Monday, 29 May 2017

RIFF REWIND (29/5/2013): The Moth Gatherer - "A Bright Celestial Light"


The Moth Gatherer was founded in Stockholm in 2009 by Victor Wegeborn and Alex Stjernfeldt. They started The Moth Gatherer as a sort of therapy, a way to deal with the loss of people they loved and the hole it left behind. The Moth Gatherer was a way for Alex and Victor to move on.

During 2009 and 2010 they explored their sound, and in mid 2010 they began recording what was to become their debut ”A Bright Celestial Light”. It contains 5 songs and 45 minute play time.

About the name”The Moth Gatherer” Alex commented in an interview:”We went through some personal tragedies and felt like we were lost in darkness and we fumbled towards a source of light, just like moths. So the name The Moth Gatherer felt kind of fitting for us.”

In April 2013 they released their debut "A Bright Celestial Light" through Agonia Records to critical acclaim. Many reviewers praising The Moth Gatherer’s ever evolving sound and atmospheric approach to song writing.  The debut was mentioned in several "best of 2013"-lists, among Metal Mouth, Close-Up Magazine, Hellbound etc.  In late 2013, Svante Karlsson joined the band to complete the line-up and to bring a sonic groove to the drums. 2014 was a year of a small tour and one off shows, while 2015 marked their first festival appearance at Devilstone Open Air. On November 27th, 2015, their second album "The Earth Is The Sky" was released. 

Today we’re rewinding back 4 years to the day, with a review of The Moth Gatherer’s phenomenal debut “"A Bright Celestial Light"”. So join us, as we continue on our quest to trawl through The Sludgelord archives to present the best albums you may have missed.  So if you overlooked this band/album, be sure to remedy your error by checking out our review and the record is streaming in full below. 


By: Matt Fitton

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 16/04/2013
Label: Agonia Records


For a first time offering this is some overwhelmingly good output. Huge riffs explode into existence but it retains a progressive base that it works from. This album is heavier than planets bouncing off each other.

“A Bright Celestial Light” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). The Water That We All Come To Need
2). Intervention
3). A Road Gravel And Skulls
4). The Womb, The Woe, The Woman
5). A Falling Deity

The Review:

If I had a fiver for every time somebody told me about some amazing new post / progressive / experimental band from Sweden I would be a very rich man. That being said, check out this awesome new Swedish band...

The Moth Gatherer are from Sweden, home to many cool bands of their ilk. They deal in the aforementioned sounds and sub-genres, but the real meat and potatoes of it is that they're really quite badass. They weave textures into their music that stay with you long after it concludes, and that way of thinking is written all over their debut album 'A Bright Celestial Light'. It can also be heavy in spades, which automatically earns them major kudos around these here parts.

The first slice of gold on offer is 'The Water That We All Come to Need'. It eases into life with some beautiful acoustic guitar strumming and a light, yet pounding beat in the background. Then it turns its head and really brings the beef. Huge riffs explode into existence but it retains a progressive base that it works from. Really impressive stuff. Heavier than planets bouncing off each other.

'Intervention' is a noisier affair from the start, but still paced out with some melodic loveliness. The tranquil moments on this record are always like the eye of a storm though, and they set you up consistently for some crushing and cavernous low-end monster sounds. Those calming parts are glorious and rightfully earn their place. The vocals are also right up there in the mix, like they're reaching for the stars from the depths.

'The Womb, The Woe, The Woman' has some terrific droning riffs that increase in impact and effect when they are twinned with the serenity that is peppered throughout the track, and indeed the entire record. I imagine it's somewhat like the feeling that a nomadic tribesman must get when he stares at the night sky to guide him. You could be in the middle of nowhere and yet still feel connected to something. This music is just like that, and this track is powerful just like that. The piano toward the halfway mark is pure icing on the cake, right before the whole thing takes a HUGE left turn into hell and becomes heavier than the Earth's core. Mag-fucking-nificent.

For a first time offering from a group that isn't really a group (there's only TWO of them involved) this is some overwhelmingly good output. This is for the real music lovers, of both the grit and the peace, and you NEED this in your life. I heartily recommend that you check the band and this record out. You won't be disappointed.




