Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Wild Throne - 'War Is A Romance (Single Review)



Review:

Just over a year has passed since I was left gushing over Washington trio Wild Throne’s stunning and bombastic ‘Blood Maker EP’ here at The Sludgelord. This website is, quite rightly, inundated with some gloriously good music, crossing a multitude of styles and showing just how rude and healthly the scene is currently in. It’s inspiring to see. There are literally thousands of bands vying for our attention week in, week out, so it has to take something special to catch our imagination – and more importantly here, mine specifically. But Wild Throne’s ‘Blood Maker EP’ did exactly that. Now the troupe have returned, fresh from penning a deal with Roadrunner Records – a mean and well deserved fete in itself – with a blistering new single, ‘War Is Romance.’

Across the tracks frenetic, as-chaotic-as-a-bouncy-ball-launched-into-a-tiny-rubber-lined-room length, you pass through so many dimensions, musical references, gorgeous, spine-tingling nuances and insatiable fury. It stops you dead in your tracks. From the Motörhead styled, foot-to-the-accelerator openings, to Mastodon like pummelling’s later on down the line, betwixt solos that twist and scream like one of Jack the Ripper’s vulnerable and squeamish victims, it’s a song that has more than affirmed my already well established love for this band.

Previously known as Dog Shredder, the new song, the first monster to rear its ugly head from their forthcoming album ‘Heart of Darkness,’ gives you a snapshot of what this band is. It’s all over the place – flirting with the sounds of the aforementioned artists alongside the likes of Converge, Mars Volta, Muse and the Dillinger Escape Plan – yet at the same time, it couldn’t be more fluent. It picks you up and shuttles you through an intimidating sonic space time continuum that, quite literally, takes your breath away.

At times, frontman Josh Holland’s vocal replicate that of Matt Bellamy’s schizophrenic and maniacal octave jumps – only if Matt had had an ounce of cocaine burst in his stomach, causing him to thrash about the place in a full-blooded adrenaline craze.

“Humans tend to seek out both love and war instinctively,” Holland has stated on the topic of War Is Romance’s lyrical theme. “Rather than thinking of them as opposites, I wanted to suggest that the intensities of violence and passion actually share more similarities than differences. That the hunger to fight is some sort of inner romance. We lust for it.”

‘Harvest of Darkness’ is released August 18th via Roadrunner Records. If this lead track is anything to go by, it promises to be a record to kick a boot up the arse of their already dizzying ascent.


Words: Phil Weller
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Alkaloid - 'The Malkuth Grimoire' (Album Review)


Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 17/03/2015
Label: Self Release

‘The Malkuth Grimoire’ CD//DD track listing:

1 Carbon Phrases
2 From a Hadron Machinist
3 Cthulhu
4 Alter Magnitudes
5 Orgonism
Dyson Sphere
6 I. Mining the Oort Cloud
7 II. Assembly
8 III. Kardashev II.1 - The God Oven
9 IV: Sol Omega
10 The Malkuth Grimoire
11 C-Value Enigma
12 Funeral For A Continent

Alkaloid is

Morean (Dark Fortress, Noneuclid) | Vocals, Guitars
Christian Muenzner (Spawn of Possession, Ex­-Obscura, Ex­-Necrophagist) | Guitars
Danny Tunker (Aborted, Ex­-God Dethroned) | Guitars
Linus Klausenitzer (Obscura, Noneuclid)  | Bass
Hannes Grossmann (Blotted Science, Ex­-Obscura, Ex­-Necrophagist) | Drums

Review:

Progressive bands seem stuck in a rut these days, what with splitting their time with looking carefully thrown back (so as not to ruin their creases), finding out what is cooler than current technology, and whatever craft is in this month. Admittedly, I may be confusing them with hipsters, however, they do seem to have gotten stuck in a weird spot, what with not really doing leads, a muddy sound, and no real sense of where the album or songs need to go. 

There are exceptions of course, Between the Buried and Me and Becoming the Archetype for example and some of what The Kindred has released, but progressive bands seem to come across as a big blob of aimless complexity for complexity's sake. The album of today's excursion, ‘The Malkuth Grimoire’, combines many genres into what a progressive band should seek to be! All hail Alkaloid!

