Friday, October 24, 2014

A Glorious Torment...

Hijo de la Tormenta - Hijo de la Tormenta (2014)

Hijo de la Tormenta's self-titled debut album (following up on their 2012 EP) is my first exposure to the group, and I have to say, I'm impressed with what I've heard.  The band has an unusual blend of sounds, bringing together fuzzy guitar with a prog-like patience and approach to song construction, so while they're fully capable of grinding out some dirty rock sounds for your ears, they do so while keeping things unpredictable.
In the midst of their amazingly tuneful heaviness, the drums do a lot to keep things from getting over-saturated, with counter-point rhythms, inventive fills, and a crisp sound to the drum-hits generating some defiant liveliness beneath the down-tuned doom rock.  Unpredictable twists on the band's established sound come with each new track, whether it's cranking up the speed for a wild ride of feedback, throwing in some new effects to alter an instrument, or some other aspect altogether getting turned on its head.
The album is well-served by the band's willingness to twist their musical approach however they can to make something interesting, and as a result, it's a great album as a whole.  Instead of just being a collection of songs, there's a real sense of unity tying them all together, and leading from one into the next.  While not all of the songs make use of vocals, the changing character of the songs still comes across as a natural development, built around Hijo de la Tormenta's use of melody and mood.  Top-notch stuff, and well worth checking into, whatever your musical tastes may be.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Asilo, Rhino, Necronomicon (Brazil), Salem's Pot, From Deep Space

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Prowlin' Around

The Phuss ~ On the Prowl (2014)

The Phuss is a power trio from Texas that kick out raucous, feel good Garage Rock jams that are sure to keep you moving while they're on. Their latest release "On the Prowl" was released on Magnetic Eye Records earlier this month, and it is easily one of the best party albums I've heard all year, you know, if your party consists of a couple kegs, lots of smoke, and possibly a fight and/or structure fire. Which, by my standards, would be a damn good party. The catchy hooks makes sure each track gets stuck in your head, and the aggressive riffs and pounding drums make sure they stay there. There's really nothing fancy, no decoration or posturing, what you see is what you get with this album, and what you get is a flawless and melodic conglomeration of Garage, Stoner, and Punk Rock. It wasn't all that easy picking a favorite from the album's eight tracks, while the single "I Don't Feel Good" was my favorite initially, after a few more complete listens I started l leaning towards "Hammer and Nail". With it's rowdy atmosphere and supreme catchiness, it's a track that's hard to ignore. Aligning its self more towards the Garage and Stoner side of things than the other tracks, it cranks up with a torrent of sound that could easily be from Detroit circa. 1975, adding in some Punk influenced shouted vocals that kick in after just a few moments, and doesn't take long for the catchy vocals and grooving rhythms to infect you like a disease. After the halfway point, an extended little jam sequence, and some pretty gnarly vocal parts the tracks comes full circle, and gives you a double dose of infectious groove. You can get all of your fixes over on the Magnetic Eye Bancamp, with options for digital, CD, and vinyl.

For Fans Of; Fu Manchu, MC5, Iggy Pop and the Stooges

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

If Walls Could Scream...

le bomje - Warehouse (2014)

Warehouse seems to be the first release from le bomje (yes, all lower-case), a crew from Kazakhstan who are fully capable of churning out some nasty sludge, as they demonstrate here.  The album consists of half an hour's worth of low-tone madness packed into three long tracks, and from the opening squeal of the notes in “Welder”, they establish their style with clear and grimy intent.
The music is free from vocals, allowing the reverb on the strings and the big sound of the drums fill your speakers.  It also lets the songs flow easily from one track into the next, so that if you're not being attentive, the change-over from “Welder” into “El Tetragon” (or from there into “Submarine”) can slip right by you, right up to the point at which they slam in their new main riff.
The band deserves credit for taking the slow tempos, the near-drone insistence of the bass, the absence of vocals, and the down-right repellent sound of sludge at its most potent, and stitching it all together into something compelling.  If you're looking for something with a tune that will end up stuck in your head so that you can hum along, look elsewhere.  What le bomje have poured into this album is stuff that calls for its listeners to surrender to the heavy waves.  If you can handle the weight, though, you'll find an impressively confident and capable debut.  While it's bad form to predict a band's future, I can't really imagine this group turning out anything done by half-measures, and with this big of a start, they're already well on their way.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Major Kong, Sunn O))), Bongripper, Skullflower, Ladybird


