We all know it’s a special moment in the life of a band when they hit the road for the first time. Often it’s not more than a tentative weekender, maybe hitting a couple different towns over subsequent nights before going back to work on Monday, the 48-hour rock star in a packed van. Inside jokes, lousy food, plenty of volume — those are good times. Cheers to Athens trio Green Yeti on getting out for a few nights and making it happen. They’re hooked up with Total Volume Agency supporting their 2016 debut, The Yeti has Landed — streaming below — so I get the feeling that the five-night run they’ve got booked for early May won’t be their last, but only one tour can be your first tour, and I hope theirs is awesome.
Dates and the David Paul Seymour poster came in from the PR wire:
Green Yeti – Mini Tour 2017
Brace yourselves! The Yeti is about to leave its cave and make a short trip to explore new, unforeseen lands!
Hailing from the feral wilderness of the Athenian underground, Green Yeti descended to the world of man three years ago, in order to spew out their savage psychedelic riffage. Featuring members of Brotherhood of Sleep, Reversed Nature, Stonenrow and Spacement, they have shared the stage with the likes of Stoned Jesus, Egypt, Dopelord and The Re-Stoned. Yeti’s full-length debut: “The Yeti Has Landed” launched last year; making its way fast to many 2016 best-of lists!
The heavy psych three-piece, is about to embark on its first Eastern European outing this May, on a mini tour organized by Total Volume, home of bands like Nightstalker, Egypt, Valley of the Sun and more. If monster riffs, bleak atmospheres, spaced out vocals and foggy psychedelia is your thing; then you’ve hit bullseye!
Chicago extremists Drug Honkey will release their fifth album, Cloak of Skies, May 5 via Transcending Obscurity Records. For those unfamiliar with the industrially-tinged sludge dystopias the band conjures, the opening roar of “Pool of Failure” will likely catch you off guard. Hell, even if you caught wind of their last outing, 2013’s Ghost in the Fire (review here), it’s entirely likely that Cloak of Skies will offer more than a few shocking moments in its play toward unremitting darkness, the breadth over which that darkness seems to stretch, the crushing nature of their churn and the somehow punkish undertones at work beneath cuts like “Sickening Wastoid” and “Outlet of Hatred,” which together with “Pool of Failure” form an opening salvo reimagining early C.O.C. or at times even Napalm Death through the lens of a terrible future that, one might argue, has actually come to pass.
As one might figure, Godflesh are a key influence. Enough so that the four-piece of vocalist/synthesist Paul Gillis, guitarist Gabe Grosso, bassist Ian Brown and drummer Adam Smith sought out Justin K. Broadrick to remix “Pool of Failure” as a bonus track. Vast, Jesu-style drone plays a role as well, as “(It’s Not) The Way” demonstrates, and certainly the more extended finale duo of the 10-minute “The Oblivion of an Opiate Nod” and the eight-minute title-track have their elements of soundscaping as well, but as textured as they are, they’re full of horrors, which is Drug Honkey‘s specialty to be sure. Their roots are in noise and Chicago’s extreme metal underground, but the actual sonics the band emits are twisted beyond whatever their inspirations might be, and through layered growls and spoken lines and a steady wash of synth and effects over the grueling roll of “The Oblivion of an Opiate Nod,” Gillis feels just as much like the one calling down the storm as the one being consumed by it. A deathly expanse at its most ranging, Cloak of Skies is defined by its tortured sensibility and passes its cruelty onto the listener in hyperbole-ready fashion. However one might feel about it listening to “Pool of Failure,” chances are ambivalence won’t be a factor.
