley Flanagan owns the name now and . Let’s get this straight – In The Beginning is a more than admirable hardcore record full of plenty of aggro, solid moments and pit worthy consistency. To his credit, it is clear Harley didn’t just dial it in at all. He also made sure great people were attached to this era, from Rocky George (who steals the entire show with ease) to Phil Campbell’s cameo energy. Gabby also kicked a lot of ass. It sounds great mix wise and the performances range from on point to totally killer.
On the album’s artwork, Flanagan explains, “The front of the album is my old building I used to live in, called ‘C Squat’ where I wrote most of the music for 1986’s Age Of Quarrel album. The rear of the record shows me looking down at the site where the building once stood, essentially, it’s me looking at my past and where everything began.” I love the LES and C Squat makes me think of getting heroin spritzed out a needle up my literal nostril and then seeing Choking Victim in the basement while people urinated down an orange traffic cone. Damn, my life is somewhat different now.
The title of the record is honestly a big distraction for me, seeming like less of a PMA statement and more a troll reminder of who founded the band (although I am not tone policing dude on the things he is cynical about). It also is because I am a huge Mercyful Fate fan and The Beginning is a compilation album released in 1987 consisting of the Nuns Have No Fun EP and different versions of 4 tracks from the album Melissa. I know it is nitpicky and corny to note that and that neither this album or The Beginning are the most imaginative titles, but I don’t like thinking of other art when I am trying to concentrate on what is in front of me.
“PTSD” is a standout track, just about anything you might want in a Cro-Mags song present. That is good and bad. “Don’t Give In”, while also kicking ass, has almost the exact same development from a classic pace-setting slower intro to a growling, faster remainder. It is good but kind of makes you want to just listen to “We Gotta Know”. Or does it? Am I biased because Cro-Mags have a smaller discography than The Ramones? Plenty of Ramones songs sound similar and I love them all. Lots of elbow swinging, two-stepping mid tempo classic reminiscent moments to experience are present (or re-experience if you are an old fan) in a new chapter here.
While there is power in a lot of this, it also feels like an homage to bygone days. Still, he has way more of a right to that than half the new jack bands copying actual old school artists personal creative contributions and aesthetics but then acting as if they are hotter shit. No. Your new school band will never be Cro-Mags, Judge or Chain Of Strength. Stay motivated and do your thing, but don’t get it fuckin’ twisted and pay your respects, kids. “No One’s Victim” has some cool dissonance for the intro that I liked, before setting up an elbow swinging march sprinkled with mandatory lead guitar widdlies.
I guess I will just come out and say it. John Joseph and Mackie Jayson on board as well would have made this so much more fucking awesome. Harley did an admirable, great job holding the vocals but he isn’t a frontman and singer like John. The songs are cool but would’ve been cooler. Mackie is untouchably good. No contest. You can’t expect people to just forget knife fights and court shit or whatever you believe, but after the triumphant majority of Misfits (don’t forget poor Googy) and Guns N’ Roses (sans Stradlin) reunions of recent times, it is impossible to hear this and not also notice the missing elements in the room unless you are cave man headbanging so hard it doesn’t matter. One love and pma to all of these people, all of whom have profoundly influenced my life. It just makes me sad.
Listening to the strong closer “There Was A Time” (also a song name on Chinese Democracy, ha) I think this record is overwhelmingly well meaning and has a ton of real energy to it. I would never want to take away from that. It is admirable Harley went so hard and wrote so many songs for this, not ceding an inch of passion. Along with the new Body Count record, it is great to hear vets of the scene still give their all and not lose their beliefs. Sometimes survival is about being thankful for the good aspects and reality of the situation we have, not what we wish was different. In that paradigm, let’s be thankful we can still hear any of these musicians at all and support whichever version of the band (or both) and try and keep ahead of our collective societal demons, y’all.
Today is a huge day for prog/metal/screamo fans as Protest The Hero release what may one day prove to be their crown jewel, Palimpsest. Moved up a day to honor Juneteenth, the record is simply awesome (but there is little “simple” about it). First off, the Derya Nagle production on this record is the best the band has ever sounded. No shade on their other excellent albums but this is the best balance of a mix I have ever heard for this complicated act (“Gardenias” is a barreling rollercoaster that a less deft hand could have quickly derailed with a less sophisticated ear). The songwriting is also next level, even for a band known for mind boggling and death defying arrangements.
This album features the showmanship paired with connective tissue heartfelt and relatable lyrics meets extreme concepts the band is known for, but much of this album is firmly rooted in current problems in society more than ever before. Themes of real populism versus the fool’s gold peddled by Trump to his wrestling mark cult are peppered throughout this record. Art like this more prominent in the public discourse would actually make us great again. Rody Walker singing ,“I’m dreaming of a life I can’t afford” on the all-killer “All Hands” is relatable to almost anyone.
