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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Saturday, August 04, 2018

Precious As Blood...

Idle Hands - Don't Waste Your Time (2018)


Surfacing from the heavier end of the Seattle metal pool, the quartet of Idle Hands make their debut with the five tracks of this EP, enticing listeners with '80s-styled guitar and bass work, modern death flavoring on the drums, and a pop-ish approach to the vocal presence. It balances out to something with much more of a hard rock leaning than all the metal components would suggest, and as their press release notes, there's some comparisons to be made to Ghost, though Idle Hands approach things with significantly less theatricality.
There's some solid songwriting across the EP, with firm foundations established before the band heads off on elaboration and tangents, and the weighted rock flavoring makes for an interesting fit with the usually-melancholy lyrical matter. Occasional bouncing drum rolls lighten up the Gothic veneer with lively indulgence, and the rhythm work in general shows appealing creativity to its twists and noodles. A strong first showing for the band, this should catch plenty of ears as they continue work on a full-length follow-up.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Demon Head, Exciter, Ghost, Van Halen, Woods of Ypres




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