But gruesome art is still art, and the band — now also veterans of Denmark’s prestigious Roskilde Festival — are frank in the purposefulness of what they’re doing on Cloak of Skies. These songs, from “Pool of Failure” through the title-cut, are built around the intent to convey a truly misanthropic feel, and accordingly, their churn is simply going to come across as overwhelming to some listeners. That’s been the case with their work for a long time, and while if we’re going by the level of what’s happening in terms of the superficial audio it certainly doesn’t sound like anyone is coming out on top, it’s the source of Drug Honkey‘s success on the record. They revel in these miseries, and by the time “Cloak of Skies” rounds out with its looped vocals — not even words, just syllables at that point — samples, guest saxophone from Corrections House/Yakuza‘s Bruce Lamont and droning abrasion, they’ve turned them into a potent ritual that’s as immersive as it is off-putting. Imagine swirling psychedelia but every color is black. Across seven songs and 50 minutes (including the remix), Drug Honkey bask in tragedy and come out on the other side having covered themselves in filth as if to show us our own complicity in its creation. If there were any justice in the universe, they’d be playing in art galleries.
Cloak of Skies will be out May 5 on Transcending Obscurity. I’m not sure “enjoy” is the right word, but you can hear the premiere of “Pool of Failure” below, followed by more info off the PR wire.
And yes, I hope you enjoy:
US band DRUG HONKEY have always been a step ahead of their peers, if there were any in the first place. There’s a form of tenacity in their music of the same kind that will have you crawl ahead in life despite all its inherent ugliness pinning you down. They are taking things to a different level, with guest contributions from the legend himself, Justin K. Broadrick (GODFLESH, JESU) and Bruce Lamont (YAKUZA, CORRECTIONS HOUSE) with his saxophone eeriness, and having the hand-painted artwork of Paolo Girardi (INQUISITION, CHTHE’ILIST) represent the pulsating sickness of this ambitious and unconventional release.
Album lineup – Paul Gillis (Honkey Head) – Vocals, Synths, Samples, FX Adam Smith (BH Honkey) – Drums Gabe Grosso (Hobbs) – Guitar Ian Brown (Brown Honkey) – Bass
T.G. Olson of Across Tundras steps away from the acoustic drone folk of his recent solo work with his latest album, Foothills Before the Mountain, and it doesn’t take long for one to notice the change. In addition to layers of acoustic and electric guitar, flutes, organ, vocals, tambourine, and so on, the opening title-track has a rhythmic heft and — wait for it — drums! It’s much more of a full-band vibe this time out, and it may indeed be that the mountain whose foothills we’re standing in is the much-awaited next offering from Across Tundras. If that’s the case, Olson is effectively drawing the line sonically in that direction here, as cuts like “Dying on the Silver Screen” and “What’s Mine” have that inimitable combination of swing and Americana ramble that has become the hallmark of Across Tundras‘ style.
I’m going to review the Foothills Before the Mountain hopefully sometime in the next couple weeks, so I won’t say much more about it than that for now. Olson, however, was kind enough to offer some comment on its making, and as ever, the album’s been released as a name-your-price download on the Across Tundras/T.G. Olson Bandcamp, and you can stream it and get the files at the bottom of this post.
T.G. Olson – Foothills Before the Mountain
New album of heavy sounds available for free/name your price download!
Played, recorded, and mixed by T.G. Olson in the months of December 2016 through March 2017. All instrumentation played by T.G. Olson.
Tanner Olson on Foothills Before the Mountain:
After finishing La Violenza Naturale and really all the recent solo albums which leaned towards the lighter folk/country side and followed a similar formula, I just knew wanted to do something drastically different. I actually wrote these songs and recorded the basic structure on organ first… which I had never done before. I had no idea what they would turn into from the outset. As I started recording and building the tracks the sound took shape and it was somewhere in between Across Tundras and T.G. Olson along with weird ’90s and other random influences. It’s a bit different than previous albums… but what the hell, Across Tundras and my solo stuff are all over the place musically as is… so I guess it keeps up with that unpredictable and changing nature.
I also thought it would be a good little tide over until the new Across Tundras album finally sees the light of day, which will hopefully be later this year. The songs are written and demoed, just waiting for everyone involved who are currently scattered around the country to come together and start playing again!