Elsewhere “The Fireside” lampoons people who take for granted their privilege over an exhausting (in a good way) series of musical gymnastics and school essay length lyrics that would make “Masters of War” seem like cliff notes. “I’ve got a job for every able-bodied man/Munition factories for women and children/And all we needed was a reason/And you gave us one, gave us one,” calls to mind Eugene Jarecki’s Why We Fight military industrial complex skewering documentary from the early 00’s and makes me wonder why we STILL haven’t invested more in sustainable energy jobs for common folks instead of still jacking off weapons manufacturers and supplying them with endless worker ants. “Mountainside” and “Hillside” break things up as beautiful interludes that sort of stir a patriotic longing for a non-nationalistic blindfold, eyes open to see this country for warts and all rather than false idol worship.
“The Canary” is a triumph of a single and within the scheme of the album itself. The flow and style recalls their earliest Kezia days manic and earnest, poetic decrees paired with their maturity and widened world lens.
“I was named after my grandmothers in the tradition of my family/I was born after my stillborn sister
Romantic idealistic lies euphemize as fantasy /But the water always bursts first from the blister.”
Breathtaking. It is more important than ever to actually sing about meaningful shit and not just murdering women or other stupid things in metal. Our world is crying out.
A compelling and very multi-layered record concerning ‘root essence’, occult layers of self, the Tarot and much more, Lux is a major moment for Denver’s In The Company Of Serpents. Pummeling sludge, dreamy wasteland hallucination and solar ego fat melt are all part of the experience.
Produced, mixed and mastered by Dave Otero, the album is the most dynamic release yet from a band who, like Ufomammut or Bask, are content to stack up solid releases upon each other and let the work speak for itself rather than get cocky and big heads. Still, the band have to be feeling pretty stoked on some of this brilliant material. “The Fool’s Journey” is ten minutes of patient stage setting that then leads to one payoff moment after another. The essential statement examined on here is that all is sound, mind, light.
“The Chasm At The Mouth Of All” is probably my favorite, creeping along like Giant Squid was more desert rock minded with a craggy old wise man on verse vocals. I was definitely feeling the bleak country moments of that one.Ethan Lee McCarthy & Ben Hutcherson provide guest vocals on “Scales of Maat” and Paul Primus adds tasty viola to some interludes, giving this whole release the feeling of some dark film revealing moments of hope during a weary series of trials.
If you have slept on this band before this is a great place to start and you’ll be rewarded with plenty of huge riffs from the formidable trio as well as bellowing screams to counterbalance the more “open minded” moments. It’s a profound and killer record anyone from Neil Young to Mastodon fans could curl up next to a campfire with (while keeping a watchful eye out for deadly critters).
What The Dead Men Say is a well named album for the ninth release from heavy metal modern champions Trivium. Sadly as there are mass graves around the world right now there are probably many dead with things left unsaid in this mortal plane. This new record from one of the hardest working bands in the business cements their legacy and proves once and for all they are a long term force in the genre who broke well above many of their one time peers from the pack of bands they emerged with. It is full of tight performances, a love of big moments and insane musicianship and packs a lot of punch along with the emotions.
My favorite recent record from the band remains the Michael Baskette produced and easy to connect with Heaven & Hell influenced Silence In The Snow, though I like the Josh Wilbur crisp production on this even better. Wilbur produced the recent The Sin & The Sentence record as well (which feels like it just came out to my time blurring together mind), but on What The Dead Men Say you really feel the pairing clicking more than ever between Wilbur and the band. Songs like the relentless and brilliant “Catastrophist” or the instrumental and cinematic Annihilator meets Death Magnetic sized Metallica – opener “IX” burst forth with complete confidence and go to work on you fast.
“I looked up what the word ‘Catastrophist’ means, and it’s one geological view of how the world has been shaped by very catastrophic and immediate changes,” says Paolo Gregoletto. “You can apply the same narrative to the C.E.O. of an oil company making decisions for profit, but ruining wildlife. You know it’s going to be a disaster, but you do it anyway. When you’re born, you have no say in the world you grow up in. You do as you get older though.”
“Bending The Arc To Fear” could give Arch Enemy a run for their money with a fierce melodeth intro before a big verse opens up into catchier terrain.
The balance between screams, hooks and borderline hokey but still rad big rock moments is very well done, with a very healthy amount of savagery left intact for the mosher metalcore and heavy metal kids out front. Listening to this record legit makes you proud of how far Heafy and pals have come. The press release reveals the genesis of “The Defiant” can be traced back to “streaming in a Hungary dressing room trailer at a festival.” They are always incorporating their journey into the work and holding their own against the trends. It has earned the band a lot of respect over the years and a place in the halls of metal forever. No fan can hear the glistening solo of “Sickness Unto You” and not feel some force in their chest call them to higher purpose, even as the song revels in anger at the parts of us left dead by the world. But the album never gives in.
“I’d love for people to be inspired to pick up an instrument and write a song,” Heafy says. “The reason I love metal is it goes against the grain. The best way to overcome darkness is to make something creative. Whether the impact is small or large, I hope it’s positive for listeners. We hopefully built a community to make them feel safe where they can talk about what they want, enjoy it, and get help if they need it. It’s possible to even find a lot of love and light in there.”
While their are still some older and bigger bands around, Trivium are well poised to be the leaders of the pack for the next generation as time marches on. “The Ones We Leave Behind” uplifts with soaring melodic riff moments and tribal into speed obsessed drums paired with inspiring and hoarse sung vocals, giving the feeling the band does it for the fans as much as themselves. It’s another big win all around.
