Friday, November 30, 2012

Doom & Gloom...

Asilo - Geografías / Wardance EP (2012)
If you like crusty doom with a heavy drone feel then Argentina's Asilo are gonna be right up your street. If however you don't then you may as well bugger off and come back on monday because I will admit now, this little two track EP is an acquired taste. 
Imagine a Mayhem 7" being played at 33rpm and you'll be set with a pretty accurate mental image. The EP itself is serving as a bit of a prerequisite for the full length album thats currently in the works. Sounding like a basement full of trolls being tortured as tar is being slowly pumped into the room, Asilo really have carved out their own little niche here when it comes to unorthodox doom. Rocking a keyboard, drums and two bass players (yes, thats right, two bass players and no guitar!) their back catalog can't exactly be described as rapid. Trudging along like a big black behemoth in a haze of bong smoke the guys have managed to capture the true nature of doom... Then beat it relentlessly with elements of drone, black metal and the very occasional hint of sludge. 
It's a pretty progressive affair from start to finish and like I mentioned before, not to everyones taste. But for those of you that like to push the boundaries a little, its well worth checking out!
~ Jay

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Defenders Of The Universe?...

Voltron - Kaventsmann (2012)
Since time began you've always been able to rely on the Germans for certain things; Punctuality, efficiency, questionable pornography and heavy industrial tunes. Oh, and a bizzare appreciation for David Hasselhoff, but I'm not prepared to really pull at that thread, so lets just stick with the heavy tunes part.
Hailing from the countries capital, Voltron formed back in 2002 and began life as a trio. Picking up additional members over the years only proved to really strengthen their sound. Building off a foundation of unorthodox industrial riffs and beats the guys now sit more comfortably within the confines of post metal, forging a sound more reminiscent of say Cult Of Luna or early Neurosis. The album begins deceptively gently before being swiftly kicked into overdrive and resonating with a down trodden thunderous anger. The ferociousness is dished out pretty copiously, even within the tracks that serve to bring down the tempo to slow mellow churn, Kato's vocals still bellows mercilessly in the foreground. With this in mind and coupled with the mix of slow and fast paced chugging you'd expect the album to slip into the realms of sludge right? We'll to be honest, in typical German style, the execution is somewhat clinical so it does manage to remain quite detached from that particular label. Which if you ask me is for the best, because it's clear the guys have honed and perfected the musical route they wish to follow and its clear that the choice was a good one.
If you hit up their Bandcamp page you'll be able to pick up a lovely diy version of the album on CD, and for the low low price of just €10, its a pretty good bargain too.
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Cult Of Luna, Nasum, Neurosis, House Of Low Culture, Year Of No Light

Monday, November 26, 2012

Funky Monkey...

Cube - Self Titled (2012)

I will confess, when I was sent this I did take one look at the cover art and think "Awww, this ain't gonna be to my liking...". I'll bet my bollocks to a barn dance that some of you thought/are thinking the same thing. Well more fool me, because just give it 12 seconds... Really, thats all it'll take to win you over. The open riff to track one, Drive really paves the way for the rest of the album. Laying out a meandering mellow(ish) southern rock tone interspersed with the occasional funk riddled bass heavy break downs more commonly found on Chilli Peppers albums. It does work and the guys do manage to pull it all off successfully without clearly ripping off anyone else's style. The diverse mix of heavy rock, funk and even lounge meshes together pretty flawlessly throughout the entire record but occasionally it does sound a little bit hollow. They nailed the art of classic stoner riff, their psych infused fret work is spot on and they ooze more funk than Bootsy Collins's flairs, but I can't quite put my finger on whats missing, if anything at all. Maybe, it's trying to be a little too ambitious and therefore spreading itself too thinly? I really don't know, but don't get me wrong, it's an absolute cracker of an album. The guys show a real promise and a talent second to none. If they can progress even more on the next album then they'll definitely be up there giving the big boys a run for their money!
You can pay as much or as little as you like for the digital download, or part with the measly price of just $12 for a lovely (limited edition run of just 250) vinyl copy. Bargain!
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Clutch, Graveyard, Incubus, Gentlemans Pistols, Pet The Preacher


Friday, November 23, 2012

There's No Place Like Home...