Band info: Facebook

Friday, 26 May 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Longhouse - "II: Vanishing"

By: Andre Almaraz

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 14/04/2017
Label: Independent




The tone, mix and mood of the album is one of darkness, menace and depression. “II: Vanishing” will terrify your consciousness and haunt your soul into painful contortions


“II: Vanishing” DD track listing:

1). Hunter’s Moon
2). Vanishing
3). Blood and Stone
4). No Name, No Marker
5). The Vigil

The Review:

Longhouse is a three piece doom outfit from Ottawa, Canada. On April 14th of 2017 they released an album of five new songs which is titled “II: Vanishing.” Here is my review of said album….The opening track, “Hunter’s Moon,” creeps in like a thief in the night who is determined to steal your reason for existence. Eerie guitar swells and fades arouse your senses before the whole band joins in to bombard your ears with an extremely grim dirge of epic proportions. The first six minutes of the song are completely instrumental because they need to be in order to put you in the proper state of mind and set you up for the death blow as the vocals finally kick in to terrify your consciousness and haunt your soul into painful contortions for the closing two minutes of the song.

Second track, “Vanishing,” comes in like a rabid lioness on the hunt. Its raw energy and strategic prowess, attack with vengeful aggression right from the opening blast. The heaviness and groove are the driving force that grabs you immediately and does not let up its grip for over six minutes until the very last note is played. This song is the highlight of the album for me, with the opener being a close second. Third track, “Blood and Stone” sounds exactly like its title. It is grimy, slimy, barbaric, and ugly. Some nice guitar soloing elevate the song to the next level which the preceding groove and harmony had already come close to achieving on their own. 

Fourth track, “No Name, No marker,” is another nonstop drive fest. As with the previous track, this one has all the groove and harmony but with a noticeably more melancholic delivery. The end of the song breaks into an intoxicatingly heavy chug riff which eventually fades us off into the netherworld. With the final track of the album, “The Vigil,” the band pulls out its secret weapon; the game changer that are the clean vocals. The sombre beginning breaks into a quintessential classic metal riff in which the clean vocals immediately jump out of the speakers at you completely unexpectedly. Throughout the song we get a great mix of clean and gruff vocals without ever using either one in excess. This is a truly remarkable feat of a perfect combination that very few bands in the history of heavy metal have been able to pull off in my opinion, yet Longhouse seems to be able to execute this very task with minimal effort and I think it was a stroke of genius to wait until the last song of the album in which to do it.

I really enjoyed listening to this album. It feels to be the perfect length and displays a good amount of musicianship, especially with the guitars. The soloing and overlaying of harmonies are exquisite throughout the entire album. The tone of mix and mood of the album are above all dark and brooding, depressing, and bolstered with a straightforward and ever driving rhythm section. I can detect hints of bands like Pallbearer, High On Fire, and even some Type O Negative, all mixed together with an abundance of the vast Canadian outback which I was more than happy to stir well and swallow down, and I am very much looking forward to hearing what this band does next.

“II: Vanishing” is available here





Band info: bandcamp || facebook

RIFF REWIND (26/05/2013): Northumbria - "The Silver Forest"



Toronto based ambient metal duo Northumbria were formed in 2011 by former... Holoscene members Jim Field and Dorian Williamson. Using only guitar and bass mega amplified and recorded live, Northumbria create a wall of improvised drones that take the listener on a sonic journey through a dystopian landscape. 

With seven releases to their name in the last 6 years, today we’re rewinding back 4 years to the day, with a review of Northumbria’s second release “The Silver Forest”. So join us, as we continue on our quest to trawl through The Sludgelord archives to present the best albums you may have missed.  So if you overlooked this band/album, be sure to remedy your error by checking out our review and the record is streaming in full below. 

By: Matt Fitton

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 17/05/2013
Label: Independent


The Silver Forest cover art




These movements of music blend  seamlessly within each other and are hauntingly potent. Subtle fades, stirring melodic parts, and sometimes a heartbreaking weight. All of this creates real emotions, and real responses, from this very real music. The very best drone is often light as a feather, but in soulful terms heavy as hell.