To begin, the album seems divided into two different hemispheres: ‘The Malkuth Grimoire’ with very long parts, and ‘Dyson Spheres’, with songs mostly sub 5 minute, but more varied in content. Alkaloid would technically fall into science metal or tech death, but it has much more depth than most offerings in any of those genres. It's almost complex enough to be classified as, just Metal, so you don't offend someone by not including them. You have a band wholly capable of playing anything they wish, a well versed lyric writer who rivals Allegaeon with scientific mumbo jumbo and spacial voodoo, and a kickass no fear attitude when it comes to doing stuff that doesn't seem like it would work on paper, but is executed excellently.

Starting with ‘Carbon Phrases’, these tracks are long and showcase their talents in huge, multi-part formats. This first half of the album is my favorite, just because of the variance; they are multi-faceted well crafted songs, not just well written or sounding, seemingly orchestrated from the dictated notes of Stephen Hawking's fevered wet dreams.

By far my favorite cut is ‘Cthulhu’, the song comes across as a huge monstrous god rising out of the waves to crush the world before it. The guitar is amazing, with frenetic fret work and some hefty chugging. It curls up in the mind of the listener perfectly, especially once the vocalist starts in with his ragged crooning. He goes from a great growl into a more basic droning song voice, and it’s exactly like a cultist with a great production crew. Again, just perfect on the ‘Malkuth’ half, in my opinion, but none of this album is a slouch. 

The second act, ‘Dyson Spheres’, which includes the 4 part titular phrase, is more straightforward. It's very heavy, just a bit shorter in content than what the first half manages to squeeze out in 1-2 songs. You have so many musical touches, however, so it's really no less a treat, just very... involved, aurally. You have to listen to this a few times through to catch most of the wonders on display.  Once you get beyond part IV, the second half really shines even brighter to me. The title track, ‘The Malkuth Grimoire’, is exceptionally fast and heavy, it just pummels along the nervous system of the listener, hitting pleasure centers everywhere. My pick here is going to be ‘C-Value Enigma’, because it's been far too long since I have heard a competent bass composition that made me stop and just listen. It really harkens back to what Cliff Burton did on ‘Anesthesia’, but far more complex and very alien. It sounds much more like a piano is playing, and I mean I would be hard pressed at points to say it wasn't a keyed instrument. It's like being in a royal court as Mozart draws back the veil to show the vast eye of some unknowable god. Absolutely monstrous and perfect. Album closer, and the longest slab of majestic metal, ‘Funeral for a Content’, adds a slight power metal side, complete with riffing and shreddery to fill even the oldest of metlaheads with joy and should be a top ten song on ANY end of year list.

In summary then, this album should start every top 5 metal album conversation, and you need to own this. NOW. 

‘The Malkuth Grimoire’ is available here

Words by: Hunter Young

For more information:

www.alkaloid-band.com | www.facebook.com/alkaloid.band | http://alkaloid-band.bandcamp.com/


Liturgy - 'The Ark Work' (Album Review)


Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 24/03/2015
Label: Thrill Jockey Records

‘The Ark Work’ CD//LP//DD track listing:

1. Fanfare
2. Follow
3. Kel Valhaal
4. Follow II
5. Quetzalcoatl
6. Father Vorizen
7. Haelegen
8. Reign Array
9. Vitriol
10. Total War

Liturgy is:

Hunter Hunt-Hendrix | Guitar, Vocals
Bernard Gann | Guitar
Tyler Dusenbury | Bass
Greg Fox | Drums

Review:

Liturgy has always been a divisive band. It’s very likely that they will always be a divisive band. It doesn’t matter whether you’re speaking in purely musical terms, or if you’re talking about the philosophy behind the music; they elicit a strong reaction either way, and that’s probably by design. From the first time I heard ‘Renihilation’; Liturgy just clicked for me. I’ve been listening to black metal for nearly twenty years now, and while I easily identified it as black metal, I’d rarely heard it played with such intensity, or with such a frenetic energy to it. It wasn’t just about blast beats or ridiculously speedy tremolo picking; it was about the entire presentation. It was wild and exuberant at a time when so much of black metal had been more about depression and sorrow (which are still worthwhile things for the genre to explore, by the way).

‘Aesthethica’ harnessed that energy and turned it into songs that dug their hooks into you. The rhythms were stronger and more varied and the band had learned to build up to big moments, which resulted in an even better album than the first. All of this is to say that I have been on board with Liturgy’s musical vision from the moment I heard them. Sadly, I’m not on board anymore and you can believe me when I say that I don’t take any joy in reviewing this album as harshly as I’m going to.