From the moment you hear “Children Of The Next Level” blast out of the speaker’s with supreme artillery confidence, it is evident that 2020 Testament is take no prisoners prepared to stand taller than any new buzz band in the genre. The huge grin of nostalgia and thrill of promised new glory that fans get each release is an awesome feeling that the band deliver on with ease. Undoubtedly in the top 4 now that Slayer are no longer standing (and arguably they were already deserving of being in the Big 4 over Megadeth for friggin’ years), Titans Of Creation is a near masterpiece of thrash. From Hoglan completely savaging the kit with jaw dropping performances locked tight with Steve DiGiorgio to many memorable lyrics and the bedrock structuring Testament is known for thanks in no small part to Eric Peterson, you can’t lose with this album.
“Curse Of Osiris” is a track that opens with blistering hate that reminded me of superfast early The Legacy style Testament married to some unholy near Demonic worthy screams amidst the standard Chuck iconic barks and even some blasts. The tom rolls on this song! Chuck is in full command on this song, a total boss. “Catacombs” has a theatrical ancient epic vibe you might expect on an instrumental current Sepultura track. This band is perfect for rallying the dejected right now.
“Dream Deceiver” stands out with more melodic, groove thrash riffage and a pushy mid-tempo chorus that alternates with technical faster measures for a thrilling and satisfying fix. “She won’t stop haunting me at night!” I firmly believe 100% that no other major thrash band has had as good a late stage 4 album run as Testament have pulled off since turning heads sharply when the excellent The Formation Of Damnation salvaged the group from an early grave. Just thinking back to the live shows from that time is such an exciting feeling, but I am just as excited about them this current album as ever. This really is the meaning of LEGACY (pun intended). Alex is one of the greatest guitarists in the history of the genre and this album certainly cements that yet again.
“The Healers” is timely considering the Coronavirus scare Chuck and Steve just went through and is one of the more stage ready powerful songs of the album telling us to get back in touch with nature in a time of 5G debates, pollution, mass death and traffic jams. Howling wolves and a respect for Mother Earth pepper the lyrical content with emotion and strength drawn from old wisdom. It’s one of the band’s most explosive and bad ass songs – along with the still anthemic “Native Blood” – in their storied discography. Also, who else in metal can bellow “My healing powers crystal blue” and have it sound tough as shit?
“Night of the Witch” is cool but was actually one of the weaker songs on the album. It is a single and still kicks the ass of half the bands out there, so that is pretty cool if a song still as good as NoTW is actually not the strongest material on a record. I can see why they released it as a single though, since the song has some of the eviler riffing and darker “Hell” vibes a lot of devil craving metal maniacs lust for. Skolnick and Peterson really own this song the most in the band, lending a Pantera level of technical flourish and rage to a few moments.
Again, this is peak 2020 metal that will strengthen any fan during this hard time. Hails to the legends!Add to My Radar
When writing about noise based releases I tend to try to evoke the feeling more than spending time attempting to wager what gear was involved or micro-manage increasingly sub-atomic sub-genres with fancy descriptors. Even though noise to some people is one of the more atonal and thus mechanical or perhaps dehumanizing of genres – the potential for dystopian hallucination running very high – I find that in itself lends me to have MORE not less of an emotional reaction. The best noise to me feels like immersion into a sort of industrial fan’s isolation chamber nightmare, black waves of dread or out of body astral projection above dead cities calling my name in ghost impressions amidst static and blips.
The new terrifying WHITEPHOSPHOROUS release GOD//BLESS//AMERICA – a noise offshoot project of antifascist black metal mischief maker’s Neckbeard Deathcamp – delivers on most of the above checklist. If we were playing some sort of sick and sad bingo for the death of hope in this country, this could certainly soundtrack it if you add claustrophobic dread of state violence, gun addiction and a mounting wish to shake the complacent out of their shells. This is a really engaging tape release that you’ll want to listen to in a dimly lit room and question if your bills are even worth paying or if there is any way out of the hellscape. It’s a powerful surprise statement midway through an awfully fucked up year. From “Walmart Footsoldier” to the grim opener “226”, the release manages to find the sad heart struggling to sing and beat beneath the deep soul bruise and desensitization of a constant barrage of hate in our society. It’s ok to be angry and not accept this as a normal, ok life. It’s also ok to damn well give your listeners an out of body experience expressing your discomfort at things (“Predator” may be the, no pun intended, apex of that here) – the saddest realization being there may be nowhere left to go but up.
So the choice now is, try or die? Or “No Future”.
They say that digital is the way to go these days, because nobody is buying physical CDs anymore. I guess when I got my physical copy of the new VEIL OF DECEPTION album Dissident Voices in the mail a few days ago, that was my nice way of giving a big middle finger to those who won’t buy the band’s albums. I’m old school that way. I enjoy studying the album cover. I love reading the lyrics as I listen to the album and getting lost in whatever tales the band is trying to tell me. I like reading the credits and thank you notes, trying to make connections to other bands I like, or even people I know. (“Oh, they thanked Bubba Barclay! That’s Joe Bob Brigg’s personal lawyer! Awesome!”).
