Thursday 29 March 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Ministry, "AmeriKKKant"

By: John Reppion

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 09/03/2018
Label: Nuclear Blast Records

“AmeriKKKant” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. I Know Words
2. Twilight Zone
3. Victims of a Clown
4. TV5/4Chan
5. We’re Tired of It
6. Wargasm
7. Antifa
8. Game Over
9. AmeriKKKa

The Review:

This isn’t the future we were promised. They said there’d be jet-packs, and flying cars, and hover-skateboards, and self tying shoe-laces, and, and, and…” Yes, the films, and the TV shows all lied. As it turns out, our timeline is less Back to the Future II, more Orwell’s 1984. You know who, in a weird way, seems to have known exactly what the 21st Century would be all about, though? Al Jourgenson and Ministry, that’s who.

Ever since their 1992 anthem “N.W.O.” sampled the then president, George H. W. Bush, Ministry have been pedalling an anti-authoritarian, anti-right-wing American message. And ever since “N.W.O.”, they’ve been hacking up the words of US presidents, and incorporating them into their patented brand of drink and drug fuelled industrial-metal. This approach culminated in the band’s early 2000s anti-Bush (junior) trilogy of albums: “Houses of the Molé” (2004), “Rio Grande Blood” (2006), and “The Last Sucker” (2007). Ministry officially split in 2008, but continued to release re-mixed and previous recorded material fairly steadily. Then Uncle Al came back with all new material for 2012’s “Relapse”, which was soon followed up with a definitely, absolutely, unequivocally, final album (their thirteenth studio album, in case you were wondering) entitled “From Beer to Eternity” in 2013. And that was Ministry done. Over. Dead.

Then, on the ninth of November 2016 it was announced, much to the amazement of many, many people in the world that Donald J. Trump was going to be the next president of the United States of America. Trump the king of the idiotic sound-bite. Trump the liar; the “lets’ build a wall around Mexico and make them pay for it” guy; the ex-reality TV star; Trump the alt-right’s leader of choice.  Had Al Jourgenson somehow tragically lost his life post 2013, I feel there’s a genuine chance Trump’s presidency would have resurrected him. His deadlocked, leather-clad corpse clawing its way through the earth, bursting forth from the grave screaming “GET ME TO THE FUCKIN’ STUDIO, NOW!”. 

AmeriKKKant” is the album that brought Ministry back from the dead. Again.

Trump’s infamous words “we will make America great again” – suitably warped and fucked with – are the first thing we hear on opening track “I Know Words”: the ominous, middle eastern influenced, instrumental (save for all the Trump samples) introduction to the album. “Twilight Zone” is a weighty, plodding industri-stomp, very much in the “Scarecrow” mould. It too, features plenty of Trump samples, and a good dollop of that harmonica which crops up in more Ministry tracks than you remember.
When the bass comes in on “Victims of a Clown”, you could be forgiven for thinking you were listening to something off of 1989’s “The Mind is a Terrible thing to Taste”. This is very much classic Ministry, with the scratching of new member, turntablist DJ Swamp, the only real indicator that this isn’t some lost pre 90s off-cut.

Eight minutes(!) or so in, we get a final blast of the higher BMP industri-thrash stuff more associated with latter Ministry (and with much of the output of Al’s most recent side-project Surgical Meth Machine). That Burton C. Bell fella out of Fear Factory (remember them?) growls “Hey! What he say? Vomiting conspiracies. God damn the racist blind. Anti social impotence ignites”.

“TV 5-4 Chan” continues the tradition of short, sharp, “TV” titled tracks which have graced their albums since the early 90s. This time guns, racism, and white nationalist are the targets. It segues into “We’re Tired of It” which is an up-tempo thrash diatribe against “Fucking insane Christian Hypocrisy”, with Bell on vocals once again. “Wargasm” is more very classic sounding Ministry, with a chorus reminiscent of 1996’s “The Fall”. Samples talking about “the people’s war” and “the mother of all bombs”… you get the idea. “Antifa” is a chug-along anti-fascist anthem “Brown shirt little snowflakes never want to admit, Terrified of the red and black flag, Antifa's the shit”. Enough said. Oh, you want to know which old Ministry song it sounds like? A bit like “Just One Fix”, I suppose.

Closers “Game Over”, and title track “AmeriKKKant”, are a pair of mid-paced, somewhat more reflective songs. The rage of earlier tracks turned to despair at the inevitability of  just how fucked we, America, and the world as a whole actually are. There is a nice brass section in “AmeriKKKant” to offset that slightly, though. “It's like the Nazis back in '39, Like the Romans on the verge of decline. Like the Russians back in '68, How is this supposed to make America great?”

Jourgenson has referred to “AmeriKKKant” in recent interviews as “Pink Floyd on meth”. Yes, it’s a concept album, and yes several of the tracks do have rather excessive running times, but ultimately this is a Ministry album. I’m not going to say “just” a Ministry album, because that would be doing Al and company a disservice, but it’s 100% a Ministry album. Have you heard previous Ministry albums and enjoyed them? Good, then this is another one of those. Yes, some will argue that not much has changed musically in the Ministry camp for some twenty-odd years, but what’s even weirder is to think that US politics has somehow become more regressive in that time. If it feels like you’ve heard this all before, then maybe that’s just because Al Jourgenson has been right all along.

“AmeriKKKant” is available here

Band info: facebook

ALBUM REVIEW: Throneless, "Cycles"

By: Charlie Butler

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 01/04/2018
Label: Black Bow Records

Throneless do not break any musical barriers on “Cycles” but their mastery of riffcraft and ability to create massive, awe-inspiring compositions sets them high above the competition.

