Tuesday, 15 October 2019

6 NEW BANDS: THE SLUDGELORD's "666 Pack Review" (September 2019)

By: Nikos Mixas

Welcome to THE SLUDGELORD’s September 666 Pack Review.  Summer is OVER, so dust off your black hoodie collection and stow away your favorite pair of camo cargo shorts.  Winter is coming and so is the onslaught of review submission to THE SLUDGEORD.  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 metal fashion themed rating scale below: 

1 – This is as exciting as…your bootleg Pantera shirt. 
2 – Wearing a kilt at a metal festival and this submission go hand in hand.  
3 – Anything camouflaged is pretty standard in metal fashion, this band can relate for sure. 
4 – Spikes, chains and leather are always a cool look…in fact, you guys are pretty cool too.  Four it is.  
5 – The hottest thing in metal fashion has to be the battle vest/jacket trend right now.  You guys should definitely make some patches.  
666 – Truth be told, being original and talented isn’t fashionable at all. THE SLUDGELORD doesn’t give a fuck how you look, only how you sound.  You guys killed it, congratulations!

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). Wardomized “A Heated Exchange” (Belfast, U.K.)    Rating: 5

Napalm Death influence abundantly clear…aaaargh!!!

2). MUNT Towards Extinction” (Melbourne, Australia) Rating: 666!

Fucking hate on the barbie mate!

). The Beginning and the End “Ourboros” (London, U.K.)    Rating: 3

was down until the vocals…

4). Cross Dog “Hollow” (Petersborough, Ontario, Canada) Rating: 3

Again, solid music…but the vocals…

5). Alienat√∂r “Pariahs” (Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada) Rating: 4

Not the most original, but groovy!

6). Oktas “Oktas” (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)   Rating: 5

Ambient without fashion…without trend

Band info: Wardomized || Munt || The Beginning and the end || Cross Dog || Alienator 

Saturday, 12 October 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Car Bomb, "Mordial"

By: Eeli Helin

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 27/09/19
Label: Independent | 
Holy Roar Records

Mordial” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Start
2. Fade Out
3. Vague Skies
4. Scattered Sprites
5. Dissect Yourself
6. Xoxoy
7. Hela
8. Blackened Battery
9. Mordial
10. Eyecide
11. Antipatterns
12. Naked Fuse

The Review:

If you are one of those people who went their way to declare the new Car Bomb album "Mordial" as the album of the year as soon as it was announced before hearing a single note, and want to stick to that notion without considering another side to it, I'd advice you not to read this review any further. Said album was released on September 27th to a wide acclaim, and the previous statements flew very broadly and high. Even though I got the album a month in advance, scribing a review took a while since after the first listen, I honestly didn't remember or even want to replay it. Given my expectations were gigantic, as their previous album "Meta" is simply one of the greatest records ever written, I still didn't even consider the possibility to be put off completely the way I was. Not to be overwhelmingly negative, after many, many listens, I can say "Mordial" is a good album, but that's about it.

Car Bomb's output has refined and evolved over the years, apparently hitting their peak with the anterior album, this newest one falling somewhere in the middle. "Mordial" is the kind of record that explores what has fallen through the cracks on the previous albums, and it thrives in just that. There's plenty of material that momentarily brings out the old giggling fanboy in me, but in its entirety, the album feels bland and flat. I mentioned that after the first listen I didn't feel the need to get back to it, and that is what underlines the opinion I have about it for the time being.

The customary, brain-melting and comprehension-meddling rhythms and weird effects dominate the overall scapes of "Mordial" exactly in a way most people were expecting them to do. While tracks like "Fade Out", "Vague Skies" and "Antipatterns" push the boundaries of what can be deemed rhythmical, at the same time they lack adhesiveness. It might sound stupid to say the twists and turns are hard to follow when the band in question is what it is, but few steadier and more digestable parts could've made a huge difference. You know, stuff that you can nod to. The integral chaotic and nonsensical aspect to the band is present constantly, but also feels too controlled this time around. Granted, the band's sound is deliberately mechanical, but that doesn't mean that the human touch should be left out completely. The atmosphere on "Mordial" is suffocated and more unnatural than before, which on it's part surely affects the taste it leaves behind it.

