Posted in Features on May 28th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
[TO ENTER GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form. You’ll be contacted at that address if you win.]
Two albums available this time, free of charge, from Minotauro Records. New stuff from Italian classic-style doom metallers Strange Here, and Peruvian conjurers El Hijo de la Aurora, going out. Two very different albums, to be sure, but both standing on their own merits as well, the former with a foot solidly in in the canon of doom and the latter off on a more bizarre, ambient tangent. Either way you go, you can’t beat the price.
Which, once again, is nothing. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post to be entered to win both CDs courtesy of Minotauro, which sent along the following background on both albums:
STRANGE HERE, II
In 2006, Alexander Scardavian (Paul Chain, Steve Sylvester) met Domenico “Dom” Lotito, a 20 year-old guitarist from Milan who had played in a few local bands, including the renowned Error Amplifier. The two immediately developed a strong friendship, and started to lay down the foundation of a new version of Strange Here with Dom moving over to the bass. Soon the two started to develop more material with the help of a few studio musicians on keyboards and drums, and in 2013 the pair started to focus more intensely on their objective, notwithstanding a geographical distance that separated them.
In August 2014 they entered into the studio with three songs ready and many more ideas. This was the culmination of 12 years of soul-searching and existential uneasiness. And so the Strange Here II came to be, recorded and mixed in 20 hours at Atomic Studios in Longiano, Italy. Recorded live, with lots of improvised meanderings, Alexander’s and Dom’s anger, frustration and suffering over the years was conveyed through intense and obscure music.
EL HIJO DE LA AURORA, The Enigma of Evil
EL HIJO DE LA AURORA (The Son of Dawn) is an experimental doom metal band formed in Lima, Peru in May, 2008 by the musician and writer Joaquin Cuadra and guitarist Manolo Garfias. Over the years the lineup has changed several times, leaving Joaquin as the only remaining original member. In their lyrics, the band explores elements of philosophy, occultism, witchcraft, esotericism and spirituality. The album explores new sonic territories, and is a balance between classic 70s doom and experimental sounds with unconventional instruments like Tibetan bowls and gongs.
“The Enigma of Evil” explores the origin of the cosmos, and how we establish our relationship with the spiritual world. The album recalls concepts covered by Copernicus and Helena Petrovna Blavatsky in her books Isis Unveiled, and The Secret Doctrine.
Again, how to enter:
Leave a comment on this post with your email address in the form provided. Please note: I neither have the interest nor the capacity to save or sell any personal information given to me. You will not be added to any email lists as a result of entering. Frankly, I’m not that savvy.
Thanks to Minotauro Records for offering up the discs, and good luck to all who enter!
Following a recent shift that brought aboard Andrea Van Cleef to handle guitar and vocals, Bergamo-based trio Humulus will this weekend issue their first release with the new lineup: A beer. A new collaboration with Birrificio Indipendente Elav arrives with a release party this weekend, and the three-piece also present their new video for the track “The Liar Priest” by Snakehill Productions to coincide.
The cut comes off Humulus‘ 2012 self-titled debut LP, which was released by Go Down Records, so it’s a bit of the old and new from the band, who are set to begin the process of songwriting for what will no doubt be a substantially different sophomore outing. In the meantime, “The Liar Priest” makes a stand in bruiser aggression residing on the border between heavy rock and sludge, thick riffery and gruff shouts abounding amid a catchy chorus and steady groove.
For the video, they — of course — perform at a brewery. Presumably, it’s Elav, and along with the trio kicking out “The Liar Priest,” we also get to see some beer being made which, again, of course, they sample at the end. Hardly the first to dig into a beverage after a hard day’s work, but they seem to be having a good time all the same. If you’re wondering, there will be fish sandwiches at the beer release party on Saturday. As if it would be a party otherwise.
I’m happy today to host the premiere of Snakehill‘s video for “The Liar Priest,” which is followed by some more background on Humulus for those who’d like to be filled in. Please imbibe responsibly:
Humulus, “The Liar Priest” official video
Humulus are a heavy-stoner power trio from Bergamo (Italy), formed in 2009. “The Liar Priest” is taken from the 2012 debut album “Humulus”.
