Tuesday, 21 October 2014

All Them Witches - Lightning At The Door (Album Review)


Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 16/9/2014
Label: Self Released

‘Lightning A The Door’ LP track listing:

A1. Funeral For A Great Drunken Bird
A2. When God Comes Back
A3. The Marriage of Coyote Woman
A4. Swallowed By The Sea
B1. Charles William
B2. The Death of Coyote Woman
B3. Romany Dagger
B4. Mountain

Bio:

All Them Witches began conjuring up music together in 2012. Foregoing theater school to focus on songwriting, Parks traded New Mexico for Nashville at 19-years-old. The Shreveport, Louisiana native met drummer Robby Staebler while the two shared a shift at a “corporate hippie store”. Robby showed Parks some music he and guitarist Ben McLeod had written, and it inspired the singer to jam—which he adds, “I usually never do. It made sense though”.

Adding Robby’s longtime friend Allan Van Cleave to the fold on Fender Rhodes, All Them Witches cut their debut Our Mother Electricity. Almost immediately after, they began working on its follow-up 2013’s Lightning At The Door. Recorded live in a matter of days with producer and engineer Andy Putnam, the boys tapped into a distinct energy, mustering bluesy soul, Southern swagger, and thunderous hard rock all at once.

Review:

Although All Them Witches made it clear they'd rather not be compared to Black Sabbath and The Black Keys, the album has the heaviness of the first and the looseness of the latter. Good news is that this second release reveals the band's unique identity with authority. If you haven't listened to it yet, you know what to do next.
           
All Them Witches starts their 2013 record (review here for the re release on vinyl) with quite an original composition, 'Funeral for a Great Drunken Bird'. In this 4.5 minute song, the band opens up with deep ambience from the violin. Within 20 seconds, the multiple layers of sound meet and immerse us immediately. Quickly helped by the sound of the guitar with the meatiest fuzz effect, a long and satisfying riff plays before the rest of the band comes in. The tones of each instrument are genuinely perfect, and with this first song we can already hear the amazing work of co-producer Andy Putnam and each band member. Lovers of psychedelic and heavy, youre served, the trip begins.
           
The second track 'When God Comes Back' has a more straightforward feel which will keep everyones head banging. The verse is built on a style of repetitive call and response which is reminiscent of blues, yet the power of the riff and the intensity of each musician affirms were still very much in heavy music territories.
           
The band falls under the label of Delta psychedelic rock, and mentioning the band's roots in the Delta area of Southern America, from where blue emerged, gives context to their sound.  I'll be the first to say that blues songs have a tendency to be too repetitive, but in the case of 'The Marriage of Coyote Woman', there's never enough of that melody played by the guitars and the keys. All instruments gel joyously with each other and set a great mood as well as leaving the right amount of space for one of the best vocal deliveries on the album. The first line, ‘I never met a salesman like you before’ will leave you in awe for a long time.
           
'Swallowed by the Sea' features the heaviest riff of the record, joining the ranks of Conan and Sleep. The light intro featuring vocals, acoustic guitar and some bizarre harmonies in preparation of this long and beautiful track. But beware, before you will board onto this 5 minute journey, the band will show you what real heavy sounds like.
           
All Them Witches is particularly good at laying down solid grooves with superb bluesy melody, showcased by 'Charles William'. The story unravels slowly, while the music takes us back and forth between heavy tones and low dynamic blues riffs. The same applies to 'The Death of Coyote Woman', regardless of your state of mind; you will find yourself nodding along quickly. Towards the end of the track, the repeated guitar phrase going up and down through the scale and the addition of several drums is another achievement from the band, as they continue to create a tasteful and signature sound.
           
'Romany Dagger' is quite unique within the record and could be classified as an interlude. The band plays a short instrumental that shows their blues roots, as well as their folk influences.
           
The final track, 'Mountain' is yet another confirmation that the band truly plays together. With the drums alone starting this last song, it's clear once again how good every member sounds individually and together. The richness of the alchemy, feel, and grove - whatever you want to call it - permeates not only this punctuating track, but the entire record.

