Friday, 4 September 2015

Venom Prison - 'The Primal Chaos' EP (Review)

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 18/09/2015
Label: Soaked in Torment Records



This is a nasty little EP from the South Wales mob- “Babylon The Whore” showing you what they are all about in its three and a bit minutes. Noise, blasts, grooves, feral production- it's all here.  This is a fine EP and if you have any interest in death, grind, hardcore, crust or any mixing of any of those sub-genres... you should hear this.


‘The Primal Chaos’ EP 7inch//DD track listing

1). Babylon The Whore
2). Daemon Vulgaris
3). Narcotic
4). The Primal Chaos


Venom Prison is:

Larissa Stupar
Ash Gray
Joe Sheehy
Ben Thomas
Mike Jefferies

The Review:

If you are looking for a short, sharp shock of death metal mixed with a hardcore sensibility, Venom Prison have you covered. This is a nasty little EP from the South Wales mob- “Babylon The Whore” showing you what they are all about in its three and a bit minutes. Noise, blasts, grooves, feral production- it's all here.

Daemon Vulgaris” continues in the same vein- lots of off kilter grooves and a bassy tone throughout. “Narcotic” is a very punky affair- it wouldn't be out of place on any good crust album- or even a Raging Speedhorn record. The title track has an excellent riff to kick things off with, and then proceeds to blast darkly into deathly territory.

The band mix the genres very well indeed- never sounding like too much of anything (you won't mistake them for Bolt Thrower, or Morbid Angel, or Hellbastard, or Napalm death etc etc etc) and this gives them their own identity and the ability to keep things interesting. This is a fine EP and if you have any interest in death, grind, hardcore, crust or any mixing of any of those sub-genres... you should hear this.

‘The Primal Chaos’ is available here

FFO: Carcass, Arkangel, Incantation, Skinfather, Vader, Homewrecker, Morbid Angel

Band info: Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats - 'The Night Creeper' (Album Review)

By: Phil Weller

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 04/09/2015
Label: Rise Above Records



 

“Horror films don't create fear. They release it,” – Wes Craven (1939-2015)

‘The Night Creeper’ CD/DD//LP track listing:

1).Waiting For Blood
2). Murder Nights
3). Downtown
4). Pusher Man
5). Yellow Moon
6). Melody Lane
7). The Night Creeper
8). Inside
9). Slow Death
10). Black Motorcade (Hidden Track)

The Review:

Although they may have loosened their grip a little on their true identities, Uncle Acid and his mercurial Deadbeats are still, to borrow a phrase from Sir Winston Churchill, a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. Their vaporous, vintage fuzz led sound has poured steadily, like smoke from a flickering fire into the underground’s eyes with a slew of steady and palpable releases since 2010’s ‘Vol 1.’ That smoke is now beginning to seep into the periphery of the mainstream too, and the leviathan sized grooves of ‘The Night Creeper’ both emphasises this band’s status as cult champions of the underground and highlights why, like Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper, two of their major influences, their music has a towering commercial potential.    

Much like the Amicus Productions which have inspired a plethora of their noir recordings, their fourth volume sees them unleashing 10 more blood-dripped tracks, like the mysterious Dr. Schreck does to his fellow train passengers with tales of evil and darkness in Dr Terror’s House of Horrors (1965). Each and every composition reeks of fear and makes your skin crawl; these are the monsters that hide under your bed, these are the footsteps that stalk your lonely, dark and cold walk home through dense fog.  The lurching grooves of opener ‘Waiting For Blood’ shadow over you, commanding your attention instantly. An undercurrent of uneasy Hammond organs and other, chilling textures give the album a charming graininess which reverberates the band’s innate cinematic complexion. Aesthetically the album once more gravitates towards that same element once more; each song itself a horror film within a horror film. But with music, the images aren’t there to scare you and so your crooked imagination becomes all too willing to take its place. Through this thought-provoking song writing, they have concocted something remarkable and they’re basing a career out of it.

‘Inside,’ an instant standout the moment it snaked into my ears, builds upon a consistent thump like a poltergeist destroying a house in the night, by the light of a radiant moon. ‘Melody Lane’ is a twisted bop on which stabbing, doom-rock guitars waltz with psychedelic tinges, together sharing a murderous intent.  With a nod towards their earlier, rawer and altogether creepier work on ‘Vol 1.’, ‘Yellow Moon’ draws from Alice Cooper’s ‘Killer’ for a rancid interlude. It’s soft and – alongside the Easy Rider influenced Stonerisms of its predecessor ‘Pusher Man’ – unassuming, but is arguably the most frightening and atmospheric song on the entire album.

