Sunday, July 24, 2016

Grown From The Unknown...

Lachrima Corphus Dissolvens - Passage of the Three Laments (2016)

Here we have the latest album from Lachrima Corphus Dissolvens, which in case you haven't heard of them before, is a band from Bolivia which has been producing metal of the death/doom variety since 2003.  With Passage of the Three Laments (apparently an expansion/follow-up to 2010's Bin of the Three Laments), the group shares over an hour's worth of material to life in morbid atmosphere, managing to bring together moments of dramatic theatrics (e.g., the sounds of weeping children, the rumble of thunder, and piano progressions built around letting one note ring out at a time) with more fierce outpourings (howls, guitar shredding, hard and heavy drumming) and have it feel like a natural union, unhurried and paced in ways that play to the strengths of each side.
From that, there's a strong sense of thought going into the album's assembly even before the actual song-writing began.  It feels like a story being told with care, the different moods of the songs acting as environmental set-pieces to further illustrate the narrative while providing a dark richness for the ears.  I feel like I'm fumbling more than slightly to put it into words, as the group achieves a cinematic quality which most bands don't even seem to consider tackling, and LCD do it so damn well.
On top of that, there's the range of styles that the group meshes together, keeping the morbid mood alive through neofolk-like acoustic guitar strumming, the numerous atmospheric interludes, the vibrant turns into unrestrained metal, the genuinely epic size and ambition matched by production to make things sound as though they're taking place in a cathedral, the woods, a tomb...  It's all of this and more.
Just fantastic, all told, though thankfully there's enough substance to the album that it doesn't compromise itself for instant accessibility.  Not one to put on in the background (at least not for the first few times you hear it), but instead, something that should be given concentration to appreciate how much work went into making the songs what they are.  Expect to see this one in the single-digits ranks of my 'year's best' list, and please, if you enjoy doom that can take things seriously, take the time to hear this one for yourself.  Also, here's hoping that Forcefield Records or some other excellent label picks this up for wider distribution and a vinyl pressing.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Abysmal Grief, Bell Witch, Candlemass, Jupiterian, early Opeth


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Scraped From The Amp...

Resin - Resin (2016)

The Canadian group of Resin is making their public debut with this EP, sporting dirty vocals over fat-tubed bass resonance, sweet-pedaled guitar, drums that hit the sweet spot between loose and on-point, and old-school stoner doom riffs that show their blues influence proudly.  Powerful riffs to sweep you along in their rhythms, clear signs of creativity with the breaks and space play, and a care for the tones that has them simply seeping out of your speakers point to this band being able to come up with new ideas while staying true to the stoner doom spirit, always a relief in a genre as saturated with tradition slaves as that one is. 
And the three songs do what a first EP should do best: leave the listener hungry for more.  I want to hear more from this group, because there's so much potential here, and they've got such a grasp on how to work the essential stuff (which they've fucking got, just take the time to listen), so I can't wait to hear how they keep experimenting in the future.  Just thinking about the future for this group, with forays into heavy feedback, crazy-long songs, more sweet instrumental crannies, and, of course, all the fun song titles that'll entail, has me grinning and eager to hear what they'll devise.  Until then, I'll be keeping these songs steady in my listening mix.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Acid Bath, Crystal Balls, Green Fiend, Hypnochron, Ladybird


Friday, July 22, 2016

Tangled In Minerals...

Crystal Balls - Roots (2016)

With this two-track first release, which hit the world on April 20th (presumably at 4:20 p.m.) for maximum stoner cred, the Floridian group of Crystal Balls specialize in dirty grooves, vocals that sound like bong-water was gargled to prep for the recording session, and bass that stretches out with no worries.  It makes for a mix that some (like me) might describe as 'blackened stoner doom', but the emphasis is certainly on the stoner doom half of that mix, breaking up the usual zonked-out slowness of that style with frenetic bursts of raw beatings before slipping back into reverb adoration and focus on string tones.
It's an uncommon mix, but certainly an enjoyable one, as long as the rough vocals don't immediately turn you off.  The group shows a deft hand at drawing out and gradually twisting their melodies, with each of the lengthy tracks easily avoiding repetition for its own sake, and instead keeping things lively and engaging (though not so wild as to lose the already red-eyed listeners).  Since it runs just about 21 minutes between the two songs, you'll need to listen to it twice to hit the magic number, but that'll let you pick up on some details and technique you might have missed your first time through, so it's all good.  Definitely check this one out if you can dig some violent tendencies with your stoner doom, and stay tuned for more from this crew.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Desert Crone, The Munsens, Toke, Trees, Wolf Blood


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Cool Guys With Cool Hotpants....

