Tuesday, 11 December 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Bast, “Nanoångstöm”

By: Chris Bull


Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 23/11/2018
Label: Black Bow Records




 


Bast have certainly developed creatively and have released another standout album in the world of heavy music


 


“Nanoångstöm” CD//DD//2LP track listing:

1. Distant Suns
2. Far Horizons
3. The Beckoning Void
4. Nanoångström
5. A Red Line Through Black
6. The Ghosts Which Haunt the Space Between the Stars


The Review:

When I heard Bast had recorded and released their 2nd album 'Nanoångstöm', I knew I was the right SLUDGELORD to put my name forward for the review.

4 years have passed since the release of 'Spectres', in my opinion, one of the best heavy records to be released this century, so Bast face an uphill struggle to better, let alone match the benchmark they previously set. 'Distant Suns' immediately leaps for the aforementioned benchmark, with the solemn bass intro, like a lonely astronaut floating through space, gathering momentum and hurtling towards the epically heavy 'Far Horizons', where the contrasting vocals of drummer Jon Lee's blackened growl and guitarist Craig Bryant's deep below overlay the Primordial esque folk tinged black metal. The album ebbs and flows seamlessly highlighting Bast's penchant for the epic and enthralling, as 'The Beckoning Void” and the title track deliver moments of brutality, subtle tempo shifts and glorious melodies all wrapped up in progressive and finely crafted song writing.


'A Red Line Through Black' harks back to 'Spectres' building upon Bryant's moody guitar and vocal work, through some heavy prog inspired riffing to create a sonic journey full of the unexpected. By the time  'The Space Between the Stars' opening tremolo laden riff and blast beats slow down to allow the song the room to breathe, the unexpected becomes the ordinary as riffs, licks and screams leap out from all corners, dragging you, towards the black hole they created.

While Bast's influences may be apparent to some, with nods in the direction of a few of black metal's proggiest bands, it's the personal touches and subtle nuances that forge the main body of their sound. Bast have certainly developed creatively and have released another standout album in the world of heavy music. Whether it will leave as lasting an impression as 'Spectres' remains to be seen, but several more spins will go a long way into that decision. Now, where's that repeat button...

“Nanoångstöm” is available HERE




Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Friday, 7 December 2018

THE SLUDGELORD PREMIERE: Montreal quartet Modern Eyes deliver vicious new video “Hérésie”


“Tragedies Dictate Our Lives” is the first full length by Montreal quartet Modern Eyes and what you get is twelve crashing and gloomy tracks mixing elements of d-beat, crust, post metal, hardcore executed in a very defined and unique way.

Formed in 2015, Modern Eyes have released two EP’s during which they have experimented with their sound and played various showcases and Canadian Festivals.  Lyrically the new record varies from frustrations with modern systems to emotional distress caused by social oppression and every days ordeals.

Produced by Topon Das “Tragedies Dictate our Lives” should undoubtedly serve as the turning point for this Canadian quartet because on this record it achieves the perfect combination of chaotic intensity and melodic soundscapes.  With a release date set for early 2019, today THE SLUDGELORD is exclusively debuting the brand new video for the track “Hérésie” which you can check out below.  Crank this one up and watch your speakers die!!


Band info: facebook

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Accept, “Symphonic Terror: Live at Wacken 2017”

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 23/11/2018
Label: Nuclear Blast
 

Taken for what this is, though, I can say that “Symphonic Terror” is immensely enjoyable and entertaining.  The album represents a unique performance and demonstrates a band at the top of their game

 

“Symphonic Terror: Live at Wacken 2017” CD//DD//LP track listing:

CD 1:
1. Die by the Sword
2. Restless and Wild
3. Koolaid
4. Pandemic
5. Final Journey
6. Night on Bald Mountain
7. Scherzo
8. Romeo and Juliet
9. Pathétique
10. Double Cello Concerto in G Minor
11. Symphony NO. 40 in G Minor

CD 2:

1. Princess of the Dawn
2. Stalingrad
3. Dark Side of My Heart
4. Breaker
5. Shadow Soldiers
6. Dying Breed
7. Fast as a Shark
8. Metal Heart
9. Teutonic Terror
10. Balls to the Wall