Words by:  Zach Mizzi

The vinyl is limited to 500 pieces and you can pick up a copy here



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Wizard Rifle - Here In The Deadlights (Album Review)


Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 28/10/2014
Label: Seventh Rule

‘Here In The Deadlights’ CD/DD/LP track listing:

1. Crystal Witch (06:39)
2. Buzzsaw Babes (02:58)
3. Paul The Sky Tyrant (05:39)
4. Psychodynamo (08:52)
5. Beastwhores (07:38)

Bio:

WIZARD RIFLE arose from the rain and gloom of Portland -- two malcontent twenty-somethings with a bent on creating something exhilarating and progressive amidst a scene of tepid dreamy pop, and redundant revival acts. Drummer Sam Ford is a blur of tom rolls, rapid-fire rim shots, screaming out harmonies amid the flurry. Meanwhile guitarist Max Dameron spews forth tentacles of noise, at times angular yet bizarrely groovy, at times psychedelic ambience, or purely crushing space-rock. The sheer sonic wall created by two is a sight to behold live, both members sharing signing duties and pushing to the limit of their abilities and ears.

With a sound rooted in a reverence for ‘70s psychedelic and punk, and myriad contemporary acts without ever feeling like a throwback, WIZARD RIFLE seeks to push the boundaries beyond reference points and obvious nods to rock idols. Still, they’ve commonly been likened to King Crimson, Lightning Bolt, High On Fire, Misfits, Karp, Melvins, My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, Sleep and so many others. In 2012 the band released their debut LP Speak Loud Say Nothing to critical adoration on Seventh Rule. Teaming up with Nanotear Booking, they honed their live sound on several US/Canadian tours, sharing the stage with the likes of Yob, Church Of Misery, Black Cobra, Arabrot, Rabbits and Witch Mountain. Last year, the lads relocated to Los Angeles, and immediately started work on the delightful, riff-encased bruiser, Here In The Deadlights.

The Band:

Sam Ford | Drums, vocals
Matt Dameron | Guitars, vocals
David Bow | Bass

Review:

Wizard Rifle are much more than just a spectacular name. Their debut offering, ‘Speak Loud, Say Nothing’ had The Sludgelord basking in their translucent yet industrious tonalities. ‘Here In The Deadlights’ is an offering that builds on that striking first impression with a fistful of menace and an equally generous amount of dreamlike lucidity. Paradoxical, phenomenal!!

From the off, opener ‘Crystal Witch’ packs vigorous riffs drawing lovingly from High On Fire, with that same dark guitar tone that doesn’t need a cranked distortion to get the job done. The music is at times untidy and unhinged but it’s exactly that, which makes the album so voraciously fun. Take the raw anarchic bout of ‘Buzzsaw Babies’, itself pertaining a buzzsaw riff that grinds your ears in the best possible way. The shortest track of the record at just less than three minutes, its punk mentality hits you hard before venturing down a more psychedelic passage and returning full circle with a vengeance.     

‘Paul The Sky Tyrant’ whips up an almost boogie like frenzy – it’s a proper skull-rattler of a tune. Feral guitar work, drums that fill every conceivable gap of their sound, unkempt vocals roared atop the mix; their sound isn’t easy to ignore. But for all the welcomingly messiness of it all, there are flashes of a more solid, melodically pleasing brilliance at play: The outro of ‘Paul The Sky Tyrant’ unfurling a dash of harmonised guitars amidst the sludgy, early-Mastodon fashioned riffs. It’s Incredible stuff.  

‘Psychodynamo’ ploughs on. It’s a venomous sounding composition which builds to an uncomfortable and staggeringly powerful climax. The crescendo in question is a Melvins style jolting riff, preceding the record’s most memorable chorus and a barrage of tom rolls, discordant guitar work and a tone as nasty as they come.  Suffice to say, it has The Sludgelord enamoured once more.

Music aside, Wizard Rifle has a fantastic piece of artwork for this record. It’s a simple but highly effective image, the whitish grey of the skull against a heavenly blue sky, a powerful metaphor for their sound. For as manic and unrestrained as this is, they strive to add a fair degree of natural beauty to their deathlike grasp. On the aforementioned ‘Psychodynamo’ for instance, they emerge from bustling crescendos – from a wall of noise essentially – with a thumping lone guitar riff – the sky blue peering momentarily from behind the skull and clouds.