I will never not own a physical copy of an album as long as it is possible, but people need to be buying CDs,
Vinyl, or even cassette tapes. All sorts of shit is possible these days. Anyway, speaking of buying CDs, that brings me to the reason we are all here right now! I’m going to sell you on an album to go check out!
Dissident Voices is the band’s third, and best musical offering to date, and it hits you harder than they have before with a unique blend of heavy in your face raw power, soulful heartfelt lyrics, and at times, haunting melodies. Guitarist / pianist Dejan Jorgovanovic perfectly matches singer Daniel Gallar’s voice, which I’ve often described as part Davey Havok (AFI) and part Erik A.K. (FLOTSAM AND JETSAM). I first discovered singer Daniel Gallar back in 2011 when he was announced as the new singer for NEPHWRACK, another criminally underrated band I will suggest you check out, but I’ll do that at a later date when I do a “From The Vault” review! Fast forward 8 years, and 5 musical offerings later, and his voice has gotten better.
Read more and hear a track BELOW.Add to My Radar
It was pretty fun to learn about the Serpent Of Gnosis release from 1126 records literally the day before it drops like a megaton piano on the heads of the world. The last minute “Oh shit, how did I miss this” of it all was a nice way to head into the weekend. I had no idea Johnny Davy had a sickeningly heavy new band at all and thought he had like vanished into Area 51 or something awhile ago. How cool to hear that completely unhinged roar again!
Serpent Of Gnosis’ debut As I Drink From The Infinite Well Of Inebriation is one of the heaviest records you are likely to hear anytime soon, managing to be next level technical while still having emotional impact AND the heavy vibes of a lot of modern dethcore. Dudes are not fucking around. The album title also reminds me of the myth where Thor drank from a mead horn that was like connected to the seas and actually lowered the sea level, if I recall. Iconic, lol.
“Fragile Vessel Of Serenity” and some other tracks also feature some weird creepy ambient type moments that will freak you out like a horror movie and add to the unsettling onslaught very effectively. I am super stoked on this album. Darren Cesca on drums is a whirlwind throughout, elevating and blurring the tech deth parts into deadly grind territory quite often. “The Colorless Capsules” is one of the most punishing tracks, a masterful wrestling match of extreme subgenres that all dance around the death metal totem pole. Dying Fetus or even old Whitechapel fans could co-exist raving about this thing but there are also a few brilliant little progressive guitar moments that sneak in and out between extreme pit starters (“Harvest” has the best example of this and is maybe the best tune on the record, just fucking unreal).
“Cognitivity” has a thunderous slow intro that almost sounds like old Burn the Priest for a minute and adds some superb mosh value to a record that most often goes for Zoom vs. The Flash levels of speed. “A Mask of Lucidity” also mixes it up and has a very tasty lightning solo section and some darkly melodic bridge action that was pleasantly unexpected and cool. The band don’t overstay their welcome on any track, as the songs are all relatively short but kick your ass across the pavement and allow for you to get very invested in the record. A lot of people are gonna flip shit on how solid this release is, I am telling you now. You definitely want more (including a black eye and a T-shirt), by the time this bad boy is through.
CAVE IN‘s Final Transmission is hands down the best rock album I have heard in 2019, not just a masterful thrill-ride of all the band’s best tendencies forged into a precise and passionate whole, but an extremely emotional and satisfying if completely bittersweet farewell and celebration of Caleb Scofield. It would be a fitting final album for the band if that is what they choose to do, a potent addition to the incredible journey they have taken us on of musical and personal growth.
Caleb was killed in an auto accident in 2018 far too young and left behind a family, friends and legion of fans who he impacted in no uncertain terms. It would clearly be forgivable in the sorrow of such an event to elevate the last artwork of a beloved life out of a sense of protectiveness and love of their spirit, but Final Transmission truly is an incredible album top to bottom and deserves all the praise conceivable. It’s also heartbreaking in addition to the personal loss the world suffered to hear just how fucking amazing the band’s chemistry is, especially when capping the scope of what they have already done – a sizeable and intimidating, beautiful legacy.
I’ve been thrilled since my favorite record from the band Perfect Pitch Black to see them finding an incredible aptitude for not apologizing for any of their disparate elements, from the poppier alternative rock influences to the bristling immense heavy sounds they came up on to the psychic space rock of Jupiter that touched down in the middle of it all. Final Transmission has touchstones of all of those elements but also it is just exciting as can be to hear their drive to explore and let the Cave In-ness of it all just sort of fall into place naturally. “Winter Widow” is a fucking mind melting tune that is like a dream come true for me as a listener – the closest thing I can say to the experience being that it reminds me as if Cave In wrote a Superunknown second half track that would sit somewhere near “4th of July” and “Fresh Tendrils”. The composition, growling bass, divinely fearless guitar textures and some of Steve Brodsky’s best vocal work to date left me with goosebumps and a grateful feeling that someone still gives a fuck about rock in a very disheartening age for the genre.
Most of the lyrics and vocals for Final Transmission weren’t finished until after Caleb’s death. “The song ‘Shake My Blood’ was my first opportunity to express what I was feeling about the whole situation,” Steve explains. “It’s a mix of extreme grief, frustration and anger. I was trying to do something to gain the clearest answer about whatever the next move might be. We worked on the lyrics together, and all three of us sing on that song—Adam’s doing the high harmonies and JR is doing the low harmonies.”