The Review:

Accept, as of last week, are now down to one original member- Wolf Hoffman. However, for this unique 2017 concert at Wacken, Peter Baltes was still there on bass- even if Hermann Frank had departed as rhythm guitarist. As has been documented in past reviews, I feel that Mark Tornillo is every bit as good as Udo Dirkschneider and he has now headed up the band for ten years. As the title suggests, this is a full live gig with a difference- the central portion of the performance marries Accept up with a symphony orchestra- which then stays for the latter half of the gig! The first section of the release is a straight ahead metal performance, the middle section features Hoffman with orchestra- utilising his “Headbangers Symphony” solo album as the basis- and the latter half of the record treats the audience to classic Accept songs accompanied by the orchestra.

So, how essential is this? Well, not essential at all. It's a live album with an orchestra attached to two thirds of it. However, that view may be doing this record a disservice. To be sure, the central section is very stirring indeed and is actually successful in combining metal with classical. Its leagues ahead of Metallica'sS & M” effort of nearly 20 (!?) years ago and much more interesting than Deep Purple's misfiring “Concerto for Group and Orchestra”. The latter part of the release is also an interesting experiment- but much more in the vein of Metallica's aforementioned effort.

I could not claim that “Princess of the Dawn” is enhanced by the presence of the orchestra, beyond it being... different and more grandiose. The band wisely chose some of its more theatrical and grand material for the latter half of the gig and it is a thrill to hear “Stalingrad with classical backing. I think the thing here is that if you like Accept, you will like this record.

I love Accept and they are one of the best live bands I have ever seen. Hearing their songs with a new twist is interesting and a diverting listen. Will this take over on regular rotation from the superb “Restless and Live” record from a year or two back? No. While “Symphonic Terror” does boast the chance to hear some of the tracks from “The Rise of Chaos” in a live setting it is too much of an oddity to usurp a straight ahead live record.

Taken for what this is, though, I can say that “Symphonic Terror” is immensely enjoyable and entertaining. The central orchestral section really works and is testament to Hoffman's ability as a writer and player that it sounds so grand and cinematic. The album represents a unique performance and demonstrates a band at the top of their game. Having released a straight ahead live compendium recently, the band can play around with its sound and put out this album- why not? Recommended to all Accept fans and fans of classical music. For those new to the band, start elsewhere.

“Symphonic Terror: Live At Wacken 2017” is available now





Band info: official || facebook

Friday, 30 November 2018

Records of Their Years with Red Beard Wall mastermind Aaron Wall & exclusive track premiere of "The Warming"


Formed in 2016 and the creative outlet of Texas native Aaron Wall, Red Beard Wall’s delivery of  heavy, hooky and concise compositions would eventually see the band signed to Argonauata Records with their debut self titled LP released in May 2017.   With riffs that could level city blocks and vocals that are the perfect combination of soaring melody and caustic screams of despair, Red Beard Wall are back and set to deliver their most bone crunching material to date in the form of new long player 'The Fight Needs Us All' which will be hitting all good stockists on February 22nd 2019 as Digital Download, CD and Vinyl. The album pre-orders are now available in the following editions, bundles: HERE LP: HERE CD: HERE

Influenced by amazing bands such as, Floor, Helmet, Conan, Yob, Pallbearer, Baroness, and countless others, today we have a double helping of Aaron and his 7.5 tons of beard, as THE SLUDGELORD exclusively premieres a brand new track entitled “The Warming” which you can check out below. Not only that we invited Aaron to discuss some of his favourite records.  Welcome to this Red Beard Wall edition of “Records of Their Years”.  


THE SLUDGELORD: Favourite album from the year you were born? 



Aaron: First off to you, oh mighty SLUDGELORD...thank you so much for having me!

I was born in 1977. Therefore the answer is Motorhead’s self-titled debut. Really not much elaboration needed. 


THE SLUDGELORD: First record you bought with your own money?