Closer ‘Beastwhores’ is as free as this band sound. Building on a rhythm section which could very well be Grand Funk at the peak of an acid trip, the guitars stab at you above them before the dynamics are dropped completely. When the vocals come in it’s like the soundtrack to some ancient sacrifice, a pale moon blotting the jet black sky as a baying crowd chants its way through rituals beneath. This is music to summon a Daemon of the most fucked up kind and we here at The Sludgelord live for such hellish revelry.  Their sound is a constant, incessant explosion of noise, of riffs part High On Fire, Black Sabbath and Sonic Youth, thundering drums and a growling bass that rages through your speakers like a cyclone, ravaging everything in its path. How this band can make such a racket is beyond me.

Come get battered in the torrent that is Wizard Rifle, you won’t regret it. 


Words: Phil Weller

You can pick up a copy here

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Brant Bjork & The Low Desert Punk Band - Black Power Flower (Album Review)


Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 14/11/2014
Label: Napalm Records

‘Black Power Flower’ CD/DD/LP track listing:

1.  Controllers Destroyed
2.  We Don't Serve Their Kind
3.  Stokely Up Now
4.  Buddha Time (Everything Fine)
5.  Soldier Of Love
6.  Boogie Woogie On Your Brain
7.  Ain't No Runnin'
8.  That's A Fact, Jack
9.  Hustler's Blues
10. Where You From, Man 

Bio:

No one can fool this man anymore: As a cult figure of the Palm Desert scene, as founder and drummer of the unfortunately no longer active Stoner-Rock legends Kyuss and a permanent member of Vista Chino (formerly KYUSS Lives!), the formation around Kyuss colleague John Garcia, Brant Bjork is washed with all (musical) waters. Now he is sailing under his own flag and proves once again that his multi-instrumental skills know no creative boundaries. With his excellent occupied Low Desert Punk Band, Bjork lets the scorching heat of Nevada shimmer in his songs. He also scrubs his guitar through all sorts of psychedelic effect pedals and skillfully mixes Stoner Rock, Blues and Doom-bonds to a feverish hazy brew. The Desert Rock Band has reached their oasis.

Review

Every once in a while you will witness greatness from an artist in many a musical form; Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Vista Chino and of course a plethora of solo albums to date.  I am, to say the least a magnanimous fan of all of Brants’ work but none has captivated my auditory system as tightly and emotionally as his new release. From the first listen there was something different regarding this album. It was hard to put my musical pointer on it, as it has all of the pre cursors for an ultimate album.

Like a prize fighter coming out and landing combinations that let the other pugilist know a first round knockout is going to happen, even with the best defensive plan. Brant superbly and emotionally knocks your acoustic capabilities on their ass. I might be catching heat regarding this but I think this is the best piece, and by piece I am mean a whole musical body of magnitude and spiritual safari in his already amazing musical existence.  I believe that the reason this album is so relatable and contagious is due to one viable thing that gets overlooked in music, it is real. This a no gimmick, pro tools diluted, auto tuned, whatever else you want to say about the industry today. Brant not only plays the music on this album, he conveys that he believes in what he is singing and wants the listener to feel the power of the album.

Yes folks, this is an album that by my account, is Brant Bjork breaking free from any so-called genres or what he has done before. This sonic existence needs to be listened to with head phones on, or in a car, driving to air out the insanity of the day, or to just plain remember why music hits us spiritually, emotionally, and most of all, to let the rock roll.  Now, let’s get deep about the goods shall we?

First song on the album ‘Controllers Destroyed’ does that. It has a Sabbath-esque intro and outro that lets you know fundamentally, the album will be hitting deep. The chorus of the song really grabbed me as the dual vocals sound impeccable and you could sing along with them anywhere. Brant is piping out, “We made a better world for you and me.”  There is an erratic but powerful solo to be found on the track, and the bass is the cement in the mix. This song starts the musical journey and it never looks back. I get the feeling Brant, couldn’t give a fuck who is in the rear view mirror.