Tracklisting: 1. Foothills Before the Mountain 04:47 2. Dying on the Silver Screen 04:53 3. No More Debts to Pay 05:37 4. A Stones Throw 05:01 5. Dust on the Wayside 05:02 6. Leader of the New Death 05:02 7. What’s Mine 04:43 8. From Where You Came 04:55 9. Cut Losses 04:21
Starting tomorrow, Greek heavy rock forerunners 1000mods hit the road in Europe. Big time. The four-piece from Chiliomodi will be on tour for more than the next month supporting their excellent late-2016 outing, Repeated Exposure To… (review here), which seems only to have picked up momentum following its release and is sure to continue to do so as the band hand-delivers it to cities across the continent, making stops along the way at Riff Ritual Fest, Desertfest London, Desertfest Berlin and Tubecult Festival for good measure.
To mark their going, 1000mods have a new video for the song “Electric Carve” that, rife with clips of wind-surfing, skating, the band rocking out on a suitably-rocky beach, etc., captures the easy-grooving vibe they’re going for that seems to have caught on in such a huge way across Europe. Greece has produced some killer acts across this now-waning decade and has emerged with one of Europe’s most enviable scenes along with Italy (and of course the mainstays: Germany and Sweden), but I don’t know if anyone from the Hellenic Republic has made quite the same kind of impact as 1000mods, and as they’ve done it on a foundation of quality songwriting and regularly breaking their collective ass on tours like the one they’re about to start, it’s hard to argue with the warm reception they’re getting at this point as being anything other than well-earned.
Bottom line? Keep kicking ass, gents.
The run starts in Bulgaria and finishes in Italy and you can see the complete list of dates under the “Electric Carve” clip below, which I hope you’ll enjoy:
1000mods, “Electric Carve” official video
This is our first video clip!
In collaboration with Jagged Melon Productions and G.N.P. Productions, we want to pay our tribute to all the riders who employ our music throughout these years. Electric carve is dedicated to you!
So grab your board, put your headphones on and hit the road, catch the wind, carve the mountains and the sea! Cheers to all the riders that participated in the video!
CREDITS Directed by / Themistocles Lambridis Produced by / Jagged Melon Productions Assistant Producer / Alex Masmanidis Filmed by / Steve Kekis, Alex Masmanidis, Konstantinos Kalavrezos, Dimitris Lambridis, Themistocles Lambridis, Meletis Vaxevanidis, Spiros Badios
\ Riders / Spiros Badios, Stelios Danourdis, Nikos Matsourdelis, Meletis Vaxevanidis, Petros Martinos, Vasilis Glitsis, Lykourgos Neofotistos, Steve Kekis, Alex Masmanidis, Soulis, Dirty South Crew.
Sound of Liberation and Ouga Booga & the Mighty Oug Touring present:
1000mods – Repeated and Exposed To – European Tour 2017 23/03/2017 – SOFIA, BG | MIXTAPE5 24/03/2017 – BUCHAREST, RO | FABRICA 25/03/2017 – CLUJ NAPOCA, RO | SHELTER ((SOLD OUT)) 26/03/2017 – TIMISOARA, RO | DAOS CLUB 28/03/2017 – BEOGRAD, RS | ELEKTROPIONIR 29/03/2017 – NOVI SAD, RS | THE QUARTER 30/03/2017 – ZUPANJA, HR | MKC 31/03/2017 – TBA 01/04/2017 – MUNICH, DE | UNDER THE BLACK MOON 02/04/2017 – LEIPSIG, DE | WERK 2 03/04/2017 – PRAGUE, CZ | KLUB 007 04/04/2017 – BUDAPEST, HU | DURER KERT 05/04/2017 – ZAGREB, HR | VINTAGE INDUSTRIAL BAR 06/04/2017 – INNSBRUCK, AT | PMK 07/04/2017 – NUREMBERG, DE | MUZ 08/04/2017 – CHEMNITZ, DE | AJZ 09/04/2017 – OSNABRUCK, DE | BASTARD CLUB 10/04/2017 – HAMBURG, DE | HAFFENKANG 11/04/2017 – AMSTERDAM, NL | WINSTON KINGDOM 12/04/2017 – KARLSRUHE, DE | ALTE HACKEREI 13/04/2017 – FREIBURG, DE | SLOW CLUB 14/04/2017 – OLTEN, CH | COC d’OR 15/04/2017 – WINTERTHUR, CH | GASWERK 17/04/2017 – SAN SEBASTIAN, ES | DABADABA 