I love the low tuned acoustic kind of clangy intro to the title track that opens the record, the kind of vibe I love to try and create on some of my own more mellow solo Walking Bombs tracks on my personal records – albeit these dudes all smoke me on guitar, haha. It almost sounds like a demo they cleaned up and I was very moved to learn that it was in fact a voice memo with a melodic vocal idea that Caleb left the band at an early stage of the recording process. It is a beautiful intro and VERY hard not to get choked up listening to it. So cool the band included it and it sets the stage perfectly for “All Illusions” grandeur. When those drums come in you know you are in for one of the biggest statements the band has ever made, perhaps even the biggest. This record will make any fan of the band get chills at some point at likely any listen.
“Led To The Wolves” is a fierce album closer and one full of Caleb riffs, just a brutal and bad ass song that hearkens back to some of the thunder of the earliest stuff (albeit with more melodic vocals). It really drives home with a stake through the heart the power of the band and you have to white knuckle yourself through the intensity of it knowing this voyage is reaching an end. Thankfully we will have the music forever and can fucking rage, contemplate or scream or croon along or play air guitar to any song in their history we wish. I really hope new and old fans alike – but especially old fans – take time out to spend with this album this year. It just doesn’t get better than this for 2019 but you will also feel like you are holding the hand of many hardcore scene memories. God bless to all these cats and holy fucking shit, wow. That’s all I got. Go listen. Humbling. One love/pma.Add to My Radar
SO I’M GONNA PREFACE THIS BY SAYING THAT REDBAIT ARE MY FRIENDS.
I THINK IT IMPORTANT TO SAY THAT BECAUSE I REALLY LIKE THIS TAPE, BUT I ALSO DON’T WANT THIS TO COME OFF LIKE UNFAIRLY BALANCED PROPAGANDA FOR MY FRIENDS BANDS MIXED IN WITH REVIEWS OF OTHER STUFF AS SOME SORT OF SLEIGHT OF HAND KINDA THING.
I’LL START WITH THE THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE ABOUT THIS JUST TO DO IT AND AS USUAL THEY’RE KINDA NIT-PICKY. THERE WERE A FEW VOCAL SECTIONS IN “OUR TOWN” THAT FELT LIKE THEY AWKWARDLY STITCHED TOGETHER PARTS OF THE TRACK. I WISH IT JUST STARTED HARDER. AND THE CLEAN VOCAL SECTION AT THE BEGINNING OF “FOREVER ENDS NOW” JUST REALLY WASN’T MY SPEED. IN GENERAL THE TRACKS ALL SEEM LIKE KIND OF SLANT RHYMES WITH EACH OTHER IN THAT THEY’RE MOSTLY COHESIVE. BUT LIKE ONE TRACK WILL SEEM LIKE IT’S REALLY INFORMED BY BANDS LIKE THE CHARIOT, AND THE NEXT WILL HAVE A HANDFUL OF TERROR RIFFS I DIDN’T EXPECT. I WOULDN’T ACTUALLY HAVE BELIEVED “BRED FOR THE KNIFE” WAS FROM THE SAME RELEASE UNTIL THEY BRING IT BACK AT THE END.
BUT ALL THAT SHIT PALES IN COMPARISON TO THE GOOD SHIT ABOUT THIS.
THE TEN MINUTE TAPE IS THE APEX OF PHYSICAL FORMAT RELEASE.
THIS DOESN’T HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO GET BORING AND I THINK THAT’S HUGE.
THE “FULL LENGTH” AS A MONOLITH GIVES BIRTH TO A LOT OF SAWDUST TRACKS AND THIS SKIPS OVER THAT STEP ENTIRELY IN THE PROCESS. AND THIS JUST FEELS SO LIKE, AT THE UPPER END OF DIY RAW RELEASES.
THIS THING HAS TONS OF RIFFS. THE PRODUCTION IS DELIGHTFULLY GRIMY. THERE’S PLENTY OF TIME FOR KARATE. THE POLITICS BEHIND THESE GUYS ARE FUCKING 10/10. AND I’M REALLY INTO THE ONE DUDE IN THE BAND THAT WEARS A SKI MASK. MORE OF THE BAND SHOULD JUMP ON THAT.
ADDITIONALLY THE ONE VOCALIST’S PHRASING REMINDS ME A LOT OF GRACE PERRY FROM LANDMINE MARATHON AND I MEAN THAT AS REALLY HIGH PRAISE.
ALSO ADDITIONALLY THAT ONE LIKE, PROVOLONE CHEESE DUM DUM CAVEMAN FIGHT RIFF BREAKDOWN IN “CAGES” WAS WONDERFUL. IF YOU’RE NEAR ME WHEN THEY PLAY THIS AT OUR SHOW TOGETHER IN STL YOU’RE GOING OUT ON A STRETCHER.