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Burning Out Of Control...

Nightosaur - Set Fire To The Mountain (2014)

On Set Fire To The Mountain, Nightosaur bring the title of their album to life, producing songs that would seem right at home played by a band of men with craggy faces by the light of a mountain-top bonfire. They've got grit, a good ear for riffs with the endurance to stick around for a while, and enough of a rough edge to their sound to keep it earthy without descending into lo-fi. In keeping with the days of early heavy metal, there's something of a Lovecraft or rugged sci-fi vibe to the songs, with titles such as “The Shocking Tale Of Wilson Pinnafore” side-by-side with “Old Gods” and “Bow Down To Thy Destroyer”, even as they stay rooted in slow bass grooves and interludes for sparser mourning.
Really, these guys just have a solid grip on what made early heavy metal so enticing, before it started getting into the theatrical aspect. They take some bluesy riffs, make it heavy, add some appropriately powerful drumming, and see where it takes the music. They strike a great balance between relaxed freedom and a definite plan with each of their songs, and I have to imagine that leaving themselves such room to improvise leads to some amazing live shows.
If you're still carrying a torch for the early days of Black Sabbath and Iron Butterfly's heavier moments, you'd be doing yourself a favor to pick up Nightosaur's new album. The name may be silly, but you won't be getting anything that's looking to capitalize on cheesier moments of metal, just an earnest tribute to the genre in its original form.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Magic Circle, Saint Vitus, Bitchcraft, Valkyrie, English Dogs


Monday, October 20, 2014

Harbingers of All Things Occult

The Hyle ~ Demo (2014)

Our next group is a four piece Doom Metal act from Denmark. The Hyle, which from their description is pretty much "infinite non-existence" in layman's terms, and they definitely have a surreal "floating in the nothingness" vibe present in their music. In appropriate Doom Metal fashion everything is played low and slow right from the outset of the opener "Lucifero", with each track having an expansive sound to encompass all of the heaviness. While the demo is only two tracks and thirty minutes long, it is actually four songs, of which the third "Spiritual Sacrifice" is probably my favorite. Opening up with a long, ambient passage, it takes a moment for the song to build up to a pounding drum into, that once it gets rolling there's no stopping it. The bass falls in line right after, really lending to the low end rumble with a nice, rounded tone, and the guitar drops in just after that, with a slow and howling riff. About a minute in, the haunting vocals make their grand appearance on the song, offering a bewitching contrast to the low tuned heaviness that makes up the rest of it. At around the five and a half minute mark the guitar kicks into overdrive and lays down a screaming guitar solo that closes out the seven minute song on a high note. Once again, this is another very promising band with one hell of a initial offering for all of us Doom fanatics, and while the market has become very saturated here lately, real talent and potential will always stand out comparatively. You can pick up their demo as a "name your price" deal over at their bandcamp page, but is definitely worth throwing them a couple bucks.

For Fans Of; Electric Wizard, Disenchanter, Pallbearer

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Total End Of The World...