In 2015 Uncle Acid find themselves as a well-established act on the cusp of becoming something of a name so to speak, and so this release comes with the albatross of expectation weighing them down in many ways. They now have a recognised sound and here they stick very much to the toil and trouble of their bubbling potion, but manage to collate the focal points of each of their previous albums into one package smartly.  If the record will be met by their adoring fan base with the same hype and admiration 2011’s insatiable ‘Blood Lust’ was, or be deemed as an adequate successor to the robustness of ‘Mind Control,’ only time will tell. What we do know, however, is that it’s another impressive release from this consistently unique and enrapturing Cambridge quartet.   

‘The Night Creeper’ is available here


Band info: Official | Facebook 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Cult of Occult - 'Five Degrees of Insanity' (Album Review)

By: Charlie Butler

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 15/10/2015
Label: Deadlight Entertainment,
Breathe Plastic, Vendetta


An ominous amp hum builds before erupting into the gut churning opening riff of “Alcoholic”. What follows is a 15 minute onslaught of bleak sludge, harrowing vocals and an evil guitar tone Bongripper would be proud of. Cult of Occult employ repetition to great effect, playing each riff until breaking point before moving to the next.

‘Five Degrees of Insanity’ CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Alcoholic
2). Nihilistic
3). Misanthropic
4). Psychotic
5). Satanic

The Review:

I’ve been aware of French quartet Cult of Occult for a little while but had not investigated further due to their name.  I realised what a terrible mistake I had made within seconds of listening to the filthy doom contained within “Five Degrees of Insanity”, a far cry from the bandwagon jumping retro rock I was expecting.

An ominous amp hum builds before erupting into the gut churning opening riff of “Alcoholic”. What follows is a 15 minute onslaught of bleak sludge, harrowing vocals and an evil guitar tone Bongripper would be proud of. Cult of Occult employ repetition to great effect, playing each riff until breaking point before moving to the next. A slight shift in tempo towards the end of track ushers in a pummelling one chord attack, drums pounding to a frenzied climax until the dust finally settles.  The next degree of insanity, “Nihilistic”, begins in similarly-pummelling fashion. The band begins to add in more atmospheric elements with this track, occasional bleary, reverb heavy guitar allows the listener to briefly catch their breath before the next crushing blow. “Misanthropic” kicks off with a buzzing black metal attack which is a slap in the face after the snail-paced crawl of the previous tracks. This is only a brief respite though as before long Cult of Occult are wading through treacle once more whilst maintaining the blackened atmosphere from the intro. Hopefully the band revisit and expand on this black metal side during future releases as elements of this track offer a tantalising glimpse of their wider sonic arsenal.

Psychotic” emerges from the spaced-out conclusion of “Misanthropic” with a few minutes of glorious droning amplifier worship. The black metal atmosphere continues as a menacing tremolo picked riff emerges from the fog which later returns as an eerie, distant keyboard reprise. “Satanic” brings proceedings to a close, beginning with hysterical declarations of war on Jesus, God and everything before grinding out one last serving of punishment.

Despite being a lengthy record at 65 minutes, “Five Degrees of Insanity” is engaging throughout and strangely addictive, particularly given its relentless nature and glacial pace. This is a thoroughly unpleasant listen in the best possible way.

‘Five Degrees of Insanity’ is available on the 15 October and can be (pre) ordered here (Cassette) here(CD) here



Band info: Official  Bandcamp | Soundcloud 

Majestic Downfall - '...When Dead' (Album Review)

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 06/07/2015
Label: Pulverised Records



“The guitar riffs and melodies throughout the record are excellent. There are clean sections here and there throughout the album and the band makes good use of dynamics. The sound is suitably expansive and the overall effect is of a band striving to produce the most epic and expansive record that they can, while maintaining a common thread throughout.

‘...When Dead’ CD//DD track listing:

1). …When Dead
2). Escape My Thought
3). The Brick, the Concrete
4). Doors
5). The Rain of the Dead

Majestic Downfall is:

Alfonso Sanchez | drums
Jacobo Cordova | vocal, guitars, bass, keyboards, drums

The Review:

Upon reading that Jacob Cordova of Zombiefication was involved in this, I had to hear it. I am glad I did. It is dark, doomy, deathly in places and thoroughly downbeat. The doom laden intro is the shortest thing on here- by many, many minutes- as what follows is a winding path through the pathways of doom/death. “Escape My Thought” is a master-class in melancholy. Elegaic guitar lines mix with some much faster sections as the ghost of early Paradise Lost is conjured up.  At 15 minutes plus, there is a lot to take in- dynamics shift the sound, riffs come in and out and over it all, Cordova's very meaty growl pins the track together. This is indeed majestic stuff- it shifts through the gears effortlessly and has a certain atmosphere to it- cold, damp and dark- that I never thought would have come out of Mexico.