“The Silver Forest” track listing:

1). Motion of Clouds
2). The Sun Also Rises
3). Silver Forest

The Review:

Based in Toronto, Northumbria are an ambient drone duo that records live and only uses bass and guitar to weave their lush brand of sonic tapestry. They make music of desolation, serenity and great beauty, completely amplified (quite literally) to the nines. They've also just made a new piece of music available, the extremely impressive 'The Silver Forest'.

I was discussing this with my editor earlier, and we both touched upon the fact that what we love about drone is the innate ability that the true masters of the craft have to transport a listener to a place of complete solitude. And that is exactly what this new offering manages to accomplish in spades.

'The Silver Forest' is very much escapist music. Sounds to attempt introspection from, to search within yourself and your surroundings. Human contact and complexity is all very well and good, but we all need to slow not just ourselves, but our minds down sometimes too. Maybe to a pace of a long past way of life, or thinking. Northumbria construct soundscapes that will genuinely help you on that voyage.

The piece is composed as just one track, but listed in three distinct parts: 'Motion of Clouds', followed by 'The Sun Also Rises', and concluding with 'Silver Forest'. All blend seamlessly within each other and are hauntingly potent. Subtle fades, stirring melodic parts, and sometimes a heartbreaking weight. All of this creates real emotions, and real responses, from this very real music. The very best drone is often light as a feather, but in soulful terms heavy as hell.

Before this review I was completely unaware of Northumbria, but they have been covered on the blog before. Please delve back in time and discover those articles, as I have, and treat yourself to some incredible experiences. And check out 'The Silver Forest' right now, and ease your mind for just a moment. Let Northumbria move you somewhere else, somewhere desolate, somewhere calm and yet euphoric.

The Silver Forest” is available here






Band info: bandcamp || facebook

ALBUM REVIEW: Space Witch - "Arcanum"

By: Charlie Butler

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 09/06/2017
Label: Hevisike Records



The band still sound like a collaboration between Bongripper, Hawkwind and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop to create the ultimate sci-fi B-movie soundtrack, but  this latest release sees them develop their cosmic barrage further out into the void., they showcase a leaner, meaner Space Witch that still push the boundaries of heaviness but with a more streamlined attack.


“Arcanum” CD//CS//DD//LP track listing:

1. Cosmonoid
2. Astro Genocide
3. Hex Solaris
4. Battle Hag

The Review:

Stoke on Trent intergalactic voyagers Space Witch make a welcome return with new album “Arcanum”. Thankfully, the band still sound like a collaboration between Bongripper, Hawkwind and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop to create the ultimate sci-fi B-movie soundtrack. This latest release sees them develop their cosmic barrage further out into the void.

Cosmonoid” and “Battle Hag” are colossal slabs of super-dense riffage that follow the mind-expanding template of the band’s stellar 2014 debut LP. Even though both tracks clock in somewhere around the fifteen minute mark, they showcase a leaner, meaner Space Witch that still push the boundaries of heaviness but with a more streamlined attack. 

The two shorter tracks here, “Astro Genocide” and “Hex Solaris”, are the most surprising and give hints of where the band may head in future. The former begins in familiar spaced-out doom territory but takes a left turn into the unknown with an unexpected shift into a pummelling up-tempo groove. The shocks come thick and fast from here as the band introduce vocals for the first time. The musical backing begins to negotiate off-kilter riffs before launching into a furious blastbeat fuelled finale. All this makes for an exhilarating ride that shows that Space Witch are just as effective, if not more so, when condensing their massive ambitions into structures approaching normal song length.

Hex Solaris” initially wrong-foots the listener with snatches of jazz before a huge lumbering riff destroys the quiet. The booming vocals are present right from the start here and feel better integrated then their surprise appearance late into “Astro Genocide”. This track best demonstrates the progress the band has made in expanding its sonic spectrum without diluting its immense power.

Arcanum” is a firm step forward by Space Witch. Nowhere in the galaxy is safe from these riffs.