La Fin Absolute Du Monde - Black Sheep: Remixed (2014)

Black Sheep: Remixed is the lengthiest release yet from the duo of La Fin Absolute Du Monde, who are in the process of an exhaustive tour in support of its release.  Making use of dark tonalities, guitar which just as capably handles grimy or clean output, and sweet notes coaxed from piano/keyboard to create a characteristically complex and understatedly neurotic melding of each performer's personality, the duo's first full-length lets you hear the sweat and pains they've endured and invested in the creation of their music.
The first half of the album features remixes done by outside allies, most notably Justin K. Broadrick (of Godflesh and Jesu, and a dozen other groups) and the band's recently-acquired production team of Social Security, while the second half features songs from the band's back catalog, updated and released on vinyl for the first time.  Both sides maintain the neo-noir flavoring for which the group named their personal label, making use of sultry rhythms and slinky synth-lines to establish a haunted sound which shies away from easy satisfaction.  The vocals, provided by the keyboardist, insinuate themselves around the feedback and percussion, shading them in with a sense of someone waiting and meditating within the growing shadows just before trouble breaks out.
Having been lucky enough to catch one of their live performances in an intimate venue, I feel obliged to call upon our readers to recognize the efforts of La Fin Absolute Du Monde.  It may fall a little outside our usual circle of coverage, but the low tones and heavy vibes you usually expect to hear in our recommendations can just as easily be drawn from the grooves of this new record.  Some genuine passion went into the crafting of this music, and while they're not in it for the money, having some makes it a lot easier to continue making music.  So head over to their BandCamp, pick yourself up a digital or vinyl copy (the latter version is limited to 250 copies), maybe one of their fine T-shirts (suitable for scaring the squares), and then dig into the depths of La Fin Absolute Du Monde's distinctive sound.  And if they come through your region, be sure to catch their show for a one-of-a-kind experience.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Sunwølf, Factrix, Jesu, Diamanda Galás, Ulver


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sounds Painful...

Lightsucker - Carved In Cockstone (2014)

On their debut EP, Lightsucker offer up four songs in the style of hot-boiling sludge. Kicking off with the bash-heavy “Vermin”, the Finnish quartet rides hard and fast on a blazing assault of drums and gritty bass. After making their initial attack, they slow down a bit, going for a long-haul riff and a more traditional doom sound on the following track, “Claustrophobia”, which draws to a close with a nice howl on the strings. “Misfit” follows, as both the EP's longest track and its most desert rock styled, blending some nimble riffs with a big amp sound and some expansive bass cooking underneath the rest, though the vocalist keeps his rough sludge style intact. Lastly, “Age Of Decadence” brings the aggression of the first track back into play, letting the drummer pound out some fast thrash to break things open and hold them together while the others jump into turbo mode.
It's a strong first release, with the band showing how they can capably handle a range of styles and bring them together in interesting ways. They've certainly got the energy to make some high-speed and high-quality sludge happen, though personally, I was happiest when they'd slow it down to a tarry doom slog. Whichever way they develop, this crew will do Finland's heavy music scene proud.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Funeral Horse, Halo Of Flies, EyeHateGod, Open Tomb, Fister


Friday, October 17, 2014

Uncommon Creations...

Rat King - 1564 (2014)

The debut EP from Seattle's Rat King is a quick but effective 3-song affair, one in which the trio neatly establishes their personal approach to instrumental metal.  They have an interesting style, one which is difficult to pin down; there's plenty of heavy crunch, but also an unabashed technical proficiency, and the two are brought together smoothly even as the band keeps stretching to incorporate new things.  While they do keep their release lean and mean, the trio also finds the time to dip into some quick atmospheric touches, along with some inspired and tricky break-downs.
For a first release, the band deserves to feel proud of what they've accomplished.  Everything hits just the right level of cleanliness for tone and grit, the drums are punchy without being over-blown, and the guitar and bass come together in some remarkably creative ways without losing their hard groove connection.  Even so, the band sounds like it still has plenty of room to grow, and it will be worth keeping an ear on this crew to find out how they develop from here.  But until their next release arrives, you'd do well to nab yourself a copy of 1564 from the group's BandCamp page
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Indukti, Ulver, Kalamata, Domadora, Celophys