Andrea Van Cleef (guitar-voice) Giorgio (bass) Massimiliano (drums)
Humulus are a heavy-stoner power trio from Brescia/Bergamo (Italy), formed in 2009. Their first self titled album is released by Go Down Records in december 2012. The ten tracks of this first work fully reflect the stoner attitude of the band and their aggressive sound that is best expressed during their live shows. 2013 and 2014 are truly years full of pivotal shows for Humulus career; the band shared the stage with bands like Corrosion Of Conformity, Karma To Burn, Naam and Truckfighters, and they participated also in festivals like Home Festival and Maximum Festival.
In 2014 another great love of the band sees the light: beer! Humulus produced for 2014 their eponymous black stoner IPA, brewed in collaboration with ELAV Indipendent Brewery. Humulus sound is just like that: a combination of fat and fuzzy guitars, heavy riffs…and a lot of beer!
In 2015, after a change of formation, Humulus are ready to write new songs for their second album that probably will see the light at the beginning of 2016
Posted in Reviews on May 20th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
The circumstances by which I found myself in the Tri-State Area were complex enough that I feel no need to recount them, but the point is, if you’re in town anyway, and Ufomammut are rolling through Brooklyn to hit the Saint Vitus Bar on their first US tour ever, supported by Portland’s Usnea and locals Mountain God opening, the obvious choice is to go. Yes, I was at a show in Boston on Sunday, but that seemed like long enough ago that it didn’t matter. It’s fucking Ufomammut. You show up.
I missed the three-piece at Roadburn in 2011, but saw them there in 2009, and even six years later, the impression they left behind was resonant enough that I could see them clearly on the Main Stage bludgeoning the room with their cosmic mastery. The image is vivid. They’ll play Maryland Deathfest this weekend and are out supporting their 2015 Neurot Recordings outing, Ecate (review here), the latest in a line of records a decade long proving their utter supremacy of sound. I felt fortunate to have the planets align in such a way as to allow me to make it to the show.
As I understand it, Mountain God were something of a late addition to the bill. Cool by me. Playing as the trio of guitarist/vocalist Ben Ianuzzi, bassist Nikhil Kamineni and drummer/backing vocalist Ryan Smith (also Thera Roya), they had new material on offer and included two cuts from their 2013 Experimentation on the Unwilling demo (review here), so yeah, sign me up. Their particular brand of atmospheric sludge has only become more visceral over the last couple years, and as expansive as their 2015 single-song Forest of the Lost EP (review here) is, its churn still seems to stir the guts. So it was on stage as well.
Worth noting that for all three bands, the stage was d-a-r-k dark. Most of all for Mountain God and Usnea, but even for Ufomammut the only real light was toward the back of the stage, and there wasn’t much of that. Might as well have been taking pictures in Boston, it was so fucking dark. So it goes. Mountain God‘s new songs, “Nasca Lines” and “Taxidermist,” pushed the limits of their extremity well, Ianuzzi‘s blown-out vocals cutting through his and Kamineni‘s rumbling tonal morass — a heft that would become a theme for the night. The interplay of Ianuzzi and Smith proved especially effective throughout, but either way, ambience remained thick and the effect remained crushing.
They finished out with “Experimentation on the Unwilling” itself, a memorable pummel of a riff at its center, and received greetings and well-earned congratulations at the front of the stage while breaking down their gear to make way for Usnea, touring with Ufomammut from their base of operations in Oregon. It was my first exposure to the death-doom four-piece, who made their debut on Relapse last year with their second full-length, Random Cosmic Violence, and I found they were a completely different band from what I expected them to be. As in, I thought they were another band. It was a pleasant surprise when their ultra-nodding brutality held sway for the duration, both guitars tuned to the key of slow-motion destruction as drums and bass stood center-stage to punctuate and foster feel-it-in-your-stomach resonance. Can’t claim to have known the material, but the first impression was a positive one.
And by positive, I mean overwhelmingly negative — the downer vibes so dense they couldn’t seem to let any light escape. Right on. I knew Ufomammut would be headed for more psychedelic terrain, and indeed they were, so to have Usnea follow Mountain God‘s tectonics with their own lumbering doom was a solid fit and welcome complement to the bill. If I’d had any cash, I probably would’ve picked up a CD of Random Cosmic Violence, but the water bottle I had in my camera bag I bought with quarters and I didn’t think I had that much change on hand. Maybe next time. Their closer was “Detritus,” the 15-minute finisher from their sophomore outing, and it was as vehement an endorsement of their wares as anything I might recount in a review, plodding and stomping en route to a building finish that left nothing else to say when it was done. Many bands would have trouble following it.