LeHunt - The Empty Space In Which We Live (2012)
I always feel somewhat of a fraud when it comes to reviewing hardcore bands, not because I have to lie through my teeth or anything, but just because I'm generally not all that savvy when it comes to the genre. I've just never followed it with much attentiveness, so I always feel a little under qualified to actually wax lyrical when something like this arrives in my inbox. That being said, I find myself the lone writer on the blog once again, so y'all can go screw yourselves and take what ya given.
I will say this about Kansas's hardcore trio, their first outing really made me sit up and listen, which is very much a compliment coming from me, so when the guys dropped me a line I'll go as far as to say I was somewhat intrigued. Yeah, I know that that's quite the subdued exclamation, but remember this is coming from me, so it really should actually speak volumes of the band themselves.
Straight out the gates you can hear how the band have progressed from their debut EP The Prototype. The production's been clearly beefed up and mix is as close to perfect as you'll find from any band from any genre. But the improvements haven't just stopped there. All that bellowing anger has once again returned, by the bucket load, but everything all feels somewhat more disjointed than before, not so much in the vocals themselves but the general structure. Where the first outing felt more like an early Norma Jean this follow up, to me at least, feels like Converge lin comparison. I know to you more seasoned lovers of the genre out there thats probably like comparing apples to oranges, but like I said, screw you I'm doing my best here. There's also certain little elements of typical post rock that occasionally poke their heads out of the parapet in between the almost relentless bombardment of Jacob's roared vocals. Nothing too obvious or heavy handed, just little nuances and chords here and there that serve well to slightly break up the ferocity before it all gets too much.
Andy absolutely loves these guys and he truly knows what he's talking about when it comes to hardcore and its plethora of subgenres. So baring in mind this blows their first release well and truly out the water, I'd say you're in for a bloody good treat here!

For Fans Of; Converge, Norma Jean, The Chariot, Throats, Misery Signals,

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Stoned In Sweden...

Molior Superum - Into The Sun (2012)

You can always rely on the good ol' Swedes to break out the old school influenced tunes when they're most needed. It's been a while since had a good classic rock sounding band appear in our inbox. We had planned to cover Graveyard's Lights Out, but between everyone and their mother dropping us tunes, the loss of writers and the fact that there's a load of outside parties trying to take us down you're just gonna have to settle with Molior Superum. Not a bad trade off if I'm totally honest, especially if like me you were born about 30 years too late and long for a time where gig tickets cost just a couple of bucks, bands had their own planes and you only had a choice between vinyl or 8 track. Well dig out your bong and strap yourself in because if you hadn't assumed by the cover art you're in for a good old fashioned bass heavy psych session.
Although the opening couple of tracks are sang in english the guys do revert back to their native tongue for the remaining half of the album. But don't let that put you off, what you may not understand wont by any means deteriorate the rest of the track(s). With the aforementioned bass heavy element throughout, coupled with an array of upbeat riffs the end result reminds me of the early years of Clutch. The unique style of rock that plays on all the best parts of stoner, southern and desert rock all rolled into one. It's pretty killer and whats more impressive is that the guys are able to keep it up for the entirety. Admittedly I'm not a huge fan of the instrumental prog like psych towards the end, maybe its a result of growing up on too much Yes or Genesis, but credit where credit's due, it's done bloody well! Few bands these days can truly pull off an organ, but Molior Superum have successfully made it into that minority.
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Clutch, Graveyard, Cactus, King Hobo, Dwellers


Monday, November 19, 2012

In Space, Everyone Can Hear You Scream...

Supervoid - Endless Planets (2012)
Time for a little something that will, if you're like me, leave you somewhat confused and yet strangely satisfied upon completion. A bit like shagging a fat chick. I'm sure thats not the best way to open a review for a band, but screw it, you'll understand what I'm mean you listen. Because lets face it, the realms of space rock and black metal rarely cross paths. It just doesn't happen, well until this Pittsburgh five piece picked up their instruments at least. Supervoid have managed to cross not one boundary but several in one fowl swoop, and done so in just the space of two tracks. Opening to a fuzz of heavy space orientated psych Arcane Groves leads you into almost a false sense of security. Even when the vocals begin to kick in you feel somewhat safe in the knowledge that you're listening to something akin to a none Scandinavian Amorphis. That all comes barreling to a halt a couple of minutes in though when Brian unleashes an unexpected torrent of black metal esque vocals, effortlessly flowing from a deep growl to a screeching higher register. I must admit it initially knocked me off balance and the following couple of minutes of post rock style break down left me utterly baffled. But as soon as you accept and embrace the style it's instantly begins to grows on you. Then by the time the first 10 minutes have passed and you've been treated to additional elements of desert rock, post metal and prog, all interspersed with intermittent barrages of screaming and growling nothing seems at all out of place.
The guys really took a shot in the dark with the mix of genres on this one, it really could have gone either way. Biblically and embarrassingly awful, or refreshing at unique... I'm so glad it turned out to be the latter!
~ Jay

For Fans Of; In Flames, The Foreign Objects, Amorphis, Cave In, Architects 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Men At Work...

