Saturday, September 15, 2018

Flapping And Stomping...

Moths - Moths EP (2018)


Coming to us from Puerto Rico, the debut EP from the five-piece band of Moths shows the group operating with a blend of heavy rock, stoner metal, and prog, with songs that wind through twisty changes in melodies, time signatures, and tempos.  Kept largely on the heavy end, Moths also find room for some tasty keyboard action, and the occasionally grungy guitar treatments bring a casual liveliness to balance the rumbling bass presence.   The frequent change-ups show a lot of ideas at work, and the success with which they're brought together in song after song has me excited to hear the layers of action the band would create in the space of a full album.  Beyond their snazzy riffs and knack for flipping one groove right into another, the band shows glints of hard aggression which further set them apart from the retro worship of the heavy rock masses.  Throw in a King Crimson cover (of “21st Century Schizoid Man”), and you've got an EP which demonstrates the band's abilities across a wide swath of styles, gives a nod to their influences, plays some kick-ass music in the process, and leaves listeners eager for more.  The EP will officially drop on November 2nd, so mark your calendar and make sure to grab yourself a copy.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Craneón, Earth Drive, Hijo de la Tormenta, Mother Mars, Persona




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Saturday, September 08, 2018

Taking New Tunnels...

Slug Salt Lava - Siaynoq (2018)


When we last covered Slug Salt Lava, the year was 2014, and the release at hand was their Radiated Soundscapes EP. There's been no other output from the Turkish group aside from a live set in 2016, but now they're back with a new EP, and the five tracks it has to offer show that the band has been putting their time to use building a harder and heavier vibe. There's some sludge to it, some heavy metal, traces of death, even a little groove metal, and the beating of the drums to the chugging of the guitar hits quite the rhythmic pleasure node. Some tasty guitar solos throw in alongside the bass riffs for a killer kick, and they cram quite a bit of change-up into the five songs, trading from doomy oppression to lively outbursts on a dime. At just twenty minutes, the band keeps it concise and punchy, and as something of a status report, it's good to hear them continuing to challenge their earlier style. Here's hoping they've got more material up their sleeves for release in the near future, and that they keep up their habit of experimenting with every release.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Ainriail, Attalla, Blind Samson, Cebo, Tons




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Saturday, September 01, 2018

Regal Mysticism...

SpaceMetal - Shroud (2018)


Making their debut in 2015 with a self-titled album, SpaceMetal have now returned with their sophomore LP, and the near-hour of material it packs shows the band angling for a blend of flavors both old and new, coming through in a batch of doom-brushed heavy metal. Big work-horse riffs are plentiful, the vocals take time to savor the words being sung, and the breaks and switch-backs are rolled in and out with cool smoothness. The guitar solos are probably where the group's Louisianan standing comes through the clearest, with a soulful strain that could easily be chalked in as delta blues blended with Dio-era Sabbath (“Forest of Faith” and “The Wheel” being a back-to-back pair that really bring out that flavor).
Lyrically, things are kind of all over the place, but in a pleasing way, with nature, revenge, replacement, lady-craving, existential spookiness, future landscapes, and van-art wizards are all in play, and the singing is balanced out by tasty extended dips into instrumental rocking. The music rarely gets full-on heavy, but when it's leveraged (e.g., the crunchy weight of the main riff in “New Blood”), it comes off very well, and as something done to benefit the song, instead of just being there for the sake of heavy. In the end, Shroud has a lot going on, and the musicians behind it deserve recognition for putting together such a well-rounded album, and for successfully channeling the sounds of yesteryear while dodging flat imitation or too-accurate flab. Grab yourself a copy once it drops on September 15th, should full-bodied heavy metal be to your tastes, and hear for yourself the SpaceMetal style.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Magic Circle, Pilgrim, Saint Vitus, Valkyrie, Witchcraft




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Saturday, August 25, 2018

Red Horizons...