Arcanum” will be available to preorder/buy here


Band info: Facebook || Bandcamp

Thursday, 25 May 2017

6 NEW BANDS: Nikos Mixas' 666 Pack Review May 2017

The 666 Pack Review
It’s the May edition of the Sludgelord’s 666 Pack Review!  While some of you may be wrapping up your studies or noticing that you need a tan, the album submissions keep pouring into the Sludgelord’s inbox for review.  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 awesome rating scale below: 

1 – We’re guessing when you let your mother listen to your band on Mother’s Day, she cried...       
2The Sludgelord was more excited for “May Day” than your band. 
3 – Artie Fufkin is interested.  Google him.  
4 – All you guys need is a Manowar tan and you’re set! 
5 – Time to start submitted your music to small festivals for consideration. 
666 – Whatever band is opening up for Metallica during this tour, well, you’re better than them! 

It’s May and only the hardcore are still wearing their battle vests.  It also means that the rehearsal rooms are warmer now and there are no more excuses for not practicing more often!  Keep them chops up and send in those demos!  The Sludgelord is a picky listener…and doesn’t care what you think of his opinions….

Tuskar - “Arianhod” – Surrey, UK    Rating: 4

“Nasty two-piece, loud and fucking angry”


Stondar - “Stondar” – Chicago, USA   Rating: 3

 “Two-piece sludge, dooming with reckless abandon” 

 
Methylhate - “L’inconveniente di essere nati” – Perugia, Italy   Rating: 5

“Italian sludge groove.  Angry Clutch riffage.”

 
Wizrds - “Black Light” – Baltimore, USA   Rating: 1

“Ripping off Sleep riffs?  Fuck no.”

 
Ode Vinter - “Hyperion” – Champaign, USA   Rating: 5

“True and nasty sounding Black Metal!”

 
Mente Arma - “Mente Arma” – Victorville, USA   Rating: 2

“Perfect for that punk-crust backyard party!”


Band info: TUSKAR || Stondar || Methylhate || OdeVinter || Mentearma

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

RIFF REWIND: (24/05/2012): Stoneburner - 'Sickness Will Pass'




STONEBURNER is one of the mainstays of the Portland, Oregon underground scene. Formed in early 2008, the bands’ familial roots reach back twenty years. Drummer Jesse McKinnon (ex-Buried Blood) and guitarist Jason Depew (Buried At Sea) have rocked together in many incarnations. Their other bands had similarly earth-choked names (a stone burner is a subterranean weapon from the novel Dune), but it gets even more incestuous — Jesse went to school with bassist Damon (Heathen Shrine) Kelly’s step-mother. Years later, Jesse’s father would be Damon’s high school government teacher.
To describe Stoneburner’s music one need only look to the list of bands with whom they’ve shared the stage: Yob, Sleep, EYEHATEGOD, Neurosis, Buzzov-en, Weedeater, Saint Vitus, Watain, Tragedy, Noothgrush, Graves At Sea, Lord Dying, Drop Dead, Whitehorse, Wind Hand, Bastard Noise and etc. It’s all about domination through amplification and soul-cleansing catharsis. Stoneburner does not put on airs for anyone. The shows are not "rituals". According to guitarist Eli Boland, playing in Stoneburner “…takes care of the thing inside us that would otherwise lead to serial murder. It cleanses my soul, eases my demons, and fills my heart in a way that keeps me high for a good long while.
Upon receiving their debut album “Sickness Will Pass”, I remember being absolutely  blown away and had heard nothing like at the time.  Life Drawing” (review here) their second album would follow in 2014 via Neurot Recordings, however today we’re going to rewind back through The Sludgelord archives to this day 5 years ago (24/5/2012) and give you guys another opportunity to check out, what I believed to be at the time, one of the albums of the year in 2012.  Make up your own mind by checking it out for yourselves below.   
The Bio was pinched from here  


By: Aaron Pickford

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 22/5/2012
Label: Seventh Rule


‘Sickness Will Pass’ is an ugly, visceral and truly terrifying beast of an album. It sounds monumental and is herculean in scale and is the benchmark of which all future releases this year will be judged.  It is quite possibly the ultimate sludge metal album of the year.  I urge you to buy this album, you will not be disappointed.