No Anchor - The Golden Bridge (2012)
The kings of DIY are finally back with a full length studio album and I could honestly not be anymore excited, seriously, feel these nipples!...
It's been a whole 18 months since the Aussie trio unleashed the biblically crushing Real Pain Supernova on us, but to their credit they never forgot about us. Back in march they raised the cash to put together their first 7", Rope/Pussyfootin' then in September they some how managed to find the time (between driving over 5500km and playing 20 shows in 30 days!) to knock together their first cassette The John Dominance Tapes. But that does kind of beg the question, where the hell did they find the time to get back in the studio!? Nonetheless, we should just be thankful that they did because The Golden Bridge is nothing short of utterly blinding. If you've yet to discover No Anchor but love your post metal a little on the unorthodox side then this will tick all the boxes. But do expect something a little different from the previous LP. Where Real Pain Supernova was as focused and chaotic as a 'fundamentalist with a coat full of semtex' The Golden Bridge is slightly more naked psychopath with a head full of bath salts. Both have the same brutal result, but the latter is just that little bit weirder and unnerving... It's almost defies explanation really. It's heavy, its fuzzy, it's methodical and in some parts it reminds me of Joy Division... But I'm not entirely sure if that can be attributed to the whiskey I've been downing for the last 3 hours.
It's rare that I urge, nay, beg you to go buy an album but when it comes to these guys you're severely fucking up if you don't. The chaps work their absolute nuts off and their love for the music shines through every aspect of their writing, recording, playing live and creation of the hand made merch more evidently than any band I've ever encountered. Their are few more worthy of your hard earned bucks then this bunch.
The deluxe version of the vinyl sold out in the blink of an eye you can however still pick up a good ol' black one or lovely bone/red mix... Lovely stuff!
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Isis, Boris, Jodis, Torche, House Of Low Culture

Website • Facebook • Myspace • Last FM • Bandcamp

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

All Hail The Heavy...

The Heavy Eyes - Maera, Demo EP (2012)

As most of you will no doubt agree these guys never fail impress. In fact I would go as far as to say that every time they announce a new release, be it EP or album they always manage to out do themselves. They've never failed me before and they sure as hell ain't failed me here. So now I've set the bar at a staggering high and possibly put the kiss of death on it, lets just crack on with the release in hand.
Consisting of just two tracks like its predecessor, the 'demo' is actually pretty much the final product and just somewhat of a teaser for the upcoming second album. Also, like their previous release its once again filled to bursting point with the guys own style of uptempo stoner blues. A classic last 60's/early 70's feel but with distinct modern high octane twist that the Memphis trio have very much made their own.
The release of the total four tracks showcasing the new material really bodes well for them, as in the past their demo's have proved to be way more that adequate for general release and more than often blow other similar bands final, polished and mastered efforts well and truly out the water. But working once again with Matt Qualls who oversaw the engineering of the self titled first album, expect nothing short of pure excellence when it comes to final product. Like goddamn ninja, Qualls is one of the few that is capable of treading that fine line between fuzz and clarity without tipping the scales too far in either direction.
I only actually have one gripe with this EP and it's the exactly the same I had with EP 2 from back in May; it's basically the musical equivalent of a hot girl fondling your junk for 15 minutes then pissing off home. You get all worked up and excited then before you know it you're back on your own wondering when you're gonna get the rest! Well hold on to those blue balls just a little longer because album number two is on route! Dropping around the end of December you'll be able to pick Maere up, once again via Kosmik Records. The chaps have promised to keep me updated on the vinyl pressing details so as soon as I know, you will too!
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Radio Moscow, Jack White, DeepSeaGreen, King Hobo, Ufesas


Monday, November 12, 2012

Two Heads Are Better Than One...

Wolfshead - Self Titled (2012)
You should really know what you're gonna be getting when you're faced with a band called 'Wolfshead' right? Normally I'd stand pretty vehemently behind that statement, especially as this little English outfit are a mere duo and sport more hair than viking naturalist convention. But give them a chance and they may just surprise you.
Opening track Warbringer whales with all the textbook foot stomping heavy rock riffs and deep churning vocals proclaiming tales of Nordic battles and strife... So pretty much nail on the head as far as expectations go, which is great by the way, no argument from me there. But when the 2:30 minutes pass you're swiftly met with a way more dark and sinister undertone as the guys practically switch from  Black Sabbath to Venom. It's unorthodox, I'll give them that. I can't see it being to all of your tastes but saying that, its so diverse and unexpected I can say with a degree of certainly that they will be at least a little something there for everyone.
~ Jay

Friday, November 09, 2012

Return Of The Prodigy...

