Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Twisting The Genre...

Wiht - The Harrowing Of The North (2012)
We love Devouter Records, not because they send us free stuff regularly. Well, not just because they send us free stuff, but because they from our neck of the woods and they have a hell of an ear for great music. They've given us Cultura Tres, Make, and now return again with the post rock power house that is Wiht.
The Leeds trio really don't bother to bury the lead with the title here. 'Harrowing' well and truly sums this album up to a tee. Treading a fine and delicate line between a melodic post rock ambiance and a balls out head bobbing metal riffage the guys have really crafted themselves a real gem with this album. Even if the post rock/metal genre as a whole doesn't usually turn you on, I think you may just be pleasantly surprised with Wilt as they possess a certain knack to infuse the genre with a much needed sense of excitement. I know thats kind of a luke warm compliment, but just bare with me on this. Just think about all the post rock or instrumental bands you've heard of the years and try and recall all the memorable riffs you've heard, or even just tracks than particularly stand out? There's probably a few, but all in all not that many. Thats not down to a lack of quality, far from it. It's down to the way they're constructed  and this is where Wiht set themselves apart. All those common elements are there in droves; the melodic serenity, the technical mastery and the haunting ambiance that serves as a background to everything else. But something else is thrown into the mix here, and that something is good old fashioned catchy metal riffage. A pretty rare commodity for an album of this type. Groove is more often than not a seldom used element within these realms, which is exactly why Harrowing Of The North is just an outstanding breath of fresh air. Almost like shoegaze meets space rock. It's both eerily blissful and furiously aggressive. I bloody love it!
You can listen to the whole thing on Soundcloud or listen to it the way it deserves to be, on lovely wax. Just head over to the Devouter merch page and pick it up for the exceptional price of just £12! C'mon, now thats bargain!

For Fans Of; Jodis, Red Sparowes, Mountain Witch, Rosetta, Judd Madden

Friday, February 22, 2013

Owllin' For More...

Owl - Self Titled (2012)

Oh, let it never be said that I don't love a bit a bit of retro rock. In fact, I have always vowed that if I ever happened to come into some money I was put it all towards the construction of a flux capacitor and a DeLorean so I could go back to a time when the good music solidly outweighed the shite. That being said, I would end up missing out on this awesome quartet.
Hailing from sunny old California, Owl have been doing the rounds for about 5 or 6 years now, twisting minds in and around their native Oakland. But recently they've taken their unique brand of stoned out psych nationwide and rocking stages from New York to New Mexico. Which is something I'm fully behind, because the more people who get to hear this band the bloody better! Why? Well, because they have seemingly planted their roots well and truly in the drug addled haze of 70's psych and early doom. Sure there's a ton of acts rocking a heavy retro vibe and doing the rounds these days, but truth be told, a whole lot of them are little more than effectively poorly conceived cover bands. This however it where Owl really stand out from the crowd. They actually manage to pull of a hell of an impressive array of classic rock stylings, give them their own unique mix and then pack them all into a mind blowing 35 minutes. Straddling the latter days of psych and the early days of doom the foursome also throw in slight elements of early punk into the mix here and there too. Think, Black Sabbath meets Focus meets Iggy & The Stooges and you're a close as I can possibly comprehend. Packed to breaking point with both haunting and complex riffage, the tone of the album fluctuates constantly without breaking or becoming disjointed. Thats a hell of a feat when trying to recapture that bygone age of technical ecstasy while all the time attempting to retain your own unique stamp on the genre. Nonetheless, they well and truly nail it from start to finish.
The album is a measly $5 but if you choose to, and I strongly suggest you should, you can pick up one of the last remaining vinyl pressings of the album. Oh, and when I say one of the last remaining, I mean ONE... because I just bought the second from last. Fear not though, the guys (and gal) plan on getting a small amount more pressed on coloured wax in the near future. However, if money's tight, or if you're tighter than a ducks butt, they've been awesome enough to hit me up with links for some of their earlier work that wont cost you a penny!
God, I spoil you.

For Fans Of; Black Sabbath, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Kadavar, Focus, Orchid

Monday, February 18, 2013

Blowin' Ya Nuts Off...

Mangrenade - More Than A Handfull (2013)

This one kinda took me by surprise if I'm totally honest. Not that that's a bad thing, I just didn't expect to dig the particular brand of rock n roll that was on the cards here. I'll admit, it didn't really grab me at first, and it did take a couple of listens for it to really sink in, but goddammit, if the opening to Deep Cut doesn't get your feet involuntarily stomping along then you must be... Ha!... Oscar Pistoius.
No, but really, if you do own a pair of feet (or even just the one), then Mangrenade will certainly get them moving. Tapping into a tone that falls somewhere between 60's rock and roll and modern day southern rock the Ohio trio twist and turn so much it almost defies a one true genre. Again, not at all a bad thing, providing you do right, and for the best part the guys do. There's a couple of moments that, for want of a better word, confuse me. But I think thats more down to my own prejudice than anything else really. If you fancy a bit of a break from the stoner, doom or sludge side of life but still feel like something with a bit of groove then give these chaps a go. I think you mite just be pleasantly surprised.

For Fans Of; The Datsuns, The Pixies, The Horrors, The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, Pet The Preacher


Friday, February 15, 2013

Thrashin' The Pants Of Ya...

The Best Of The Abyss - Sampler (2013)

Ok, so while I was searching for some samplers for you lot I stumbled upon this and recalled that someone was moaning that we don't ever have any black metal on here. Personally I would have slapped them. It's really not my cup of tea. But sadly the internet wizards have yet to design that feature into Google Chrome. None the less, let no one ever accuse me of not being accommodating.

