Saturday 31 December 2016

VIDEO PREMIERE: Richmond, VA space doom band Book of Wyrms debut "Leatherwing Bat"

Looking for a great new doom band who brings the heavy while also soothing your mind, body and soul? Richmond, Virginia’s Book of Wyrms may be the band for you. They describe their sound as “appalachian stoner rock” and “space metal.” Those tags alone may be enough to draw listeners into their heady realm of astral dreaming, but the band also claims a diverse set of interests ranging from the occult, to cheap beer, to Curtis Mayfield. Who wouldn’t want to hang out with these guys?  With their new album “Sci-fi Fantasy” set for release tomorrow 01/01/2017via Twin Earth Records,  what better way to kick off the new year with a badass new track and the premiere of “Leatherwing Bat” which you can check out below and is available to preorder here 

“Sci-fi-Fantasy” track list:

01 Leatherwing Bat
 02 Infinite Walrus
03 Cosmic Filth
04 Nightbong
05 All Hollows Eve
06 Transcendental Migraine
07 Sourwolf


Jay Lindsey: bass
Ben Coudriet: guitar
 Kyle Lewis: guitar
Chris DeHaven: drums
Sarah Moore-Lindsey: vocals, effects 

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Tuesday 27 December 2016

6 BANDS TO CHECK OUT: The 2016 666 Pack Review

 By: Victor Van Ommen

Six records from the last Six months discussed in a little over Six sentences

Darsombra – “Polyvision

Leave any hope for melodies, soaring guitar solos, or jaw-dropping drumming by the wayside if you’ve come so far as to put on Darsombra’s new album “Polyvision.” This duo from Baltimore (go O’s!) nestles themselves deep inside a murky drone of psychedelic proportions which are second to none.

Containing two movements clocking in at an immersive, immense, vinyl-ready 45 minutes, Darsombra’s music is to be listened to with headphones on. Each second of each minute is just as important as the last, for each building block in Darsombra contributes equally to the creation of vibe and most of all energy. As a result, “Polyvision” is a wild ride that traverses a broad sonic spectrum at a lethargic pace and wraps the listener in a warm blanket of psychedelic serenity. If your mind is open enough to the idea that stoner rock should not be limited to your everyday set up of a drummer, a bassist, two guitarists, and a whiskey-soaked singer, then Darsombra will find you well.

Polyvision” is available here

Band info: facebook

Stone Machine Electric – “Solicits es Veritatem

What starts out as your typical doomed-out, riff-based, muscle flexer, “Sollicitus es Veritatem” certainly ends somewhere completely different than where it started. Riffs are, without a doubt, the central theme to this Hurst, Texas duo but riffs are by no means everything this band is packing. Edgy instrumental passages led by jazzy guitar solos traded off with thump-thy-chest-and-chew-on-gravel verses all find a way into the course of these five tracks. And then there are the Wyndorfian, space rock choruses that have a unique way of saying screw the man. Through this all, Stone Machine Electric never forgets that despite their politically charged message, music is also about being creative and not taking yourself too seriously. It’s this balance of heavy riffing, heavy content, and unique skill that is the band’s strength. So whether you’re in the mood to get all grumpy about the state of affairs or you just want to rock out, Stone Machine Electric is the disc you should be grabbing for.

Solicits es Veritatem” is available here

Band info: facebook

Albino Rhino – “Upholder

Rhythmically repetitive, melodically lush, and pushed forward by a steady ride on the cymbals, Albino Rhino make no secret that they’re a heavy-psych by the numbers band. But this album isn’t about what they are, it’s about how they do it. Their low end is so organic and full that it pushes up the overall sound of the band, providing a pedestal for each player to take off of. Sometimes slow, other times a little faster, there’s never any empty space – again, thanks to that tasty, tasty bass – which gives Albino Rhino that exploratory sound. The band follows the music, they let it take them to places like a ride along on a psychedelic field trip. This trip is worth taking, that’s for sure, especially if you’re the type to listen to music with your eyes closed and headphones on.

Upholder” is available here

Band info: facebook

Baby Woodrose – “Freedom”

Baby Woodrose blasts through the atmosphere on their new album “Freedom.” The psych rock journey that this Copenhagen four piece takes you on lacks not in twists and turns and swallows the listener whole in the process. Much like their North American counterparts Monster Magnet, Baby Woodrose drive their point home by way of distorted, jangly guitars, effect-laden vocals, wild guitar solos, and huge choruses. Singer Lorenzo Woodrose takes time to preach his politics but also shines a light on the good side of life; the side in which wars are a distant memory and love and peace stand strong at the fore. This is the band’s mission statement and it makes them a force to be reckoned with. The songs are tight, the balance between freaking out and staying level is perfect, and the band shows more substance than just a run of the mill psych band relying on zany guitar solos.