Ufomammut, however, are a different breed. I’m almost surprised this was their first US tour. It’s easy to imagine them — as so many of their contemporaries from around Europe did — coming to the States and playing to upwards of 20 people at The Continental in Manhattan a decade ago before any of this stuff caught on and it was suddenly reasonable to be positioned in front of the stage at the Vitus Bar next to a photographer from The New York Times (“Uh, I run a blog,” was my barely-stammered response when she asked who I was shooting for) at a sold-out show. As if the experience wasn’t surreal enough, Ufomammut — guitarist Poia, drummer Vita and bassist/vocalist Urlo arranged left to right — played off a setlist that seemed to be written in code, with notations for synths and the mysterious light-up samplers and effects they had on foot-switches while a video screen projected behind.
Devastatingly heavy? Why yes, they were, but that’s really just one component of the experience. Watching Ufomammut play is like being stirred in a cauldron of something thick and molten. Somehow, it swirls, but on the surface level it doesn’t even seem like it should be able to move at all. Each song seemed to take them deeper into space, the entirety of Ecate rearranged for stage presentation and followed by “Oroboros” from Oro: Opus Alter (review here), “Stigma” from 2008’s Idolum and, finally, “God” from 2004’s Snailking, which was brought to a brutal finish as though the trio were trying to pull apart the remnants of the galaxy on a molecular level, some great cosmic code punched in to result in the end of all things in multi-dimensions. It was like that. Sound as force. Senses colliding, and Urlo headbanging with his entire body the whole time. The further they went the more righteous they became, and the room — sweltering, dark, vibrating — went with them all the while, that great cauldron made flesh. To call it breathtaking would be speaking literally.
There was a moment after they were done that required a return to earth, more of a snap back than a gentle release, and you could feel it from others in the room as much as from yourself. An exhale and realization of the impressionist galaxial scope just witnessed, blurred lines fitting for the summer’s haze that seemed to be settling over the Manhattan skyline on the way into the city. Even having seen the band before, I did it too. People made their way to the bar and out blissfullly stunned, and I did likewise, almost tempted to call Ufomammut‘s arrival on North American shores overdue if they hadn’t rendered things like space and time so irrelevant.
A couple more pics after the jump. Thanks for reading.
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 27th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
The first Argonauta Fest is set for May 10 at Live23 in Alessandria, Italy. Confirmed for the lineup are Nibiru, Infection Code, Varego, Last Minute to Jaffna, Deaf Eyes and Kayleth, and there’s free CD samplers to be on hand and much more slated for the inaugural event, which is put on by Argonauta Records, who explain their motivations as bringing their taste in music — from vicious sludge to far-ranging psych — to life on stage. Probably getting everyone together and turning the volume all the way up and partying and all the rest of it don’t hurt either, but you know, it doesn’t necessarily need to be one or the other.
Info for the fest came down the PR wire, if you’d care to peruse the links and so on:
ARGONAUTA Records present: ARGONAUTA FEST first edition!
From the label: “We are proud to announce that May 10, 2015 will take place the first official Argonauta Records Fest! An event created primarily as a need to represent “on stage” our musical taste, giving a “live” vent to our first years of life as a label, enhanced by many feedbacks both nationally and abroad. Six bands of our roster will create an evening that will move into Stoner, Post Metal, Noisecore and Sludge territories. A fine opportunity to share with us what will be a feast made of extreme sounds and great bands. Stay tuned on our official sites (www.facebook.com/argonautarecords–www.argonautarecords.com) for more details about the bands on the program and on further initiatives related to the event to be held in Alessandria (Italy) at LIVE23”.