Aaron: Yes! I remember well! I was 8 years old, I had saved up a little cash from mowing yards and such, specifically I got Van Halen1984”, Beastie BoysLicence to Ill” and Run D.M.CRaising Hell”. All 3 of those records are still very dear and close to my heart. The very 1st time I ever performed was in a 3rd grade talent show. I did a mean version of the Run D.M.C. deep cut “You Be Illin.” Oh the memories from years gone by! Haha!!

THE SLUDGELORD: Favourite non metal / rock album?



Aaron: That’s a tough one, but I’d have to say Wu-Tang’s36 Chambers”. I was a bit of a hip-hop nut in my formative years, and honestly still am, although obviously my love for the heavy eventually overtook to top position musically in my life.  

THE SLUDGELORD: Album that most disappointed you?

Aaron: I guess I don’t think that way about records I don’t necessarily like. I just feel like it wasn’t made for me. I definitely try to look for something in it, that I do enjoy. If I cant, I move on to something that does move me. 

THE SLUDGELORD: Favourite album of all time or if you prefer album (s) you’d run back into a burning building to rescue?



Aaron: I’m gonna choose 3. All from Mastodon, “Remission”, “Leviathan”, “Blood Mountain”. Those three albums reinvigorated my enthusiasm for heavy music. After growing up in Texas in the 90’s with Pantera being a huge early influence, a lot of metal had gotten stale for me personally. Mastodon brought a renewed and energetic love back that I though may have been fading away. That love and passion has not waned since.

THE SLUDGELORD: Favourite album (s) of 2018?



Aaron: Daughters, “You Won’t Get What You Want”. The intensity is so palpable throughout. The songs are just on another level. 10 out of 10!  

THE SLUDGELORD:..and finally The last album you bought? 



Aaron: The last album I bought, ironically enough is a pre-order of the new Red Beard Wall album “The Fight Needs Us All.”  Extremely shameless self promotion, I know...but in my defence, it’s also 100% the truth.  Once again, much much gratitude and appreciation for allowing me to be a part. ALL LOVE. ALL APPRECIATION. ALL HAIL!!!

Band info: facebook || bandcamp

Thursday, 29 November 2018

6 NEW BANDS: THE SLUDGELORD's "666 PACK REVIEW" (November 2018)

By: Nikos Mixas


It’s the November installment of THE SLUDGELORD’s666 PACK REVIEW”!  Can you believe that we’re almost finished with this fucking year already???  There are been some winners (but unequivocally more losers…) that have scored a 666 rating just about every month during 2018.  November bands, don’t fail us now!  If you’re new to this, each and every month we handpick 6 review submissions and critique them by only using 6 words, then we rate them on a scale from 1 to 666!  Check out our cold and dreary rating scale below: 

1 – With the lack of daylight hours and listening to your submission, we’re totally feeling this rating of miserable.
2 – We liken your band to when you wake up to shit ton of snow outside.  It blows.   
3 – Some holiday music can elicit feelings of meh, just like listening to this.
4 – We’re likening this submission to hope.  For example, spring is only 5 months away kind of hopeful.
5 – This is real good.  And we mean real good like going on a vacation to some warm weather island for the holidays kind of good.
666! – THE SLUDGELORD’s highest rating is bestowed up you along with an imaginary bottle of whiskey and cauldron full of whatever makes you happy! 

The 666 PACK REVIEW is meant to offer humorous criticism and is not meant to hurt feelings, however, there are no safe spaces here.  THE SLUDGELORD is a picky listener…and doesn’t care what you think of his opinions….

1). Red Usurper, “The Sphere of Time” (Saint John, Canada)     Rating: 3

Digging the tunes, vocals need work.

 
2). Leroy, “Leroy” (Dublin, Ireland)     Rating: 1

First prize for WORST VOCALS EVER.



3). Gaping Maw, “The Big Fuck-Over” (Cincinnati, USA)   Rating: 5

Noisy, angry and cool bass lines. 

 
4). CTRL+All+Delete, “CTRL+All+Delete” (Sacramento, USA)   Rating: 5

Do NOT CTRL+Alt+Delete this fine sludge!



5). Raskolnik, “Dissenter” (Norrköping, Sweden)    Rating: 2

Guitars lessons AND vocal lessons needed.



6). Vandampire, “You will be the bones” (London, United Kingdom)   Rating: 666!