‘Sickness Will Pass’ DD//LP track listing:

1). Christian’s Charity 6:00
2). Marriage 7:15
3). Run Boy... 6:40
4). Elesares 8:38
5). We Have Failed 5:55


Stoneburner is:

Jesse McKinnon | Drums, vocals
Damon Kelly | Bass, vocals
Elijah Boland | Guitars
Jason Depew | Guitars

The Review:

Have you ever seen the movie Hellraiser, the excellent British horror movie?  The premise of the movie is about a puzzle box, which can open a portal to a realm of new carnal pleasures. Instead, it opens up a portal to the realm of the "Cenobites," who take people as prisoners and subject them to extreme, sadomasochistic torture.  ‘Sickness Will Pass’ reminds me of that movie, because this record is that puzzle box and once you push ‘start’, the listener is subjected to an explorative cerebral experience so extreme that it transcends the boundary between pain and pleasure.  The record is like an atomic weapon, with the desired effect being an explosion of music, intent on destroying all that stands in its path; to the very core of the earth. 

‘Christian’s Charity’ is a ferocious opening, the colossus that is the opening burst of sound is like a sonic boom, an explosion to the senses, with a public health warning decree from the band to ‘Please, make yourself scarce’? The song is incredible, sitting somewhere between the sound of Yob and ‘Remission’ era, Mastodon.  It is a song of unparalleled density, the riffs are beautifully disgusting, and it is as if the band is intent on turning the thumbscrew, until you surrender.  In truth this song and indeed the album feel like a torture test, begging the question.  Is this a puzzle box you wish to open?  Despite the pummelling riffs, discordant bass and the gut spewingly psychotic  Djinn like vocals, the song is layered with variety too, but remains volatile and savagely malignant, until a minute from the end when they tone things down to a moment of acid fused psychedelia.

‘Marriage’ begins with an almost processed chugging guitar riff, perhaps enhanced by the use of flanger? You can hear the two guitars in unison.   Then we’re back to the heaviness of the scarifying riffs, this is certainly not a marriage made in heaven.  Essentially an instrumental track, showcasing the awesome musicianship of the band, the song is structured around the opening riff, with slight variations, until around 2:30, when things are slowed down to that trippy post metal psychedelic breakdown, with clean sliding notes from bass and guitar, then we’re back to black bile spewing vocals and the booming sickening din of the riffs, till we’re back to the opening riff, further augmented by an unorthodox almost C.O.C lead guitar with squealing pinched harmonics.  ‘Run Boy’... starts with the fade in of drums, leading into a two minute grooving instrumental passage, Neurosis esque in tone, and then you’re hit like a fist in the face by the prerequisite pummelling riffs; based around a terrifying chord progression of which Mike Scheidt would be proud, this track for all intents and purposes is another instrumental track.  The listener’s ears are then lacerated by the piercing sound of a ‘March Of The Fire Ants’ type riff in tone, at 4:40 the vocals are back in with vehement fury and then we’re subjected to a further barrage of filth.  The final 2 minutes of the song, engages the kill switch , with loathsome revulsive intent and begs the questions, ‘Do you ask the Djinn for a wish to end this torture’? 

If you’ve chosen to continue, ‘Elesares’ is up next and the penultimate noisome, offensive to the point of arousing disgust, it’s 8:36 of virulent toxicity, with a predominant thrash like galloped riff for much of the song, interchanged with a slow sludgy dirge, it is another startling example of consummate sardonic perfection.  The track feels like a game from the Saw movie, trapping the listener to test their will or resolve to live through physical or psychological torture, with the reward being your life. 

‘We have Failed’ is the final lysergic acid test, with the band seemingly intent on inducing the derangement of your personality, before your return to normal social functioning.  If you thought that the track was going to ease off the vituperation, then think again.  The track is as abhorrent as the first note of the album.  It is possibly the most intricate song on the album, opening with an exchange of heavy chords, hammer offs, slides and deafening chord progressions, it is a measure of the band that they remain inventive till the end. At 1:43 they slow things down again to an eerie, almost horror movie inspired soundscape.  Then for the last decisive minutes of the record, the band end things with one final sneering and derisive outpouring of morally objectionable dirt.  The sickness has passed.


