Wednesday, 20 June 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Wayfarer, "World's Blood"

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 25/05/2018
Label: Profound Lore Records

On “World’s Blood” Wayfarer rises to be more transcendent than many of its contemporaries in the execution of its new album and overall there is so much to appreciate on this Colorado act's return.  "World's Blood" is a dazzling listen

“World’s Blood” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Animal Crown
2. On Horseback They Carried Thunder
3. The Crows Ahead Cry War
4. The Dreaming Plain
5. A Nation Of Immigrants

The Review:

The beauty and bestial of black metal is that it is today an expansive metal subgenre. At its best, there is something truly gauzy, conceptually original and aurally memorable records. However, there is plenty on the scene that is at times too derivative (first wave throwback movements, anyone?), audacious and over-the-top in a way that can mask musical deficiencies. Goat and pentagram iconography, and too much flourish – literal and figurative – on song titles and imagery, can only carry any band so far. In its most cringeworthy moments, there are more than a few unintentional parodies of black metal.

Fortunately enough, Wayfarer rises to be more transcendent than many of its contemporaries in the execution of its new album, "World's Blood."

The Denver band has been reliable thus far in its output, producing an LP every two years or so. 2014's "Children of the Iron Age" was well received by fans and critics. There might have been a touch too much self-importance early on. Folk and atmospheric metal together can be a bit tiring at turns. And the overlong tracks and intricate storytelling may have felt out of place at first. As you settle in with the band, though, you get a strong sense that Wayfarer is devoted to creating an experience. There are many bands that arguably try to do the same. Wayfarer's iconoclastic approach deserves a deeper look, though.

On "World's Blood," Wayfarer provides a sound informed by a mélange of styles. Black metal, doom and hints of sludge are central to the album. What makes it most fascinating, though, is identifying the disparate inspirations. "Animal Crown" begins the recording with a flash of spaghetti Western romp. There's immediacy to the noisier guitars and rhythm section as the first track builds, with a pained vocal wafting just above it all. The liner notes remark of how the band sought to represent aptly the Western frontier that is part of its experience. Inescapable to that tale is a picture of loss. Rarely has it been so stunningly felt.

The band excels when its orchestration reaches an almost polyrhythmic instance on songs like "On Horseback They Carried Thunder." What feels at first like chaos rewards you as the song crests into a beautiful hybrid of black metal, where pensive pacing strains just below the surface. Where it once drew out tracks possibly a bit too much, Wayfarer's selection and overall production this time offer a new focus. This attention to little things as well as major arcs makes for a more sophisticated album than ever before. With "The Crows Ahead Cry War," thundering drums threaten from a distance. The balance between measured and frenzied is a gorgeous tension you feel again and again on "World's Blood."

That flume of shot-a-man-in-Reno dirty Americana vibe peeks its head out at the start of "The Dreaming Plain," before laying waste into a mad sound space. "A Nation of Immigrants" flits past this inspiration too, in a divergent manner. In all, "World's Blood" is a dazzling listen. One of their best? That's up to longtime fans to judge, but undoubtedly there is so much to appreciate in the Colorado act's return.

“World’s Blood” is available here

Band info: facebook|| bandcamp

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

SLUDGECAMP: A deep dive into the newest black/death metal releases on Bandcamp w/c 15/06/2018

By: Daniel Jackson


Welcome to the inaugural edition of THE SLUDGELORD’s “Sludgecamp”.  I’ve been doing my own weekly deep dives into the newest black and death metal releases on bandcamp for some time through the joy of the site’s “Discover” feature, so I thought “why not share what I’ve found with the rest of you”?

I’ll be covering new releases first, followed by classic albums that have been recently added to the site, and finally some notable pre-orders for albums coming out down the road. I hope you find something to enjoy!

Released the week of 15/6/2018:

Dryad, “The Silurian Age”

My favorite discovery of the week goes to Iowa’s Dryad. The band have crafted an absolutely brilliant style for themselves with a combination of raw, primitive black metal, hardcore punk, and moody keyboards. As of right now, it’s my favorite release of the year, with the only negative being that I’m selfishly disappointed that it isn’t a full length’s worth of material.

Forlorn Citadel, “Songs of Mourning”

The bandcamp page for this release indicates that this is a remastered demo release from May, but is seeing a new official release through Dark East Productions. With that out of the way, this is absolutely essential if you’re a fan of Summoning. People have understandably heaped praise upon Caladan Brood’s ‘Echoes Of Battle’ from 2013 for its brilliant recreation of that classic Summoning sound, but Forlorn Citadel is every bit as good at Caladan Brood, and maybe even a tad better. They absolutely NAIL that buzzing, reverb-drenched guitar tone, and the vocals are excellent as well.