“The Brick, The Concrete” clocking in at over 11 minutes (second shortest song!) is a down tempo trudge through an urban dystopia of greyness. There are time shifts to ring the changes and that sense of melody in some of the guitar passages that lightens the sound to make the track ebb and flow with surprising grace (a hard trick to pull off when writing and playing doom). The track retains a kind of marching feel throughout- almost perpetual forward motion- which I really like. It has a kind of kinetic energy that is sometimes missing from the genre (and blast sections of course).

Doors” starts very weightily indeed- with rolling blasts coming at you while the guitar adds more melody than you expect. The opening verse section has a rather ghostly effect that then evaporates (it returns later, though) into guttural noise before the doom returns. The track is arguably the darkest on the record (which is saying something).  “The Rain of The Dead” is a closing eleven and a half minutes of downcast misery. The guitar riffs and melodies throughout the record are excellent and they continue that on this one. There are clean sections here and there throughout the album and the band makes good use of dynamics. The sound is suitably expansive and the overall effect is of a band striving to produce the most epic and expansive record that they can, while maintaining a common thread throughout. Much of the album verges on funeral doom, but there should be enough deathly elements (check out the riff just after the five minute mark in the closing track) and even classic rock to keep a variety of listeners interested.

I find it remarkable that Cordova can produce the level of quality on display here so soon after the last Zombiefication album; which in itself was superb. Metal needs more people like him- creative, ambitious and talented. More power to him and to this record. Absolutely recommended.


‘…When Dead’ is available here

Band info: Facebook



Monday, 31 August 2015

The Machine - 'Offblast!' (Album Review)

By: Victor Van Ommen

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 01/06/2015
Label: Elektrohasch



These space cadets lift off from the harbor town of Rotterdam but their sprawling jams make us well aware that it doesn’t matter where they call home; their twisted, Hendrix guitar offerings will find you. Familiarity is found in the Palm Desert Fuzz that soak through these songs like the ink in a tie dye shirt, conjuring late night hallucinations of a Kyuss reunion done right

‘OffBlast!’ CD//DD///LP track listing:

01 (A) – Chrysalis (J.A.M.) [16:25]
02 (A) – Dry End [03:05]
03 (A) – Coda Sun [05:34]
04 (B) – Gamma [06:48]
05 (B) – Off Course [06:36]
06 (B) – Come To Light [12:11]

The Machine is:

Guitar & vocals | David Eering
Drums | Davy Boogaard
Bass | Hans van Heemst
Recording/production/mastering | David Eering

The Review:

The Machine’s new album kicks through the speakers with a sense of urgency. No one ever told these guys that a psychedelic jam needed an intro of backwards guitars or that the main riff needed to be brought in slowly as to not freak out the unwitting stoner. Instead, the snare crashes through – thwack! thwack! thwack! – like the jackhammer my neighbors have been using these last few weeks renovating their house. At this point, not even thirty seconds in, The Machine has made their presence known without any sort of warm up. Welcome to the opening track of The Machine’s new album, “Offblast!”

These space cadets lift off from the harbor town of Rotterdam but their sprawling jams make us well aware that it doesn’t matter where they call home; their twisted, Hendrix guitar offerings will find you. The reliance on heavy riffing is abound in cuts like “Dry End” and “Gamma,” while whipping choruses telling space-themed tales make up the bulk of “Coda Sun” and “Off Course.” Each of these four tracks clock in at under seven minutes, totaling half of “Offblasts” ’s running time. The other half of the album – the remaining half hour plus – is made up of the aforementioned opener and “Come to Light,” the album’s free spirited, bass heavy closer.

There’s no pretense here, it’s just a group of guys from Holland’s deadest heavy rock scene piddling around with instruments in such a way that got Elektrohasch interested. Familiarity is found in the Palm Desert Fuzz that soak through these songs like the ink in a tie dye shirt, conjuring late night hallucinations of a Kyuss reunion done right. This isn’t meant as an affront to either band, it’s just nice to hear that the Kyuss spirit thrives in bands like The Machine who, with the right attack, are void of being written off as a carbon copy. Instead, “Offblast” is an album made by trailblazers who merely start from a familiar location. 


‘OffBlast!’ is available here


Band info: facebook | official

Friday, 28 August 2015

Funerary/Ooze - 'Funerary/Ooze' Split (Review)

By: Chris Bull

Album Type: Split 12inch
Date Released: 11/08/2015
Label: Midnite Collective



The 2 tracks on offer from Funerary are gloriously heavy, dark and cold. 'Ascent' begins with a simple yet ominously evil riff before the tortured banshee like vocals breathe fire into the frostbitten air.  Ooze are an altogether different beast; their 4 tracks are very much from the Eyehategod school of sludge but with harsher vocals and the occasional subtle time signature change.