‘Sickness Will Pass’ is an ugly, visceral and truly terrifying beast of an album. It sounds monumental and is herculean in scale and is the benchmark of which all future releases this year will be judged.  It is quite possibly the ultimate sludge metal album of the year.  I urge you to buy this album, you will not be disappointed.



Band info: Bandcamp | Facebook

ALBUM REVIEW: Nightbringer - "Terra Damnata"

By: Mark Ambrose

Album Type: Full-length
Date Released: 14/04/2017
Label: Season of Mist



Remarkably, with Nightbringer approaching two decades of existence, they’re pulling off some of the best black metal the country has to offer, with a rabid intensity that, for all its darkness, remains inspiring.





“Terra Damnata” CD//DD//LP track listing

1. As Wolves Amongst Ruins
2. Misrule
3. Midnight’s Crown
4. Of the Key and Crossed Bones
5. Let Silence Be His Sacred Name
6. Inheritor of a Dying World
7. The Lamp of Inverse Light
8. Serpent Sun

The Review

The “Intro” track has become a standard of most genre releases. Whether an atmospheric, instrumental piece, a sample of dialogue from some esoteric movie, or a full-fledged song that gradually builds up to the kinetic bombast you expect from a metal record, the “Intro” has become as standard as post-credits sequences in blockbuster movies – and, if we’re honest, as hackneyed.  It speaks to Nightbringer’s nearly two decades of excellence and confidence that “As Wolves Amongst Ruins” burst through my speakers, so intense that I wondered if I had a mislabeled track listing.  This opening barrage is a definitive mission statement from Colorado’s premiere occult-minded black metal wizards: “Stand unbent / Unbroken in storms untamed / And let the winds / Stir your embers to blazing-flames!” The five-piece should have everyone’s attention with this latest full-length record, their third for Season of Mist and fifth overall.

There’s a distinctively European flair to Nightbringer’s dense metal, with touches of synth and organ that never slide into the pomposity of “symphonic metal”.  Rather, the US five-piece eschews the psychedelia and dreampop influences of coastal US standouts, immersing listeners into a hellish nightscape with few moments of relief.  That isn’t to say the album lacks beauty; the intricate guitar work relies on tight tremolo picking, harmonies that glide between sinister and triumphant, and provide perfect high end counterpoint to Norgaath’s churning, essential bass riffs.  Menthor’s drumming, meanwhile, has the ability to turn on a dime, from double-bass mayhem to doom-adjacent, monolithic fills.  The triple vocal attack of ar Ra’d al-Iblis, and guitarists Naas and Ophiis, recalls the demonic lords of Milton’s Hell – Azazel,  Beelzebub, and Satan himself, alternating between black metal shrieks, guttural growling, and infernal preaching.

Each track on “Terra Damnata” shines with instrumental precision and unholy depths worthy of any brave enough to explore.  The mini epic, “Let Silence Be His Sacred Name,” is a true standout – a track so densely packed with harmonies, shifts in timing, and vocal tradeoffs that I hope to hell I get to see Nightbringer pull it off live.  If it approaches the power of the album cut, there may be many more converted to the unholy faith at metal shows across the US soon.  After the frenzy of this 8+ minute track, the rest of the album provides some much-needed space: the dirgey, doom-y “Inheritor of a Dying World” approaches moments of Celtic Frost avant garde madness, and “Lamp of Inverse Light” is an instrumental meditation on several repeating themes over a spoken word sample buried under layers of distortion.  Serpent Sun” balances between the mid-tempo oppression and breakneck double bass drumming that lumbers and ascends before culminating in a sublime death spasm.  Remarkably, with Nightbringer approaching two decades of existence, they’re pulling off some of the best black metal the country has to offer, with a rabid intensity that, for all its darkness, remains inspiring.

“Terra Damnata” is available here





Band info: bandcamp || facebook