18/04/2017 – GIJON, ES | SALA ACAPOULCO 19/04/2017 – PORTO, PT | CAVE45 20/04/2017 – LISBON, PT | RCA CLUB 21/04/2017 – MADRID, ES | WURLITZER BALLROOM 22/04/2017 – BARCELONA, ES | RIFF RITUAL FEST 23/04/2017 – MONTPELLIER, FR | BLACK SHEEP 24/04/2017 – GENEVE, CH | KALVINGRAD 25/04/2017 – COLMAR, FR | GRILLEN 26/04/2017 – TBA 27/04/2017 – PARIS, FR | PETIT BAIN 28/04/2017 – LONDON, UK | DESERTFEST LONDON 29/04/2017 – DEVENTER, NL | BURGERWEESHUIS 30/04/2017 – BERLIN, DE | DESERTFEST BERLIN 03/05/2017 – TRIESTE, IT | TETRIS 04/05/2017 – TORINO, IT | BLAH BLAH 05/05/2017 – PISA, IT | ALBATROSS 06/05/2017 – PESCARA, IT | TUBECULT FESTIVAL 07/05/2017 – BARI, IT | ARCI OPEN SOURCE
100mods is: Dani G. / Bass & Vox Giannis S. / Guitars George T. / Guitars Labros G. / Drums
If you haven’t yet, go ahead and add Cybernetic Witch Cult to your list of completely over-the-top British bands currently riffing their way around the UK underground. From their what-the-hell-is-that-about moniker to the what-the-hell-is-that-about cover art for their forthcoming third album, Troglodithic Trip, to how ambitiously they seem to want to live up to that title, to the simple fact that they refer to the release date using the Star Wars identifier “May the Fourth,” it’s safe to say there’s no danger of the Cornwall trio falling down a trap of taking themselves too seriously. However, as “Cult of the Druid” demonstrates in its tone, groove and hook, neither are they just screwing around in their basement rehearsal space for the sheer sake of doing so.
Add to that the fact that they’ve got tour dates over the next couple months covering a good swath of the UK and one has to wonder even less about the veracity of Cybernetic Witch Cult‘s intentions. That is to say, if they didn’t mean it, they could just as easily not mean it from home. Yeah, these guys are clearly about having a decent time, and that’s nothing to be held against them, but in a scene as crowded as that in the post-Orange Goblin UK, you gotta be loud if you want to be noticed, and they stand themselves out via a sonic blend that speaks to classic thrash via galloping double-kick drumming and Hetfieldian snarl. A silly name is one thing — there are certainly a few around — but if you don’t back it up by kicking ass, it’s going to be all you’re left with.
Check out the premiere of Cybernetic Witch Cult‘s “Cult of the Druid” video below and see what I mean. The energy of their delivery, the on-the-beat force of the song, and the scorch in that final solo? It’s all right on. Yeah, they’re writing material about druids leaving the planet or some such, and the clip is a green-screen band performance dripping in self-awareness, but the vibe is as heavy as it is tongue-in-cheek. Hope you dig in, and hope you agree.
The band’s upcoming list of tour dates includes a stint in May with Doctor Cyclops. That run and the rest of their shows can be found under the video below, along with a quote from the band about the theme behind “Cult of the Druid.”
Cybernetic Witch Cult, “Cult of the Druid” official video
Cybernetic Witch Cult on “Cult of the Druid”:
The original plan for Troglodithic Trip was to re-record our favourite tracks from the first album but with a better production and spend some more time developing the songs so they could be on par with our last release. But we got carried away, wrote two new tracks and completely changed some of the old songs! It’s sort of ‘old meets new.’
‘Cult of the Druid’ is a mini-epic about following a cult leader to Mars (imagine Elon Musk meets Charles Manson meets Merlin) as the Earth sits on the brink of nuclear war in a last ditch effort to colonise space. It’s the longest song we’ve done so far and it really gave us a chance to mix all our influences together in one song.