Second song is, ‘We Don’t Serve Their Kind, which is encapsulated by sick riffs and dual guitars that have a very tight sound. In terms of fuzz, tonality can get lost in the mix, but here it floats like a nice morning fog, introducing a new and powerful day. The chorus and vocals on this tune are really strong. I feel Brants’ singing on every track is the best I have heard but this number stood out to me. Brant is singing, “Created our world.” we are treated to very emotive vernacular from a strong wordsmith. I also totally dug the breakdown which incorporates a nice solo.  Rolling in at number three is, ‘Stokely Up Now’ and the beginning is rather fuzzalicious and flows into a boogie head bopping groove. The delay/echo at the end of the line before the chorus is brilliant. Thus followed by a sing along chorus; “Get off now.” There is a great panning session into the right speaker and then it comes together with a really solid c section with a tremendous groove and Brant letting us know again, “Get off now.”

We are then treated to ‘Buddha Time’. This song has everything needed to turn you into a Brant Bjork fan. Reason being, Superb guitar work, in which the fuzz is so goddam good. Trust me; getting your tone is something that does not happen overnight. If you think so, go to guitar center grab a Les Paul off the shelf, get a few pedals, a cab and head and have at it. ‘Oh! You are still working on it. Yeah, what I thought’. The wall of guitars on this, sound so immensely huge, but the clarity shines through as the mix is one of perfection. The six strings are in complete control on this number but again, the listener is treated too a killer fucking chorus. We are talking, no bullshit, ear grabbing to the finest.

In number five, we are greeted with, and you can be the judge, but I found this to have a ZZ Top swagger. This, if you dig the ‘Top, comes as the biggest compliment I can give. I felt that the beginning of this song could have been rolling while Billy Gibbons was hitting the pavement in his Cadillac.  ‘Soldier of Love’, is for me lyrically the highlight of the album. It gets to the point but is also ambiguous. It is as if Brant is wearing his heart on his sleeve but has another shirt over the top of it and the end of the track, is really driving and is a complete feel good, Jack and Coke type of jam.

‘Boogie Woogie On Your Brain’ starts with really strong bass and great percussion. It‘s a really strong and aggressive vocal that doesn’t come across as being a tough guy, but hits you where you need to be hit. It has an incredible breakdown and the song ended with me really wanting more. If that’s not the sign of a good song then go back into your house, turn on Fox news and enjoy a D sand which.  If you dig the Band of Gypsies then number seven, ‘Ain’t no Runnin’, will put a smile on your face and a backbeat that is commonly referred to as Chicken Shack; as it is behind the beat but so funky. It has a really powerful soul groove in which if you stuck your hand on the speaker, the bones would shake n bake. The chorus is as thick as a milkshake and the bridge section has my favorite bass work on the album. The only complaint I had regarding this jam was that it was not long enough.

Number eight made me picture Bill Murray in Stripes as I was reading the song titles. I could see him yelling, “That’s the Fact Jack.” The clean guitar work brought me back to Brants’ early work. A nice clean wah sound, then the wall started to crumble as the fullness and richness of the guitars hopped in for a nice supporting role. The sound I dug on this track was the bass. It had that reggae tone, clean and bouncy. I wanted to ‘Lively Up Myself’, you dig?!!. Again it contains a really strong chorus which is true during the whole album.

If you dig jazz, then ‘Hustlers Blues’ will appeal to your earbuds, the intro hit that vein for me. The guitar has that nice clean single strum line and a nice trippy vocal effect. Don’t worry people, this is not something you would hear while waiting to get 5 pound of Boars Head turkey, rather cats that know and appreciate going from fuzz back into clean and how it is done the correct way.  The bridge on this tune really had me. It was a nice interplay of guitar work and had a hint of ‘Love Gun’, much slower by Kiss in the mix. I could be way off, but just what my ears were hearing at that moment in time.  This song has the ability to breathe and go straight into an ass kicker, a locomotive of bass and guitar, ‘choo choo’.

