Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Bastard Of The Skies/Catatomic Split L.P.

Album Type: Split L.P.
Release: Dec 2011
Label: Speaks Volumes Records

Track Listing

Bastard of the Skies
1). Willalee Bookatee (02:27)
2). The Knuckles of Saint Bronson (3:58)
3). Grays Sports Almanac (3:49)
4). Human Skull (4:53)
5). Don't Let It Bring You Down  (3:51) (Neil Young Cover)
1). Void (11:07)
2). I Went To You (4:05)

Total running time (32:50)

This is a Split LP featuring four original Bastard of the Skies tracks (including a Neil Young cover) and two Catatomic tracks, released on Speaks Volumes Records.  This is the second release on the Speaks Volumes label, the first was a 10 song grindcore 7" by a band called Bag of Gremlins.

Bastard of the Skies is a four piece sludge metal band, who have also released two full length albums and also an EP on cassette called, Remains.  Their side of split LP was recorded by Matt Richardson at Full Stack Studios and mastered by James Plotkin.

The four piece line up consists of
Matt Richardson - Gtr/Vox
Rob Beesley - Gtr
Claire Horrocks - Bass
Matt Aldred - Drums

Over the years we have been blessed with a number of excellent sludge metal bands hailing from the UK; Iron Monkey, Helvis, Raging Speedhorn to name but a few. Hailing from Blackburn, Lancashire, Bastard of the Skies are continuing that tradition and according their web page, their music is 'The soundtrack to drowning in a swap of your own shit'. the band have cemented their own sound by welding massive, lurching, riffs to sludgy noise and discordant melody.

Playing their own brand of discordant filth since 2006, what we have on offer here is another slab of no holds barred gut spewing filth. The 5 tracks we're presented with are quite simply, brutal. The opening track Willalee Bookatee, sets the tone for much of the record, with the opening blast of drums, kicking into their loathsome blend of piercing riffs, compounded by vocals which sound like a vicious attack on your senses.  The song is an example of unparallelled savagery, it is wonderfully grisly. 2:27 of ear splitting audible torture and we love every second of it.

Grays Sports Almanac is another extraordinarily ugly and vicious beast, this is for me, some of the best sludge noise I am likely to hear this year and as heavy as hell. The metallic tone of the guitar is monumental and the song is easily some of best stuff they have ever produced.  There is not a second wasted on the tracks on offer here, they batter, bruise and pound you into submission, seemingly leaving your senses crushed into fragments.  Human Skull is probably the slowest sludgiest track on the album. Sounding like the bastard (no pun intended) offspring of the Melvins, you can't fail to be impressed by the intensity and ferocity of the track.  Bastard of the skies deliver a dynamic and uncompromising blend of down tuned monster riffs, vicious vocals and brutal rhythms

With a new record entitled 'Tarnation' due for release sometime in the summer, this Split is the perfect appetiser.  They have created something hideously ugly, a monster that lurches for your jugular from beginning to end. It is not pleasant, however if like your music hard, heavy and ferocious, look no further and buy this record. I loved it. 

Catatomic is a sludge/doom metal band and I believe this to be their first release.  Despite numerous web searches, there is very little information to be had about this band.  They are based in Appleton, Wisconsin, USA. Catatomic recorded and produced their tracks.  Again the tracks were mastered by James Plotkin.

They are a two piece band consisting of:
Howie D. Voigt - Everything else (Gtr, Vox)
Jeremy Canfield - Bass + Drums on 'Void' (may have left since this recording)

Laura Star provided Backing vocals on 'I Went To You'.

I found it difficult to review a band solely on a couple of songs, however once the opening assault and battery of the drums kick in , 'Void' bursts into life!  The opening minute and half of the song consists of droning low end bass and vintage doom sounding guitar, sliding between notes until the song lurches forward into a classic Electric Wizard sounding riff.  Simple and yet heavy, the song is seemingly based upon a fluid 4 bar chord sliding riff, interspersed with a 'Symptom Of The Universe' type acoustic guitar section and that is a feature of much of the song.  The song almost induces nausea due to the Eb and flow of the track.  The vocals fit well with the track and they feel as if they are spoken, rather than sung and that style sits well with the track.  The song weighs in at a mammoth 11:07 and due in part to little variation to the track, it does feel like it outstays its welcome a little, however 'Void' is a fine example of a retro sounding doom track of days gone by. 

'I Went To You', is a track I have a little more difficulty with, it is curious in that it has a vibe, which feels as if it was improvised.  An acoustic track and poles apart to 'Void', it wouldn't feel out of place on a Lou Reed record and feels a little off centre.  This is by no means a criticism of the band but in terms of material, the track doesn't feel as strong as 'Void' and left me feeling a little disappointed. 

As I said earlier, I found it very difficult to judge this band solely on the two tracks on offer, however, on evidence of the track 'Void', Catatomic do show they have potential and hopefully they will go on to create bigger and better things. 

This is an excellent Split LP and I would highly recommend you get it.  Please see the links below for information on where to purchase the album, (Bastard of skies Big Cartel or Bandcamp).  Big thanks to Matt from Bastard of the skies, who came through for me at the 11th hour with info about the band Catatomic.  Thanks also for sharing this record and giving me the opportunity to review it.  Top Bloke! (look forward to the new record). 

Bastard of the Skies myspace
Big Cartel

Catatomic myspace
Official site

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