Tired Lord,Demo”

Tired Lord is apparently a one-and-done project out of San Francisco, and it’s a shame they’re only ever putting out this one demo. This is black metal with a strong emphasis on groove, which is all the more impressive when you consider that the drums here are programmed. If you’re a fan of Cobalt or Black Anvil, to cite a couple of loose comparisons, you’d do well to give this a shot. Tired Lord, for their ultra brief existence, were undoubtedly a riff factory. (Note: I’m cheating a little bit here as this was actually released June 8th, but From Corners Unknown Records uploaded it during the week of the 15th.)

Ashen Chalice, Kroz život sa razbijenim očima”

Croatia’s Ashen Chalice are a bit of a mystery. No social media presence to speak of and the band seem intent on drowning their music in reverb and fuzzy distortion. The focus here is all on mood and atmosphere, as opposed to traditional songwriting and memorability. Typically that wouldn’t be my thing here, but the ambient world this album creates is so engrossing that I can’t help but recommend it. This is the sort of musical alchemy that gets me to throw my standard tastes out the window for the sake of getting lost in new sonic worlds.

Sanguinary Trance, “Wine, Song and Sacrifice”

I had a hard time finding much info on Austria’s Sanguinary Trance. The band seem to have a thing for Dionysian mysteries, as it relates to wine and ritual. This is a case where the aesthetic elements in the album cover and in the song titles set the table nicely for the music, which could be called black metal with a sense of drama, without crossing over into Cradle of Filth style shlock.

Newly available through Bandcamp:

Imperial Crystalline Entombment, Apocalyptic End in White”

A nostalgic pick here, as Imperial Crystalline Entombment originally released this album back in 2004. The album’s a total blastfest, and acts as something of an American counterpart to Cadaver Inc’s black metal and grindcore hybrid from the prior year. For their part, the music mixes in some Immortal (naturally) and a bit of death metal into the mix as well, which makes sense for a project brought to us by members of Aurora Borealis.


Kosmogyr, “Eviternally: The Remixes” (Out 13/7/2018)

A unique idea here, as Kosmogyr have commissioned various artists to remix their excellent debut EP. The idea of a remix album isn’t unique on its own, but when the original album is this kind of muscular melodic black metal, that can change things quite a bit. I’m woefully underqualified to evaluate this sort of project, but the idea warrants attention and investigation.

Hellish, “The Spectre Of Lonely Souls” (Out 31/8/2018)

Unspeakable Axe is always coming up with the goods, counting Scorched, Voidspawn, Act of Impalement and more as some of the great previous and upcoming releases through their label. Add Hellish to that list too, as their particular brand of blackened thrash features riffs that are smarter and catchier than you’re likely to find from your average 1st wave diehards, as evidenced by the album’s advance track “The Walker of Shadows”.

Gravecoven, “Coughing Blood” (Out 11/7/2018)

Some strong sounding black metal infused doom coming to us care of Transylvanian Tapes in just a few weeks. This has the downtuned filth you love in your doom, coupled with the chilling atmosphere you want in your black metal and Gravecoven pull the combo off nicely. 

6 NEW BANDS: THE SLUDGELORD's 666 Pack Review (June 2018)

By: Nikos Mixas
Art by: Joshua M. Wilkinson

It’s the June edition of THE SLUDGELORD’s 666 Pack Review!  This month some of you might be going on vacation or getting sloshed while watching the World Cup but the smart ones are digging in deep at the jam pad/rehearsal studio/garage honing your chops.  We can tell because THE SLUDGELORD’s review submission inbox is constantly full and believe it or not, we really appreciate it.  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 summer slacker themed rating scale below: 

1 – You’re just like Panama in The World Cup.  You’re inexperienced and just happy to be here.       
2 – Maybe the band should take a collective vacation to figure things out?     
3 – You guys are average, kind of like Russia in The World Cup.  You have potential to be great, but you’re not quite there yet...        
4 – I’d kick back on a beach with an adult beverage in hand and listen to this.      
5 – You’re the musical equivalent of team Brazil.  A perennial beast.  Goooooooooooooooaaaaaaallll!!!
666THE SLUDGELORD awards you The World Cup Trophy for the month of June.  Now go do something vile with it. 