Which brings us to the last number on this rollercoaster of soul, jazz, funk, rock, and last but not least; dignified and spectacular music. ‘Where you From, Man’ sounded like a revved up CCR to me. With transistor vocals with really delicate minor chords, it truly hits a nerve for me. The music truly does the talking on this piece where vocally less is more.  Picture your favorite sandwich, if you do not like them, pretend you do. The guitars on this album are two wonderful baked pieces of bread. Then you add the tasty addition of vocals, bass, guitar solos, drums and what makes them fit so nicely together is the incredible vibe of this album.  You bite into that sandwich and flavor erupts and it is the best you ever had. That is what this album will not do to your taste buds but rather your eardrums. 

People forget that music is such an incredible healer and while listening to this album, for that time I forgot about pain and let the music heal my aches and pains. If only for a short time, but what else organically can give you that fix and still let you walk a fine line.  The spirituality of the album is one that should not be overlooked. It is in there folks, the way a great preacher can relate a sermon to the people in the room and leave no one out.  Dig it if you want too or just listen, but do yourself a favor and truly hear what Brant is saying on the tracks. It will do you and your mind some good. Who does not need that?

Like I said, I think this is the best album he has put out in his career, under any moniker. This is Brant at his finest, letting the rock roll and letting the listener take away a smile and piece of music that will be played for a long time.

Enjoy yourself and please marinate in this wonderful musical adventure to the brink and back.

This was a pleasure to review.

Words by: Marc Gaffney

You can pick up a copy here

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Monday, 20 October 2014

Cavalera Conspiracy - Pandemonium (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 03/11/2014
Label: Napalm Records

‘Pandemonium’ CD/DD/LP track listing:

01. Babylonian Pandemonium
02. Banzai Kamakazi
03. Scum
04. I, Barbarian
05. Carmunhao
06. Apex Predator
07. Insurrection
08. Not Losing The Edge
09. Father Of Hate
10. The Crucible
11. Deus Ex Machina
12. Porra

Bio:

The Cavalera brothers Max and Iggor delude nobody when it comes to determination and stubbornness. In the 1990s the Brazilians brought up some of the most uncompromising Metal records of music history with SEPULTURA and show with CAVALERA CONSPIRACY that fatigue is a foreign word for them. Their latest record Pandemonium is no exception: Frontman Max Cavalera rushes with bellow of rage into the fray, lets his brother drum coarsest grooves and puts his finger into the open wound. Does anyone want to know how timeless Death / Thrash Metal sounds? There are a dozen prime examples on Pandemonium! It is always sheer boldness that determines CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, whether rigorous as the opener 'Babylonian' Pandemonium, brutal as in 'Bonzai Kamikazee`, merciless as in 'Barbarian' or aggressive as in’ Father Of Hate’!

The Band:

Max Cavalera | Vocals, Guitars
Iggor Cavalera | Drums, Percussion
Marc Rizzo | Lead Guitar
Nate Newton | Bass

Review:

I suspect that most of you reading this are likely well aware of the story and the history behind Cavalera Conspiracy. There's the often-expressed discontent with Soulfly’s direction after Max Cavalera’s exit from Sepultura. Then, there's Sepultura’s output without Max, and since 2006, without either Cavalera brother. Those circumstances are what they are. You have your opinion on the matter, I have mine, and those parties actually involved have their views too. With only a handful of songs here and there and the Nailbomb project as the exception, anything the Cavalera brothers have been involved with since ‘Chaos A.D.’ has been met with a lukewarm response from me at best; the same goes for Sepultura in its current state.

2007’s ‘Inflikted’ and 2011’s ‘Blunt Force Trauma’ both elicited that same marginal response from me for being only partially committed to the return to form that many have so often clamoured for. ‘Pandemonium’ isn’t an exact return to form either. Instead it creates an interesting blend of some of the better elements they’ve been working with over the last 20 years. If the only possibility you are willing to entertain is ‘Beneath the Remains’ or ‘Arise’: The Sequel; you’re not going to get it with this album.

