Saturday, April 28, 2018

Bloody Prescription Label...

Black Box Warning - Attendre La Mort (2018)

Hailing from France, the sludge three-piece of Black Box Warning makes their debut with this five-track EP, which features different dosage increments (e.g., “4 mg”, “2 mg”) for each of the track titles. Kicking off with “5 mg”, the group swings out a heavy bass presence before laying in the raw-sounding belts of growling and gnarled guitar. Tight handling of the riffs and concentrated spikes of impact show the band keeping their song focused on harsh but controlled delivery, and they keep that up with the tracks which follow, unfolding a set of dirty lungers while spine-tingling tone disruption and generally grimy atmosphere fill in the space between wrathful outbursts.
Though it all comes off as something you'll have heard before if you've listened to more than a handful of sludge albums, BBW pulls it off with earnest commitment and solid handling of the nuances, bringing a liveliness to the down'n'dirty maneuverings that helps lend believability to the usual misanthropic posturing that goes with the genre. It sounds mean, which is a big chunk of making sludge work to begin with, so as long as they keep that up while developing stuff like more memorable riff-hooks on their follow-ups, they should be well-poised to deliver even filthier barrels of bass and rage.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Attalla, Blacksmoker, Doperider, Dopethrone, Grey Widow


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Slow, Dark, and Hazy...

Ancient Lights - Ancient Lights (2018)

With their self-titled debut album, the three-piece of Ancient Lights (bringing together members of 5ive, Ramesses, and Switchblade) showcase their heaviness through almost ninety minutes of powerfully atmospheric doom. Primarily instrumental, and operating mainly off of the guitar/bass/drums foundation, the songs tend towards forms of slow build-up and gradual erosion around central riffs, with tone and technique savoring providing the bulk of the enjoyment. Lances of guitar feedback and slams of crashing bass augmented by cymbal clangs, slow plows of string reverberation and counter-play, and keening wails coaxed from the instruments are plied into a massive set of slabs, the sort of thing to let play while you get more and more dazed on your substance of choice, or just the music alone.
Judging the overall flow of the album is difficult, not just because of its sheer size, or the semi-hypnotic effect of the music, but also because it drifts along with such ungrounded freedom that remembering whether a given chord strain went to this track or that is like trying to sift out specific grains of sand from a wall-sized dune. It's enjoyable, no doubt, and powerful to boot, but it really is the sort of album to have to spend some time with to just to be able to confidently pick out distinct portions and hold them in mind. Are those really recurring progressions, or have I slipped into a daze? That sort of thing. If you can dig channelings of pretty potent doom into almost entirely instrumental beams, don't miss out on this album. It's due out July 6th, so mark your calendar and prepare your ears.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Jupiterian, Ksyatriya, Lustmord, Major Kong, Neptune Towers


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Rumble Road Revisited...

The Death Wheelers - I Tread On Your Grave (2018)

The last time we featured the Death Wheelers here on TBB was back in 2016, when we checked out their split with Witchstone on Sunmask Records. With this new album, the Wheelers are popping up on RidingEasy Records, a name which should be pretty familiar to regular readers, and the Canadian crew have put together eleven cuts of dirty, doomy rock, feeling like a strong blend of several '70s staples. From the sex-hunting hard rock to biker panic films (and their soundtracks), on through the early days of heavy metal and emergent atomic nihilism, hearing the songs of this album is like having a dope 'n' whiskey cocktail poured in your ear through a black denim funnel.
Is there fuzz? Yeah, and plenty of it, but behind that, the band is pushing riffs so fast you almost won't register how hooky they are until you catch your head bobbing right along to the bass slams, hi-hat rides, and hard drum fills. Scatter in a nice selection of samples presumably pulled from favorite films of the group (plus that old hoot, Rock: It's Your Decision), and you've got a solid bout of heavy rock set to soundtrack your next smoke session. And if the mood takes you, you can even try to piece together the story told over the course of the tracks, which involves undead bikers, cross-country riding, and plenty of debauchery. If that all sounds good to you, mark May 11th on your calendar as a day to have some spare cash set aside to pick up your own copy, or go ahead and pre-order one at the Wheelers' BandCamp.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Acid Witch, Chronobot, Lightsabres, Salem Mass, Strange Broue


Saturday, April 07, 2018

Dragged Under Waves...

Ommadon - End Times (2018)

With their latest album, the Scottish duo of Ommadon deliver about forty minutes of concentrated doom, split into two parts for vinyl formatting. If you've heard the band's work before, you'll have a general idea of what to expect this time around, but if you're new to Ommadon, buckle in for some crushing heaviness that takes its time hoisting the slabs of its tunes into place.
Part one of End Times grinds its way up that hill with steady deliberation, threading in further layers of oppressive atmosphere every few minutes or so, and it's a good fourteen minutes before the vocals make their first craggy entrance. The morass of bass vibrations and superb under-textures is something which just can't be done justice with second-hand description; you've got to load this into your stereo and soak up all those bad vibrations yourself to appreciate the uncanny creepiness, depression, anger, and hunger that fill the experience.
The second half rumbles on in much the same way, with a short pause in the activities marking the point at which physical copies will need to be flipped. While there's just as much variance to this portion as the first, the guitar does seem to be more prominent in part B, giving things a sharper edge at points, while the waves of bass reverb gnaw away at the edge of feeling. It's big, it swings for the skull, it beats. Heavy music fans, get in and hold on.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Bell Witch, Bongripper, first-era Godflesh, Skullflower, Ufomammut