Posted in Reviews on April 16th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
For really longer even than the last decade, Italian trio Ufomammut have been engaged in a battle against themselves. Each new work from the cosmic doomers has had to be bigger, to reach farther, than its predecessor. In 2008, Idolum — their fourth album — solidified this as a central element of their process. Arriving after a 2007 collaboration with Lento, it marked a particularly triumphant moment for the partnership between the band and producer Lorenzo Stecconi, who has helmed all of their recordings since, and in a way has been a blueprint for the various thematics running throughout the band’s synth-laden crushing riffs, far-back, spaced-out vocals and dense rhythms. When their subsequent outing, Eve (review here), arrived in 2010, it had one mission at its core, which was to outdo the record before it. Composed as one long piece — something they had originally intended for Idolum — it was ultimately broken down into tracks for the CD release, but one could hardly call it a failure. For one thing, it led to Ufomammut being signed to Neurot Recordings, the label founded and run by members of Neurosis, for their next outing, which likewise expanded on Eve. Oro would be released in two parts — Oro: Opus Primum (review here) and Oro: Opus Alter (review here) — in 2012, and as they moved past their 15th anniversary last year, an occasion they marked with the XV live DVD/documentary (review here), the central question regarding their seventh album, Ecate, is whether or not Ufomammut could possibly continue their push forward into bigger, wider ranging sound. What are the limits of human consciousness translated to volume?
Any new Ufomammut album brings with it a certain “event” presence. Their works have become so masterful in their presentation of a psychedelic aesthetic and doomed tonal weight that followers new and old — a number in which I count myself — know that there’s reason to be excited. With Ecate, guitarist/keyboardist Poia, bassist/vocalist/keyboardist Urlo and drummer Vita do indeed push beyond Oro, but what they find isn’t something even more grandiose. Perhaps inspired by stopping, really for the first time, to reflect on their past work with the XV release and their “Magickal Mastery Tour” comprising songs from their catalog back to earlier records like 2005’s Lucifer Songs, 2004’s landmark Snailking, and their 2000 debut, Godlike Snake, Ufomammut have arrived with the six-track/46-minute Ecate at a place that both progresses their sound and taps into its very core. Like the scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey. After flying through the universe in space and time, the character Bowman doesn’t find some overblown interstellar phenomenon. He winds up in a bedroom — a place where the human species is most quintessentially itself; sleeping, screwing, making itself ready to face the world around it. So too in songs like the building opener “Somnium” and bombastic, three-minute follow-up, “Plouton,” do Ufomammut explore the characteristics that make them who they are musically. Waves of claustrophobic riffs churn amid synthesized swirl and percussive thud, a largesse of sound conjured and given shape out of what seems an ether of brazen impact. Once it starts, there is no getting away from “Somnium.” It is a gravity well of tone, introducing much of what Ufomammut will unfold on the songs to come, and thus, emphasizing many of the best aspects of their style. Following the bursting supernova of “Plouton,” “Chaosecret” keeps a more open vibe through its first six minutes or thereabouts, turning for its remaining four into one of Ecate‘s most crushing moments just when it seems to be fading away, marching toward a more and more furious end.
The album is structured into two roughly mirrored halves, in each of which three songs play out, two longer with a shorter one in the middle. “Chaosecret” is the longest cut at 10:47, but neither “Somnium” (9:55) nor closer “Daemons” (10:30) are far off. Following the closing slams of “Chaosecret,” “Temple” launches side B with an initial wall of feedback and more straightforward riffing, perhaps even more than “Plouton” exposing the elemental aspects of Ecate as a whole, obscure, manipulated samples playing out behind the plod, Urlo‘s vocals forward but still buried under the hypnotic riff repetitions, it taps into the overwhelming wash of Ufomammut at their finest, and transitions fluidly into the shorter, ambient “Revelation,” the four minutes of which are dedicated to developing a synthesized swirl and vast reach beyond what has already been set within the other songs. The drone fades gradually, and with the immediate rumble and rhythmic force of its early going, there’s little question when “Daemons” arrives as to what might be its intent. Its push never really subsides, though a verse emerges, still backed by fervent chugging, and leads the way back into an explosive chorus with more strange, indecipherable samples and a thrust toward Ecate‘s final resolution. No real surprise in the thunder or the rage that pays off “Daemons,” but the keyboard lines that follow and smooth the way out of the album prove even more resonant, almost cinematic, before they too fade away. Working from a conceptual basis in the goddess Hecate, who moves between the dead, living and immortals, Ufomammut remain steadfast in their commitment to progressing on the levels of songwriting and performance, but what their seventh full-length ultimately proves is that records don’t necessarily need to constantly get bigger and bigger to show that progression. Ecate tears away at anything less than needed for the band to make their statement, and as the album that will bring them to North America to tour for the first time, they could not hope to arrive carried by sturdier machinations.