Caveat:  Even though the 666 Pack Review is meant to offer humorous critique, there are no safe spaces here and your gripes will only make you sound like a bellyacher.  THE SLUDGELORD is a picky listener…and doesn’t care what you think of his opinions….

1). Empty Friend, “Saltwater” (London, United Kingdom)    Rating: 2

Did 90’s alternative rock return? Wow…

2). Modok, “Evil/Sea Beast” (Joensuu, Finland)   Rating: 4

Modok eats, breaths and shits doom.

3). Fatima, “Moaner” (Paris, France)   Rating: 5

If Nirvana played doom/shoegaze, it’s this.

4). Magik Black, “Magik Black” (Nizhny Novgorod, Russia)   Rating: 666!

Dumb name but shaddup and listen!

5). Flood Peak, “Plagued by Sufferers” (Portland, U.S.A.)   Rating: 5

Reminds me a bit of Celeste.  Oui!

6). Ingrina, “Etter Lys” (France)   Rating: 666!

Vive la Ingrina! Vive la France!

Friday, 15 June 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Age of Taurus, "The Colony Slain"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 18/05/2018
Label: Rise Above Records

Age of Taurus still have the hunger and riffs to compete with the very best of the genre and the very British delivery elevates them far above their American counterparts 

“The Colony Slain” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. From the Hills to the Halls
2. Taken to the Tower
3. The Trial of Blackwynn Chaise
4. In Dreams We Die
5. The Lost Garrison
6. Beyond the Westward Path
7. For Treason We Rise
8. The Walls Have Ears
9. To Seal a Mountain
10. As Ice Into Blood
11. The Colony Slain

The Review:

Age of Taurus return with their second full length release, some five years after “Desperate Souls of Tortured time”. The Londoner's appetite hasn't dimmed, even if line-up changes have seen metal stalwart Alastair Riddell depart the ranks and the bassist Richard Bruce also leave. The band still deliver doom; no fuss, no branching out- just a very traditional British metal/doom sound.

After a mood setting intro, “Taken to the Tower” brings a surprising turn of speed and the familiarly mournful sounds of Toby W Wright's vocals. The NWOBHM influences are still firmly present here as are the much more downbeat doom stylings- “The Trial of Blackwynn Chaise” being a solid example of the latter.

There is a lot of reverb in the mix this time around, maybe even too much in places, but the quality riffs and arrangements are still easy enough to hear. Amongst the more rocking material, traditional doom can be found (“The Lost Garrison”) and once again, the lyrics and themes are historical, mythical and magical. By the time of “For Treason We Rise”, the album's pattern is fairly firmly established; slow doom intros often abound, faster riffage and galloping rhythms often replace it and the atmosphere is one of melancholy.

Truthfully, there is nothing new here and certainly nothing that you won't have heard, but that is not to say that the delivery is convincing and the performances absolutely committed. Yes, Wytch Hazel are doing this type of stuff with more subtlety- but Age of Taurus are just as effective as on their debut and take on the mantel of bands like Witchfinder General (probably their closest older brother) with deftness and aplomb.

For doom rock in 2018, look no further than this album. “The Walls Have Ears” and “To Seal A Mountain” are solid proof that Age of Taurus still have the hunger and riffs to compete with the very best of the genre and the very British delivery elevates them far above American counterparts trading on occult themes and something to do with biker gang films from the 60's.

The title track closes proceedings with three and a half minutes of convincing NWOBHM flavoured doom- much like the tracks that preceded it. There is much to recommend here and if you like the style of either of the bands mentioned above you cannot go wrong by getting hold of this. Doom on compatriots.

“The Colony Slain” is available here

Band info: facebook

Thursday, 14 June 2018

SATAN'S DOZEN: 13 Unearthly Hymns Unearthed #9 (April 2018)

Compiled by: Andrei Moose
Artwork by: Josh Mashesh

SATAN’S DOZEN is THE SLUDGELORD’s attempt to present the very best music the underground scene has to offer. Each and every month our member of the Russian chapter Andrei Moose painstakingly sifts through the music labelled killer riffs and chooses 13 of the best new albums released via bandcamp and bundles them together into the mightiest riff sandwich.

Whilst all the albums we have included below are top tier stuff, we have compiled them into a chart on a sliding scale of 13-1. So we hope you dig our selections from April 2018 and enjoy 13 Unearthly Hymns Unearthed.    These bands need more exposure, so go “like” “share” and “follow” their pages, but most of all enjoy some of the best music the underground has to offer.  THE SLUDGELORD most sincerely approves.   Now, go heavy or go home.