This is THE SLUDGELORD, you lost?



Tuesday, 27 November 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Valafar, "Wolfenkind"


By: Richard Maw
 
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 13/11/2018
Label: Independent


 
there are no bad tracks here and over the course of the eight tracks the band have crafted a fine and vicious album. Valafar are a band to watch and they are destined for greater things

 
“Wolfenkind” CD track listing:
 
1). Úlfhéðnar
2). Brotherhood of the Wolf
3). Path of the Warrior
4). Bloody Spoils of War
5). Shunned from the Light
6). The Ballad of Plainfield
7). Odin’s Call
8). Born of the Nine
 
 
The Review:
 
Valafar hail from West Yorkshire and have imbued this Viking/death/metal with a good deal of the grit the region is famed for.  Keighley and surrounding areas would historically have been part of Northumbria in the dark ages, as would (oddly)  a fair bit south of the River Humber as well- everything from Lincoln upwards was firmly Viking territory. It is not so strange, then, that these Yorkshire bruisers would be espousing a Norse doctrine and bringing tracks enthralled to the Ulf/Varg/Ulva in the form of “Brotherhood of the Wolf”.
 
With other tracks named “Path of The Warrior”, “Odin's Call”, “Born of the Nine...” you know what to expect thematically from those titles! Musically, this is absolutely rock solid- good production job, growled vocals, tales of glory and mayhem; it's all here. I suppose as a reference point this is kind of like a death metal Grand Magus. There are cracking riffs to be had here, it's not mindlessly “brutal” as the songs are thought out and the band has brought some seriously groove filled and sludgy riffs.
 
In short, this is not just speed for speed's sake death metal, but neither is it anything less than very heavy. There is something here for fans of death metal, trad metal, thrash metal and even doom metal, as well as Vikings of course. Sound wise, this is perhaps closer to Swe-death than Florida death metal, but Euro death is closer again to the mark. Think Asphyx jamming with Grand Magus via Revel in Flesh or similar and you are getting there.
 
To be clear, there are no bad tracks here and over the course of the eight tracks the band have crafted a fine and vicious album. Valafar are a band to watch and they are destined for greater things- watch this space and get out to see them live when you can. Stirring stuff.
 
“Wolfenkind” is available HERE
 




Band info: facebook

Monday, 26 November 2018

REVIEW: Six of Swords, “Regime Decay” EP

By: Richard Maw


Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 19/10/2018
Label: Independent




This record is wedded to the corpse of early to mid 90's old school DM and is all the better for it

“Regime Decay” CD//DD track listing:

1). Eye for an Eye
2). No Amnesia
3). Malodorous
4). Hunted
5). Hells Messiah
6). Hedonistic Gluttony

The Review

Six of Swords, Canada's finest death metal troupe, return with this beastly collection of six prime cuts. Polar Vortexwas an EP release that ran surprisingly hot, reviewed on the blog a few years ago. This record has taken all elements present there and ratcheted them up a notch. 

Once again, the production is clear and powerful and the opener “Eye for an Eye” demonstrates that there is more to the band than out and out speed. The main refrain is straight out of the classic Morbid Angel playbook and the band keep things reined in tight- the expected blast never comes and instead this track is a crawling wretched beast. “No Amnesia” changes gear but not style- very pleasingly, this record is wedded to the corpse of early to mid 90's old school DM and is all the better for it.

Once again, the vocals alternate a little with lows as the main course and highs as the extra. “Malodorous” is a fetid exhalation of doomy breath, but the band also switches up to much faster pacing here as well. Excellent lead work and unexpected dynamics come up for air here too- great track. “Hunted” continues the tar-thick vibes and brings with it an Entombed-esque rhythmic approach.

“Hells Messiah” and “Hedonistic Gluttony” continue with some Euro/Swe-Death flourishes and it is clear that SOS have built upon the great “Polar Vortex” to hone and expand their sound. There are some great riffs here, some great leads, an excellent production and nothing that goes too over the top- no endless blasting, no pointless tracks that go nowhere. This is a focused and lean release that I heartily recommend to fans of any band mentioned in this review.

“Regime Decay” is available HERE





Band info: bandcamp || facebook