Cybernetic Witch Cult live: Apr 01 Cobblestones Bridgwater, UK Apr 07 Charlie’s Bar Redruth, UK Apr 19 Whiskers Newquay, UK Apr 22 Bowl Mansfield, UK May 02 Livewire Youth Music Plymouth, UK May 05 The Swan Ipswich, UK* May 06 The Wheatsheaf Banbury, UK* May 07 The Dev London, UK* May 08 The Gryphon Bristol, UK* May 09 The Junction Plymouth Plymouth, UK* Jun 10 Boston Music Room London, UK Jun 17 The Gryphon Bristol, UK Jul 01 Oaklands Farm Cardiff, UK Jul 08 The End Of The World Festival Plymouth, UK * with Doctor Cyclops
Cybernetic Witch Cult is: Alex Wyld – Vocals, guitars Kale Deane – Bass, vocals Lewis May – Drums
I’m not sure I’d tag London’s Ex People as stoner or sludge, as the PR wire does below in announcing the four-piece have signed to New Heavy Sounds for the release of their debut album, Bird, on May 19, but they certainly are heavy. If the new streaming single “Over,” which you can hear at the bottom of this post, is anything to go by, I might even add “progressive” to that. In whatever genre, subgenre or other kind of categorization one might want to situate them, Ex People arrive with an immediately professional sounding presentation and crisp songwriting process, so if you’re seeing the words “stoner” and “London” and thinking you’re getting another batch of drunk dudes trying to sound like Orange Goblin‘s The Big Black — not that there’s anything wrong with that, because there definitely isn’t — think again.
Better quit while I’m ahead (behind?). News and track follow, courtesy of the aforementioned PR wire:
New Heavy Sounds sign sludge four piece Ex People
The band tackle dystopian themes on their debut album ‘Bird’, for release in May
New Heavy Sounds is pleased to announce our latest signings, stoner sludge four-piece Ex People.
Emerging from the London DIY scene, vocalist Laura and drummer Vicki first met playing in series of riot grrrl and noise bands, before forming Ex People in 2015 with guitarist Calum and bassist Ed. Since then, the quartet have gone on to share stages with the likes of Palehorse, Lower Slaughter, Torpor, and Church of the Cosmic Skull. The band self-released a digital single “Without/Surekill” in late 2016. Ex People also also wrote and released a video for Without, directed by DIY filmmaker Jojo Khor, about a teenage runaway joining an all-female cult led by the band’s singer, Laura.
Now for NHS, the band have delivered a bruisingly assured debut album.
‘Bird’ was recorded with Wayne Adams (Vodun, USA Nails, Death Pedals, Casual Nun) at Bear Bites Horse Studios, and he’s managed to perfectly capture the visceral weight of their sound, a startling amalgam of super filthy fuzz thick riffs, grunge, noise rock and stoner, combined with a punk attitude. Taking their cue from bands as diverse as Electric Wizard, Bardo Pond, Harvey Milk and Kylesa, along with 90s sludge such as the Melvins (yet still managing to sound cohesive) the ten tracks that make up ‘Bird’, combine stoner hooks and soaring vocals with a crushing heaviness. Add to that some thumping motorik beats (almost like a heavy ‘Neu’ at times), shot through with an ever-present melodic sensibility, and you have a band that once again shows that when it comes to heavy music, all gates are open.
Lyrically Laura draws on apocalyptic and dystopian themes, with “Over” telling the story of a planet colliding with the earth, sung over a driving, crunching circular riff. Other tracks tackle real-world horror, with “The Host” about a woman and child escaping domestic violence, and opening track “Not a Drill” calling for resistance against oppressive regimes. And album closer ‘Crested’ is as dark as it gets, 8 minutes of full on doom meets discord, combining the atmospherics of Windhand with the slowed down hardcore of My War-era Black Flag. ‘Bird’ is gloriously heavy, fuzzed up yet melodic, at times bleak and thrilling as it is infectious.
