Saturday, October 28, 2017

Old Waters Run Deep...

Tuna de Tierra - Tuna de Tierra (2017)

For their first full-length album, emerging two years after their debut EP, the Italians of Tuna de Tierra have put together a batch of seven new songs, and their warm desert rock is even more enticing in long form. Strolling through riffs in songs both short (like the tasty intro track “Slow Burn”) and sprawling (the ten-minute-plus “Out of Time”), the band projects an air of casual coolness that doesn't sweat even when ripping into their most heated shredding.
Much of the music focuses on simply building up solid riffs and melodies, fanning out measures of chill noodling and mellow grooving, and in doing so, TdT make some of the friendliest and most natural-sounding music I've heard in quite a while. There's nods to the blues roots of early heavy metal, and to the grunginess of '90s desert rock, but it's blended with their own style in a way that brings out the best of each, and leads to some very strong rocking that doesn't overplay its hand.
As welcoming as the music is, it holds onto powerful writing throughout the album's run, always ready to give it that shade of extra intensity that ramps things up to attack mode. With these seven tracks, Tuna de Tierra amply demonstrate how you don't have to lean on loud bass fuzz to be heavy as Hell.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; early Black Sabbath, Desert Suns, Kyuss, Merlin, Mondo Drag


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Slamming Into Place...

Marmora - Criterion EP (2017)

With this debut EP, the Chicago-based quartet of Marmora introduce themselves to the world in high style, with the three brothers Salazar (Alejandro on bass, Ulysses on drums, and Zaid on guitar) joined by Allen Cardenas on vocals/synth/guitar. Leading with the title track, the music strides out into a rich blend of '70s heavy metal and modern heavy rock, working tasty licks and solid riffs, with bridges that ramp up the energy and quickly kick ass. “Apathy” follows, quickly putting lie to the name by busting out some hard, near-punk raucousness, and barreling along on a drum-bass combo chugger that belts along with building power into a crashing finish. And lastly, “Flowers in Your Garden” twists back into the heavy rock/metal terrain, growling out another beastly riff dabbed up with some bluesy sighs from the guitars, and coming to an end with pizzazz.
As the group's first record, it shows off a lot of strengths, and hardly any weaknesses. Part of that can be chalked up to coming in under a quarter of an hour (angling for a possible 7” release?), but that trimness also means that anyone with an ear for heavy music should be able to squeeze this into their tight schedules and enjoy it. It's also likely to leave listeners eager for more, and (if they're like me) wondering how the group handles their stuff live. For the answer to the last part, readers near Chicago can catch a show on the 4th of November, over at The Drunken Donut in Joliet. See 'em for those who can't, and keep your fingers crossed for more Marmora in the near future.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Fatso Jetson, Funeral Horse, Fuzz Evil, Lords of Beacon House, Mondo Drag


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Composure Flowing Away...

Odradek Room - A Man of Silt (2017)

Coming to us from Ukraine, the group of Odradek Room have readied their sophomore album, and A Man of Silt shows the band delving into a compelling mixture of prog, doom, post-rock, and sludge, with a variety of ways to blend those styles flowing out of every track. Flexing their musical muscles in a range covering slow and melodic introspection up through snarling, dissonant rage, OR continually shift from one blend to the next without making the changes feel anything but natural. The number of instruments they put to use is just as impressive, and like the styles, they're brought together in such an organic way that their diversity can fly right past the ears. The vocals aren't quite as fluid with their changes, both both clean and dirty singing is put to solid effect, with enough time spent in instrumental passages to help smooth their presence.
It's an impressive and ambitious album, and as a sophomore release, all the more staggering for the range OR are able to pull off with few hitches, with a level of depth that issues a siren's call for listeners to return to it again and again. Give it a go if you've been in want of expansive, experimental, and extremely good metal.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Animi Vultus, Bell Witch, Hesperian Death Horse, Indukti, Mamaleek


Saturday, October 07, 2017

Gravity And Ether...

Earth Drive - Stellar Drone (2017)

We last heard from Earth Drive around this time of year back in 2015, with their EP Planet Mantra. If you were with us back then, you might remember how much I loved that record, along with their first album, Known by the Ancients (and if you weren't, you can read those reviews right here). Now they're back with a second full album, sounding even better than those excellent earlier efforts, blending their earthy psychedelia with hard metal power, and commanding head-banging reactions again and again.
They vary the balance between psych and metal up quite a bit across the six songs proper (plus a quick little intro track), but there's a strong sense of character and style connecting them all, as the bass thunders loud, the drums snake and smack through gnarly rhythms, the guitar wails and snarls, and the vocals coil deftly through it all. It's one of those albums that can make you think 'I should upgrade my speakers for this,' but fans of heavy psych should be able to enjoy this wherever and whatever their listening situation is, provided the volume can go high enough. Definitely a strong contender for year's best, at least in my book.
And hearing the album, it's hard to believe that the band has such a low-key presence online. The album's getting a CD release by RagingPlanet Records, but as of yet, no word on a vinyl release (even though, at 48 minutes run-time, with the title track opening up the second half, it's practically tailor-made for one). Hopefully some savvy specialty label will get their ears on this and get some LPs pressed, but don't sit on this album until that happens, grab yourself a CD or digital copy and fill your home, vehicle, or wherever with the power of this group. Get it, savor it, and spread the word.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Gripe, Frozen Planet....1969, Mondo Drag, Nelly Olsen, Venus Sleeps