‘The Ark Work’ is a fucking mess. It’s an album characterized by a series of bad decisions from which the instrumental compositions are never able to recover. This isn’t about playing with new genre elements or trying new things in general. It’s about bad execution and not realizing what the reasonable limitations of one’s capabilities as a musician/songwriter are. The biggest issue among several larger problems is Hunter Hunt-Hendrix’s vocals. His vocal delivery brings to mind a child who doesn’t want to go to school because they don’t feel good, or maybe begging for more time to finish up a video game. It’s in such stark contrast to the bombast and fanfare of the music that it sounds like it was pulled from a different album and when his singing matched this album’s music closely; it was a happy accident. I’ve often wondered while listening to ‘The Ark Work’ what this album might be with a more capable singer. Who would even be up to the task? I can only imagine.

You can point to a number mishaps throughout the album, musically as well. “Kel Valhaal” borders on being a nightmare to get through as a listener. The horns repeat the same general rhythmic idea over and over again with occasional studio trickery that sounds like the musical equivalent of a thirty year old Max Headroom malfunction. This continues for nearly three minutes, along with bagpipes whining and bells struck with mallets in the background. Once we finally get some genuine progress in the song, the vocals come in and Hendrix delves into some variation of a rap performance. I’m not qualified to dissect a vocal performance in this style, but from someone who only occasionally listens to rap/hip hop, it sounded more accomplished than a complete joke like YouTuber Krispy Kreme, at least. Still, it’s not anywhere near enough for the song to regain its footing after the inadvisable compositional and instrumental choices in the song’s first half.

I will also point out that any review claiming that ‘The Ark Work’ is completely without merit should be read suspiciously too. “Follow” and “Follow II” would make an excellent single instrumental song, taking the best parts of each and condensing it down. The bells work well as an introductory element in “Follow” and the strings are beautiful in the second half of “Follow II”. There’s a great song to be had between the two with judicious editing. “Quetzalcoatl” has some great ideas on the musical side of things, especially in the big climactic moment at about the minute and a half mark. Unfortunately, the vocals are a big hinderance to the rest of the song. Unfortunately, I believe that is in some ways the story of ‘The Ark Work’. Anytime the album shows real promise from a musical standpoint, Hendrix’s vocals choices not only don’t enhance the songs, they get in the way and cause real damage more often than not. Even if the vocals were completely removed, ‘The Ark Work’ would be deeply flawed, but at least you’d be able to appreciate the brilliant moments when they came along. Instead what we have is an album that sounds like it came from a band so excited about its concept and so wrapped up in making it happen that they couldn’t tell what was working and what wasn’t.

Words by: Daniel Jackson


You can pick up a digital copy here and a CD/LP copy here.


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Occult 45 - Human Abhorrence 7" (Review)


Album Type: 7Inch
Date Released: 10/03/2015
Label: Broken Limbs

‘Human Abhorrence 7”/DD track listing:

1). Plaster Saint
2). Tyranny Stomp
3). Chainsaw Vigilante
4). PPFO
5). Wizard of Gore
6). Succubi
7). Death with Diginity

Occult 45 is:

John Hauser | vocals
Dean Sykes | guitar
Chris Kennedy | bass
Jason Dost | drums

Review:

Philadelphia has already blessed the world with cheese steaks and the Fresh Prince, but apparently this isn't enough as its gone and vomited out Occult 45 and their latest release, 'Human Abhorrence'. It's rough, it's fast, its 13 minutes long, and the musicians apparently don't know what scales are. Opening track 'Plaster Saint' churns out in a series of power chords before hurtling along at quadruple speed, finally returning to earth at a more polite bpm for its second half. The gears shift down again by the end for a beautiful mush of noise before returning to breakneck fury for 'Tyranny Stomp'. This is a band that knows the value of dynamics, as far as can be used in a genre such as grind at any rate.

It's grind with a certain degree of restraint. Not the kind of restraint that screams 'we all suffer with lack of testosterone and get excited about the property ladder', but rather the kind that makes this usually brash genre much easier to digest and enjoy. Grind is usually like a filthy dog on a chain that is constantly barking at top volume, Occult 45 make that dog shut the hell up occasionally so you can actually like it.