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 7th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Italian extreme sludgers Grime will take off at the end of this month for a quick run of dates in France, Spain and Portugal. It’s five shows in all, but one imagines that any more of a dose of Grime‘s wafting filthy sludge would throw off the jet-stream and result in devastated ecosystems throughout the northern hemisphere. Or something. Whatever. They’re super fucking heavy. You get the point.
Their 2013 album, Deteriorate (review/stream here) was as vicious as sludge gets, which if you heard it you know is plenty vicious. They (apparently) released a prior-recorded first album last year through Mordgrimm Records, which I guess slipped by me, unless I’m misunderstanding the bio. Take a look for yourself and see what you think:
GRIME (IT. FORCEFIELD RECORDS) FRENCH & IBERIAN DATES
GRIME starts its mission in Trieste, Italy during summer 2010. they play a extremely massive sludge metal, in their line up is the ex- drummer of the italian blackened crust band THE SECRET. With influences from bands like EYEHATEGOD, SOURVEIN or GRIEF the band in their first album (properly released in last june by the english label Mordgrimm, WINDHAND, POMBAGIRA, EAGLE TWIN, HUATA,…) produced a notable extreme and massive pile of songs those could form of the albums of the year without doubt in this music gender. In June of 2013 comes out their second album “Deteriorate”. thanks to the great reputation the band was getting touring around Europe with bands like COUGH Forcefield records (COUGH, WINDHAND) puts the record out with Mordgrimm again. the band has performed in the most important festivals in Europe like Roadburn, Heavy days in doom town, Desert Fest London. GRIME has toured or performed with bands like COUGH, 16, SOURVEIN, GRAVES AT SEA, etc, etc,.. and they has become one of the main bands in the sludge-metal genre in Europe.
Their only goal is bringing destruction to a town near yours. Their sound is rooted into rotten burial ground and their songs are the sound of a decaying swamp filled with trash. Their slow and heavy groove is filthy and vicious, guitar riffs are sharp and covered with rust, drums and bass hit with the unstoppable power of a mud avalanche. They will keep spread their plague in your town very soon. Be afraid.
Monday 27th April Black Sheep, Montpellier, France Tuesday 28th April, Rocksound, Barcelona, Spain Wednesdsay 29th April, Wurlitzer Ballroom, Madrid, Spain Thursday 30th April, Barroselas Metalfest, Portugal Friday 1st May, Sentinel rock Bar, Erandio, Bizkaia, Spain
Posted in Reviews on March 30th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
I must be out of my damned mind. After wrapping up last year with a special feature comprising 50 reviews spread over five days, I’ve somehow decided that it’s not a bad way to do things. So here we are. It’s been three months, that’s a quarter of a year, so it seems only fair to have a Quarterly Review to catch up on some things that might otherwise have gone missed.
And that’s precisely what we’ll do. Between now and Friday, it’ll be 10 reviews per day, rounding up releases from the last couple months. Some are out now, some aren’t out yet, but it’s all recent one way or another. Like with the Last Licks 2014, I’ll be checking in each day as well. Should be fun to see how my mental status deteriorates over the course of the next few days, until my brains are little more than a stinky jelly dripping from out my ears on Friday. At least that’s how I remember it going last time.
So let’s go:
King Hitter, King Hitter
A North Carolina five-piece fronted by vocalist Karl Agell, best known as the frontman of Corrosion of Conformity for their 1991 Blind album – he’s also currently reviving that album live on stage with drummer Reed Mullin in C.O.C. Blind – the new outfit King Hitter reunites the singer with his former Leadfoot bandmate, guitarist Scott Little, and they test the waters with a five-track self-titled EP delivered via Candlelight Records. Crisply-produced, songs like “King Hitter” and “Feel No Pain” hit hard and gruff with just a touch of Southern heavy rock flair. The power of Agell’s voice is undiminished, but production is maybe too evident at times, and when they get down to the chugging “Suicide (Is the Retirement Plan,” politics meet personal perspective in a way that strikes deeper than might’ve been intended. Little and fellow guitarist Mike Brown, bassist Chuck Manning and drummer Jon Chambliss turn in worthy performances, but Agell’s command captures a good deal of the attention on this satisfying showcase of a songwriting process getting underway.