Judd Madden - Artesian (2012)
To be fair this chap doesn't really need an introduction. I said all I really can about this one man post metal power of house when I hit y'all up with his back catalog earlier in the year. So just stop pissing around and just go and download his most recent blinding release Artesian.
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Pelican, Black Sabbath, Jodis, Tusk, Mountain Witch 

Website • Facebook • Bandcamp

Artesian (320kbps)

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

No Sausage Fest...

Beef Supreme - Self Titled (2012)

Y'know... I think this is our first female fronted band. I could be wrong (it rarely happens, but its been known), but I really cant think of another that we've covered in the last two years...
Either way, they're cracking, and for any guys out there that just turned their nose up when they read 'female fronted' just shut your mouth and open your ears for a minute because you're in for a treat. A southern rock, high tempo balls to the wall (no pun intended) treat in fact. The only problem I can really find with this little EP is that I feel at a loss when trying to compare them to someone you may already know. Not so much an issue when it comes to the music... If you imagine a slightly tamer Alabama Thunderpussy for starters then add a little touch of The Desert Sessions you're pretty much there. But it's proving more an issue when it comes to Niki's vocals... I've thought for a good hour or so now and the best I can really surmise is; imagine if PJ Harvey grew up listening to Skynyrd, AC/DC and ZZ Top... Yeah. I think that about works. It really is one of the best female vocals I've heard for a long long time and it compliments Lou and Macho's drum and bass.
It's only 4 tracks long but if they can keep up the same pace for a full album then they're onto a sure fire winner, especially if they can crank out more tunes like Jim Jones Country, which for me, really is the highlight of EP, if not my week. But to hell with it, hit up the link below and find out for yourself...
~ Jay

For Fans Of; The Sword, Fireball Ministry, Alabama Thunderpussy, Sasquatch, Raising Sand


Monday, November 05, 2012

Dark Spacey Psych...

Oceans Of Insects - Heathen Mythology (2012)
Back on the post metal train today. Well, sort of anyway. A thunderous clash where metal meets post metal would probably be more of a apt assessment of New York's Oceans Of Insects. They sort of straddle both genres for the best part. Keeping an upbeat typical metal dynamic while sneaking in a, for want of a better term, Hydra Head Records sort of sound. I cant quite put my finger on exactly what it is that makes them remind me of, say, early Cave In or Big Business but its there. Not so much in the vocal style but in the general make up of each song. But saying that, as the album progresses it takes on more and more unexpected elements and influences. From the opening track its easy to take away that aforementioned post metal view but as track two Sandcrawler kicks in you're met with humongous waves of what I can only describe as speed desert rock riffs. Then shortly after the tempo's dropped down and the harmony's picked up with a real sort of Incubus feel. Probably not to all your tastes but for those of you who do enjoy the vocals stylings of Brandon Boyd then you're in for a treat... For the next couple of songs at least, because once again the pace is picked back up and each track is interspersed with a slightly more aggressive stance... with a slight hint of space rock. Not really in a musical sense (I know that sounds weird but bare with me), but within the use of samples and mild drone. Which actually works really well to produce a pretty eerie dark psych sort of vibe that pretty much bookends the whole album. I for one am really digging it, and as its available at a price of your choosing so what more incentive do you need!?
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Dozer, Incubus, Cave In, Dust Bowl, Mars Red Sky

Friday, November 02, 2012

The Pillaging Dead...

Undead Viking Mafia - Ours, and Fairly Won (2012)
The great band names just keep rolling in this week as we return to Atlanta for another collection of thundering tracks from the guys who kicked off the blog at the very start of this year. Yup, UVM are back to their old tricks with a brand new EP, which hopefully is serving as a precursor to a new full length album, because every time I listen to these guys I'm always left yearning for bloody more. No difference with this latest outing either. Like Clutch meets Maylene, the crushing formular is once again a winning one. Following the single track release back in June for Vipers & Charlatans I kinda got the feeling the band were straying into slightly different waters. Sounding a bit more Black Label Society than much else, all the pinch chords and Zakk Wilde kinda fret work sort of left me on the back burner a bit. But where my faith was once shaken this little three track EP quickly quashed all doubts. Sounding a whole lot more focused and in some places slightly more tortured, each track feels like it's taking it's main influence from a different genre; Last Call - stoner, 500 Year Scotch - hardcore, Hello, My Carcass - southern rock. I love the idea, and because the guys can actually pull it off it works brilliantly. I just hope I'll be able to say the same when the next full length albums drops...
I'm pretty sure it will.
~ Jay

For Fans Of; Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster, Clutch, Superjoint Ritual, Cancer Bats, Suicidal Tendencies