Not so surprisingly, the best moments on the album are those you didn't expect at all. Such things would be the clean guitars in the title track, the black metal-ish tremolo picking/ double kick section in "Eyecide", and the random Metallica influences on "Blackened Battery" for example. "Dissect Yourself", "Xoxoy", and "Naked Fuse" express the most "basic" side of the band, if you can call it that, but also work wonderfully each time. I'm aware of the contradictions I'm making here, but that's just to make my point clearer. There's better and worse sides to everything, but sadly the latter seems to stick with me when talking about this album. I’m also pretty surprised how ”Meshuggah” they went this time. Surely that band has had a huge effect on what Car Bomb is doing, but it’s a bit sad the lines can be drawn so directly to that one particular source of influence this time.

There's also a lot of recycled riffs and rhythms, which also goes to give that "between the cracks" feel to "Mordial". I don't doubt that people enjoy this album, but it feels that its place is somewhere in the middle and between everything. Opinions are prone to change, and I don't feel the need to state things definitively as I might be on the other end of the spectrum a year from now, but currently I feel that Car Bomb didn't reach the standard they ever so eloquently set for themselves with their past doings. 

”Mordial” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Friday, 4 October 2019

TRACK PREMIERE: Gospel of the Witches, "Womb of The World"

KARYN CRISIS’ GOSPEL OF THE WITCHES is the brainchild of two visionaries: Karyn Crisis (ex-Crisis) and Davide Tiso (Ephel Duath, Howling Sycamore). Their debut “Salem’s Wounds” was released by Century Media Records with worldwide critical acclaim in 2015, and now it's time for a brand new album. Titled “Covenant” and featuring Fabian Vestod (Skinlab) on drums, it offers 12 songs of the finest Occult Metal -- from evil heaviness to ambient passages invoking very ancient concepts and vibrations of the realm of the Goddesses and those who celebrate their magic on earth.  Today at THE SLUDGELORD we’re exclusively streaming a new track entitled "Womb of the World" which you can stream below

Thursday, 26 September 2019

TRACK PREMIERE: Rorcal debut "A sea of false smiles hiding murder jealousy and revenge"

By: Eeli Helin

It is a tedious task to dig for striking and fresh music from the heaps of uninspiring bulk, but a delightful one when it pays off. It is also extremely pleasurable to be approached with something stunning and magnificent, for a premiere, for instance. Leading an obvious bridge from there, RORCAL are one of those outstanding ones. They're releasing their new album "Muladona" on November 8th through Hummus Records, and we're pleased to bring you the first single cut "A sea of false smiles hiding murder jealousy and revenge" today.

Three years after their previous effort "CREON", the band returns with an adaptation of a novel of the same name written by Eric Stener Carlson, mirrored through the bleak and violent whirlwind of dissonant and abrasive death metal, borrowing flavours from blackened aesthetics and noise. The droning and haunting feel carries through the album, the latter aspect being very prevalent in this particular track. Drenched in horror and cacophonous terror, "A sea of false smiles hiding murder jealousy and revenge" will gnaw your bones clean and leave you with a tense expectation for the rest of the album.

The track offers few isolated, passing moments of clarity that will only drag you deeper into its depths. There is a sense of despair very rarely obtained in such a graceful manner, which only goes to underline the primal force of RORCAL, the key atmosphere on the album, and the deep meaning behind every single word. Sit back, prepare to sink into the lyrics and blow out your speakers with the track from below.  ”Muladona” is available to preorder HERE

Band info: facebook

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Colored Moth, "Dim"

By: Eeli Helin

Album Type: Full-length
Date Released: 29/08/19
Label: Wolves And Vibrancy Records

”DIM” DD//LP track listing:

1. Letters to Aldous
2. Maelstrom
3. C
4. Whataboutism
5. Cognitive Bias
6. DEL
7. The Social Darwinist Program
8. A
9. Der Blinde Uhrmacher
10. L
11. Indefinite Hiatus
12. M
13. H.useless

The Review:

Colored Moth are a German experimental band who characterise themselves as ambient noise punk, incorporating elements from noise-rock, screamo and post-hardcore, and whose second full-length album "DIM" was released on August 29th through Wolves and Vibrancy Records. Personally I wasn't exactly familiar with the band apart from hearing their previous album "Fragmenting Tensions" partly once. That is also something I slightly regret at the moment, but at least I'll now have more material to sink my teeth into. Silver linings.