Sure, there’s plenty of deathly thrash to go around and its presented here in it’s most convincing form since 1991. The riffs are more varied and imaginative than on any of the recent Soulfly/Sepultura/Cavalera albums, and people in that nostalgic state of mind should find this to be the Cavalera album that has gotten closest to what they’re after. What’s really happening is that they’ve found a way to have their cake and eat it too. ‘Pandemonium’ filters the past through a number of different textures into something that doesn’t sound completely stuck in 1987-1993.

Let’s take the first two songs ‘Babylonian Pandemonium’ and ‘Bonzai Kamikazee’ for an example. They’re both very thrash-beat-centric, With ‘Babylonian Pandemonium’ being borderline death metal in particular. Max Cavalera’s vocals are nearly unrecognizable due to either pitch-shifting, being heavily processed or some combination thereof. While that sounds like a knock against them; I don’t intend it to be. It’s actually really effective, and it gives the performance something of a demonic feel to it. It sounds inhuman by design and it works really well. It’s a song that rages the moment it kicks in.

‘Bonzai Kamikazee’, on the other hand, scratches that ‘Arise’ itch in a very satisfying way, even echoing certain riffs from that album’s title track along with ‘Dead Embryonic Cells’. Despite a brief breakdown that might send some dread racing through the nervous system of “golden era” die-hards; it’s over quickly, and it’s followed up with the sort of mid-paced riff that should render an internal sigh of relief before you succumb to the urge to give up on yet another Cavalera-related album.

I’m having a bit of fun with some of the more staunch and serious amongst old Sepultura fans because I’m usually one of them. I like ‘Chaos A.D.’ a bit more than some, but generally-speaking that’s as far as I go. For much of the last fifteen-plus years, the pressure fans and critics have placed on the Cavalera brothers to revisit old ground and reclaim old glory has been intense to say the least. I don’t think they’ll ever come to a point where they give in and put out a purely classic sounding ‘87 to ‘91 style album again, and maybe they shouldn’t. They’re not who they were back in those days. It would likely sound as phoned-in as ‘World Painted Blood’ did for Slayer. I don’t think anyone wants that. Instead, we have a band with a lot of energy and quality ideas, putting out something that references the past while keeping their boots on the ground here, in the present, playing with new elements that work to the album's benefit. That’s a damn good place for a thirty year career to end up.

Words by: Daniel Jackson

You can pick up a copy here




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Obituary - Inked In Blood (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 28/10/2014
Label: Relapse Records

Inked in Blood CD/DD/LP track listing:

01. Centuries Of Lies
02. Violent By Nature
03. Pain Inside
04. Visions In My Head
05. Back On Top
06. Violence
07. Inked In Blood
08. Deny You
09. Within A Dying Breed
10. Minds Of The World
11. Out Of Blood
12. Paralyzed With Fear

Bio:

Death metal legends OBITUARY make their Relapse debut with ‘Inked In Blood,’ their 9th full length LP.  Almost three decades in, ‘Inked In Blood’ stands out as one of the finest moments in OBITUARY’s already godlike discography.  The riffs, groove, snarl and rage are as fierce as ever, putting most all other contemporary death metal bands to shame.  OBITUARY are THE definitive death metal band, and ‘Inked In Blood’ is an instant classic amongst their already storied catalog.  OBITUARY are both the originators and the torch-bearers of the genre!   ‘Inked In Blood’ is the sound of true death metal kings reclaiming their throne!!! 

The Band:

John Tardy | Vocals (1984-current)
Trevor Peres | Guitar (1984-current)
Donald Tardy | Drums (1984-current)
Terry Butler | Bass (2010-current)
Kenny Andrews | Guitar (2012-current)

Review:

Obituary return, five years after their “Darkest Day” opus. Can they still cut it? Are there still heavy Celtic Frost stomping grooves? Will they have added blast beats? Will Ralph Santolla's six string mastery be missed? Here's my take:

First off, Obituary have always held a special place in my heart. Death metal without being particularly speedy, grooves are mixed into the mayhem and some really heavy sludge and doom influences can always be heard. Obituary are death metal, for sure, but they are also in a field of one in the genre. Those facts alone make another album worth celebrating. Regardless of how you feel about crowd funding, it can't be denied that those who invested got what they paid for. ‘Centuries Of Lies’ kick starts the album with a two minute burst of thrash pace and breakdowns. Good stuff and nice to hear that the idiosyncratic production tendencies of the band are present and correct- soupy guitars, odd sounding drums- all sounding very live- and a gnarly bass tone for new-ish recruit Terry Butler (ex-Death et al).