It’s a bold statement of intent, and we are stoked to add Ex People to the NHS roster.
‘Bird” will be released on May 26th on limited edition red and black vinyl, cd and digital.
Ex People is: Laura Kirsop: Vocals Calum Gunn: Guitar Edward White: Bass Vicki Dawson: Drums
Should be interesting to hear what Los Angeles two-piece Aboleth come up with for their next EP and how it sounds as filtered through the commercially-relevant knob-twisting of producer Ulrich Wild. The heavy blues rock duo offered up their debut outing, EP 1, on CD at the end of January and have announced they’ve signed with Wild‘s imprint, WURMGroup, for the follow-up short release, soon to be recorded.
Always a risk when a hard rock producer takes on a heavy rock band, but baguitarist — yeah, it’s kind of like a bass and a guitar; not that hard to figure out once you parse the word — Collyn McCoy seems to have a handle on the situation tonally, and his past experience in Trash Titan and Ed Mundell‘s The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic should continue to serve him well, while in the meantime, Wild is sure to coax the best out of vocalist Brigitte “The Kid” Roka, since getting top performances out of top performers is how one winds up a Grammy-winning producer in the first place. Or so I’m told.
More to come when I have it. Till then, the PR wire makes it official:
ABOLETH signs with WURMGroup; Ulrich Wild to produce second EP
Los Angeles dirt metal duo ABOLETH announce today that they have signed with WURMgroup, the label founded in 2015 by multi-platinum producer Ulrich Wild (Dethklok, Pantera, Deftones, Static-x).
The band and Grammy-nominated producer convened last week at the world-famous House of Pies in Los Angeles to finalize the deal — in typical rock ‘n’ roll fashion — over pie.
In addition to signing Aboleth to his label, Wild will produce and mix the upcoming release. Drum duties for the EP will be handled by legendary skinsman Marco Minnemann (The Aristocrats, Joe Satriani, Necrophagist).
“I’m very excited to welcome Aboleth to the growing roster of WURMgroup acts,” Wild said. “I’ve known Collyn and Brigitte for years and have worked with both on several projects. They are incredibly talented, with very different influences. They are pushing the boundaries of rock, metal, and blues to create their own mutant musical reality.”
Aboleth was founded in 2016 by Collyn McCoy (Trash Titan, The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic) and 21-year-old whisky-throated belter Brigitte Roka. Roka propels the group with her Joplin-esque grit and soaring highs, while McCoy lays the sludgy foundation care of his baguitar — a bass/guitar hybrid that offers the lows of the former and the highs of the latter. Together the two meld stoner-doom with primal blues and desert rock to form what they have dubbed “dirt metal.” The seven-song EP will expand on the themes explored on their 2016 debut cassette – murder, revenge, lust, devil worship, and the benefits of a plant-based diet – while pushing their sound deeper into the proto-blues swamp hinted at in such tunes as “No Good.”
Aboleth has several upcoming shows in the Los Angeles area (with Rick Ferrante of Sasquatch/The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic on drums). Summer tour dates will be announced soon.
Posted in Reviews on March 21st, 2017 by JJ Koczan
Pressed in an edition of 750 green translucent LPs, Death Sessions begins with a faded-in wash of cymbals, a warm bassline, and soon unfolds a special stage in the life cycle of one of Argentina’s most pivotal heavy rock acts — definitely of their generation and perhaps of all time. Buenos Aires trio Los Natas released five proper studio full-lengths in their decade and a half together, as well numerous jam collections, shorter offerings, EPs, splits, compilations and so on, and their work ranged from the pivotal desert fuzz of their 1996/1998 debut, Delmar (discussed here), on Man’s Ruin Records, to the socially conscious motor-thrust of 2009’s Nuevo Orden de la Libertad (review here), on Small Stone, never failing to offer something different and distinct along the way.