Freedom” is available here

Band info: official

Thee Arthur Layne – “HVY DRT Vol.II”

Can you hear that crunch, those harmonicas, and that motherfucking croon? You’re god damned right, you hear that! It’s Thee Arthur Layne, checking in with one more EP, “Heavy Dirt Vol. II,” before 2016 checks out.  Sure, Thee Arthur Layne is 70’s influenced – indebted – and what not, but it’s the soul that these bad boys have managed to capture that makes this a band to look out for. After all, when soul is delivered with this much power and conviction, it’s sure to be heard up and down the country. So watch out for these guys in 2017 because there’s something bubbling here, and if you’re not prepared for it, you might spend a lot of time in the new year shopping for new socks (because, you know, they’ve been rocked off).

“HVY DRT Vol.II” is available here

Band info: facebook

Moon Coven – “Moon Coven”

Man, Moon Coven’s drum sound is something else. It’s as though their drummer uses aluminum baseball bats instead of wooden sticks to hack away at a kit made of steel. This alone makes Moon Coven’s self-titled sophomore outing something to throw on the old hi-fi set. As far as the songs are concerned, though, there’s not much different this time around in comparison to the band’s seminal debut, “Amanita Kingdom.” There, the band made a remarkable attempt at pushing the boundaries of occult rock without sounding rehashed, which seems to be the formula once again on this outing. It’s good to hear Moon Coven diving deeper into what made “Amanita Kingdom” unique, but it would suit the band better if they had continued to explore the niche of the genre they were fleshing out two years ago.

“Moon Coven” is available here

Band info: facebook

Thursday 22 December 2016

DECADES APART: 5 Albums 5 Different Decades, 1972, 1982, 1992, 2002, 2012

By: David Majury, Curtis Dewar, Philip Weller, Chris Bull & Richard Maw

Decades Apart

The idea of Decades Apart is pretty simple. I’ll choose 5 different albums from 5 different decades and I’ll share a little information about them and hopefully you’ll check them out if you haven’t already.   Today is 1972, 1982, 1992, 2002 and 2012.  Whilst some these albums may not all be considered classics, they’re certainly amazing records.  So be sure to check it out.    

Deep Purple – “Machine Head” (1972)

Fate is a Deep Purple fan. It moves in mysterious ways, but its actions made a devastatingly big mark on the history of heavy music. What might have happened, you wonder, had a Frank Zappa concert on 4th December 1971 not ended in the burning down of the Montreux casino in which they were due to record? What would have happened if that fan-lit flare hadn’t been fired into the building’s roof? Would the record have sounded the same were they not forced to relocate, and indeed, what effect would it have had upon on the lyrics of ‘Smoke on the Water’, which were directly inspired by the whole drama?

That juddering four note riff echoes through the ages of time, it’s inspired thousands of young souls to learn the guitar and crowned what would become the band’s most successful record, topping the charts across the world. It became a definitive moment, not only in Deep Purple’s career, but in heavy music as a whole. It turned so many people onto heavy music. So many of these people would then go on to become greats in their own right, the likes of Iron Maiden and Metallica, to name but two, owing so much to the song. With that riff, Deep Purple forged a legacy. Yet it could have all been so different had that fire not happened.

Through Ian Gillian’s inimitable introduction on ‘In Rock’, their sound had gotten hairy, lairy and beastly. But with 1972’s ‘Machine Head’, they learnt to tame their monster. 

Highway Star’ the rocket fuelled, gas-guzzling opener sets the tone of the album. With its breathless rapidity and scintillating duelling solos courtesy of Ritchie Blackmore and the late, great Jon Lord, they sounded deadly. Quickly followed by the tumultuous stomping riff of ‘Maybe I’m A Leo’ and ‘Pictures of Home’, a song powered by Ian Paice’s thunderous drums and boasting some gorgeous, soaring melodies, this was their finest moment. ‘Lazy’ is drawn out, ethereal and savage all the same, ‘Space Truckin’’ packing gigantean, insurmountable grooves. Every song on the record is gold.

And the rest is history.  

Twisted Sister – “Under The Blade” (1982)

1982 saw the release of what is perhaps one of the most underrated albums in the history of heavy metal: "Under the Blade" by Twisted Sister. While many modern day metal fans take a look at the band's heavy make up/transvestite image and automatically think "hair metal", the actual truth is that they were much closer to Judas Priest and even AC/DC in sound. While Twisted may have never reached the stellar heights of those two bands, the quality of "Under the Blade" (and later albums) cannot be denied. The album contains track after track of classic songs like "What You Don't Know (Sure Can Hurt You)", "Run for your Life", "Shoot 'Em Down" and "Sin After Sin" that definitely give other classic albums such as "Screaming for Vengeance" and "The Number of the Beast" a run for their money.

If you're one of those who never bothered to check the band out due to the 'glam' metal image, I highly recommend that you start with "Under the Blade" and then proceed to listen to the rest of the band's discography.

Darkthrone – “A Blaze in the Northern Sky” (1992)

After the release of the solid yet unspectacular 'Soulside Journey', Darkthrone embraced the flourishing black metal scene that was sweeping through the fjords and recorded 'A Blaze In The Northern Sky'. While many believe 'Under A Funeral Moon' and 'Transylvanian Hunger' to be the pinnacle of the band's corpse painted output, it was on 'A Blaze...” where they were at their coldest.

Starting with the ceremonial drums of the epic 'Kathaarian Life Code', a song which opened my eyes to the wonders of frost like atmosphere, Darkthrone laid down the blueprint that they would follow for years to come. While they had a few death metal riffs left over ('Paragon Belial' in particular), at the core is a dark and grim heart that bleeds the purest blackness. The guitars may sound like a swarm of wasps, but that was their intention on this, to make it as lofi and "necro" as possible.

Floor – “Floor” (2002)

Inspirational records don't come along very often. The Stooges "Funhouse" was one when I first heard it around the late '80s, "Nowhere" by Ride around 1990 was another and "Bullhead" by the Melvins changed things again about a year later. I didn't play guitar when I first heard those records, but I did by the time I heard Floor's self titled album.

I remember reading that when musicians saw The Sex Pistols they quit their bands and found punk, and for me hearing Floor was a similar experience. I quit the crust-stoner band I was in, tuned down and started on my endless quest for the ultimate combination of riff and tone. It's impossible to talk about Floor in other terms, as the record is absolutely bursting at the seams with both. When that opening low throb of "Scimitar" kicks in there is no way to avoid the crushing power of that riff. Every cliché for reviewing how heavy music sounds (glacial, tectonic, seismic, engulfing, etc etc) began with this riff. I immediately knew that less is more, that regular musical theory is obsolete and that "chops" mean nothing.

If Floor had just played that opening riff for the duration of the record it would still be one of the most magical records ever recorded, but of course they were/are way better than that. Every song is just loaded with riffs that other bands would kill for, only Floor would throw three of them into a two minute song. There was no indulgence at all, no filler, no need to repeat anything to fill space. This album is a template for how to use dynamics in heavy music, but what sets it apart from every other ‘tuned to z’ band is the melody.

Although I’ve grown up with Black Sabbath and all the rest, I’ve always loved melody in a song. The cookie-monster death grunt thing never appealed to me, and I’d been listening to bands like The Pixies a lot more than any heavy music for years. Suddenly here was a band with the heaviest riffs ever, but welded together with unbelievable melody and heart-wrenching vocals. One listen to “Tales of Lolita” was enough to completely change how I wanted to play music forever, and I suppose I’ve spent the last ten plus years with Slomatics trying vainly to even get close to what Floor did so effortlessly on this record. Add to all this, the fact that the band were almost completely unknown, that every live picture I could find of them was playing to a half-empty tiny pub, and that they’d never even been out of the States and I was hooked.

What a legacy to leave for the then-defunct band. I’ve a friend who has a theory that in every city there is a band somewhere, whether in a practice room or playing one of those half-empty tiny pubs, which would absolutely blow your mind. Floor were that band for me, and although they are now deservedly much more well known, at the time the very fact that they had existed and had written that beautiful record was enough inspiration for me to do what I’ve been doing since, and will never stop doing.   

Dragged Into Sunlight – “Widowmaker” (2012)

In a time when everything is known about everyone and there is no sense of mystery about anything, Dragged into Sunlight are a dynamic blast of fresh/fetid air. Indeed, nothing is really known about the band- what is mentioned is mostly conjecture. Let it be said: this is a good thing. The band retains anonymity and lets the music speak for itself.  When first reading about the new piece of music from Dragged into Sunlight some time ago it was described as a single track lasting 40mins plus. Indeed, the promo copy I have had on rotation is in this format. Research on Amazon indicates three tracks of 14.51, 11.47 and 13.10 in length respectively.  I have found that the record works best when viewed as a single track- 40 minutes of tortured paranoid hate and despair. If that sounds like your kind of thing... Welcome aboard!

‘Widowmaker’ reveals itself as a very different record to ‘Hatred for Mankind’ from the first listen. What takes time is the depth of what is on offer therein to reveal itself. From the first ominous twang of a clean yet eerie guitar the sound is bleak and sets a mood that is unrelenting- even when the music employs dynamic shifts and all kinds of instrumentation.  Four to five minutes in there are two guitar tracks building up an atmosphere that is the aural equivalent to watching the first series of Lynch's Twin Peaks. There is even a piano around the six minute mark. The first sign of any distortion comes at 8mins 20secs. An almost folk feel is created by cymbals and violin- and by that I do mean the good kind of folk. Think the feel of the seminal film The Wicker Man and you have the right idea. The samples of the first record are echoed over the first fifteen minutes but that is the only real comparison I can draw.

It may sound strange, but the first fifteen minutes fly past- the atmosphere, tension and feel of the record is introduced leads the way to what could be termed the second part of the album. A monolithic riff and the first scream herald in the next movement. The familiar horrific vocals over the music create a cacophony that is in stark contrast to the almost ambient first part of the record. A low death growl is introduced after more samples, creating another aspect and tonality for the listener. Just after twenty minutes an ascending/descending riff is introduced with other instruments buried low in the mix. The pounding double kick drums that were a great feature of their debut for me are back here.  On headphones the whole thing sounds masterful and suffocatingly dense. There is even an almost stoner rock, Karma to Burn-esque feel around the twenty three minute mark. It doesn't last long, though, and instead gives way to a groove which in itself abruptly twists into doomy sludge, heralding in the third and final part of the record.

‘Part III’, beginning as it does with very slow sludge, is different again to the previous two parts. The bass, ringing out alone around thirty minutes in, offers up a kind of distorted mirror of ‘Part I's atmospherics, indeed the record almost feels as if it doubles back on itself. The band take us back to cleaner guitar tones but five minutes from the conclusion the riffs, distortion and crashing chords are back. The samples reach an apex for me as thirty eight minutes rolls past- you'll have to listen to it for yourself to find out what is said! After some frantic playing and vocals the whole thing dissolves into howling feedback and there the journey ends.

It is rare that a record of forty minutes feels this short. I can only conclude that a lot of work went into making this piece of music- the pacing, peaks and dynamics are all very well judged. It is an expertly paced soundscape that should be viewed as a whole. If you do this and invest the time in it you will be glad you did- the rewards are rich indeed!

Wednesday 21 December 2016

"11 is one Louder": Call of the Void's Gordon Koch picks his Top 5 from metal/core

By: Gordon Koch

"MetalCore" is now a four letter word, kind of like "Screamo" or "Goth". A few bands got out into the mainstream, butchered the genre with bland music and bizarre fashion trends thus burning the reputation to the ground. Wikipedia's definition reads "Metalcore is a broad fusion genre of extreme metal and hardcore punk. The word is a blend of the names of the two genres." Something like that sounds pretty sweet to me, but in today's day and age people have to refer to themselves as "Metallic Hardcore" to avoid the stigma of a ruined word. Black Flag, SIEGE and Corrosion of Conformity mixing with Slayer, Carcass and Sepultura was the potion that helped create this list of bands that then inspired us to do what we do. Fuck the word, the history speaks for itself.

His Hero is Gone – “Monument to Thieves”

This band is one of our most direct influences since day one, so much that we covered one of their songs (“Headless/Heartless”) on our first album. Incredibly ahead of their time, I find them to be the progenitors of the whole "dark hardcore" genre, but they are considered kings of the crust punk world. Mostly overlooked nowadays, they made a short lived but huge mark and summed up what bands were going to be trying to pull off for the next 16 years. This album is a perfect mix of emotions for an aggressive record, ranging from fear to hope, anger, sorrow then absolute hopelessness. Aided by very primal yet expressive guitar work, thick and heavy tone, the push/pull of blast beats and slow sludge drumming and a raw/warm recording, “Monument to Thieves” is everything I want in a hardcore record. But they aren't, they are something else entirely.

Swarm of the Lotus – “The Sirens of Silence” 

Another band that beat everyone to the punch, Swarm of the Lotus fizzled out before most music fans could grab on to the concept, sadly. This album is a little more on the bizarre side when it comes to song structure and riffage, but when it gets heavy, it gets really fucking heavy. The guitar tone on this recording is fantastic, really gnarly, crisp and powerful which allow the songs to change direction in several ways but still come out as bangers. That and this is an early Kurt Ballou recording where he really shined on the production side. Again, ahead of their time. I almost moved to Baltimore because of this band, almost...

Cannibal Corpse – “Gallery of Suicide

Cannibal Corpse may seem way off of what we "are" but that shit is so ingrained in our blood its gross. They are perfect, they are a mess, they play what is needed, they groove, they grind, they RIFF. Fuck man, those riffs! My standout song on this album is "From Skin to Liquid". You could pull 5 regular songs out of that one, and they would all be hits. They are master craftsmen of death metal and will outlive us all in their influence. Long live Cannibal Corpse.

Tragedy – “Vengeance”

Tragedy is what I consider the proper evolution of punk. That is where it is supposed to go, not the pop punk rot, that shit was an accident and I wish it could go away. Right off the bat this record builds up to a crusty sprint with sick riffs and tasty leads that conjure images of being chased by black helicopters trying to shut down the underground network of freedom fighters. It is really hard for a band to keep almost the same pace and simplistic punk beat but keep you listening from beginning to end, but these guys do it. Goose bumps and all. They should be the biggest punk band in the world, but they aren't and that sucks. Oh and these are the dudes from His Hero Is Gone so... go figure. 

Converge – “Jane Doe” 

Of course this is on the list. “Jane Doe” is the quintessential Metallic Hardcore album, #1. It broke the mould so hard that people are still replicating it 15 years later and still comparing later Converge releases to it. Shit, Berklee College of Music held a televised interview with Kurt Ballou and Engineer Matthew Ellard on how they made the damn thing. It is THE record, nothing else I can really say about it other than "this is why we are here". 

Just listen to it.

You can check out the latest release from Call of the Void below.  It’s an absolute beast

Band info: facebook || bandcamp

6 NEW BANDS: The 666 Pack Review for December 2016

The 666 Pack Review

Welcome to The Sludgelord’s December installment of the 666 Pack Review!  Each and every month we handpick 6 review submissions and critique them by only using 6 words, then we rate them on a scale from 1 to 666!  Check out St. Satan’s rating scale below: 

1 The Sludgelord would rather listen to annoying Xmas carolers instead...
2 - King Diamond says...No presents for Christmas!!! 
3 – This is about as good as Twisted Sister's Christmas album.  Meh.
4 - On blitzkrieg!  (That's the headbanging reindeer's name and they're now a fan, antlers up!)
5 – Expect to see a shit ton of presents from Santa this year...err...I mean Satan!
666 - The Sludgelord places his pentagram of approval on top of the tree for all to see!!!  Deck the Hails!!!

It’s the holiday season and you would think that we would be in the spirit to honor goodwill towards bands.  No fucking way!  To quote Rob Halford, “You got another thing coming!”  Even if a band gets a low score, we strongly encourage you to check them out anyways because you might actually dig them!  The Sludgelord is a picky listener…and doesn’t care what you think of his opinions….

Archelon - “II” (EP) – Sheffield, UK    Rating: 4

For fans of Pelican.  Hail Santa!

Band info: facebook

Forlet Sires - Journey Towards Ruin” – Winterhur, Switzerland   Rating: 5

The Ghost of Christmas Present digs…

Band info: facebook

Kielkropf - Step back, I’m ‘bout to dance” - Eisenstadt, Austria  Rating: 3

Deck the amps…with winter sludge!

Band info: facebook

No Trust -Heavy Hand” - San Diego, CA   Rating: 3

My inner Scrooge says…bah humbug!

Band info: facebook

Keef Mountain  - “Keef Mountain” - Kansas City, MO   Rating: 666

Krampus will love fucking to this!

Band info: facebook

Inverted Cross Cult-Inverted Cross Cult” – Porto Feliz, Brazil   Rating: 2

The Grinch asks…”What’s that stench?”

Band info: facebook

Tuesday 20 December 2016

VIDEO PREMIERE: Sail deliver a sludgy psychedelic monolith that is worth "The Weight of Gold"

Sail's take on sludge metal is melodic and atmospheric with a focus on big vocal and guitar hooks. In the vein of Baroness, Mastodon and Red Fang their approach is by turns aggressive and twinkly, with hints of post-rock and prog metal.

Previously known as Husk, they released an album and a split with Striga before re-branding in October 2016 to better reflect a cleaner direction. As Husk they played alongside established UK names such as Hark, WarCrab and Conjurer and opened the Plymouth date of Botanist and Kayo Dot's European tour

Their debut release as Sail, “Slumbersong” will be released via Hibernacula Records on 10/03/17 and today you can check the superb Baroness/Mastodon inspired sludge fest that is “The Weight of Gold”.  This beast is a progressive and masterfully executed slice of heaviness that is sure to win them a string of new admirers.  

Band info: facebook