GOOD TAPE. IT’S NOT THE MONA LISA OR LA PIETA BUT I’M NOT ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE THAT DEMANDS EVERY FUCKING PIECE OF ART BE THE CISTINE CHAPEL CEILING TO BRAND IT PASSABLE. tHIS IS LIKE A DELIGHTFUL SLICE OF PIE YOU CAN TELL YOUR FRIEND WORKED REALLY HARD ON WITHOUT DOING A BUNCH OF GOOFY FOOD NETWORK OVER THE TOP SHIT TO IT. REDBAIT IS FUCKING COOL. WE’RE LUCKY TO HAVE THEM. THIS CONTAINS RIFFS. THEY’RE GOOD PEOPLE. THEY DO THE RIGHT THING AND THAT’S WHAT FUCKING COUNTS. 3.5 OUTTA 5. 4 IF THEY’D DO MORE SKI MASKS.
(Pre Order ‘Cages’ HERE).
THERE’S THIS WHOLE CATEGORY OF PERSON OUT THERE, WHO SPENDS A LOT OF TIME PISSING AND MOANING ON THE INTERNET ABOUT THAT FUCKING BAND GRETA VAN FLEET FOR SOUNDING JUST LIKE LED ZEPPELIN (Editor’s Note: Neckbeard Van Fleet coming soon!). AND FOR THE FUCKING LIFE OF ME I CAN’T FIGURE OUT WHY. BECAUSE IF LED ZEPPELIN WAS A THING YOU LIKED, I FIGURE YOU’D BE STOKED THAT THERE WAS MORE OF IT. LIKE IF I ORDERED A PIECE OF CHEESECAKE AT A RESTAURANT, AND IT WAS GOOD AND I WENT TO ANOTHER RESTAURANT AND THEY HAD THE SAME PIECE OF CHEESECAKE, I’D BE FUCKING STOKED. AND INSTEAD YOU HAVE THESE PISS PANT WEINERS SHITTING OUT TEN PARAGRAPH ESSAYS ABOUT HOW THEY ARE MANDATED TO EXIST IN THE SAME REALITY AS A THING THAT IS INTENTIONALLY SIMILAR TO A THING THAT THEY ALREADY LIKED. THEY CAN’T JUST HAVE TWO THINGS THAT THEY LIKE. AND THAT’S HONESTLY ONE OF THE DUMBEST FUCKING THINGS I’VE HAD TO SPEND TIME MENTALLY ENTERTAINING.
I HOPE THESE CLOWNS NEVER GET INTO ART, BECAUSE IF I HAVE TO READ A PETULANT ESSAY BY SOME FART SNIFFING DICKWEED ABOUT HOW PEOPLE SHOULDN’T MAKE ART THAT IMITATES THE MASTERS I’M GONNA SCREW THE RESPONSIBLE HANDS DOWN TO A BIT OF WOOD CRUCIFIXION STYLE AND BREAK EVERY FINGER INVOLVED IN AUTHORING IT.
BUT ANYWAY. TO MAKE A POINT ABOUT THAT VERY VERY LARGE STRAW MAN, I’VE SAT DOWN TODAY WITH THE NEW DEVIL MASTER ALBUM. WHO AFTER SIGNING TO RELAPSE HAS SPENT A LOT OF TIME MAKING THEIR STUFF SOUND EXACTLY LIKE THE SPOOKY OLD HEAVY METAL TAPES MY FRIENDS DEDICATE ENTIRE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS TO DOCUMENTING.
AND THAT’S NOT A DIG. I KNOW THERE WAS A LOT GOING ON IN THAT FIRST PARAGRAPH. BUT I THINK THIS BAND DOES A LOT OF GOOD STUFF. THIS ALBUM IS COOL AND WEIRD, BUT ALSO TASTY AND CHAOTIC. IT HAS LIKE A WARM TAPEY VIBE TO THE PRODUCTION QUALITY THAT I THINK ACCIDENTALLY CAME OUT A LITTLE HI-FI FOR WHAT THEY WERE AFTER. THE GUITAR TONE AND DRUMS SOUND LIKE SOMEBODY IN THE BAND HAS A VERY LARGE MERCYFUL FATE TATTOO. AND THIS GUITAR PLAYER SEEMS LIKE THEY PROBABLY HAVE A GIGANTIC TATTOO THAT SAYS “RIFFS” BECAUSE THIS ALBUM IS JUST NOTHING BUT FUCKING RIFFS. RIFF SALAD SANDWICH, WITH A SIDE OF RIFFS. SERVED WITH A NICE TALL GLASS OF SLOPPY NASTY GROWLY VOCALS. I REALLY CAN’T STATE LOUD ENOUGH HOW EXCITED I WAS TO GET THROUGH THIS WHOLE THING WITHOUT ANYONE TRYING TO GET ME TO WASH ANY OF THESE RIFFS DOWN WITH AN IMITATION KING DIAMOND FALSETTO. A GENUINE IMPROVEMENT TO THE ORIGINAL DESIGNS.