The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Sergio Chotsourian — see also: Ararat, Soldati, his Sergio Ch. solo work, etc. — bassist Gonzalo Villagra and drummer Walter Broide called it a day circa 2012 after the 2011 release of the compilation Rutation (review here), but their influence has continued to thrive particularly in South America, where Chotsourian has spent the last several years building his label, South American Sludge Records, as a go-to outlet for underground heavy rock from the across the continent. Death Sessions comes stamped with a South American Sludge logo on it, arrives simultaneously with a reissue of the 2002 third album from Los Natas, Corsario Negro — also limited in its number — and again, finds Los Natas at a very particular point in their career. Tracked live in its eight-track entirety, mixed and mastered by Patricio Claypole at Estudio El Attic, it captures the last time they were in the recording studio together.
As to what they were doing in the studio that day in 2010, I’m not entirely sure. Four out of the eight inclusions on Death Sessions come from Nuevo Orden de la Libertad — that’s “Las Campanadas” and “Nuevo Orden de la Libertad” on side A and “Ganar-Perder” and “10.000” on side B — and the rest of the material derives, one song each, from the rest of their full-length catalog, so the clearest impression from the platter is that what we’re hearing is a live set being rehearsed. Why this particular rehearsal wound up being recorded, I couldn’t say. Maybe Los Natas were a band who always tracked their practices, as some do. If so, there should be countless such tapes out there, but Death Sessions of course feels special for both its context as well as for the immediacy of the three-piece’s delivery. Hearing songs like “Soma” from Delmar at the outset of side A feeding into “Las Campanadas” or hearing the track “Rutation,” which originally appeared on their second album, 1999’s Ciudad de Brahman (discussed here), close out after “10.000” not only shows the stylistic swath that Los Natas covered during their years together, but underscores how much their sound was their own across that time.
A live set ideally would function much the same. But live sets come and go. The difference with Death Sessions is in the clarity of the presentation. True, they grew tonally rawer over their records, moving away from the sandy warmth of their early work to incorporate influences from punk rock, Motörhead, and so on, but Death Sessions gives them an opportunity to draw the various sides of their personality together. “Humo Negro del Vaticano” from 2006’s El Hombre Montaña seems to find middle ground between the quieter opening of “Soma” and “10.000” still to come as it rounds out side A, and this is preserved it in a way that even a concert film — which would certainly be welcome but inherently about more than just the audio progression of the band — couldn’t do.
From the tiny stops in the winding riff of “Nuevo Orden de la Libertad” to the soothing patience in “Ganar-Perder” and the psychedelic mini-jam at the end, leading to the crashes at the start of the rolling, jazzy tempo-play of “El Cono del Encono” from Corsario Negro with Broide joining Chotsourian on vocals, Death Sessions ends up summarizing Los Natas‘ career in a way more fitting than even a greatest-hits-type compilation couldn’t, because it unites the songs in tone and performance, rather than simply drawing from various studio sources or other recordings.
Chotsourian leads a trail-off jam at the end of “El Cono del Encono” as well, which brings “10.000” around to reground the proceedings with a more straightforward push ahead of the finale, following that uptick in energy with another punkish drive, building in speed as it gets going, headed for a chaotic crash. This very obviously isn’t the first time Los Natas have finished a set with “Rutation,” and they seem to have a good time with it, adding some swing to the delivery, Chotsourian and Broide shouting out lines together. It’s a last bit of fun that, again, in the context of this being the final time Los Natas would record, puts emphasis on their chemistry, which if there’s an underlying message to Death Sessions at all, it’s that that’s where the emphasis belongs.
I’ll be blunt and say I continue to hope for a Los Natas reunion. As a fan of the band across the sundry points of their development, I think they broke up when they still had more to offer sonically, and to me, they seem all the more relevant now in the half-decade that’s passed since they stopped. A new album, whatever form it ultimately would take, feels like a prospect that would only build on their legacy. Whether or not that will happen, I don’t know and won’t speculate, but especially as a piece for fans, Death Sessions reinforces much of what made Los Natas so special in the first place. Though it may have been recorded in happenstance — that is, the band may or may not have known their time together was coming to a close — as a document of who they were and what they did, it is fortunate these songs and this moment can be so righteously preserved.