Totally Unicorn ~ Dream Life (2016)

Sometimes we all love a little something thats a bit discordant and out there. My personal vice when it comes to weird and wonderful finds is Australia's own Totally Unicorn.
Brought to my attention by an Aussie friend of mine while I was Thailand, I was shown the video for their song Cool Dads With Cool Sons while sat next to an elephant, in blazing heat drinking my 8th bottle of Chang. I know those details aren't entirely required, but when you watch the video it really helps paint the picture of what a surreal predicament I was in.
I will prefix this whole thing by stating that I'm not a massive hardcore fan. Whether it's the overly pretentious band members or the often discordant nature of the music, I don't know. I've never quite been able to put my finger on it. That being said, this is where Totally Unicorn stand a good few paces from that particular crowd. If you viewed even so much as 10 seconds of the video above this will already be brazenly apparent to you. If you've yet to, well maybe such song titles as "Umm, Yeah We're The Gay Metallica" and "Let's Spice Things Up With Laser Swords" gave it away?... Or maybe the fact that they released an EP called 9inches and pressed the vinyl in the shape of a dick (yeah, it totally looks as awesome as it sounds). Either way, it's safe to say that Totally Unicorn as about as far away from the conventional straight edge hardcore scene as it's possible to be without dabbling in acoustic folk music. Although I wouldn't put it past them. Still, it's a damn good refreshing change to find a band that don't even contemplate taking themselves remotely seriously. While listening to the music alone doesn't instantly convey this image, in typical Aussie style the guys certainly have fun at the top of their agenda. Yeah, not all of you are going to dig it, but I defy any of you to say that you wouldn't want to catch these chaps live or be at a house party with them. I can just picture it now... Them rocking up to the front door with a crate under each arm, before you later discover that one of them has buttered the cat, another shat in the washing machine and that they've superglued their latest album into the cd player.
The only trouble with Totally Unicorn is the fact they're damn hard to describe, other than that they're the musical equivalent of Marmite, you're either going to love them or hate them (apologies if that analogy gets somewhat lost in translation). It's tongue in cheek hardcore essentially, but you really should go and check them out and make you're own damn mind up.
Dream Life is out later this week and although it may not be in the shape of a giant phallic, this new release will still be an absolute belter. Head on over to their bandcamp and check out some of the preorder bundles on offer!
Go on, go!
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Nasum, Cult Of Luna, Sourvein, Swarm Of Spheres, Gay Paris 


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Breaking The Barriers...

Demons from the Dungeon Dimension - As the Crow Flies (2016)

Coming to us from South Africa, this debut from the Demons from the Dungeon Dimension (DftDD, or DDD, or D3, or 3D... so many options for getting around writing out that name in full!) offers what's become a relatively rare commodity these days: metal from an environment where it's still considered to be a threat to society.  Fittingly, there's more than a little of the retro heavy metal flavor to DDD's sounds, though they avoid whole-sale imitation in favor of blending it into their raw doom base.  As you might also expect of music coming from a context of no social support for what the musicians are doing, it's self-produced, though aside from some fuzz and a little persistent feedback, this doesn't cause any real issues (and the hatred doomsters have for fuzz is well-documented, right?).
Finding comparisons for the group's style is tough, as they casually move between heavy rock and metal barbs without telegraphing it, keeping afloat on thick grooves while weaving atmosphere to fit, but it does feel like they've carefully studied a wide number of bands to bring their own style into being.  Chunks of blues, flashes of death, and smears of grungy alt rock all bubble up from the heavy doom base, and hearing the way they roll it all together in a way that holds together (even while manifesting some odd shapes) is a big part of the fun of the album, at least in my listening.
The band already has a new EP out (I guess it's technically a single, but one that comes to about 24 minutes of music), so if you want to hear a new band applying some creativity and musical knowledge beyond doom dogmatism, you might want to grab the downloads for this and that from D3's BandCamp page.  And hey, why not throw them some money for it, to let them know they've got an interested audience paying attention out in the world?
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Brume, Celophys, Headless Kross, Moon Curse, Salem's Pot


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Morbid Furiosity...

Dead Thunder - DEAD! (2012)

Following up on our review of Dead Thunder's Broken English EP from a couple of weeks ago, we're now checking out the band's DEAD! EP, also from 2012.  Why?  Well, I really like what I heard with the first one, and I'd like to get this crew some more exposure, in the hopes that they'll have the chance to put together some more music to play at high volume and enjoy further.
That explained, let's get into it!  Running four tracks and recorded from live improvisation, DEAD! again finds the brothers of DT turning out solid jammy riffs, bursts of lively tangentialism, twisted bridges, and gnarly tone-play from the guitar to match the drummer's rhythm juggling.  The instrumental focus allows them to keep revving harder and weirder without having to drop back into the calm of a chorus, but they do give enough time with the riffs to instigate some serious body-swaying and/or head-banging, no small trick for stuff done on the fly.
And, as on the other EP, Dead Thunder get across a clear sense of character and humor with the songs, from the low-note wallows to the tears across extensive shredding and smashing.  Quite a talented duo, and well worth your time to check out over on their SoundCloud page, particularly as it won't cost you anything but time.  Here's hoping they make some more music materialize in the near future!
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Boredoms, Daisy Chainsaw, Lightning Bolt, Terminal Cheesecake, Wizard Rifle