Maybe this is the reason the band, for all their speed and sandpaper textured sound, don't sound pissed off like so many of their peers do. Their stumbling violence sounds more like a drunken wild night than vitriol against the latest social ill to blame the world's problems on. It's straight up fun. It's basically the soundtrack to the coolest, crustiest party you've ever been to, where the only partner you're likely to wake up next to the following day is a severed goat's head. If you think that sounds appealing then give 'Human Abhorrence' a spin. I mean if that's the case you should probably seek help, but at least I'll be right there with you.'

Words by: Jake Mazlum

‘Human Abhorrence’ is available here

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Archelon - I (EP Review)

I cover art

Album Type: EP
Date Released: March 01st 2015
Label: Self Released

I - Track Listing

1.Gaia 03:27
2.Blood on the Sabre 08:22
3.Faint Young Sun 06:57

Members:

Craig - Guitar & vocals,
Adam - Bass & vocals,
Tj - Drums

Bio:

Archelon formed in Sheffield UK in August 2013 when Drummer TJ and Guitarist Craig who had been playing together for some time recruited Adam to play Bass and complete the line-up of their progressive Sludge metal band.

Fusing thier love of such bands as Mastodon, ISIS, Neurosis, Pelican, Russian Circles and many others. Archelon sound like a shifting techtonic mass bludgeoning everything in its path with the raw power of a glacier carving valleys from mountains. Their sound is slow, raw, agressive, groove driven and undeniably heavy.

Review:

Archelon another band that a few of my friends have recommended me to check out and here I am finally checking this great band out. If you're a fan of the bands mentioned in their bio then you should seriously check out Archelon as their debut EP – I – is a damn good indication that this band is definitely worth your time.

Opening track – Gaia – is 3:27 minute blast of Progressive Sludge Riffs with a touch of Ambient Noise thrown in for goo d measure. The vocals are reminiscent of early ISIS/Neurosis with traces of hardcore running through them. It's a shame the song isn't on for a tiny bit longer as it could of done with a further minute or so for the heavy riffs to do more damage. Though the Ambient sounds ends the song superbly well.

Second track – Blood On The Sabre – is pure Progressive Sludge/Post-Metal territory that will offer a few decent heavy thrills amongst the Sludge/Post-Metal crowd. It starts rather quietly before the loud riffs start to appear near the 3rd minute. The vocals are impressive yet again as they bring an air of intelligence and a hint of anger and fury to give Archelon's overall sound a more primal feel.

The final track – Faint Young Sun – has a more experimental and noisy vibe compared to the other tracks. As Archelon turn the atmosphere into a sombre and cold violent place where fear and oppression is all around you. The vocals have a more disturbing feel to them as Archelon leave you feeling in a depressive state. The riffs are played at a slow pace that gives the band plenty of room to explore and create some sombre Post-Rock ambient style music. Though the heavier Sludge/Post-Metal riffs aren't too far behind.

Archelon have created a stunning debut EP and I recommend you check it out if you want a Post-Metal release that will make you coming back for more punishment. Then this is the release for you. I is available to buy on BandCamp Buy Now Download.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Written by Steve Howe

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HOOF - Seraph Of Saturn (EP Review)

Seraph of Saturn cover art

Album Type: EP
Date Released: March 30th 2015
Label: Self Released

Seraph Of Saturn - Track Listing

1.Black Drug 05:56
2.Hail The Unholy 05:00
3.Forbidden Pact 02:48
4.Putrid Altar 06:20
5.Cessation 01:52

Members:

Seth Randolph
Aaron Sanford
Brandon Davis

Bio:

HOOF is a three piece doom band from Fairmont, WV.

Review:

HOOF is the type of band that I love promoting on Sludgelord. A band that comes along and literally impresses me in a big way with their heavy riffs that soon get under your skin. HOOF deal in heavy pounding Doom/Sludge Metal riffs that harks back to the early days of High On Fire with an ode to Black Sabbath here and there.

Their debut EP – Seraph Of Saturn – is a strange and very dark EP as it ventures from fast-paced riffs to the more strange experimental occult overtones of sublime 3rd track – Forbidden Pact. Though opening track – Black Drug – will have you fast-paced sludge metal junkies on edge with it's style of blistering style of angry riffs and superb vocals to match. Seraph Of Saturn is an EP you need to play very LOUD to get the full effect.

