Monday, August 03, 2015

Time to Catch Up...

Valley of the Sun ~ Sayings of the Seers re-issue (2015)


 Another overlooked gem from a few years ago that's making the rounds again is Valley of the Sun's 2011 effort "The Sayings of the Seers". This time on Kozmik Artifactz, and with a couple of extra tracks including a great acoustic version of "Riding the Dunes". With the album not only consisting of punchy, distortion driven riffs, the farther you get into it, the more mellow  guitar work starts to show through. Add in the drums that roll in like low hanging storm clouds, it's a solid piece of heavy rock with some subtle grunge influences making their presense felt here and there over the duration. My favorite on this has been the original version of "Riding the Dunes", with thick, slightly sludgy riffs, and a grungy vocal delivery, it's one of the heavier tracks on the album, with an undeniable groove. The acoustic version would obviously lack some of the same intensity, but the nuances and overall tone of the song change a little bit and you have an equally good but polar opposite version from what you started with. You can grab the vinyl version directly from the Kozmik Artifactz webstore, or if you just want a digital version to keep with you, check out the Valley of the Sun bandcamp.
~Skip


For Fans Of; Truckfighters, Alice In Chains, Priestess











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Saturday, August 01, 2015

The Full Initiation...

Wizard Cult - Meteorites, Tektites, & Impactites (2015)


Wizard Cult's been kicking around for a few years, but this release marks their first LP effort, one with a decidedly lo-fi presentation.  Not to say that the quiet mixing and thickened acoustics detract from the experience, but if you're someone who needs major-label-level production, you probably won't be able to take too much of the album.  Those who are OK with the murkiness will find a breed of doom that embraces fat-tubed feedback for some excellent experiments in stony psychedelic fusion.  The yelling of the vocals provides a counter-point of punchiness to keep a grounding in the material realm, an important touch with songs including not only "Doom-God", but also both "Goat Demon" and "Goat Demons" back-to-back.  Those last two might as well have been one big two-part track, as the keening guitar at the end of the first howls right back into place after the short silence between them, but the split is probably convenient for live-show considerations.
Over the course of the four tracks, it feels as though every time the trio let their minds drift away to explore the wide-ranging spaciness in the psych side of their music, they're ready with a mean club-swing of doom to knock out anyone whose guard got lowered by the siren call of the whammy pedal.  The abrupt drop at the very end is another nice technique from the band, as anybody being carried along in the slow-flowing doom by that point will have little else to listen to for more.  Then again, maybe it was a genuine bit of roughness from the recording work.  Either way, Wizard Cult have put a a very solid debut, one that, despite the sound quality, just works.  And slams.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Bomg, Gallileous, Heavydeath, Hypnochron, Mudbath




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Friday, July 31, 2015

Reciting The Rituals...

THVS - Everyday Hexes EP (2015)


Hailing from Northern Ireland, THVS' arrival with this debut EP comes in a storm-cloud of aggressive heavy rock, lashing out with gruff vocals, thumping drums, and a guitar/bass combo that tears away at the strings.  The violent tendencies give things a sludgy sheen, but the bedrock riffs of the songs and the taste for dirty grooves keep the trio with their feet planted in rocky earthiness as they unload their heavy rumble.  Effective spikes hidden between the steadier riffs provides a punkish energy (turned highest on the closer "Herman") without losing the low-end focus, and when they do pare things down to give all the attention to a given bridge or refrain, it's to show off something which earns that spot-lighting.  The EP's biggest track, "Hudson", is probably the best for showing the various song twists the band can capably link together, but the concentrated crunch of the shorter stuff feels truer to the band's projected attitude.  A more than decent start for the band, with the roughness laid down confidently and the heaviness landing solid.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Crowskin, Dopethrone, modern EyeHateGod, Funeral Horse, Wolf Blood




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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Landing Face Up...

Witchtripper - Tardus Mortem EP (2015)


Witchtripper make their debut on this EP with a succinct description of their musical approach, worded on their BandCamp page as "HEAVY // FUCKING // METAL".  True to their word, the group delivers doom metal with some deathly vocals and guitar liveliness, slipping in a well-chosen film sample to start things off and accentuate the stoner patina fuzzing up their bass and riff-style.  They bring the attitude of sludge (especially on the second track, "Agony"), but with most of the griminess confined to the vocals as they're rasped and spat out over the beats and feedback.  Imagine an angrier version of Electric Wizard's more nihilistically-inclined lyrics as the animating force, and you're in the right county.
There's friction between these Frankensteined genre elements, but the EP generally runs without too many bumps in the wrong spots.  There's a classic modern doom feel to the bass' parts of the songs, but its riffs run a bit too repetitive with the need to defend its musical territory against the invading guitar and vocals; respect goes to the drummer, who plays to each of the sides with a well-rounded presence.  The closing title track feels like the most natural fusion of the music's pieces, but there's the caveat of it being an instrumental piece.  While it feels less crowded without the vocals, the singer had put so much honest passion into his work that I felt somewhat put-out by his absence.  There's lots of promising possibilities to be heard in the songs, though, and whichever side(s) they decide to emphasize in future recordings, it seems likely to be some similarly strong stuff (probably with haunting artwork to boot).
~ Gabriel




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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Keep It Sludgy...

Boar Worship - Boar Worship EP (2015)


In case you couldn't guess from the cover art, Boar Worship's newest EP is a shot of tarry sludge, with four tracks of tortured strings, slow beats, and guttural vocals to coat your ears with dangerous stickiness.  Helpfully, the songs are simply titled "one", "two", "three", and "four", so as long as you don't lose consciousness in the middle of the EP, it's easy to recall which particular piece of grimy reverb caught your ear.  Long and gnarled stretches of bass underscore most of the music, with the vocals mixed to match a muffled distance, and while the drummer doesn't have much opportunity to stand out, the percussion's persistence does an important job in keeping things somewhat structured as they gradually dissolve.  Richly dirty and well-schooled in how to handle massive buzz, this is one for those who want amp worship and down-tuned venom in equal measure.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Coffin Torture, Corpse Light, Dead Existence, Heavydeath, Hypnochron




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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Darkest Psych From Down Under

Comacozer ~ Deloun Sessions LP (2015)



 Combining the two previous EPs from Comacozer into a single vinyl release, Headspin Records is giving you a little taste of what's to come from the Australians. Who already have the plans in place for recording and releasing a brand new LP. If you've never heard the spaced out, dark psychedelia that this band exudes, then this is the perfect starting point. The band puts down mellow and heavy grooves that always incorporates a sweeping undertow at some point in the track. Like with "Nebula Dawn", the song starts off cool and relaxed, within a couple of minutes the listener is drowning in swirling guitar fuzz tones and the crashing waves of drum rhythms. After opening up with an airy guitar line that floats along for a couple of minutes is joined by the rest of the band, filling the depth of the sound with mass amounts of fuzz and distortion, backed with a rumbling yet subtle bass line, and strong, steady drum parts. It adds a heavier dimension to the song while still retaining the spacey ether vibe that dominated the first minutes of it. The final five minutes drive forward in that same way, seemingly drawn by the gravity of an immense celestial object. Now, if all of this sounds intriguing to you, you're not alone by any means. With vinyl pre-orders going on there are only a few of each variant remaining, so if you have plans on getting one it wouldn't be the best plan to wait until the September 1st release date.
~Skip

For Fans Of; Frozen Planet....1969, Gallileous, Oceans of Titan