Because one invariably measures British anything in “waves,” we’ll put Oxford double-guitar five-some at the crest of the New Wave of British Burl. Omniscient is their third full-length behind 2013’s Horizontal Life and their 2010 debut, Forked Tongues (review here), and it arrives through Blindsight Records with all the brash Southern metal riffing and dudely bellow one might expect. Orange Goblin are an immediate name to drop in comparison to opener “Outlander,” but “Queen Reefer”’s quiet solo section adds breadth and the acoustic “Home,” the Clutchy “Night Bus Blues” and the stomping, subtle djentery of closer “Collapse of the Bison Lung” continue to reveal an extended palette. A richer listen than it might appear the first time through, Omniscient still revels in its heaviness on “Blue Snake Moan” and “Sway of the Tides,” etc., but changes like the tempo downshift in “Horizon” give fodder for repeat visits to Desert Storm’s howling third offering.
Welsh space rockers Sendelica feel out some pretty peaceful vibes on songs like “The Pillar of Delhi,” “Azoic” or the sweet-washing closer “The Hedge Witch” from their self-released cosmos-tripper Anima Mundi, but there’s no shortage of spaced-out push either in songs like the 12-minute jam “Master Benjamin Warned Young Albert Not to Step on the Uninsulated Air” and electronic-pulsing “Baalbek Stones.” An experimental spirit underlies each of the eight included instrumental cuts, elements like sax, synth, keyboards, theremin, flute and various effects intertwining throughout Anima Muni’s 54-minute sprawl. Quiet moments like “Azoic” work well, but I won’t take away from the buzzsaw tone or swing behind “The Breyr, the Taeogion and the Caethion” either. The truly fortunate aspect of Sendelica’s latest is that it flows between its individual pieces, putting the listener in a position of open-minded experience while working around and through various psychedelic impulses, carefully woven and balanced in the mix, but vibrant and exciting and loose-feeling just the same.
Of the 13 songs on Melbourne trio Drifter’s Desert Highways debut LP, Violent at Altitude, only four reach past the three-minute mark, and even most of those play off a fuzz-punk intensity, shades of Melvins weirdness and Nick Oliveri heavy punker charge showing up in cuts like “Cool Breeze” or the raw, open “Another Life.” Closer “So Long” is given another look from Drifter’s 2013 debut EP, Head (review here), which it also capped, but the feel across Violent at Altitude is that guitarist/vocalist Dan King, bassist/vocalist Troy Dawson and drummer/vocalist Dave Payne is exploring the place where grunge and punk met on pieces like “Bi Polar,” the relatively spacey “Devil Digger” and quick-blasting 1:45 rush of “Russian Roulette,” their tones mean and their attack primal in its overall affect in a way that belies the stylistic nuance at work throughout. You can listen on an analytical level or you can be steamrolled by “Drugs.” Your call. Either way, Drifter are gonna tear it up in accordance with the altitude they’ve apparently hit.
Sula Bassana’s performance at Roadburn 2014 was their first as a full band. The experimental psychedelic project of guitarist Dave “Sula Bassana” Schmidt (see also Electric Moon, Krautzone, Zone Six, Weltraumstaunen, etc.) came to life with his Electric Moon bandmates Komet Lulu on bass and Marcus Schnitzler on drums, as well as Zone Six’s Rainer Neeff on guitar, and the four jams of the live recording Live at Roadburn 2014 tell the tale brilliantly. Schmidt, who is quite simply among the foremost heavy psych jammers in the world, leads the four-piece through cascading movements, immersive and clear on record as they were in person, rich with a sense of improvised creation even if based on prior parts. Anything went, as the 18-minute “Dark Days” showcases here, with synth and guitar and heavy bass intertwining to a brilliant cosmic whole, Schnitzler’s drums holding the proceedings together wonderfully. Short at 50 minutes, it’s every bit as switched on as one might expect in a studio album from these players, blurring yet another line as they expand psych-rock consciousness.