Experimentalism tends to be a fancy expression, a polished way of saying "we crammed all these different approaches and influences into one, smashed them to bits and had some fun with the malformed and weird appearing jumble." Given that it's simpler just to throw around that label, the outcome also varies a lot. That tag contains a whole lot of unpredictability and uncertainty, but at best, also the source of being surprising and fascinating for the listener. Even though at times it's hard to wrap your head around their produce, Colored Moth are still from the vital and, well, colourful end of the spectrum.

"Letter to Aldous" kick starts the album in a discordant and emotionally heavy pace. The tones are abrasive and the drive is constant yet gyrating, and this continues through the second track "Maelstrom" as well. Sonically the band is close to the likes of KEN Mode and even early Daughters, though the latter is mainly my observation, don't need any purists to crawl up my ass for it. Rooted in hardcore and expressing themselves very agressively but on the contrary, tangibly touching, the album hits its first quiet waters on "C". There's four of these kind of silent, droning ambient tracks sprinkled throughout the album, respectively titled "C", "A", "L" and "M". Obviously you get the idea by just staring at those letters in that order.

After this brief pause, the band really shows it's teeth with the violently raging, noise-topped "Whataboutism", punkishly advancing and lead-wise deranged "Cognitive Bias", and the simplistical declaring of "DEL". While these tracks start to stand out at this point, it really takes a few listens to get the idea behind them. Each instrumentalist brings their own flavour and feel to the tracks, which all flow like water, all the time. After these and the following one minute dip to the caustic and scorching end of things on "The Social Darwinist Program", the album turns more sectioned and cyclical.

"A" is a bridge to "Der Blinde Uhrmacher" the first slower and perhaps the most fascinating track. The song picks up very haunting and melancholic vibes along the way, letting the listener breathe and sink into the moment. While being instrumental, it feels that Colored Moth's strongest field would surprisingly be here, amidst the less vile and chaotic fields. "L" takes us to the shiver inducing "Indefinite Hiatus". At this moment, the point I just made grows more meaningful, together with the music and compositions. After the last drone piece, the cinematic closer "H.useless" takes the tension to a new level until a tiring, slowly dying clean guitar passage comes to a well-deserved halt.

The album is very, very dualistic, even bipolar. On one hand we have this almost juvenile, rampaging critter, but on the other, there's this mature and thoughtful, oppressing but liberating being. There's a clear division between the two ends, which is why it also feels like a slam to your face each time. The flow isn't problematic at any point, but the unity feels a bit off, mainly during this one bigger, atmospherical shift. I can see the appeal to utilizing the installment approach on an album, albeit the transition is a bit curdled here. To end on a positive note, there's a great deal of beauty hidden in all this cacophony, and it's admirable. I'm surprised there hasn't been more buzz around this band lately, since "DIM" is something that should be more widely taken into account. Colored Moth doesn't reinvent the wheel here, but they show they can quite pleasantly roll it.

”DIM” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Monday, 23 September 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Exhorder, "Mourn The Southern Skies"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 20/09/2019
Label: Nuclear Blast


Over the course of ten tracks, the band don't put a foot wrong. It rages, it grooves and  it demonstrates exactly why the band are so revered all these years later. “Mourn The Southern Skies” is a storming and total victory.

“Mourn The Southern Skies” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. My Time
2. Asunder
3. Hallowed Sound
4. Beware The Wolf
5. Yesterday's Bones
6. All She Wrote
7. Rumination
8. The Arms Of Man
9. Ripping Flesh
10. Mourn The Southern Skies

The Review:

Exhorder, the real Exhorder- are back. Those in the know will readily espouse the fact that “Slaughter In The Vatican is one of THE greatest thrash albums. Those who delved deeper will know that follow up “The Law” was just as good and influential. They will also say that in Kyle Thomas, the band had a frontman of the highest calibre with a voice so good that Phil Anselmo took more than just notes on it. 

With good unfriendly violent fun being firmly on the agenda, then, what else can Exhorder offer up all these years after their heyday and now that the band are a lot older and a lot greyer? Well, after twenty seven years... the band is as heavy and aggressive as ever. Thomas' voice has not got any weaker at all- one of metal's best vocalists without a doubt. From the opening fury of “My Time”, the band's light is blazing brighter than ever. There are more groovesome tracks (“Asunder”) and pure speed demons and tracks that combine both- “Hallowed Sound” springs to mind.