For Fans Of; Morbid Angel, Pig Destroyer, Burzum, Enslaved, Graveland

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Relapse Records - Sampler (2012)
You can always rely on Relapse to come up trumps and knock out a good old sampler CD each year, and 2012 was no exception. Yeah I know this is somewhat of a cop out when it comes to a entry but I've been waiting for several bands to get back in touch with me after asking them if I can give you orrible' lot some free sh*t. None have replied yet so I've had to chuck this up in a hurry.
Don't moan. It's 23 tracks of brutal tunes. Plus it's bloody free.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Warsaw Bound & Down...

Palm Desert - Rotten Village Sessions (2013)
Firstly, sorry there was not post on Friday. It was my birthday and I felt like hitting the whiskey instead. Nonetheless, I have returned and I come baring wonderful desert rock gifts.
Now Poland may be somewhat of a far cry from the dusty, swelteringly hot wastelands of California, but thats never stopped these four chaps from grabbing the genre by the knackers and giving it a damn good thrashing. In fact, if I was to say that on their current form they were blowing many of the US's current west coast's acts out the water right now it would be a hell of an understatement. Showing off an array of variety throughout, the album not only plants itself firmly within the desert rock genre but has rings of the golden age of grunge too. Rocking a tone akin to that of early Pearl Jam, albeit, and dare I say it, with a touch more testicular fortitude. Not being scared to mix the bass in a touch louder and give a nice chugging back line where required, even throughout the whaling psych guitar solos. A pretty bold move really as the guitar solos themselves are really one of the most outstanding aspects of this whole recording. Actually, you quite easily tell me that guitarist Piotr is the bastard love child of Josh Homme and Eddie Glass and I'd buy it. Just like on their first album, the guy really sets the tone of every track perfectly. Dialling back to a haunting mellowness for tracks like Mani and Orbitean and letting loose and cracking out a solid southern rock vibe with Damn Good or pure psych feel with Acid Phantom. Praise really need to go to vocalist Wojciech too because he really does make a stunning job of bringing the whole thing together. Plus, when you recall that English isn't his native language, it makes the whole thing that much more impressive.
If you want your rock slightly trippy and with a bit of an old school feel, you need to download the Rotten Village Sessions! It's that bloody simple.

For Fans Of; Kyuss, Nebula, The Desert Sessions, Planet Of Zeus, Aver

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Between The Cracks...

Crag Dweller - Magic Dust (2012)

Ooooh this is a killer album!..
Sure, I may have just blown any mystique that this review could have potentially possessed with that opening line, but dammit I really don't care. If you like your tunes with a healthy equal dose of classic, stoner and southern rock then Magic Dust is gonna be right up your street.
Like a big blended mesh of the heavier side of a long lost vintage era, this motley bunch of Oregonians, relentlessly deliver catchy riff after catchy riff. And when I say 'relentlessly', I mean, every. Single. Track. The pace the guys manage keep up is truly mind blowing. What's more, every aspect of the trio's individual inputs compliment each other perfectly. Yeah, that should go without saying for a band really, but you'd be surprised how often you'll catch the occasional track by even the most established band that just doesn't quite sit right. Not here though, Travis's drums thunder and break down effortlessly forming a perfect foundation to the Rich's vocals, then all accompanied with, for me the killer aspect that steals the show on this album, the guitars. In fact the howling licks that resonate throughout this album really remind me of the late great Rory Gallagher (if you're thinking 'who!?', then look him up). With twinges of southern rock and blues, that light tinniness in the tone, a touch of reverb and an unparalleled skill to build up to a riff before fully unleashing it and blowing your hair back to last week. It's a subtle art, but goddamn it's an effective one in the right hands, and Crag Dweller weald it mercilessly. It's guys like this that make me desperate to start my old record label, if for nothing else than to sign them up and get them on the same bill as the likes of Clutch, Orange Goblin and Wolfmother, because I  reckon they could give them one hell of a run for their money.
So if you feel like you were born 30 odd years too late, or if you do actually remember the 70's hard rock scene with a longing wistfulness then start checking the sofa for loose change, because you really need this album! For a mere $5 too... C'mon, you know you want it!...

For Fans Of; Deep Purple, Graveyard, West Bruce & Laing, Asteroid, Motorcity Daredevils


Monday, February 04, 2013

Tres Hombres...

Annimal Machine - Self Titled EP (2012)
I could be wrong (I often am), but I think this is the first band we've received from good ol' Mexico. Gotta say, they've done themselves proud too. Right out the gates Annimal Machine start ticking all the right boxes. Fuzz, check. Big fat chugging riffs, check. Whaled vocals in a language I don't understand, check! Yeah, a big chunk of it may be sang in Spanish through a ton of reverb, and yes the only Spanish I know translates to "Please can you call for the porter, there appears to be a frog in my bedet",  but trust me when I say that it takes absolutely nothing away from the EP in the slightest. All the emphasis is purely focused on grinding out dirty, heavy and brilliantly catchy licks. Combining elements from classic stoner rock, doom, prog, desert and space rock the end product seamlessly and surprisingly flows really well. But if that for some reason doesn't immediately float your boat, you've really just gotta appreciate the band for listing their drummers name as 'Fat Bastard'.

For Fans Of; Karma To Burn, Black Pyramid, Mountain Witch, Wizard Smoke, Kamni

Friday, February 01, 2013

Putting The 'Laughter' In Slaughter...

Black Insect Laughter - Hymns Of Dispair From The Underground Compilation (2013)
The best things in life are free. Granted that may not be the case when it comes to venereal disease, but when it's kick ass, brutal compilations then it's very much the case.
If dirty hardcore, sludge, doom and post metal is your bag... and obviously it is, check out fellow blog Black Insect Laughter's collection.
Not a bad way to kick start your weekend eh?

For Fans Of; Pelican, Iron Monkey, Year Of No Light, Kamni, Johnny Truant