BEYOND THE SOUND, THE BRANDING OF THE WHOLE THING IS EQUALLY REFLECTIVE OF THE SOURCE MATERIAL. THE NAME DEVIL MASTER SOUNDS INTENTIONALLY PRIMITIVE, THE LOGO IS PURPOSEFULLY BADLY XEROXED AND THEN SUPERIMPOSED ON THE VIDEOS. THE ACTUAL FOOTAGE ITSELF I THINK ACCIDENTALLY COMES OFF A LITTLE TOO HI-FI, IN A WAY THAT MAKES THE EROSION THE VIDEO EDITOR USED AFTERWARDS SEEM A LITTLE SILLY. (BUT THAT’S A VERY SMALL NIT TO PICK.) AND I REALLY LIKE THAT THE SONG TITLES TITLES FLIRT WITH SPOOKY DEVIL STUFF BUT IN A WAY THAT HARKENS BACK TO A TIME WHEN YOU COULDN’T JUST NAME YOUR ALBUM “BESTIAL NEKROGOATS SATANIC 666 WARCOCK FORCEFULLY RENDS THE BODY OF CHRIST ASUNDER” AND IMMEDIATELY GET A DEAL WITH HELLS HEADBANGERS. IT’S TASTEFUL.
THAT BEING SAID THIS KINDA THING JUST ISN’T FOR ME. I CAN TELL THAT IT’S WELL MADE, I CAN TELL THAT A LOT OF TIME AND CARE WENT INTO IT. I THINK THERE’S A COUPLE OF SMALL MIS-STEPS IN PRODUCTION AND A FEW HEAVY FOOT FALLS IN THE VIDEOS THAT COULD BE HAMMERED OUT, BUT THEY IN NO WAY OVERSHADOW EVERYTHING THIS ACCOMPLISHES. IT’S JUST NOT MY SLICE OF CHEESECAKE. AND AGAIN I NEVER TAKE OFF POINTS FOR TASTE.
THAT BEING SAID IF YOU’RE INTO THROWBACK PROTO BLACK METAL STUFF THAT DOESN’T INVOLVE ANYONE WITH A SHITTY MUSTACHE, OR HATE GROUP AFFILIATIONS. THIS IS PROBABLY FOR YOU AND YOU SHOULD ENJOY IT.
3.5 OUTTA 5. 4 OUTTA 5 IF THEY’D SHOOT THOSE VIDEOS WITH AN ACTUAL SHITTY OLD VIDEO CAMERA. GOOD STUFF.
It was a cool week for underground music as far as I am concerned. Industrial act Front Line Assembly dropped a killer new record Wake Up The Coma with a hysterical but bold “Rock Me Amadeus” cover featuring Jimmy Urine that I cannot get out of my head (plus a cool title track feat. Nick Holmes from Paradise Lost/Bloodbath). Obliteration’s Cenotaph Obscure was nominated for a Norwegian Grammy. AND most importantly on a personal level and relevant to being able to write this review, I also finally got to sit, drink tea and then become completely engrossed in the new Candlemass opus The Door To Doom until I grabbed the sides of my head and howled. Holy crow! Everyone just give up now. Don’t release anything else this year. It is over. You aren’t topping this. This is the essence of pure doom brilliance. Johan Langquist (who left the band after singing on the legendary 1986 debut Epicus Doomicus Metallicus) has returned! Much like Sabbath or Vitus or even Alabama Thunderpussy, people love different singer’s eras – but the buck really stops with Johan in this band’s case. Leif Edling and unmerrymen have outdone themselves and made a fucking modern masterpiece of the genre.
The much hyped collaboration track with mighty Tony Iommi of course lives up to the hype. “Astorolus – The Great Octopus” is like the Poseidon arranged wedding between the “Children of The Sea” and something from even darker and heavier depths. It’s way stompier and doomier than “Children…” with absolutely no uplifting parts, haha…but maybe I just needed an oceanic comparison to house the giant tentacles mass of this tune. Iommi plus Candlemass is obviously a match made in Heaven and Hell (see what I did there?) and fans are going to be shook. For real, this album surpasses Sabbath’s 13 with ease (and I liked plenty of moments on that record even with the flaws and shamefully no Bill Ward). I am SO glad this collab happened.
“Bridge of The Blind” is a reprieve song of sorts, a dreamy sad song with incredible guitar tones. Johan takes the relatively straight-forward closing lines ,”What would I find, if I open my eyes? Will you be waiting on the other side?” and injects so much emotion into them that you feel a huge gulf of loss or like you have just listened to a traditional ballad people have held close to their heart’s for hundreds of years. “Death’s Wheel” is an anthemic war charge from the opening riff, pulverizing everything in sight and getting heavier and more dizzying as it goes. The solo on that song shoots vertically into the sky, defying the heavens boldly. “House Of Doom” like Cathedral’s Swan Song The Last Spire recalls medieval despair via cool sound effects (a tolling bell here) before thundering home. The organ drenched bridge of the song is one of the most epic moments of many on the album.
I honestly would be startled as hell if anything tops this in 2019. It just hits so many checkmarks from hot anticipation to a triumphant reunion of classic members to, most importantly, completely bad ass NEW songs that only add to the band’s legacy forevermore whilst perfectly nailing what is best in a genre. Ghost, who have a history of taking out top notch talent from the much missed Purson to Marissa Nadler, have Candlemass with them in Europe at present on the road. No offense to Ghost but I am really glad some of their more genre-tourist fans are gonna get their fucking asses schooled by some OG doomage of the purest molten kind.