13) Bear Punch, “Down The Mountain” (Belgium) Released April 21, 2018


12) VITREOUS EARTH, “Passing Visions” (Ontario, California) Released April 8, 2018

Stoner - Doom

11) Radien, “Syvyys” (Helsinki, Finland) Released April 20, 2018

Blackened sludge

10) Morpholith, “Void Emissions” (Reykjavík, Iceland) Released April 20, 2018

Psychedelic / Stoner / Doom

9) Lowdrive, “Roller” (Sheffield, UK) Released February 2, 2018

Stoner-Rock / Hard-Rock

8) CRYPT, “Self-Titled” (Adelaide, Australia) Released March 10, 2018

Stoner-Rock / Stoner-Metal

7) Insano Vision, “Fossils From The Future” (Hamden, Connecticut) Released April 27, 2018

Stoner-Rock / Stoner - Metal

6) Carcinogen Daily, “EP” (Tulsa, Oklahoma) Released April 8, 2018

Sludge / Stoner-Metal

5) Vulturehead, “Into the Vulturehead” (Helsinki, Finland) Released April 24, 2018

Psychedelic/ Stoner-Rock / Stoner-Doom

4) Thirst Planet, “The Essence” (Nazareth Iliit, Israel) Released April 6, 2018

Stoner rock/ Stoner metal/Stoner Doom

3) Jahgernaut, “Dark Time” (Toronto, Ontario) Released April 6, 2018

Hardcore / Stoner / Thrash / Metal

2) Only Sons, “Love, Drugs, Treachery and Deceit” (Kraków, Poland) Released April 16, 2018

Stoner Rock / Grunge

1) Shine, “Moon Wedding” (Bielsko Biala, Poland) Released March 31, 2018

Psychedelic / Stoner / Doom

TRACK PREMIERE: Gramma Vedetta deliver epic psychedelia with a twist of grunge on "Address Unknown"

Stoner/Hard rock band GRAMMA VEDETTA will release their new single "Address Unknown" on June 15th 2018. The song is taken from the band's yet to be titled upcoming album.

The band commented "We are very stoked to release this song. Built on a jam in the studio it has evolved into an epic journey between the 70s psychedelia and the 90s grunge, all revisited in a modern way. This song shows completely where the band's roots are."

Band info: facebook

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Grave Lines, “Fed Into The Nihilist Engine"

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 04/05/2018
Label: New Heavy Sounds

Grave Lines demonstrates irrefutable growth, confidence and deftness with a palette of emotional peaks and valleys.

“Fed Into The Nihilist Engine” CD//DD//2LP track listing:

1). Failed Skin
2). Shame/Retreat
3). Self Mutilation by Fire and Stone
4). Loss/Betrayal
5). Silent Salt
6). Loathe/Displace
7). The Greae
8). Guilt/Regret
9). The Nihilist Engine

The Review:

The United Kingdom's doom masters Grave Lines smashed their way onto the scene in 2016 with its "Welcome to Nothing," a debut that reveled in its sweltering power – blistering drums courtesy of Julia Owen, Jake Harding's disparate vocal attack and a style that puts a noise/sludge pace on you that would make Vasyl Lomachenko himself proud. And, happily, the band is back with "Fed Into The Nihilist Engine," a rugged return if ever there was one.

Grave Lines is intriguing because of its changeups. "Failed Skin," the album's 14-plus-minute opener, is by far the longest cut, and it is melting as it is impregnable. Don't let its gentle, loping opening chords fool you. As the bass kicks in, Harding descends from the heavens, with his punctuated and flaring vocals that rattle you out of your slumber. That clarity of voice carries on to "Shame Retreat," an ethereal song that makes the most of its strengths.

Grave Lines is unctuous with its heavy tracks, which slosh in hardcore influences, such as "Self Mutilation by Fire and Stone." You also witness promise with its gracefully constructed folk-tinged songs like "Loss Betrayal" and "Loathe Displace." The sharper among us might ask if the group is pining to be a metal team or more a hard rock band with departures like this. And in fairness there may be some attention to album arrangement, or else it becomes heavy-to-lighter-to-heavy-to-lighter song, rinse and repeat. Nevertheless the tracks themselves are strong, devouring your ears and imagination.

Now into its second album, Grave Lines demonstrates irrefutable growth, confidence and deftness with a palette of emotional peaks and valleys. As "The Nihilist Engine" closes out the album, it is impossible to avoid the many paths before the group, as well as one's own curiosity for what's next.

“Fed Into The Nihilist Engine” is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook