Saturday, 30 June 2012

Natur - Head of Death


Album Type: Full Length
Date of Release: 4th June 2012
Label: Earache
Tracklisting
1.  Head of Death 8:26
2.  The Messenger 4:45
3.  Goblin Shark 5:01
4.  Decion 6:19
5.  The Servant 4:01
6.  Vermin Rift 5:20
7.  Spider Baby 5:57
8.  Mutations in Maine 7:36
Total running time: 47.43

Natur are a four piece trad metal band from Brooklyn, New York, USA.  Formed in 2008, Natur refer to themselves as “old metal.”   Head of Death is their debut full length on legendary metal label Earache Records.   Their debut follows on from their self released demo, Spider Baby 7” and split 7” with Hessian.
The line up is as follows

Weibust - Rhythm Guitar/Lead Vocals
Dino - Lead Guitar
Sound Mound - Lead Bass Guitar
Tooth - Lead Drums / Backing Vocals
Review
Given that my first introduction to buying vinyl was purchasing cheesy pop, by artists too embarrassing to mention on this here blog.  I take comfort that my father just happened to have Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Frank Zappa for me to discover.  Thank God! 

That’s the thing isn’t it? Music is about stages or periods in your life, that shape and guide us as individuals.  To truly embrace heavy music, it’s about the process of dusting down that gatefold, cleaning your vinyl and hearing the crackles of your favourite record playing on your turntable, listening intently with your headphones on.  Playing vinyl is about making the effort and taking the time to do something you enjoy, with the big pay off being that first burst of riffs.

So, when I pressed the play button on my iPod (how time have changed), Natur's music reminded me of such a time, Head of Death takes the listener on a nostalgia trip.  A time of bell bottoms and beer.  It’s just plain old school metal, nothing flashy or showy, just balls to the wall, classic sounding riffage of yore, with Iron Maiden esque dual guitars, explosions of squealing lead guitar solos with a raw garage rock flavour.   A tight and crisp guitar sound, with the droning bass and steadfast beat of the drums. 

Head of Death is an album written by students of heavy metal for fans of heavy metal. Natur have delivered an enjoyable and cohesive album with flashes of thrash metal gusto and thunderous lead guitar solos, they are not blisteringly fast but they fit the tone of the songs beautifully. The album has an impeccable variety of riffs and it never gets boring.  Weibust provides a powerful vocal delivery throughout the record and what is the strongest point on the record, is that you can hear every note of the galloped riffs.   Whilst the album is not blisteringly heavy, it is hooky and gutsy and fun and just addictive.  It is dark, eerie and atmospheric and at times it is just plain sinister. 

The album just harks back to the age of flairs and long hair and denim.  You can imagine yourself handling the gatefold.  An album made as a tribute to their heroes, an ode to their influences and a timely reminder of what it meant to buy a record on the day of release.  The anticipation of getting the record home and playing it for the first time, Head of Death makes you want to step back in time and remember where heavy metal started.

Whilst the songs on offer appear to follow a similar style, Natur are tight musicians and invoke a Gothic macabre vibe in terms of their lyrics, but occasionally mix things up with a  beautiful acoustic guitar breakdowns or an excellent guitar solo. The riffs are simple but addictive, however the album is just infectious and a delight in as much as their obviously psyched to be playing the music they love.  Head of Death is music to inspire future guitar heroes and a nostalgia trip you’ll want to repeat again and again. 
Head of Death is available now and you can check out the links below for more information about this band. 


Natur FB
Bandcamp
Earache
Earache FB





Wednesday, 27 June 2012

20 Questions w/ Corey Bing from Fistula



So guys, I know we've been spoiling you lately with a dirth of interviews, so why stop there. Yes, I have another one for you.  Too be honest, I am a little biased but I think this one is a bit special.  From a personal point of you, I am still amazed this guy agreed to talk me, because I am a massive fan of his work. 

Who is it?  The one and only, Corey Bing from underground metal kings Fistula.  If you haven't heard about these guys, seriously you need to rectify that as soon as possible.  Since 1998, they have amassed a huge back catalogue of amazing records, with at least 3 additional releases coming this year.  Check the list below.

Hymns of Slumber: Full-length (2001)
Fistula / Sloth: Split (2002)
Because Sometimes Two Are Better Than One: Split (2002)
Crushers Killers Destroyers!: Split (2002)
Sofa King Killer / Fistula: Split (2002)
Idiopathic: Full-length (2003)
dot(.) / Fistula: Split (2003)
Burmese / Fistula: Split (2004)
For a Better Tomorrow: EP (2006)
Lessons in Lamentation: Full-length (2008)
... Inverted Black Star: Full-length (2008)
Smoke Acid, Shoot Pills: EP (2008)
Burdened by Your Existence: Full-length (2008)
Fistula / Modorra: Split (2008)
We, The Beast: EP (2009)
Fistula / SMG: Split (2010)
Loser: EP (2011)
Goat: EP (2010)
Fistula / Ointment: Split (2011)
Goat Remixes / Year of the Fork: EP (2011)
Fistula/NxV-(2011)

Without further a do, check out the great interview below.  It is very candid and honest.  It was a pleasure for me to bring this interview to your attention and I am extremely grateful to the man himself, Corey Bing. Enjoy!




Hey Corey, How are you? Just like to say you're hands down one my favourite artists period and I'm stoked you agreed to talk to us at TheSludgelord.
Well thank you, and thanks for even giving a shit about the music I or any of my brothers do, it’s really appreciated when people let us know how the music moves them in anyway.  I’m good Aaron thanks man.
Fistula are one my favourite sludge metal band, however for those people who are unfamiliar with your music, can you tell me a little bit about your history and some of the bands you've played with? Where you're from, when Fistula first formed? Current band members? 
Sludge band? Well I guess we been called a lot of different things... but thank you...uh the history thing...I mean we started Fistula in 98 and it led to meeting a lot of friends at festivals, shows, basement shows, tours, warehouse shows, noise shows, punk shows, metal shows etc.  Most of the different bands that I have had a part in over the years are from friends I grew up with and or played music with around here or places we have a close family.
I was playing in a cover band when I was 15 and 16, we would cover Misfits, Metallica, Black Sabbath,....with guys from high school, it was a place where on the weekends we would stay at our drummers house and get fucked up and play music, his parents were pretty supportive of the music, I don’t know about the other thing. (My cousin lived in Baltimore so she would send me tapes of Bad Brains, Fugazi, Minor Threat, Black Flag) then when I wanted to write original music, they didn’t want to, so I met a friend of mines brother who played this kind of Lemonheads, toad the wet sprocket, Live type of music, although I wasn’t into it, they wrote original  material and they said if I learned how to play this black Tama Rockstar kit, I could have it, if I played in their band. 
So I learned how to play drums when my drummer from my high school band would leave my house during the week, he’d leave his kit, and I would play a riff on the guitar, loop it through an amp and then sit behind the kit and learn how to manipulate it in many different ways. Anyway...I got the drum set and the need for heavier music led me to start my own thing...I had another band of dudes I played with in high school called Diesel Jesus,  the 2nd drummer in Fistula, Aaron.. he was in this band...we would jam and it kind of went nowhere, so then I played with Big Metal(Dave Johnson) in a band called Jerkhammer for a while, he left to jam with Ascension and I then started FISTULA.
We have played with a shitload of bands, I couldn’t even begin to list, not being cocky, lazy... ah, realistic more like it, nobody wants to read a list of bands we have played with.
Fistula is from Ohio, the main core were from Litchfield, a little dust speck, with cornfields and nothing around....a lot of shows were done between 2000 and 2005, mainly we were a 3 piece...Bing, Branca, and Brittain.  Nobody wanted shit to do with us, we played with the noise bands, the punk bands, the hardcore bands, the metal bands,.....we could do any show, that’s what was different for us, it was very simple music, primal, cavemanish, we aren’t or never will be music virtuosos, so every time a little bit of progress is made, its fucking exciting.  Line-up changes are always made as necessary to achieve our goal, which is making music we love. Current line-up is Bing, Branca, and Sean and Nate Linehan. Dude, I know my shit is jumbled and kind of out there, but if I sat here and really listed names of all the people I work with and the history and the things that have been done with this band, I would be typing a fucking book.  But I hope this will help you in some way.
You have had numerous line-up changes in Fistula, what's the thinking behind that?
Drug addiction, total pussy bitches, backstabbers, assholes...you name it.
Is Fistula a full time project? As I know you're involved with other projects such as The Disease Concept, Morbid Wizard and King Travolta to name but a few?
 Fistula is a full time thing, the Disease Concept will release its 2nd album YOUR DESTROYER, and then I don’t know.  Morbid Wizard is my bro Scott Stearns band.  We will continue on as a part time project, and King T is a side thing, I'm currently in the middle of the new one.
When you started Fistula, you were on Vokills and Guitar? How do you describe Fistula’s sound? Has it evolved? 
Started on drums, then moved to guitar and vox, it was by default, Barcus was supposed to be the vocalist for us, but dependency caused him not to be able to, so Bahb and I sang by default. I don’t know if I can describe our sound, I used to think I could, but I don’t think I can say anything other than its nasty!  It always reflects what we are going thru in life....it has evolved sure, because our minds and our lives have evolved
What made you start the band?
Kiss ... listening to Kiss when I was a toddler, made me want to play in a band
Ohio seems to produce excellent bands, what's the secret?
That’s pretty cool you feel that way, I feel the same, Ohio has always produced great artists, it’s just that one state everyone talks shit on, like they know it, and they don’t....but there is an underlying secret covert rock operation going on here, it’s unexplainable.
2012 seems to be a busy time for you so far, with releases from The Disease Concept, Fistula split w/ Monkey Priest.  What else are you up to? I heard Fistula have a new record on the way, called Northern Aggression? What can we expect? 
Yes, we also have a split with Coffinworm on Hell Comes Home coming out in July...and yes, the vokills (For Northern Aggression) just got wrapped up and it’s being mixed right now, and then mastered. The title pretty much explains it.  It’s aggressive; I think this is our first record where it’s more fast than slow.  Bahb Branca is back in the band and he’s doing the vocals, he did a great job....we go to Miami Florida to play 305 Fest and then we go home and book the next tour.
You scrapped a record, right?
Yes, scrapped one called WORSHIP.
Are you a full time musician, or do you work too?
I just quit my job of 14 years, so I'm unemployed at the moment, so yes, I’m fulltime musician.
What's it like being in an underground metal band? Is it a struggle?
You just said we were a sludge band? Now we're a metal band? Kidding... sure it’s a struggle, life is a struggle...music is part of life.
What are your influences musically and artistically?
I would say my main influences are so many musically and artistically, that I don’t think we have enough time to go into it.
You play guitar, you done vocals and also play drums, which do you prefer?
Shit, I love guitar and drums....same...
Are you surprised people buy your music? 
Oh fucking right I am...I’m surprised anytime that one fucking person even cares...
You seem headstrong and passionate about music, what motivates you?
It’s just how some of us are born, I didn’t choose this, and it chose me.
The Disease Concept’s debut E.P. was released on Goat Skull Records, what was the thinking behind starting Goat Skull? Is it true you’re re- releasing Fistula back catalogue?
No, we aren’t re releasing Fistula back catalogue, the Hymns of Slumber is finally coming out on Vinyl soon, but that’s all I know of at this point. Goat Skull was just a thing me and Stearns started for ourselves to release CDs of stuff we like, and our own stuff.

Do you write all the songs for Fistula and how does your role change in the various bands you play with? 
I write everything in Fistula...at times a few have contributed a riff or two or like Barcus, he writes a lot of his own lyrics, but at times, I would write them, like for the Goat record, I wrote the entire thing.  For Burdened… I wrote mostly all the riffs and a few lyrics, Barcus wrote a lot of lyrics.  LOSER record...Rositano writes a few riffs, Barcus wrote lyrics.  New record, Northern Aggression I wrote everything...it changes and varies.  In the Disease Concept I’m the drummer, I write no riffs, and in Morbid Wizard I’m the drummer, Wizard Stearns writes it all... so yeah it changes and switches up from time to time.
What's your career highlight so far? What your aspirations for the future?
Man, I wouldn’t know how to answer that....
You got any interesting stories from your tours?
Oh yea, but that would get some of us in trouble.
Are you in writing music all of the time?
Yes
What you think to people downloading music for free? Would you consider releasing your album for free to get more people listening to your music? 
Releasing my album for free after I put blood sweat and a lot of money to make it a reality isn’t something I’m up for... do I care if someone does get it for free? No, I don’t give one fuck if you happen to steal it or pay for it, but I wouldn’t straight up offer it to everyone for free. No.
You've released or been a part of a lot of releases over the years, any particular highlights?
Looking forward to the Coffinworm split....and the Fistula DOT[.] 10" was cool, and Fistula\Burmese split and Burdened By Your Existence… Shit, For a Better Tomorrow too.  The Disease Concept shit I’m proud of, my old band RUE first Record and the Aldebaran split.
Any plans to tour? Any chance you're coming to the UK?
Yes, and we are looking into it.
Last question, would you like to say anything to your fans?
Thanks to all of you who have been supportive over the years, who have sent emails, letters, placed orders, hate mail, talked shit, ran your mouth, came to shows, we really appreciate it all. Good and bad, the ones that get it and know what we do, we appreciate, all else...fuck straight off.
Thanks a lot Aaron, for the interest and all, hope this helps in some way...
I'd like to say another massive thank you to Corey for taking the time to question these questions.  Please check out Fistula's music and the other many project he is involved with, including The Disease Concept, Morbid Wizard, King Travolta.  These are some of the forthcoming releases on Goat Skull Records
MORBID WIZARD- NECROSIS OF THE EYEBALL EP -JULY 20

FISTULA \ BIBILIC BLOOD split cd- This will feature new Bibilic Blood tracks and 1 new 30 minute track called Master of Disease from FISTULA.

B9K9 - Eric C Harrison from Grief new band.

Blackwell- Return to Stone Mountain
(members of Don Austin,Fistula,Die-Hard)
...
The Disease Concept-Your Destroyer 7 new tracks from these miscreants

Breathilizor\Fistula split cd
Fistula Facebook
Goat Skull Records

Heretic Promotions

Hey guys, I just wanted to make you aware of the awesome Heretic Promotions, who are putting on some great shows over the coming months.  In order to bring fantastic bands to your attention, here at the Sludgelord I spend a lot of time networking on FB and this is how I came to know about these guys. 

Merrion Dewsbury who puts on these shows with his sidekick Oli, started doing it after his friends were complaining that there were no cool shows, sound familiar.  So, he figured he'd put on some shows and get some names and contacts with bands that he loved.  So, we got talking and I thought it would be cool to promote what he is trying to do on the blog.  So check out the info below and get yourselves to these awesome shows. 

Sunday 8th July 2012

Heretic Promotions Presents SERPENT VENOM + BLACK MAGICIAN + Iron Void + Baron Greenback
Venue: Scruffy Murphys, Newton Street, Dale End, Birmingham, B4 7LN.
Doors: 7pm,
Door Tax: £4.
A showcase of Traditional Doom at its finest as we are joined by the mighty Serpent Venom and Black Magician on their July 2012 Tour, with support from Leeds based Iron Void & West Mids Baron Greenback.
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/247699865343901/


Thursday 12th July 2012
Heretic Promotions Presents DOPEFIGHT + Widows + General + Steak
Venue: Scruffy Murphys, Newton Street, Dale End, Birmingham, B4 7LN.
Doors: 7:30pm
Door Tax: £3
Furious Brighton based Sludgers Dopefight join us as part of their July UK tour to showcase some of the best Sludge/Stoner Rock the UK has to offer, Support on this one comes from Nottingham Stoner Merchants Widows, Coventry Hard Rockers General and London Stoner Purveyors Steak.
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/362313203830624/


Friday 17th August 2012
Heretic Promotions Presents ALUNAH 'White Hoarhound' Album Launch Show, with support from Trippy Wicked & the Cosmic Children of the Knight + Groan + Baron Greenback.
Venue: Scruffy Murphys, Newton Street, Dale End, Birmingham, B4 7LN.
Doors: 7:30pm
Door Tax: £3
Birmingham's Mightiest Psych Stoner Doom Foursome Alunah, Introduce and Celebrate the release of their second full length album 'White Hoarhound' on PsycheDOOMelic Records. Recorded by Greg Chandler (SerpentCult/Moss) and mixed & mastered by the great Tony Reed (St Vitus/Stone Axe) this will be surely be an album of Monolithic Proportions, hear it live here first! Support comes from St Albans based Fuzz Tripsters; Trippy Wicked & the Cosmic Children of the Knight, UK based Psyched Hard Rockers; Groan and Stoner/Doom Blues Peddlers; Baron Greenback.
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/415153955185053/



Saturday 8th September 2012
Heretic Promotions Presents 'THE SUN SMASHER' Doom/Sludge/Stoner Alldayer! Featuring CONAN + BLACK MAGICIAN + WIZARDS BEARD + DEAD EXISTENCE + ALUNAH + GRINGO + MOGHUL!!!
Venue: Scruffy Murphys, Newton Street, Dale End, Birmingham, B4 7LN.
Doors: 3pm
Door Tax: £5 on the door, Advance Tickets - £4, available from - http://hereticpromotions.bigcartel.com/product/heretic-promotions-presents-the-sun-smasher-doom-sludge-stoner-alldayer-advance-ticket-4
Heretic Promotions brings forth another mighty alldayer for all you Doom heads and Sludge/Stoner freaks featuring some of the heaviest, dirtiest artists the UK has to offer!! Headlining Slot from the mighty Liverpudlians CONAN which will literally shake foundations as well as a stunning bill consisting of Black Magician, Wizards Beard, Dead Existence, Alunah, Gringo & Moghul + 1 TBC!!
ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY SUNSMASHER AS WE BRING FORTH THE DARKNESS OF WINTER WITH ALL ITS DOOM AND GLOOM WITH THIS HEFTY DOSE OF MONOLITHIC BLISTERING HEAVYNESS! 
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/248586228575179/

JOIN THEM ON FACEBOOK AT THE HERETIC PROMOTIONS FACEBOOK PAGE FOR MORE GREAT GIGs SPANNING ALL GENRES OF METAL AS WELL AS SOME WICKED ANNOUNCEMENTS TO COME STILL IN 2012. 
(https://www.facebook.com/Hereticpromotions )

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

EARTHRISE

Eras Lost cover art

Earthrise are an Atmospheric Sludge/Post-Metal Band from Minneapolis, USA

The members are:

Jimmy
Rug
Smallz
Tom

Earthrise are a brilliant Sludge/Post-Metal Band who play sublime hard-hitting Sludge/Post-Metal riffs with a great progressive edge to their music.

If your into ISIS, Cult Of Luna and East Of The Wall then you now what to expect. As these guys play the same top notch emotionally driven Atmospheric Sludge/Post-Metal music.

They have just released their outstanding new album Eras Lost - An 11 song collection of brilliant tracks that runs for a cool head-banging 53 mins or so.

Believe me this album is fucking epic. It's main business is huge loud emotional riffs. And from the sound of this. BUSINESS IS FUCKING GOOD.

The album is brilliantly produced and played by all. These guys are superb musicians who take their music very seriously. It's got haunting top-notch vocals to match as well.

The album starts off with the excellent Challenger Deep. A 6:14 minute blast of great riffs from start to finish that can rival any well-known Atmospheric Sludge/Post-Metal band.

What follows next is a brutal and excellent collection of tracks which shows what this band does so brilliantly well. Playing haunting Sludge/Post-Metal riffs with cool outbursts of Progressive Rock and Post-Rock blended into their great style of music.

Check out great tracks like Titan, Former Worlds, Polar Low and Exhale. The album does have a great apocalyptic/end of the world feel to tit. So it has a great social message attached as well to drown yourselves in.

I downloaded this album since last week and I must of listened to it a couple of times each day since then. It really is a masterful album that should hopefully get these guys more known to the Sludge/Post-Metal community.

All in all this is brilliant album you need to check out right now. As its available on BandCampPay Anything You Want Type Deal.

If you want a brilliant forward thinking Sludge/Post-Metal band with hard hitting riffs and vocals. Then Earthrise are the band for you. Fucking Amazing. End of.

So headover to BandCamp right now and download this colossal beat of an album right now. You won't regret it. Amazing.

Highly Recommended - What do you think!!!

Check This Brilliant Band Below:

Wizard's Beard - Pure Filth

Pure Filth cover art

Wizard's Beard are a Sludge/Stoner Metal Band from Leeds, UK

The members are:

Chris Hardy - Vocals
Craig Jackson - Guitar
Neil Travers - Bass & Backing Vocals
Dan Clarke - Drums

You know I am a massive fan as I have just published a great interview with this brilliant band and reviewed their brilliant 2nd debut album here.

Well see where all the fuss began with their amazing first debut album - Pure Filth. A 5 song and 32 minute blast of some of the meanest and filthiest Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal the UK has to offer

As the guys are kindly giving this away for free for this month only. Its only got 200 downloads so you better be quick. This release got some fantastic praise when it was released back in 2011 and its not hard to see why. If fucking rocks like a bastard.

Check out brilliant tracks "Paint The Skies", "Parasite" and "The Albatross". This is the reason why I became a fan of this great band in the first place.

You can't pass the chance to own a brilliant album such as this. So headover to BandCamp right now and download this amazing album now before it's too late.

If you like what you hear then buy their brilliant and even better new album - Four Tired Undertakers.

Fucking Awesome and Definitely Recommended.

Check This Great Band Below

Wizard's Beard Interview


Today I am interviewing one of the best UK Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal bands – The fucking mighty Wizard's Beard.

These guys have released two of the nastiest and heaviest releases in recent years for UK Sludge/Stoner/Doom Metal but add the coolness of aggression of legendary Stoner Metallers – SLEEP.

Their 2011 Debut release “Pure Filth” got a great reception from the Sludge/Stoner Scene. Their 2012 follow up was a mighty leap up for this brutal and brilliant band.

Four Tired Undertakers is one of the heaviest releases I have heard this year. And leaves their debut album in the dust. It has got some major praise indeed again as one of the best upcoming Stoner/Sludge Metal bands on the scene.

The guys have kindly granted me an interview. So Thanks To Craig for answering my questions.

Q1 – For people who are unfamiliar with your band, can you tell them little bit about the history of the band? Where you're from, band members, when you formed?

Me & Trav we're in another band together, and we called time on that, but we still wanted to do something, and we both knew how we wanted it to sound. So we started Wizard's Beard. I knew Dan from being out & about at gigs, so he got behind the kit and we started to jam. Once the 3 of us started to gel, I got in touch with Chris. I was a fan of Chris' from his days in Agent of the Morai.

I think we got together in September 2010, and our first album Pure Filth was released in February 2011.

We're all Leeds based, with me & Trav growing up around here and knowing each other for just over 10 years now. Chris & Dan both came to Leeds for uni and decided to stick around, so we all find ourselves here together.


Q2 – How would you describe your sound.

It's dirty, it's nasty and it's very pissed off. That's pretty much all there is to it. We're often told it sounds full of anguish, make of that what you will. Our music is very reactionary, when something really bothers me or I'm feeling particularly pissed off, I write music.....and that's why it comes out like it does.

Q3 – Is The Band a Full Time Project or do you have regular jobs to support Wizard's Beard.

We wish it was a full time project! To be fair it kind of is with the amount of work that goes in to it....however it pays nothing. Seriously, not one of us has ever made a penny from this band; we've certainly spent a fair few on it though! This is something we do because we love it.

When you add in the time it takes me sorting gigs out, doing interviews and other press stuff, processing orders from our website, replying to emails, writing music, jamming it out and bringing it all together in the practice rooms.....it takes up a lot of time!

But we all have our full time jobs (which get in the way more than we'd like). It can feel like a long hard slog sometimes, and the thing with breaking out when you're an underground band is that it's more often about who you know. We're not very good at 'networking'. 

We've met lots of people and made lots of friends doing this, but it's always just been because we've found people we get on with, we don't make friends with people because we think they can do something for us. We just do what we do as well as we can and try let the music and live shows speak for themselves; and that often feels like we're swimming upstream! If only this was our job and we didn't have to balance it out with another 40hr a week job.

Q4 – Are your families supportive of what you do

It's difficult really, because most of them aren't too in to what we do (it is an acquired taste after all!). But they ask how the bands doing and take an interest so that's pretty cool.

To be fair I wouldn't want them coming to a gig or anything when I know they'd hate it.

Having said that there are a few family members who have made their way to the odd show and enjoy what we do......but only a few.


Q5 – I love Pure Filth but your new record is a different beast altogether. Mainly some of the laid back grooves have gone and replaced by a more wicked underlying Doom Decaying Vibe. Was that intentional to turn it up a notch. I think it was a great decision to make.

I wouldn't say it was intentional, it was just.....what it was. Truth is that the music for Four Tired Undertakers was written before we recorded Pure Filth, it just needed working on. A lot of this music has been kicking around with me for a couple of years and I've just been biding my time to do something with it. I think I was just a lot more pissed off when this batch was written!

I think one of the things that did help is we played so many gigs on the back of Pure Filth that we had gelled so much more as a band. So when we were putting everything together in the rehearsal room, it was a lot more natural, which is where I think a lot of the flow of the album comes from. 

I think had we recorded these songs as the first recording instead of the ones we actually went with, they'd sound completely different from what you hear now on Four Tired Undertakers. I think we fell in to our style with songs like Albatross from the first album and that's what brought about the feel to the songs on this album. It wasn't intentional, just worked out that way. Listen out for more of it on upcoming recordings, as this is definitely how we play naturally when we're together.

Q6 – Are you pleased with the reviews Four Tired Undertakers has been getting. And why that cool name for the album.

Ha! The album name is actually taken from Monty Python. It was our good friend Paul Priest (Diascorium & Sloth Hammer) that was watching it and sent me a text saying it would be a good name for an album..... I agreed.

As for reviews....yeah, can't complain. We've had some really really good reviews that went way beyond what we were expecting. Getting featured on the Roadburn website as their album of the day was a massive plus too.

On the flipside, there have been a lot more negative reviews for this album than there were for Pure Filth. This is something I told the lads to expect before we even released it. When we had the songs together, it was clear that this was a much more 'hardcore' doom album. It's definitely not something the casual fan can stick on enjoy straight away. 

With Pure Filth, there was a lot more hook and a lot more groove and the songs we're clearly defined and with the exception of Albatross they weren't as slow.

With this album, it's one continuous track, it might be split into individual tracks if you look at the listing on the back, but listen to the album and there is no break, it just goes from start to finish. So when you combine that with the fact that the pace of the album is much slower, then it was always gonna divide listeners a lot more. 

We knew this and it's not something that bothers us. We put out the album that we're happy with, that's all we give a fuck about.



Q7 – How has the reaction been like to your music overall. At home and abroad.

The reaction has been exactly what we were expecting in terms of a little mixed. A lot of general metal sites find the songs too long or the pace too slow, which we expected. However, the positives have gone beyond what we expected. There have been some amazing reviews and the press has genuinely been really good.

We generally get better press abroad to be honest, especially in America. Europe has also been very kind to us. I guess our homeland just isn't as interested (apart from a few very big exceptions, such as yourself and The Sleeping Shaman.

For us it's still pretty amazing that our music can reach as far as it has. We owe a lot of thanks to a lot of people for that. I still say it was the initial review of Pure Filth from Ed at Doomantia which sparked all the attention we initially got.


Q8 – Do critics reviews bother you as a band or do you just care what the fans think.

We don't make music for them, so no they don't bother us. We read them and we take note, and it is great to read good reviews, but the negative ones don't bother us at all.

To be honest I appreciate some of the negative ones. If it's well written and offers constructive criticism, then I like reading it, it's interesting to see what other people aren't so keen on when it comes to us......doesn't mean we're going to try & appease them though. At the end of the day we're not writing music for them.

Fans are definitely way more important, as these are the people who mean we get to travel to other places and play our music for people we've never met. 

It's thanks to the fans telling other people about us that the fan base grows and we have more people listening to us. Without them we wouldn't be able to do what we do....and we love doing this!

Q9 – What is the song-writing process like in the band. Is there one main songwriter or does everyone contribute to all the songs.

I write all the songs initially. I'll write the riffs and work on structuring the songs at home and then bring it in to the studio and teach to Trav & Dan; at that point they might have some ideas on changing certain bits or something, so we work together. All of the time the finished product ends up being the one that went in to the room; but if they have an idea to improve it we always work on it. 

So it ends up being more collaborative. At the end of the day Trav adds his own touches to the bass lines so they're all his and Dan comes up with the beats to compliment the riff or carry it to a different place. When you listen to Four Tired Undertakers especially, you can tell the drums are often pivotal in progressing the songs from one element to the next, and it's Dan that figures those parts out.

One exception to this was Albatross from Pure Filth. That basically arose from me playing that opening riff in the practice room and the other two just jamming along. I started formulating the variations while we were jamming it out, after the practice I went home and structured it, next week we played it as the music you hear on the album. I think for the next album, as well as the songs I've got written, we'll spend some more time jamming together and see what happens. There was such rapid turnaround between the last two that we want to take a bit more time to enjoy the process this time.

Of course after we're done the lyrics still have to be sorted.....unfortunately that's down to Chris who like to leave it until about 5 secs before he needs to record to vocals to finish writing.....he shall not be getting away with that this time!


Q10 – How is the Metal Scene in your home town or surrounding areas. Are there a lot of places for bands like yours to play at on a regular basis.

It's.....up & down. It can be great here in Leeds but instead it tends to be incredibly frustrating.

There are a lot of venues, to be honest I think there may be too many. I think over saturation here has led to a lot of apathy. Although this is massively obvious with the underground bands, it can at times be seen with bigger touring bands.

Truth be told, we don't play Leeds as much as we used to, and I think we'll be playing round here even less in future.

All that being said, there are some really good venues round here like The Well, The Brudenell, The Packhorse and the Royal Park Cellars. There are some great promoters too, Steve does an excellent job at the Cellars, Ben Corkhill has started putting on some good gigs and the Big Spaceship lads put on some belters too. If only I was 18 again and had the time and money to make it to as many gigs as I used to, I'd barely spend a night at home!


Q11 – Do you tour on a regular basis. What has the reception been like to the band performing live. Have you toured with any famous bands.

Unfortunately not. With us all having full time jobs, it's not the easiest. We do quite a lot of one off out of town gigs. We did a UK & Euro tour with Five Will Die last September were due to head out to Europe for a couple of weeks with our friends Tree of Sores in July, but unfortunately we've had to pull that tour.

We've not toured with any big bands, we've played with some crackers though. Conan and doing incredibly well for themselves and getting a lot of attention these days, and we've played with them a few times. In fact we'll be playing with them & the Slomatics in August in Leeds too.

I think the biggest band we've played with is probably Ufomammut.

The reaction to our live gigs has been pretty damn good. Especially after we finished the European tour last year. We had a load of gigs when we came back too, due to playing that often we were on a roll and playing some of the best shows of our lives. But yeah, we get so many good responses, it's nice to know we're doing something right!

Q12 – Do you have any plans to tour abroad or is too expensive to do at the moment.

 As I just mentioned, we've unfortunately had to cancel our European tour. Basically, a few of the dates got pulled and it was no longer financially viable. Both us & Tree of Sores are independent bands and have to fund our own tours, it started to look it could end up costing too much after those few shows were pulled and therefore we had to cancel it. It was absolutely gutting.

We'd like to do more, but there's no chance of it happening this year with Trav's little one on the way in October.

Hopefully next year we'll get to play a few European festivals. That would be perfect!


Q13 - How do you feel about blogs and websites giving music away for free.

This is a really tough one to be honest. I am a big believer in free music, but it's not always plausible. I saw the damaging effect all the illegal downloads of our first album had for psycheDOOMelic. psycheDOOMelic are not a label with lots of money, it's a label that is in this due to their passion for music.

So the thing is, while personally we do just want as many people to hear as music as possible, and wouldn't have any problem with all these sites putting our music up for download if we were releasing things independently.......it really isn't good for the small labels who bring so many bands to the attention of so many people who otherwise wouldn't get to hear them.

For me that's the main issue, what it does to these labels. When you hear labels like Universal or bands like Metallica complaining about free downloads.....they can fuck right off. I have no time for that shit.


Q14 - What are the most/least rewarding aspects of participating with the band.

The most rewarding things are getting to do what we love to do, and having it be appreciated by people all over the world. One of the other main pluses as well is making so many friends, we have met some very good people on our travels. It's definitely a pleasure.

The downside is undoubtedly the cost that can come from it, and probably the uphill battle of trying to get attention as an underground band. We've been featured in magazines all over the world, yet British magazines like Kerrang, Metal Hammer, Terrorizer and Zero Tolerance have completely ignored us. They were all sent copies of both albums and not one review has appeared in any of them. 

So our eternal gratitude goes to those over-seas publications that have given us the page space! At the end of the day though, seen as we play nearly all our gigs over here, and we are from England, it would've been handy to get some mention in one or two of the above publications. Luckily for us, there's a number of British websites and blogs that have given us the time of the day, so they definitely deserve our gratitude.

Q15 – What are the future plans for Wizard's Beard. You are quick workers releasing an album in 2011 and then in 2012.

Yeah, our second album launch gig was one day short of it being exactly a year since the first album launch. I was looking at a similar turnaround for the next one too, but my attention was to record in October which is no longer possible. So instead, we're gonna take a bit more time with this one, do some more jamming and see if we come up with. 

I've already got the full album written, but you never know what we might come up with when we're in the room just kicking out some riffs on the spot.

So yeah, we do still intend to get another album out next year but it will be a little bit more time between albums than last time.

On top of that, we'd really like to get some festival dates in next year and maybe a few decent support slots too.

I want to Thank You for participating in this interview. As you know we are massive fans of your great band and wish you all the best for the future. And if the British Metal Press can't wake up to this brilliant band well fuck the lot of them!!!

Check this great band below:

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Saturday, 23 June 2012

OSTROV

Noumenal EP cover art

OSTROV are as Sludge-Core Metal Band from Hattiesburg, MS, USA

The members are:

Alfred Jordan
Brent Stephenson

OSTROV are an excellent Sludge Metal band fusing Hardcore, Doom and Post-Metal to heavy crushing effect.

They have just released their superb new EP - Noumenal - A  3 song collection and 18 minute blast of top notch Sludge Metal riffage.

This two man band are a great band to look out for and the 30 minutes on this great release just flies by. If you want heavy pounding riffs from the word go then get checking them out.

As they portray a cool kaleidoscope of sounds ranging from Hardcore Sludge Metal to Doom and Post-Metal.

This is an album that will easily get inside your head and will not let go until the EP is fully over. Check out great tracks - Redshift and Frame-dragging.

Excellent tracks that show what this great band can do. Heavy punishing riffs with great vocals to match. Just head over to BandCamp right now and download this excellent EP for free right now.

As a bonus the guys have added their 2011 demo for free as well. So you get two excellent releases running for a might impressive 30 minutes or so for free.

So get downloading now. As this is another brilliant band to check out right now.

Highly Recommended!!!

Check The Guys Out Below


MASS CULTURE


Mass Culture is a Sludge/Post-Metal band from Greece

The members are

Argy : Guitars
Nick : Guitars
John : Drums
Michalis : Bass

Mass Culture are an excellent Sludge/Post-Metal band blending the usual ingredients for a top-notch Sludge/Post-Metal band. Mainly haunting sublime amazing riffs and great vocals to match. Plus the talent to pound your senses into oblivion and this band has it in spades.

They are a great band you need to check out as they are popping up all over the other great blogs. Time for me to join the party of praising this super cool and brilliant band.

Their new album or EP as they call it – Amoralism is a 4 song and 35 minute of outstanding pummelling and emotional Sludge/Post-Metal riffs.

If your into ISIS, Neurosis, Cult Of Luna then you need to check this band out now. They are a brilliant band with an outstanding collection of songs to show off to the world.

3 of the tracks run past the 9 minute mark and are brilliant examples on how to do top-notch Sludge/Post-Metal correctly.

The album is a brilliant album that has came out of nowhere and will have you eating from the palm of it’s hand from the very first listen.

This is a band that demands your maximum attention now as they conjure up some amazing riffs with sublime ambient post-rock vibes that will leave a lasting impression.

Mass Culture take their time in showing the listener to what they can do. They add little blasts here and there before launching a final Sludge/Post-Metal assault on the senses that will leave you spell bound.

There is not one bad song on this great EP. All of the songs are equally great as each other. The tracks are brilliantly written epics that any top-notch Sludge/Post-Metal band would be proud to call their own.

This is quite frankly an astonishing release by a great band that I have not heard of before. But after this I am a confirmed fan. I can’t wait to see what these guys come up with next.

You need this album in your collection. Another outstanding album to put in your collection. What is even better you can download it free from here.

Check out great tracks such as “Sleep Electric Sleep”, “Past, It Saw” for further evidence.

So what you waiting for. Get checking now. Highly Recommended.

Check This Great Band Below.

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The March

Crawl Space cover art

The March were a Hardcore/Sludge Metal Band from Lille, France

The members were

Olivier Haese : vocals
Jean-bastien Dupuis : guitar
Guillaume Clément : guitar
Julien Roelandt : drums
Sébastien Costes : bass 

The March were an excellent Sludge Metal band who have sadly split. The band fused elements of Hardcore Punk and Stoner Metal to great effect. They have just released their great new album – Crawl Space - A 5 song 32 minute blast of top-notch tunes that will be inside your head for days.

This album is already starting to appear on a whole number of my fave blogs. And it’s not hard to see why. This release just rocks from start to finish.

4 of the tracks run past the 6 minute mark. So expect some mighty epic riffs especially on great tracks like Carried Away and Nate Williams.

I can sense an ISIS influence as well as these guys do seem to pay homage to them at times especially on Nate Williams. I mean the loud/quiet ambient type vibe that legendary band are famous for. This is no bad thing in my book.

As Nate Williams is the standout track in my opinion. It shows best what this great band could do. Combining all the genres into something unsettling, startling and at times highly original.

The release is expertly played and produced by all involved. This is an album you cannot miss. It’s simply another breathtaking release to be discovered. And a fitting testament to this great band who have sadly split up.

The band are giving this superb release for free download from BandCamp right now. So headover now and start downloading before their free download limits are used up. You won’t regret it – Trust me on this one.

Highly Recommended.

Check This Great Band Below

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ALBATROSS.


Triton & the Army of the Dead cover art

Albatross. Are a Sludge/Stoner Metal Band from Italy

The members are:

- Pietro Moscato
- Giordano Tasson
- Antonio Loseto

Albatross. are a brutal hard hitting Sludge/Stoner Metal band fusing their own style of fast and furious riffs. If your into High On Fire, Sleep, Kyuss, Red Fang and bands of that ilk then look no further for your next fix of sublime Sludge/Stoner Metal riffs.

The band have just released their amazing new album – Tritone & L'Esercito Della Morte – A 9 song and 40 minute collection of outstanding tracks to get your head-banging in no time at all.

The lyrics are all sang in Italian but they speak the universal language of the mighty riff. In our case brilliant fast paced Sludge/Stoner Metal riffs that is very loud at times.

I have been listening to this album for the past couple of weeks. And it gets better and better with each listen. Upto the point I am singing along to the lyrics. I don’t speak Italian and I don’t know what they mean but damn their music is too good too ignore. It will have you rocking out over and over again.

It’s brilliantly produced and it’s a great introduction to this great band from our Italian Brothers In Arms.

The album has too many great songs to mention but my fave track has to be the 9 minute epic – Della Morte. A song that you will be listening to over and over again and shows best what this band does so well.

Playing heavy slabs of top-notch Sludge/Stoner Metal riffs with a great energy for all things metal.

So yeah this album is pretty awesome and I recommend you check it out now. As you can download this right now on BandCamp Pay Anything You Want Type Deal. So get downloading now.

If the BandCamp Link goes then download from here for free.

Highly Recommended.

Check This Great Band Below

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ADRIFT FOR DAYS - COME MIDNIGHT REVIEW

Come Midnight... cover art

Adrift For Days are a Sludge/Drone/Stoner/Doom/Post-Metal Band from Australia.

The members are:

Mick Kaslik - vocals, drone flute, fx
Steve Kachoyan - drums
Matt Williams - bass
Ron Prince - guitars
Lachlan Dale - guitars
Michael Taverner - live sound 

If you’re a long time reader of this blog you know I am a massive fan of this amazing band. They totally blew my mind back in 2010 with their amazing debut album – The Lunar Maria. It was a 70 minute epic journey of Drone/Fuzz/Sludge/Stoner Metal riffs that struck a chord with many fans of the genre.

Adrift For Days sound like no other band I have heard in years. They became my fave act of recent years and I couldn’t wait to see what they delivered next. Well that time is now as they have a brilliant new album Come Midnight. Another 71 minute odyssey of amazing experimental Sludge/Stoner/Drone Metal tunes.

Come Midnight contains 6 sublime tracks that are very hard to categorize. You have Sludge, Drone, Stoner, Fuzz and Post-Metal which are all of my fave genres. As like their first album they even include some haunting tribal ambient riffs as well.

This album will just take over your mind, body and soul with its pulsating mix of Sludge/Drone/Stoner Metal riffs. There is no denying it. Adrift For Days have delivered another masterpiece of Modern Sludge/Stoner Metal.

The first track i.A Premonition ii.Void iii.The Aftermath is a 15 epic of psychedelic far out there riffs with great vocals to match. The song takes time in building the atmosphere of eerie ambient riffs. But when the loud riffage kicks do kick then they really do kick in big time. It starts off with a long drawn out Drone/Sludge Rock guitar that brings a forbidding sense of evil coming our way.

And sure enough around the 2 minute mark the vocals kick in. But after that it’s an epic monolithic journey that only Adrift For Days can deliver. The best part of the song is the final 4 minutes. The riffs are just first class and are expertly done. This is a song of despair told in 3 parts delivered by one of the finest upcoming bands in the genre.

Next up is another 8 minute journey of Sludge/Drone Metal wonder – Gravity Wall which adds more eerie atmosphere to the already populated Smoked Fuzz Encrusted Drone/Sludge world that has came before it. This is a song that will send chills down your soul with the creepy vocals and music portraying a sense of unease but with a creepy purpose as well.

Outstanding stuff so far.

Up next is another long drawn out masterpiece – The 13 minute – House Of Cards which has the perfect balance of Loud and Quiet Rock atmospherics with a truly breathtaking haunting ambient tribal passage amongst the underlying cold undertone. This song has some of the most haunting lyrics and vocals on the entire album that portrays a devastating picture at the end.

Listen this at your peril. You will be amazed by the different styles and genres this song has or even the album has by now. I was just totally sold on this amazing album on the first listen. I couldn’t believe to what I was listening to.

The album next takes a short breather as the 4 minute song – The Stonebreaker slows things right down in speed, scope and structure but still providing a cool ambient drone rock driven atmosphere. Before the last two epics resume business in crushing your soul.

You think with two songs remaining there would only be a short time remaining. Not really. You have 30 minutes more of top-notch Sludge/Drone/Stoner/Post-Metal riffs to shatter your spirit to.

Back From The Beyond is a 10 minute epic with more brutal hypnotic Sludge/Stoner Metal Carnage with the cool drone rock driving it through to a shattering climax.

The next track is an almost 20 minute epic called – Eyes Look Down From Above. This is where the band pay homage to legendary Drone Rockers – Earth. As this song has an Earth type feel. It’s primarily driven by a sublime Drone Rock Riff with loud blasts of Sludge/Stoner/Post-Metal coming through at different times of the song.

Haunting Vocals are there accompanied by a sub-dued ambient tribal echo being mixed into outstanding effect. This song can be very bleak at times but shows best what brilliant musicians these guys actually are.

Come Midnight leaves The Lunar Maria in its wake and shows a band on the verge of true greatness. This album should hopefully put Adrift For Days on the international map as a band to be reckoned with.

This is my fave record of 2012. I know I have said this on previous occasions with other releases but no other release has got my emotions into overdrive. This is the rare occasion where every second, minute and riff just had my jaw dropping to the floor. I don’t think any other album will come close to this. This is about as close to perfection as you can possibly get to.

I have listened to this album non-stop since I received it earlier this week. It’s a truly breathtaking record that should be called a classic. And a record that Adrift For Days should be proud of and applauded for.

Adrift For Days will be available to buy from July 15th 2012. I recommend you get your copy..

Highly Recommended.

Check This Great Band Below

The Lion's Daughter - Shame On Us All Review


Shame on Us All cover art

The Lion’s Daughter is a Hardcore/Sludge Metal Band from St Louis, MO, USA

The Lion’s Daughter are a fast and furious Hardcore/Sludge Metal Band with a great social conscience attached to their music. They have featured on the blog before with their awesome split with Fister.

Well the guys are back with their eagerly awaited full length record – Shame On Us All – An 8 song bruising 32 minute encounter of top-notch Hardcore driven Sludge Metal riffs.

Thank God these guys sent me their album to review. This is the perfect album to headbang to with things not going your way. These guys don’t do happiness or rays of light. They are master tacticians dealing with in fast and furious Hardcore/Sludge Metal riffs.

Shame On Us All is a hard-hitting blast of bruising riffs that will surely leave you drained from start to finish. They have the passion of an angry Thrash Metal Band but in the realm of Sludge Metal.

The band wisely throw in some hard-hitting Social soundbytes to get their message across and I applaud them for not shying away from the bleak side of life.

Especially on tracks like – “Deadbeat At Dawn”, “Heavenless Far From Earth”, and “World Ender – Buried In Dust”.

These guys know how to play a mean down-tempo Sludge metal riff full of despair and passion at the same time. Plus the vocals are truly full of anger at the world but still makes you care at the same time.
This is a band with a purpose and nothing is going to stop in their in delivering their own brand of bleak down-tempo Hardcore/Sludge Metal.

If you’re into the legendary hard-hitting bands of the NOLA scene such as EHG and Corrosion of Conformity then these guys will appeal to you big time like myself.

The 32 minutes just flies by. You don’t know what you have just witnessed but your edging towards the repeat button on your MP3 Player. This is an amazing album from a great band who know how to write a top-notch hard-hitting tune with blazing Sludge Metal riffs to match.

Shame On Us All is superbly produced and played by all involved. You can hear every note played to brutal top notch perfection. The drumming is a major high point. Full of precision and drive that you will find hard to ignore.

Then again all the band are amazing musicians and each play their own part in delivering an album you cannot ignore. If you do you will be missing one of the heaviest and fastest Sludge Metal records of 2012.

Brilliant and Highly Recommended. Shame On Us All is available to buy from BandCamp right now and I recommend you buy it now.

Check This Great Band Below

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MOTHERSHIP - Ten Miles Wide Review

Ten Miles Wide cover art

Mothership are a Grunge/Space-Rock/Prog Rock Band from Seattle, USA

The members are:  Johndus Beckman, Paul Fraser, Ryan Thornes, Will Andrews

Mothership are not like the other bands we promote on the blog but they intrigued with their mixture of Grunge, Space-Rock and Progressive Rock. Though they call themselves a Loud Heavy Alternative Rock Band.

Well that is a very cool description which I am going to stick with. As these Heavy Space Rockers are a great band that I didn’t know much about. But Thank The Rock/Metal Heavens they contacted me.

They released their debut album in 2011 – Ten Miles Wide is a 12 song blast of top notch tunes that venture between Space Rock and Progressive Rock with lashings of 90’s Grunge Rock for great effect.

The album does have a great sci-fi feel to them and you might spot some cool sci-fi references in the song titles and lyrics. As they are littered through out this excellent album.

Ten Miles Wide has a huge collection of heavy riffs if you’re into the genres mentioned above. Taking influence from diverse bands such as Muse and Soundgarden but adding a far out there Space Rock vibe to stand out from the crowd.

This is a band you don’t hear much of these days. The only band I could compare them to is sublime Aussie Space Rock Maestros – AVER.

If you like AVER then your going to love these. The songs are expertly written and played by the band. The album shows a band who add a great sense of imagination and wonder into proceedings to stand out from the crowd.

The album is expertly produced and plays to the bands strength in creating a mighty fine Space Rock/Grunge Rock vibe with a great Progressive Edge.

All in all this is an album I highly recommended if you want to hear something different. These excellent Cosmic Space Rockers will brighten any day or mood to any dis-concerning heavy rock fan.

Superb – Enough Said. Available from all Good Stockists Now.

Check This Great Band Below:

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Monsters Of The Ordinary - Album Review


Monsters Of The Ordinary are a Stoner Rock/Metal Band from, Wien, Austria

The members are

Oliver Müller - vocals
Klaus Wurzwallner - guitar, vocals
Harald Tischhart - bass
Christoph Schwaiger - drums, vocals

Monsters Of The Ordinary play high energy, high octane Stoner Metal music that is getting them a loyal fanbase amongst the Stoner community.

They have released a couple of well received EP’s but now the guys are back with their long awaited debut album – On The Edge And Beyond which runs for 54 mins and contains 12 hard-rocking Stoner Rock anthems to head-bang to.

I will admit this album while an expertly produced and well put together album it’s not the most original of albums.

The album does have a huge likeability factor that will have you coming back for more listens.

The band are excellent musicians lead by a great vocalist - Oliver who has an impressive set of lungs on him. And they can write a mighty fine Stoner Rock Riff to rock out to.

The album does have its fair share of cool great tracks such as – “Lives Collide”, “Anybody Listening”, “Underneath The Desert Son” and “Driven”.

This album will find a lot of fans amongst the Stoner Rock Fraternity but I just wanted something with a bit more kick to it. But apart from that it’s still a great album to check out from a hugely talented band. If you’re a fan of QOTSA, Monster Magnet, Dozer and Fu Manchu then you will find much to enjoy here.

I think these guys next full length release will be something special as this album does show signs of greatness. Because of this I think we can expect a lot more in the future from a band that could become major league players in years to come.

On The Edge And Beyond is available from all good stockists now.

Check This Great Band Below

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Thursday, 21 June 2012

20 Questions with Conan


Conan 2012
 
Hi again, here at the Sludgelord over the coming weeks we have yet more instalments of my 20 questions segments to come, which I hope you will approve of.  (Some of which I am very excited about!)  As of yet, I have not talked to any of the amazing British talent we have.  Ha ha, up until now!
Who we go this week?  I hear you cry or should I say, growl? None other than the mighty Conan.  One of England's finest purveyors of heavy music and hot on the heals of their amazing second full length album, Monnos, which is without doubt some or if not the heaviest album of the year.  Conan has been destroying some of the best festivals and venues out there, including Roadburn. I’m only gutted I couldn’t be there. 
So, I thought it would be cool to get this awesome band to talk to us.  Too my surprise, Jon Davis, vocals/guitars and all round top bloke from Conan, agreed to answer my questions.
This is what Jon had to say, when I put my 20 questions to him (22 to be exact but who’s counting).  Enjoy, because it is an awesome read.  Until next week, catch you later and thanks for reading.  Your continued support means so much to us, cheers Aaron. 
Hey Jon, How are you?  I'm stoked you agreed to talk to me.
Today I’m good thanks. Sat in work, quite tired and listening to some new riffs I am working on.
I am embarrassed to say, your band originally came to my attention because I loved the name of the band, obviously I love your music too, but why Conan?
Conan, when we chose it as a name for the band, seemed like the obvious choice at the time. I was listening to a lot of music about swords and stuff, and was listening to a lot of Slomatics / High on Fire etc and was trying to get my own band started. I’ve always been into the films, not just Conan but also other similar ‘Sword and Sorcery’ types and I was going through some personal stuff at the time and wanted to work on something to keep me going.
The band had some other names at the time, had some songs (some of them became Krull, Satsumo, Battle In The Swamp) and I wanted a name that summed up the mood of the tracks.  My love for action / sword and sorcery / gaming and stuff like that – Conan came to me (I think I may have thought of ‘KRULL’ at first) and once I checked it I realised it was available and set up a Myspace page to ‘claim’ it. I still can’t believe it wasn’t already taken.
Conan are one my favourite bands from the last few years, however for those people who are unfamiliar with your music, can you tell me little bit about your history and some of the bands you've played with? Where you’re from, when Conan first formed? Current band members?
To be honest we came from nowhere. Conan started as a two piece (me and Rich Grundy) and we recorded the Battle In The Swamp demo in Jan 2007. Soon after this Richie left and I was looking for a new drummer. I played with a few, and none of them were interested in what I wanted to do and then I met Paul (around September 2007 I think). We jammed a bit and played a handful of shows, and then had to knock it on the head in Spring 2008 because of my work commitments. Later that year I started another band called HORN (www.myspace.com/doomhorn) with John McNulty and Andy Freen (Zangief) and we played some slow heavy songs and then I was made redundant from my job in Salford.
I then got a job very close to home and decided to start Conan again. I spoke to Paul and we got John McNulty to join on bass for the recording of Horseback Battle Hammer. John told us he couldn’t stay permanently and in late 2010 David Perry Joined us. He recorded the split we did with Slomatics and then told us he had to move to Denmark in Jan 2012.  This was around September 2011 and we had just agreed to release our next album (Monnos) with Burning World Records. We decided we would rather get the new bass player in before the recording rather than afterwards and pretty soon after Phil Coumbe came to jam with us.
He’s still here…….. Paul has been in other bands before – Zen Baseball Bat, Brudge 13, Rise Deadman…… Phil was in a band called My Wooden Head.  I’ve not really been anything of note, early on Richie and I did some ‘rock’ stuff in Release, then after that it was Windego, then we did a band called Evil Eye – each band gravitated further towards the early Conan sound (as per the Battle In The Swamp demo’s), it was quite a slow transition.
You originally started the band as a two piece, what made you decide to add a bass player to the line up?  Why the line up changes? 
Originally, we wanted to stay as a two piece as I was listening to bands like Winnebago Deal and Black Cobra. Funnily enough Richie and I did practice with another lad on bass for a while but he just came across as a tool and we fucked him off in the end – or he left us or whatever – I remember being relieved when he left and we decided we could be just as heavy without anyone on bass – that is when I started buying a load of amps and bass cabs to play guitar through.
When we reformed and decided to record what became Horseback Battle Hammer we asked John McNulty to join in so we could have an octave lower with his bass guitar and we also liked the idea of someone else doing vocals from time to time. We did some shows as a 3 piece and it just sounded a lot heavier. We enjoyed working as a 3 piece – and it stuck like that really. When John joined us we knew it would only be temporary and indeed he stayed with us for longer than we originally planned. When David joined we expected him to stay but he decided to move to Denmark and really we had no choice but replace him. Both David and John contributed A LOT to what we did at the time and we are very grateful that we got to spend some time with them in the band.
Is Conan a full time project? 
This is the only band that I am in currently, same for Paul and the same for Phil – so right now it is our only outlet musically. We all work though, out in the real world, but our day jobs are much less interesting than our musical outlet though so we definitely ‘work to live’.
When you started Conan, What were your hopes for the band?
When I originally started the band (back in 2006) my only intention was to avoid being sucked down into the Saalec pit monster that was my life at that time – it became a hole through which I could escape and be away from the problems I had at the time. I’d always been in bands and was not active musically at the time. I needed a project, a focus away from all the negative stuff, so started the band. When deciding on subject matter I was very clear that I wanted the songs to be as far removed from everyday life as possible – hence songs like Krull – Battle In The Swamp etc…… I needed to escape and I saw playing music as a healthier alternative to taking drugs or drinking too much.
Since Horseback Battle Hammer was released we have been totally blown away by the response – the same goes for the split with Slomatics and also Monnos which has just come out. This clearly changes your perspective and now our aims are different. It’s no longer simply an ‘escape for poor old Jon Davis’ it’s something real and tangible for not just me, but for Paul and Phil and anyone else who has taken an interest in us and obviously we need to treat it accordingly and do the best we can, for us as a band, and for those who believe in us and have shown so much faith in us so far.
How do you describe Conan's sound? Has it evolved?
I’d say our sound is unsophisticated, unfussy, appealing, warm, loud and honest. We don’t use loads of modelling effects, we don’t use any samples and we don’t fuck around with loops or anything like that (although we’re not anti this sort of thing of course). We feel like our sound is earthy, and basic – but showing a great amount of depth. When you listen to a Conan record you are listening to amplifiers that were made by REAL LIVE HUMANS in the 70’s, speaker cabinets that we have wired ourselves, effects pedals that were handmade for us alone, by people we speak to regularly, and instruments that have been set up to our own exact demands.
Our sound is literally ‘our’ sound – each aspect of it is quite carefully chosen, amps obsessed over – we’re a bit weird like that. I’d also say that yes our sound has evolved, certainly from the Battle In Swamp demo. We’re better at using our instruments now, so we know how to get the most out of them. We know what things work and what doesn’t, we use dual vocals a lot which we never expected, and that works well. Is our sound getting ‘better’ as we go along? I don’t know….. I love the sound on Horseback Battle Hammer just as much as the sound on Monnos but both are different.
On Horseback Battle Hammer I used a fuzz pedal AND an op amp distortion pedal into each other – on Monnos I used a Rat clone and a modded Boss Blues Driver but both on separate amps – this might explain a slightly clearer tone on the new album. My live rig is now back to the Horseback Battle Hammer setup, so I guess our next recordings will have a similar sound to that on Horseback Battle Hammer.
Your sound is bass heavy, how do you get that sound and what key do you turn to?
We have always made an effort to be as bass heavy as possible. All of our equipment is chosen and tuned so that we sound as ‘deep’ as we can. From using bass amps for guitar, high output pickups, recapping our amps regularly to maintain bass response, to something simple like turning the presence switch off on the amps.  We tune to dropped F, one note above a standard tuned bass. This sounds heavy enough on the guitar but on bass the low F is only a few steps above the inaudible range. We can’t find strings heavier than those we use on bass, so I doubt we could practically play any lower. People think we have ‘custom made strings’ – we don’t…… But there is only one set of strings out there capable of the tunings we require so I hope they don’t stop making them……..
What made you start the band?
As I mentioned earlier, I wanted an escape from all the shit I was going through back in 2006.
2012 seems to be a busy time and quite successful for you? Would you agree?
Yeah, 2012 has been very busy – from playing at Roadburn, to supporting Sleep in Oslo, to playing shows with Toner Low / Heavy Lord and others. We have quite a few things to come also – including some shows with our heroes SLOMATICS, a trip to Holland, gigs in previously unexplored caves such as Basingstoke and a couple of other things on the bubble right now. We were excited enough once we played Damnation late in 2011, so right now we are just enjoying playing the shows and we hope people enjoy what they see.  Monnos came out in Europe (in April) and quickly sold out on vinyl. Our stocks of cd’s have dwindled due to high demand, we sold out of the vinyl of Monnos within weeks of getting it, and our shirt sales are overwhelming sometimes. Success is relative…… We can’t all retire on the earnings from it. We aim to make enough money to pay for our practice place, for the storage on our equipment, for the cost of travelling to shows in England and overseas and for any future recording.  Currently this is working out great, but we do all our own financing, we get no help in that respect (Horseback Battle Hammer was 100% self-financed until it was released by Throne). But ‘success’ in terms of becoming more ‘recognised’ then yeah I guess it has.
We’re not into being ‘liked’ and all that – you won’t get us spamming other peoples pages on Facebook or putting flyers out at other people’s shows or whatever. We’ve become more ‘recognised’ just through being there. I’ve said before, that before we recorded Horseback Battle Hammer we had literally no profile at all. Then we had a demo reviewed on Stonerrock.com and I think that started to get a few people’s attention. Once we released Horseback Battle Hammer things just got really busy. We started getting gig offers, tour offers, record labels offering us the chance to release stuff with them and plenty of other stuff which was a total surprise to us – it was something we simply had never experienced before.
We’ve decided just to proceed by playing as many shows as we can, we’re careful about which bands we play with, but will play pretty much anywhere, and we also try and make the right decisions ‘off the pitch’ like with shirts and which labels we work with and stuff like that.
Are you a full time musician? Or you work too?
Currently I work; I have an office job at our family business. But in a sense I feel like my connection to this band is fulltime. If I’m at work I’ll be dealing with merch or emails on my breaks, I’ll be planning stuff and speaking to people of an evening when I’m not doing family things, I’m THINKING about the band pretty much 24/7 but the same goes for Paul and Phil – if we’re not practicing or playing shows, we’re working on new riffs or packaging shirts up or whatever. It sounds like ‘hard work’ but it isn’t, we love all of it.
What's it like being in an underground metal band in England? Is it a struggle?
If you had asked me this before Future Noise put us on in Manchester back in June 2010, I would have said yes.  Up until that point we hadn’t played outside of Liverpool. But since then we’ve played in shows up and down the country, and also in mainland Europe and as a result of this we have developed good relationships with some cool people. We’ve been noticed by the guys over at Roadburn, Incubate, Damnation Festivals and other important people inside and outside the UK and therefore we feel that we are in a pretty good place right now. There are some amazing bands currently playing in ‘the underground’ but even the underground scene is well supported and attended.  I’ve been totally blown away by the support we have had, and how many mates we have made in the process, so for that reason I would say that being a band in this environment is a pleasure, not a struggle. I’m sure the other lads would agree too – we always enjoy playing shows, no matter where they are, so it’s all cool to us.
England seem to be producing some amazing bands at the moment, what do you think of the scene and who would you recommend?
There are lots of amazing bands, as you know.  Bong, Tide of Iron, Slabdragger, Serpent Venom, Black Magician, Jackal -Headed Guard of The Dead, Volition, Wizards Beard etc…….. One I would mention in particular is Slomatics, insanely heavy, riffs that you will break your life to – you should check them out if you haven’t already.
What are your influences musically and artistically?
Musically, Slomatics, High on Fire, Fudge Tunnel, Zoroaster, Gonga, Helmet, Yob…… Artistically, just look at all the amazing Sword and Sorcery films of the 70’s and 80’s – Sinbad, Clash of the Titans, Jason and The Argonauts…. I’ve been working on some lyrics for new material lately and films like Conquest, Fire and Ice, Death Stalker and Beast Master have been dominating my viewing. There are so many amazing films to choose from but they all have one thing in common – a sense of otherworldliness – warfare, awesome weapons, monsters, overcoming the odds – all those things which make a good film. You then look at books, there are literally 1000’s of books that can be referred to for subject matter – anything about Vikings, Lord of The Rings etc…….
Are you surprised people buy your music?
I was at first. I’d never sold my own music up until we released Horseback Battle Hammer. Since then we have been surprised by how many people have bought it, rather than being ‘surprised that they have bought it at all’….. The response to all three releases has been very encouraging and we don’t even believe that we’ve got fully into our stride yet.
You recently played Roadburn, what was that like and were you star struck meeting some of the bands, such Yob, The Obssessed etc?
Our merch stand was between that of Church of Misery and Yob. I was very pleased to get a picture taken with those guys as we are big fans. I speak to Mike of Yob from time to time, so it was great to meet him face to face at last.  I met up with a few people actually, those who weren’t musicians, who I was very pleased to see face to face – JJ (The Obelisk webzine), Matt (Doomsmoker.pl), Kim Kelly, the guys of Burning World Records (Desiree, JP).
It was of course really cool to meet Jurgen again, and Walter again, as we had met briefly once before – we got to meet some of the people who consider themselves fans of the band and we especially enjoyed seeing them and chatting to them – there were lots of the people we know from England there too.  They came to support us during our set and we really appreciate that too. But imagine, if you will, being in a band and arriving at your first major festival – your first show ever in mainland Europe. When you arrive there and meet Jurgen (good friends and now of course allied through our releases on Burning World Records).
As Paul, Phil and I are chatting to him Wino walks past. We finish our chat and go to the counter to get our badges and we are stood there next to Mike from Earthless. In walks Matt Pike….. Later you high five and chat to Mike from Yob…. etc etc etc.  You watch Yob from back stage……I’m just an overweight guy with a beautiful family from Merseyside, there is nothing special about me whatsoever.
I do not deserve any special treatment from planet earth or the human race for I am just a human being, I am a just another leaf on the tree of life…. I am basically just a spec of dust; I am almost nothing in the whole scheme of things. Yet, for an afternoon I am truly blessed by someone somewhere – a god in the sky, a spirit in my soul, a deceased relative in a parallel dimension or whatever - and somehow I am allowed to take part in one of the world’s leading festival of music, perform with my good friends Paul and Phil, for a huge crowd of people who have made a conscious effort to stand and watch us, and sing songs about Minotaur, the Kraken and Vikings – in front of  a raging twin full stack of amps, through my favourite fuzz pedals – this is simply the best thing ever.
After our set we see and speak to friends from all over the world, I get to meet my old mate Jopper (who moved to Tilburg when we all finished University) and we get to smoke weed, drink beer and watch Yob.
For me, if I am not at home reading stories to my kids or spending time with my Wife, I could think of literally no better way to spend my time.
What's your career highlight so far? What your aspirations for the future?
My career highlight would be receiving an award for my services to unemployed construction workers in Liverpool, during my time at Liverpool City Council. I don’t view being in the band as a career….. To me that suggest that it could be some form of ‘work’……. Instead I view the band as a part of my life. It shares my time and my interest in the same way that my family and friends do.
It is another part of my life that keeps me going, it’s a totally irreplaceable aspect of being ‘me’ that I think about every single day and almost every single minute. As such it’s very difficult to pick out a ‘highlight’ as that would make everything else a lowlight……….. I can say this though, the closest I have come to ever shitting myself with both fear and with excitement, was when we walked into the room we played at Roadburn 2012 and had to wait while we pushed our way through an expectant crowd to reach the stage.
Knowing that people had deliberately stuck in the room following the end of the previous band’s set, presumably so they could ensure they saw our set, made us feel humbled and grateful. We still talk about it now. On a personal level, each of my three farewell hugs with Matt Pike will live long in the memory –I’ve consumed his riffs since I first heard him in High on Fire and I was very happy to meet him.
You got any interesting stories from your tours?
Yes, but what goes on tour stays on tour ;). We’ve done nothing to embarrass the likes of Mick Jagger or Slash, but we’ve enjoyed being away on tour - I’d like to keep those things under my hat.
Do you write music all of the time on the road? I have heard you've got new songs already written
Funnily enough, we don’t write at all when we’re on the road – or at least we’ve not done it yet. You hear of bands who’ll have a day or two to jam in an expensive practice room somewhere, but unfortunately we haven’t had that luxury yet. The closest we came was in Leiden when we played at the Sub 071 venue. This venue is a squat and we set up the night before and stayed over. We could have jammed all day long if we had wanted but because of the lack of sound proofing we decided not to, to preserve the peace and quiet for the guys who call that place home.
We are currently working on some new tracks yes, but these are way off ready. They’ll take a while as you can expect as we want them to work first. But what we have is already starting to sound cool, so in between shows we are going to the practice room to work on the new stuff. Our next release will be a new album but we have no planned date for release.
We expect to start recording early next year but don’t want to book the studio time until we have something worth recording…. One thing we are certain of though, is that this album will be heavier than what we have released already, to go backwards in that respect would be shameful.
The first time I contacted you was to ask if you would sign some cds for me (not sure you can remember?).  I also recommended the band Fister (amazing band) to you, turns out you're tight with those guys.   They helped release your first record, is that right? I know they release their music on a pay as you like type deal, what do your reckon to people downloading music for free?
I remember it very well. You ordered the split and asked us to sign it for you – then when you ordered Monnos I emailed you to ask if you wanted it signing like you had with the split, you explained that you were just about to message me with the same…….? Kenny from Fister and I first got in touch through the Sunn (the amps, not the band) forum. Since then we have exchanged merch and I’m a big fan of his band Fister.
He’s a cool guy, with a FUCKED UP sense of humour and has me in stitches without even trying. We speak all the time about stuff. His label (Pissfork Anticulture) released Horseback Battle Hammer on cassette, limited to 50 copies I think. I think people downloading music for free is stealing…… But do I think anything can be done to stop it? No I don’t.
We created the internet, and without it you would probably never hear of most of the bands you like, so it’s a double edged sword.  I don’t think free downloads ever did any damage to Conan, or any other band in our league – it’s simply a by-product of the times we live in.
Any chance you're doing a full UK headline tour?
This is possible, but we are still in the groove of doing our own little weekends here and there. We’ve not been offered a headline tour yet by anyone. If this changes I’m sure we’ll consider it
Last question, you got anything you like to say to your fans?
Yeah, I have – thank you for all the kind words they have ever said and thanks for wearing our shirts at other shows.
It goes without saying, that I have to say a massive thank you to Jon Davis for giving up his time to answer the quesitons I put to him.  Thanks man, much appreciated.  Your bands is awesome.  If you did't get chance to be at Roadburn, I posted a video of their set below.  Hope you enjoyed the interview and enjoy the awesome live set.  Check the links below and do yourselves a favour, buy their merch. See you next time.  Aaron