‘Violent By Nature’ brings rumbling grooves and riffs that get the head nodding like no other band. John Tardy's vocals are still a thing of wonder- very harsh, very unusual and perfect for the sound. Brother Don's drums are always a joy- simple and powerful grooves- well paced double bass and nice work all around the kit; the guy is a class act and never overplays, unlike many in the death metal genre I could name!

‘Pain Inside’ brings the patented slow Obituary stomp groove- sludgy, doomy and deathy all at the same time. Nice lead work from newest boy Kenny Andrews too. Trevor Peres keeps the rhythm work down and tight, just as he has done for nearly thirty years.

‘Visions In My Head’ has a nice stop start riff and percussive cymbal chokes before the tanks really start rolling and the band sets up a monstrous groove. Again, it's heavy stuff- but like Crowbar is heavy, not like Nile is. Some clean picked acoustic adds nice dynamics towards the end as does the lead wailing of Andrews.

‘Back On Top’ is another mid paced bruiser, all low riffing and dark imagery. ‘Violence’ is faster- but only thrash fast, lots of twin kick flourishes and an almost punk or hardcore approach to the structure make this one memorable and in an odd way, catchy. This is perhaps similar to the Tardy Brothers' offerings on “Bloodline” a few years ago.

‘Inked In Blood’ is a beast of a title track- slow to start with some interesting and purposeful riffs. The band seemed to have widened their approach to the songs this time around- they are not one paced and they don't use the same tricks on every track, something which has happened in the past. They seem more purposeful, more willing to change things around and use rhythms and dynamics to their advantage.

‘Deny You’ has that ‘Redneck Stomp’ feel to it- low and slow like a gator in the everglades- it's a predatory and vicious sound. It's a strong riff and the band make the most of it, playing around with it a little to make the bridges and construct a nasty little reptile of a song. Things change for the middle section but the familiar refrain returns to good effect.

‘Within Dying Breed’ is massively heavy, sticking with the sludge tempos again- no blasting off here, just feral marching towards the end of the record. Things do pick up pace, but not too far. The changes do allow for an excellent fadeout and crushing tom overdub though- kind of like the end of Megadeth's ‘Reckoning Day,’ but more direct!

‘Minds of The World’ is surprisingly nimble in the intro and it actually keeps this fleet of foot quality- Don Tardy plays particularly well here- lovely phrasing with crystal clear production (no hiding behind walls of reverb) as his hands and feet do call and response phrasing. Excellent stuff and classic Obituary material. ‘Out of Blood’ gives us one last groove at half tempo with cool mixing on the vocals as they pan around from line to line. ‘Paralyzed With Fear’ finishes strongly with that textbook double kick semi-quaver roll underpinning the guitars- it is like ‘Slowly We Rot’ amped up for a new age and it glorious to behold. Great leads, again, and a good performance all around with the weight of the production shining through.

Obituary can most definitely still cut it, with all elements of their sound present and correct. The album is more diverse than previous releases, but nothing too radical- no blast beats for example. The leads are well placed and well played and the whole band sound rejuvenated. One of the best death metal bands live, Obituary have not always hit the mark on record. On this one, they do, though. It's a strong album front to back with lots of reminders as to why the band is legendary in death metal circles. Incidentally, the stuff on offer here will also please those who prefer their sludge or doom to more deathly delights. It really is that heavy, feral and nasty.
  