Of course, to say that this sounds like nothing else after twenty seven years, countless bands influenced and countless thrash bands who forged their own path would be untrue. It occurred to me that Exhorder here sound like a particularly pissed off and up tempo Testament of the latter day (“The Gathering”) onwards. Naturally, the band also have that Southern swagger and groove that their most famous step child also had and this sets them apart from their Bay Area brethren. Ultimately, though, when thrash is executed so expertly as on “Beware The Wolf “ then you can enjoy this for what it is: one of the best thrash bands of all time making a killer third album decades after it should have even been possible.

Over the course of ten tracks, the band don't put a foot wrong. It rages, it grooves, it demonstrates exactly why the band are so revered all these years later. Thomas' voice on “All She Wrote” is superb. His performance on every track is just incredible. His work with Floodgate, Alabama Thunderpussy and Trouble lifted all those releases and added an extra dimension to two of the bands. His work here is just as good, his life-force undimmed.

The grooves that the band conjure up on “Rumination” are excellent as they are on the slower sections of the album- on “Arms of Man”, for instance. Down the back stretch, you also get the thrash-fest of “Ripping of Flesh” and the more measured and epic title track to close out the show.

If Exhorder never make another record, they will be three for three- three records of exceptional quality with an unwavering commitment to heaviness and aggression. There are not many bands that can lay claim to three excellent albums in a row and no-one I can think of that achieved the feat after a near three decade hiatus. A storming and total victory.

“Mourn The Southern Skies” is available HERE

Band info: facebook

Sunday, 22 September 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Russian Circles, "Blood Year"

By: Eeli Helim

Album Type: Full-length
Date Released: 02/08/19
Label: Sargent House

Blood Year” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Hunter Moon
2. Arluck
3. Milano
4. Kohokia
5. Ghost on High
6. Sinaia
7. Quartered

The Review:

 "Blood Year" is Russian Circles' seventh album and fourth released by Sargent House. Three years after the instrumental post-metal-ish acts' last album "Guidance", the trio returns in a stronger and more vivid form, matching and even surpassing all the expectations one could've possibly set for the new album.

Whenever bringing up the subject of contemporary, metal-rooted instrumental music, it's practically impossible to survive through the discussion without mentioning Russian Circles. The band's influence on the scene is indisputable, having released a strong and powerful set of albums with unbroken quality standards within the past fifteen years. "Blood Year" provokes haunting imagery of empty streets and post-apocalyptic ruins, much like their earlier albums, but with a more dismal and moving elegance.

After the intro track "Hunter Moon" built entirely on ambient guitars, a rhythmical drum beat and bass lead set off the second track "Arluck", also giving the tone for the rest of the album. Built on simple movements and easily comprehensible patterns, the band demonstrates their stronger output right from the beginning, lifting the track amongst the prime picks of "Blood Year". The atmosphere is eerie, even more so than it has been before. This continues on the following pair "Milano" and "Kohokia". The flow is consistent and flawless, and the tracks are structured to appear both interesting and sensible throughout. I also appreciate the fact that they experiment and play around with tones very little; the main weight is on good and clever compositions and organic, natural emotions caused by just that.

"Ghost on High" is an intermission piece similar to the first track, leading seamlessly into "Sinaia", the longest, most varied, and bleakest of the bunch. At this point it's noteworthy to mention that the whole album has its own distinct feel and characteristics that separate it from Russian Circles' past albums. While the melancholic aspects are there, the sadness never gets overwhelming, not on this record at least. "Sinaia" is a genuine post-metal track that despite it's own moments, doesn't leave as permanent mark to your memory as the other tracks. The course is still kept steady, and the final track is guaranteed to floor you completely. "Quartered" seems to partly abandon the emotional side and fill the spot it left with more violent and pummeling drive, bringing the album to end completely somewhere else in contrast to where it began. The track also excels to mirror its name, inducing sensations of having your limbs torn apart for one reason or the other.

The overall feeling is what sets this album well apart from the others, relying on something else rather than your run-of-the-mill aesthetics. It's hard to say if "Blood Year" is Russian Circles' best album to date, but it sure as hell is worth all the repeats and time it takes to listen to it. Reverting back to what I wrote earlier, the level of quality is still higher than most and stays unshaken.

”Blood Year” is available HERE

Band info: facebook