Funerary/Ooze Split 12inch LP//DD track listing:

Funerary

1. Ascent
2. Descent

Ooze

1. Targeted
2. Necrotopya
3. Bridges Burned
4. Satanachia's Will


The Review:

This split comes straight off the back of Funerary's album 'Starless Aeon' released earlier this year and is very much in the same vein, which is a very good thing!

The 2 tracks on offer from Funerary are gloriously heavy, dark and cold. 'Ascent' begins with a simple yet ominously evil riff before the tortured banshee like vocals breathe fire into the frostbitten air. 'Descent' has another lumbering beast like feel to it, the weight of the riffs and the claustrophobic atmosphere make for some uneasy listening. At the 3 and a half minute mark, everything breaks down and a creepy lead riff plays over some droning guitar work. Some weighty chops break through the tension and fade to nothingness. Bands, take note; this is how to do doom.

Ooze are an altogether different beast; their 4 tracks are very much from the Eyehategod school of sludge but with harsher vocals and the occasional subtle time signature change. 'Targeted' and 'Necrotopya' sound like the groovier parts of Soilent Green. 'Burned Bridges' is almost like 'Broken Glass' era Crowbar in it's chops and guitar tone, I can imagine this setting many heads bobbing in a live setting. 'Satanachia's Will' is slower in pace than its predecessors, much more straightforward but still punishing.

This split was released to coincide with Funerary and Ooze's tour and gives a brief glimpse into both bands' respective psyche. Definitely worth a listen and a nice companion to Funerary's full length.

‘Funerary/Ooze’ Split is available here

RIYL: Eyehategood, Iron Monkey, Soilent Green, Indian, Grief, Crowbar


Grey Widow/Sons of Tonatiuh - “Grey Widow / Sons of Tonatiuh' Spilt (Review)

 By: Eric Crowe

Album Type: CD / Tape
Date Released: 8/09/2015 
Label: Red Valley





…damn when the guitars kick in! Your gut drops at the sheer thickness and weight of the disgust. Powerful and an intense drive that makes you want wreck everything around you and Overall this is a great pairing of bands, both bringing something different to the table, but yet both still so violently pleasing

“Grey Widow / Sons of Tonatiuh” CD//CS tracklisting:

1. Grey Widow “X”
2. Grey Widow “Obey” (Leechmilk cover)
3. Sons of Tonatiuh “Skull File”
4. Sons of Tonatiuh “Wounded” (Cavity cover)
5. Sons of Tonatiuh “Sun Goes Down” (Killing Joke cover)
6. Sons of Tonatiuh  “The Oracle”



The Review:

This split begins with Grey Widow’s track “X” with slow, thick plodding drums for a solid minute before the wash of amp worship and feedback fades in, very reminiscent of the uneasy nature of a Corrupted album. Samples fade into the mix, adding additional layers to the building tension. But damn when the guitars kick in! Your gut drops at the sheer thickness and weight of the disgust. Aching vocals bleed through with such scorn and distaste for everything. It’s about the 5:30 mark when they shift gears from the sludgy tar pit to a crustier, angst driven kick in the teeth. This drive is perfect and just when you really start digging on it really good, it bottoms back out to the thick ass molasses / amp choking riff to finish out the track.

Next up is my favorite track of the split, Grey Widow do a mean as fuck cover of Leechmilk’sObey” The tones are so thick and breathe new life into an already timeless song. I can’t help but get into this track every time I hear it! Grey Widow is an amazing band and look forward to seeing what else this crushing band has to offer in the future!

Sons of Tonatiuh kick off their portion of the split with “Skull File” a slow build introduction that from off the bat is teeth clenching hatred. The duel vocals evoke sheer anger and maximum hostility, which match perfectly to the tone and style of SoTs music. “Wounded” is next and has a serious crusty d-beat feel to it. Powerful and an intense drive that makes you want wreck everything around you, especially with Dan’s vocals leading the charge; fiery and demanding.
This track is very reminiscent of the old Leechmilk days.

Sun Goes Down” keeps the drive going with this Killing Joke cover. Executed with excellence with heavy crunch and a steady chug that’s like “Fuck yeah!” Closing out SoTs side of the split is “The Oracle” a heavy hitting track that slows it back down to a crawl through a dreary sludge romp. Everything about this band clicks for me, and I’m glad to see that maybe all the pieces have fallen into place for Sons of Tonatiuh. Guitar and bass tones compliment each other perfectly and drumming with the right amount of knowing when to be in the pocket and to come forward and kick it up a bit!

Overall this is a great pairing of bands, both bringing something different to the table, but yet both still so violently pleasing. Be on the look out for this to drop in early September!

This is split is available here

RIYL: Fistula, Leechmilk, Dopefight, Killing Joke, Cavity, Buzz*oven