To listen to opener “Still Alone” from Strange Here’s Minotauro Records raw second LP, II, one might expect that Alexander Scardavian (ex-Paul Chain) and Domenico “Dom” Lotito (ex-Hand of God) are presenting some loosely-swung classic doom, shades of Candlemass and Death SS filtered through heavy riffing and Scardavian’s gruff vocals, but that’s barely half the story. More is told by putting eight-minute tracks “Born to Lose” and “Black, Grey and White” next to each other, as they appear here. Following the opening duo of “Still Alone” and the echoing “Kiss of Worms,” the two longer cuts unveil a sound alternately diving into morose doomed march and spacious psychedelic flourish. That blend continues as the marching “Acid Rain” gives way to the acoustic/drone interplay of “Only If…”and comes to a head on closer “Shiftless,” a contrast of back-and-forth impulses played off each other throughout the 47-minute offering. There’s work to do bringing the sides together should Strange Here choose to go that route, though the lines drawn between make it that much easier to catch the listener off guard, which II just might.
Marked out by the jazzy noodling of “The Douche Bag Guru” and the funky bassline on “Drift,” the new self-titled EP from Dayton, Ohio, four-piece Once-Ler dates back a decade in some of its material, the track “Law Dog” having appeared on the band’s 2005 full-length, Entropy. It’s an unassuming rumble, sort of humbly produced for a garage-heavy feel, but the clarity of purpose in centerpiece “Swing the Leg”’s crashing progression is plain enough to hear, and opener “The Victim” is the longest cut at 6:43, earning immediate points. A prog-metal undertone in that track sets up some expectation that the EP veers quickly away from with “Drift,” but guitarist Burns, bassist Deininger, vocalist Reif and drummer Minarcek make a solid case despite the rough sonic edges in the recording. At 25 minutes, Once-Ler’s Once-Ler is enough to give an impression of where the band is headed and a demo-style look at what their progressive heavy rock has to offer.
Pummel, pummel, pummel. Vancouver trio Waingro debut at full-sprint with their 11-track/31-minute self-titled, which wastes little time shaking hands and goes immediately for the jugular on “Firebird.” About 10 seconds in, and the ride is underway with little letup to come as Waingro shove heavy tones along at breakneck speed on cuts like “Tailwind,” “Force Fed” and “Bathed in Tongues.” A remarkable sense of control lies beneath, the trio blending hardcore punk, heavy tones and modern metal twists fluidly as interludes like “Matador,” “St. Regis” and “Arboria” add complexity of method and “Rekall,” “Ride” and most especially side B cappers “Black Dawn” and “True North” brazenly craft something of Waingro’s own from familiar components. This album is self-released, but particularly if Waingro are able to tour at any length, it’s hard to imagine some imprint wouldn’t want to stand behind their brash but engaging thrust, professional already in its assured sensibility and rhythmic impact. The real question is whether they’ll wait around for anyone to notice or push ahead with the momentum they build here.
There’s little room left for frills amid the sludge-punk sneer of Motorgoat’s The Iron Hoof of Oppression, which makes no bones about its affinity for booze, metal and fuckall on songs like “Satanic Slacker,” which boasts the lines, “Trippin’ balls is total bliss/He don’t know what day it is,” and so on. Obviously there’s a humor element to “Revenge of the Towndrunk” and “No Pants – No Problems,” but the German four-piece have a sincere vibe as well as they recount loser tales in a viciously-toned punk-metal spirit, less tune-in-drop-out than tune-out-drop-tune, but it turns out heavy either way. Cohesive in spite of its stated penchant for chaos, The Iron Hoof of Oppression offers partytime disaffection that’s so prevalent it might as well be post-modern. After the world has ended, there’s nothing left to do but dance, and Motorgoat seem (mal)content to let their own hooves stomp the floor. An album that gets better when you read the lyrics. Don’t be fooled by how dumb they seem to be calling themselves.