Words by: Richard Maw

You can pick up a copy here



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Sunday, 19 October 2014

SELVA - Life Habitual (Album Review and Exclusive Album Stream)

lajf həbɪtʃuəl cover art

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 27th October 2014
Label: Argonauta Records

Life Habitual – Track Listing

1 - [I]
2 - ENCLOSURE
3 - LIFE HABITUAL
4 - PERSISTENT
5 - [/]
6 - EXISTENCE
7 – GLOAMING

Bio

Founded in late 2013 by Tommy (drums), Gino (bass/voice) and Ale (guitar/voice), who have previously been in other different hardcore bands, ['selvə] are authors of a stunning work made of blackened atmospheres and abrasive sonorities, with a meshing of themes and motifs that goes from post-hardcore and screamo to black and post metal to instrumental post rock, a fascinating experience in murk and tension. Mixed and mastered by Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Loma Prieta, among others) at Atomic Garden Studio (San Francisco), “Life Habitual” is a blasting debut which will appeal to fans of CELESTE, RUSSIAN CIRCLES and ALCEST

Members

Tommy – Drums
Gino – Bass/Vox
Ale – Vox/Guitar

Review:

Selva are another hotly tipped band to come from Italy. Obviously our good pals Argonauta Records are involved yet again in releasing their excellent debut album – Life Habitual. A stirring mix of Post-Black Metal, Screamo and Post-Rock vibes. Sure a million bands have done this style of music before but none with this much confidence on a debut album.

Comparisons to bands such as the ones listed in the Bio only tell a small part of the Selva story as Life Habitual is a dark brooding musical odyssey waiting to drown you in a vengeful sea of anger and fury. Selva are pissed off through out the album. Sure there are moments of calm and peace but Selva live mainly in the darkness. It's more Post-Metal than anything else as Selva blast there way through 38 minutes of brutal riffs. The vocals of Ale and Gino carry extra weight with the heavy riffs on show. 2nd track – Enclosure is where the band impress the most with their haunting and almost hypnotic music weaving a spell so early on. From then on the album impresses even more with each passing second as Selva play like a band possessed with more emotionally charged songs to impress you with.

Life Habitual is an album that demands your full attention as Selva include many different noises and effects you may miss first time round. Especially on some of the album's later tracks such as Existence and Gloaming. The last 16 minutes of the album are dedicated to those final two tracks and it's where Selva show their brilliant musical talents for everyone to see. The dark despairing and violent riffs come crashing all around you and it will devour your very soul. It's bleak, dark, angry but also very beautifully played in scope that will leave you begging for more.

Life Habitual is an excellent debut album if you're a fan of Post-Metal with a dark and twisted edge. Italian Metal has another great band to call upon. Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Gero and Barbara at Argonauta Records for sending a promo to review. Life Habitual will be available to buy on CD/DD on Monday October 27th 2014.

The kind folks at Argonauta Records have an exclusive stream for the album for you all to hear.



Release show info here:

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Friday, 17 October 2014

Textures - 'Polars' 10th Anniversary European Tour

With their fifth album in the works, Textures will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of their debut album ‘Polars’ this year. On account of this special occasion they will be playing an exclusive headline tour through Europe in October 2014, during which the band will be performing the debut album in its entirety, supplemented with songs from their other albums.

In 2004 Textures made a blast into the metal scene with their debut album ‘Polars’. Inspiring later bands like Periphery, Tesseract and Monuments, their state of the art combination of diverse metal styles would pave the way for new genres as modern-, prog-, math-metal and djent.

In honor of this, Textures will be releasing ‘Polars’ exclusively on vinyl for the first time. ‘Polars’ is still the only missing vinyl record in the 4-album discography of the band. Also the band will be releasing new ‘Polars’ related merchandise. Items can be purchased later this year.

The ‘Polars’ 10th Anniversary Tour marks a last flash-back before the band will head into a new future and a new album cycle with Nuclear Blast Records.

'Polars' 10th Anniversary Tour:

18 October - SHOKO, Madrid, Spain
23 October - UNDERGROUND, Cologne, Germany
24 October - EBULLITION, Bulle, Switzerland
25 October - CCO, Lyon, France
26 October - DAMAGE FESTIVAL, Paris, France
29 October - THE GARAGE, London, UK
30 October - EFFENAAR KZ*, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
31 October - P60*, Amstelveen, The Netherlands

Source: Nuclear Blast UK

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