Y’KNOW WHAT. FUCK IT MASK OFF. I LOVE THIS. HOLY SHIT.
THE PROJECTS BANDCAMP READS “SURACHAI PIVOTS FROM FULL ENSEMBLE BLACK METAL OUTFITS TO SOLO KEYBOARD EXPLORATIONS”. AND USES THE WORDS AVANT GARDE. I THINK USING THE PHRASE AVANT GARDE IN AN ERA OF NOISE WHERE SELF MUTILATION IS A POPULAR ELEMENT IS OVERSTATING IT. BUT THIS GOES.
IT WAS HANDED TO ME AS “SOMETHING DIFFICULT TO PINPOINT STYLISTICALLY”. BUT THIS IS A POST VENETIAN SNARES SOCIETY AND I HAVE HOURS OF HAM-FISTED “DARK DUB 1HR MIX” PLAYLISTS ON MY LAPTOP. SO WE HAVE THE WORDS FOR THIS KINDA THING NOW, LET’S FUUUUUUCKIN USE THEM. IT’S DECONSTRUCTED DARK LIQUID DNB WITH BREAKCORE ELEMENTS AND THE SOUND DESIGN REMINDS ME A LOT OF THE PANACEA. IT’S LIKE IF A LIMEWAX ALBUM WAS WRITTEN BY XANAX. WHICH IS A COMPLIMENT I PROMISE. THOUGH DECIDEDLY NOT HEAVY OR STRUCTURED ENOUGH FOR “OUTSIDER” CROSSOVER HARDCORE LABELS LIKE NEKROLOG1K OR PRSPCT. THE MARKET FOR WEIRD WITCH HOUSE AMBIENT SHIT NOW IS HUGE, AND THIS IS THE COOL KID LEATHER JACKET CIGARETTE SMOKING END OF THAT.
THE SHEDDING OF USEFUL SKIN, OTHER THAN BEING A TOTALLY FIRE TRACK NAME OPENS LIKE BACKGROUND MUSIC TO A CLUB SCENE IN A DYSTOPIA FILM WITH A REAL BUMMER OF AN ENDING. LEANING INTO PAIN (ANOTHER HOT TRACK NAME) HELPS BRIDGE THE GAP TO THE HALFWAY PARTS OF THE ALBUM WHERE STRUCTURE REALLY BEGINS TO COME APART. DECIPHERING WHISPERS FROM A WIND (A LESS HOT TRACK NAME) SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING THAT WOULD LOCK ME TO THE FLOOR OF MY APARTMENT AFTER LISTENING TO WITCH HOUSE PISS DRUNK AT 3AM. I’M REALLY INTO THE GRATING BITCRUSHING SOUNDS THAT BITE AT THE UPPER END OF THE REGISTRY ALONG THE WAY. THOSE ARE HARD TO USE WITHOUT GETTING ANNOYING BUT MAKE FOR A MORE PAINFUL RAW SOUND AND I AM FUCKING HERE FOR IT. THERE’S REALLY A LOT TO BE SAID FOR SOME OF THE SOUNDS
IF I WAS TO ENTERTAIN THE IDEA OF CRITICIZING PARTS OF THIS ALBUM I WOULD SAY SOME OF THE TRACK NAMES FEEL UNCONSIDERED AND LIKE “GENERIC SPOOKY” WHERE OTHERS REALLY HAVE THAT HEAT. AND ALSO THAT I THINK EVERY GOOD ASTRUCTURED AMBIENT-ISH ELECTRONIC MUSIC ALBUM NEEDS A REALLY FOCUSED CLIMAX THAT PICKS UP A LITTLE MORE SPEED, AND THIS ONE TOOK MORE OF A PLATEU APPROACH. I THINK ALSO WITH THAT PLATEAU APPROACH, THE ALBUM FEELS A LITTLE LONG. SOME HUGE SQUARE WAVE KICKS RIGHT AROUND TRACK NINE WOULD HAVE MADE THE LAST FEW TRACKS FEEL LIKE A WIND DOWN AND LESS OF A DRAG.
I CAN’T DECIDE IF PUSHING THE ALBUM COMPLETELY DEVOID OF AUDIO SAMPLES OR VOCALS IS A REALLY CLEVER AND MAKES IT FEEL MORE ALIEN OR IF THAT’S PLAYING IT SAFE AS SOMETHING THIS FOCUSED WOULD REQUIRE EXTREMELY CAREFUL CURATION. BUT THIS IS THE PROJECT’S SEVENTH STUDIO ALBUM, SO I’M CERTAIN THEY’RE MAKING EXACTLY THE KIND OF STUFF THEY WANT TO AT THIS POINT.
4.5/5 STARS. I ACTUALLY BOUGHT THE VINYL FOR THIS.
None or Unknown
Auteur are a mysterious and electrifying band from the West Coast who merge metalcore and rock influences for a chaotic but catchy sound. Before & After is a must hear and explosive record that fans of ETID, The Bled, Septa, The Bronx, etc. will likely eat up like free blueberry waffles. Don't just take our word for it. Get the syrup outta your ears and go listen! 11 tracks that show a passionate band really going for it. FAVE SONG: "Strawmen"