The tell? The tell is the scream just before North Carolina foursome The Seduction move into the bouncing bridge on “Volga,” which launches their Mechanical Pig Records debut, You Catch Fire. From there, it’s pretty easy to hear the metallic vibe beneath their stoner-punk aesthetic. It comes up again in the breakdown for the later “Hell on Two Wheels,” but it’s there anyway, adding an aggressive edge to the record, which at 53 minutes has plenty of room for the breadth of the rocking highlight centerpiece “Flavor of the Weak” or the depth-charge of the penultimate “Starmageddon” – a few more screams there amid spit-out hardcore shouts – but it’s the meld of these with the party-pit vibe of “Daughter of a Holy Man” and “Irish Flu” that makes You Catch Fire effective in taking cues from some of the West Coast’s heavy methods – some Red Fang, some Queens of the Stone Age — and presenting them with a definitively East Coast punch.
Posted in Whathaveyou on March 27th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Freakout prone Italian psych rockers Nibiru will release their third album, Padmalotus, via Argonauta Records on May 18. Their blend of sludgy aggression and heavy psychedelia has carried them across two records to-date varying in their levels of improvisation, and their third promises further expansion. No audio yet, at least not that I can find, but the PR wire brings copious details theoretical and practical.
Is it just me or has just about every new record I’ve posted about this week got a May release date? Shaping up to be quite a month. Well, add Nibiru to the list. Somehow I doubt they’ll be the last to come.
Have at you:
NIBIRU: cover artwork and tracklist revealed
Ritual Psych Sludge masters NIBIRU reveal cover artwork and tracklist of their highly anticipated new album. Following the great feedback received across the board by their works “Caosgon” and “Netrayoni”, NIBIRU are now ready with their new beast “Padmalotus”, to be released by ARGONAUTA Records on May 18th 2015.
1. Krim 2. Ashmadaeva 3. Trikona 4. Khem
PADMALOTUS was recorded at Aadya’s Temple, then mixed and mastered by Emiliano “Pilloplex” Pilloni at Soundlab Studio. The Italian trio created its own Art focusing all the energies on the songs’ structure, instead of following the improvisation as they did in the previous albums.
NIBIRU have explored territories never visited before, also in terms of melodic research and songwriting. They aimed at standing out from the nowadays psychedelic acts. “In our opinion, psychedelic research is seeing the world as it is, speaking without preconception, being a storm’s breath”, states Ardath, band’s singer and guitarist.
The 4 tracks off PADMALOTUS (plus a ghost track) were written between September 2014 and January 2015. According to the previous albums, CAOSGON (2013) and NETRAYONI (2014), also PADMALOTUS is connected to occult themes of Eastern Orient. NIBIRU loves exploring the Left-Hand Path (Vama Marg), Kuala rituals, Aghori rituals, and Kundalini awakening.
“PADMALOTUS does not represent a step forward compared to NETRAYONI or CAOSGON, but a move to a higher level. As the lotus grows out of mud, blossoms above the water and rises to the sky, our latest album is a real elevation compared to our previous ones. We stayed true to our roots, but at the same time we stepped into a new territory”, explains Siatris, drummer and guitarist.
Since their inception in 2012, NIBIRU gave vent to their ritualized improvisation urge. They totally refused the concept of ordinary song form, leaving their energy flow, and channelling that into live recordings. “The first 2 years of NIBIRU were a time of empathic creativity. We used to communicate in a roundabout way. Improvisation was instinctive during the making of CAOSGON. Some kind of song structure was there, but in fact we went through an explosion of freedom in writing and playing. NETRAYONI is the zenith of NIBIRU’s improvisation. Maybe those times have been unique, most likely they are”, states the bassist RI.
In Fall 2014 NIBIRU signed to Argonauta Records, and CAOSGON and NETRAYONI (originally self-released) were reissued by the label in January 2015.
Following their philosophical path, the band crafts PADMALOTUS (“padma” means lotus in Tibetan language). Once again, the lyrics are in Enochian language. “We have chosen to reveal our invocations using this ancient language, in order to express ourselves in many different ways. Our lyrics are very personal and can’t be compared to traditional patterns. Enochian language allows phonetics to take space, so that our feelings can be expressed without being trivialized by constrictive words”, explains Ardath.
Through PADMALOTUS, NIBIRU reach their artistic peak. Or at least until the next expressions of their invocations.