Fourth track – Putrid Affair – carries on the heavier carnage from opening track – Black Drug – but gives it a more doom and gloom makeover that sees HOOF become demented murderous mad-men of the riff. Embrace this with open arms if you dare. Definitely the EP's standout track as the band even include a trippy psychedelic occult rock sound near the middle of the song.

This is an outstanding debut EP from HOOF as it's contains a ton of great ideas that one listen to the EP is never enough. If you're a fan of 70s style Classic Doom Metal, Occult Rock and modern day Sludge/Stoner Metal then Seraph Of Saturn is the EP for you. This is a dark and mysterious tale that you won't be able to get enough of. Check it out for yourself as Seraph Of Saturn is available to buy on BandCamp Buy Now.

Brilliant Stuff!!!!

Written by Steve Howe

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Domovoyd - Domovoyd (Album Review)

























Album Type: Album
Date Released: May 08th 2015
Label: Svart Records

Domovoyd - Domovoyd - Track Listing

01. Domovoyage
02. Ambrosian Perfume
03. Caustic Afterglow
04. Mystagogue
05. Amor Fati
06. Vivid Insanity

Members:

Oskar Tunderberg - clamor, low frequencies
Niko Lehdontie - oscillations, low frequencies
Dmitry Melet - lower frequencies
Axel Solimeis - pulse

Bio:

Echoing guitars from the grooves of distant space, Domovoyd drone forth their debut album "Oh Sensibility." Detonated in the year 2010, the band has risen to the forefront of the Finnish Underground. Masters of dark, hypnotic, sprawling hazed-out doom, their music is a flaming celebration of the psychedelic arts from the temples of Hawkwind to Matt Pike's altar of the riff. Capturing the live-energy that has electrified audiences with their unique, heavy dose of rhythmic sludge, Oh Sensibility is an album that drone heads and doom freaks cannot afford to miss.

Swilling the world about in their mouths and spitting it through a cosmic spiral, Domovoyd know how to traverse time and space, and have the necessary intoxicating ingredients to take you there. Saddle up your space rocket and say goodbye to your sensibilities, as Domovoyd, smoking long dead galaxies in their wake, blast you into the furthest reaches of beyond.

Review:

The fine people of Svart have delivered the goods once more with this eponymous LP from Domovoyd. The young Finnish quartet barely look old enough to legally drive let alone be crafting a monumental second album of super-heavy psychedelic rock with a strong retro flavour. “Domovoyd” is bookended by two monstrous journeys into the outer limits; the aptly named “Domovoyage” and “Vivid Insanity”.

Domovoyage” kicks off with a menacing cloud of Velvet-Underground-style droning violins, establishing an uneasy atmosphere before the band enters the fray and establishes some flange-heavy vibes. Proceedings gradually get fuzzier with more searing leads coming to the fore before the whole track unexpectedly goes up several gears, launching into a furious gallop towards the stratosphere. Vocals make their appearance for the first time, giving the overall feel of Jus Oborn fronting a tooled-up Hawkwind.

Just when you think that Domovoyd have reached a plateau of psychedelic perfection, they manage to find even higher gears, cranking up the intensity and dropping some seriously crunching riffage. The vocals match the fury of the music, giving the impression of Matt Pike at full tilt, trapped in a wind tunnel. Things calm down a little after this only for the band to begin the whole journey again, even more exhilarating second time round. As opening tracks go, 2015 will have to try pretty hard to rival this onslaught.

The album ends in similarly epic fashion with the 17 minute monster “Vivid Insanity”. Beginning in sparse, tranquil fashion as the band lock into a lazy, hypnotic groove haunted by the same buzzing violins that started the record. The peace is shattered by frantic heaviness, the band building up a head of steam before lurching into treacle-thick riffage to end the album on a satisfyingly doomy note.

Although these two behemoths offer the highlights of “Domovoyd”, there’s plenty of fun to be had from the tracks in between. In particular, “Mystagogue” does a fine impression of prime Electric Wizard which continues into “Amor Fati” which adds a bit of the frantic garage rock of The Heads to the mix to fine effect.

Domovoyd” is a fine effort from this exhilarating young band, a perfect mix of classic psychedelic rock and modern heavy sounds that is sure to stick in the mind long enough to bother 2015’s end-of-year lists.

Words by Charlie Butler

Thanks to Nathan and Svart Records for the promo. Domovoyd will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from Svart Records from May 8th 2015

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