Mystic Sons - Mystic Sons (2018)


With this first full album, the Swiss group of Mystic Sons roll out ~40 minutes of heavy stoner rock, with prominent bass-lines and grimy guitar tones grounding the chunky riffs in earthy flavor. Violence and occult flavoring is present, though it's presented without too much specification, with titles like “Californian Desert”, “Leather Apron”, and “Black Ritual” lending the imagery more substantial direction. The riffs, naturally, are the center-piece, and the slides into desert rock show a compelling way with focusing on the tone to build some rich atmospheres on its own.
With how sparse the lyrics are, it's hard to tell whether lines like “Satan is your friend” are delivered with tongue in cheek or not, but they fit the general vibes of the music well enough, and since they're near-mandated by the style, it doesn't make too much impact either way. The ~8-minute finisher of “Black Ritual” makes for a cool finish with its slow-rolling doominess, and the album as a whole shows a promising start for the young band.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Dead Witches, Kyuss, Monobrow, Uncle Acid, Wizard Smoke




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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Nurtured By Darkness...

Dead Hand - Reborn of Dead Light (2018)


The last time we reviewed a release by Dead Hand was back in 2016, when they put out a split 7” with Shroud Eater, and their experimental strain of sludge/doom was as much of a treat then as it was on their prior releases. Now they're back with their second album, and that genre-bending approach has even more refinement to its handling, with the band melding those two main styles while swirling in a number of others, and keeping the pacing, energy, momentum, and technical aspects all handled with excellent care.
As with the album's title (and its respective track), the song names lend a clear flavor to the music, with the remainder being “Alabaster and Bone”, “Parapraxis”, and “Amaranthine”. Short and evocative, though (outside of the ~4-minute “Parapraxis”) the songs don't share the shortness, averaging out about ten minutes per track. And in that time, they explore moods of aggression and melancholy, wrath and longing, crushed hope and burgeoning despair, and so on. Turns of melody and rhythm come sharply, but don't derail the songs, and the fusion of styles moves with impressive fluidity from one focus to the next.
While the length of the songs may be off-putting to some, it's an album that rewards jumping into those sizable songs with a diverse richness of heavy atmospheres. And given the difficulty of keeping all the turns twisted into the songs straight in your mind, it's practically guaranteed to hold up to heavy repeated listening. The band will be running a tour through the south-east United States in support of the album's upcoming release, set to drop on CD, vinyl, and digital on September 7th, with a bonus cover of Alice in Chains' “Them Bones” on the CD edition. Whatever your format preference, be sure to snag a copy if intelligently-composed heaviness is something you enjoy.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Heavydeath, Naught, Reptensol, The Sleer, Thou




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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Exploring Heavy Earth...

Necro - Adiante (2016)


Though originally self-released in digital formats by Brazilian band Necro back in 2016, Adiante didn't get a CD pressing until the following year, on the Abraxas label. Now, in 2018, it's finally getting issued on vinyl by Electric Magic, the label run by the excellent Samsara Blues Experiment. Along with my personal fondness for the group since hearing their debut LP on Hydro-Phonic Records back in 2012 (when they were still going by the name Necronomicon), that seemed like enough of a good excuse for catching up with the album after such a delay.
Running seven tracks and ~40 minutes long, Adiante opens with “Orbes”, which leads with a slam of drums and a flourish of electric guitar before sliding into a heavy psych groove that it follows through several twists of tempo and rhythm before bouncing out on its funky finish. The subsequent title track carries that energy to a higher level while counter-pointing with some staunch bass riffs, before “Azul Profundo” comes in for a luxuriant ~7-minute ride through more heavy psych, now with a pronounced prog flavoring guiding the instrumental interplay on a wild ride to the end of the A-side.
The second half maintains the cool flow, letting the drums get some spot-lighting with “Viajor”, balanced against a fiery guitar solo into electric organ breaks. “Entropia” follows, going back and forth between gentler action and crunchy riffs, and leading into the relatively traditional heavy rock structuring and explosive finish of “Espelhos e Sombras”. Lastly, “Deuses Suicidas” rolls up on a fierce drum-and-guitar charge, brandishing an almost honky-tonk-y swagger while bringing in all the preceding styles for a fantastic finale.
It's quite a relief to find that the band has kept up their high quality from earlier albums, and more than that, to find that they've continued growing and experimenting with that already-strong base. Fans of heavy psych should certainly check this one out, and while the album won't be shipping out until the end of the month, you should probably go ahead and get your pre-orders in, as there will only be 300 vinyl copies pressed. Long live Necro!
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Earth Drive, Fakir Thongs, Gripe, Manthrass, Mondo Drag




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