“Cycles” DD//LP track listing:

1). Born In Vain
2). Cycles
3). Senseless
4). Oracle

The Review:

Right from the opening subsonic bass rumble, you know you are in safe hands with Throneless. The Malmö trio’s new LP “Cycles” is a master class in monumental sludged-up doom bathed in a cosmic glow.

“Born In Vain” immobilises the listener with a ten minute onslaught of crushing riffs, each one striving to reach a higher plane of heavy perfection. The reverb-laden vocals and hazy atmosphere recall the rural horror of Electric Wizard’sDopethrone” recast as a science fiction epic. After this pulverising introduction, the title track initially offers some respite. Beginning as a laid back jam, there is an almost optimistic mood reminiscent of Colour Haze at their most blissed-out. It’s not long until Throneless unleash the full power of their earth-shaking backline once more, taking the track into lumbering Torche style thunder pop territory.

The second half of “Cycles” shifts towards slower tempos with an increase in punishing heaviness. This metamorphosis reaches its peak with the gargatuan “Oracle”. Over the space of fifteen glorious minutes, Throneless gradually build a sonic fortress of epic proportions from huge slabs of dense riffage worthy of Bongripper.   

Throneless do not break any musical barriers on “Cycles” but their mastery of riffcraft and ability to create massive, awe-inspiring compositions sets them high above the competition. This is a hypnotic trip that will have you coming back for more throughout 2018.

“Cycles” is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

TRACK PREMIERE: Manchester sludgers Nomad debut "Feed"

Seeking to lay waste in an environment already dissolute, Nomad are a 4-piece sludge / doom band bred from Manchester, UK. Their aim is to send you on a bad trip or at least maim you along the way. Since forming in 2012, the Mancunian quartet has had the privilege of playing with some of the sludge / doom genre's heavyweights including Eyehategod, The Obsessed, Prong, Orange Goblin, Raging Speedhorn, Conan, Church of Misery, Bongripper, Dopethrone, Boss Keloid, BongCauldron, Gurt as well as three Terrorizer-sponsored UK tours.

Metalheads across the UK are under no illusions as to the ferocity of their live shows. “Feral” will be their first full-length album and it is set for release on thr 31st May 2018 via APF Records and today we have the pleasure of debuting a brand new track entitled “Feed”, which you can check out below.  

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

VIDEO PREMIERE: LLNN deliver "Appeaser", a monolith of monstrous dimensions

Copenhagen's LLNN burst onto the international scene with 2016's critically acclaimed debut album “Loss”.  After a split EP with LA's WOVOKA in the summer of 2017, LLNN now return with their sophomore album, “Deads”, an erosive, abrasive, dystopian, apocalyptic monolith of monstrous dimensions: more compact, yet more complex and organic all at the same time.  Released on the 27th April 2018 via the celebrated Pelagic Records, today you can check out a brand new video for the track “Appeaser” and the band offer the following insight below. You can preorder here

"We are fascinated by how the human mind tends to interpret random images, or patterns of light and shadows, as creatures and structures.  A psychological phenomenon called “Pareidolia”. And how music and visuals can evoke certain emotions in us and let our imagination unfold into abstract storytelling.

These are the thoughts behind the music video and the album artwork of “Deads” (with photographs by drummer Rasmus G. Sejersen).  The overall album theme of “Deads” is about births and downfalls of civilizations in other worlds throughout the universe.From creation to final decay, the depletion of the host - scenes which inspired the music video. All the footage is filmed mostly with macro lenses to create the extreme close-ups in combination with a few wide shots.  Created in a minimalistic setup in our parents home. (Combined with some heavy Halo Reach 2v2 gaming. Come get some!

LLNN + BISON Live Rituals

22.04.18 NL ROADBURN
23.04.18 DK Copenhagen
25.04.18 NO Oslo
26.04.18 SWE Stockholm
28.04.18 DE Hamburg
29.04.18 NL Utrecht
30.04.18 DE Karlsruhe
01.05.18 DE Wiesbaden
02.05.18 BE Brussels
03.05.18 CH Bulle
04.05.18 CH Porrentruy
05.05.18 F Paris
06.05.18 UK DESERTFEST (London)
08.05.18 CZ Prague
09.05.18 AT Vienna
10.05.18 CR Zagreb
11.05.18 RO Cluj
12.05.18 RO Craiova
13.05.18 RO Bucharest
14.05.18 HU Budapest
15.05.18 PL Krakow
16.05.18 PL Warsaw
18.05.18 DE Kiel
19.05.18 DE Berlin (PELAGIC FEST)

Band info: facebook || bandcamp

Wednesday 28 March 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Rivers of Nihil, “Where Owls Know My Name”

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 16/03/2018
Label: Metal Blade Records

“…devastating, melodic, labyrinthine and jam packed with ideas. “Where Owls Know My Name” will go down as a classic genre expanding album and one giant leap forward in  extreme metal

“Where Owls Know My Name” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Cancer/Moonspeak
2. The Silent Life
3. A Home
4. Old Nothing
5. Subtle Change
6. Terrestria III
7. Hollow
8. Death is Real
9. Where Owls Know My Name
10. Capricorn/Agoratopia

The Review:

Following 2015's “Monarchy” was always going to be a mammoth undertaking- as Rivers of Nihil's last record really was superb. They have managed it by taking not only a massive leap forward but also a sidestep of sorts. Think of the difference between “Master of Puppets” and “...And Justice For All” and you have an idea of the differences.

Indeed, this record can perhaps be accurately described as avant garde- in the same way that Celtic Frost'sInto The Pandemonium” was. After the atmospheric scene setting intro of “Cancer/Moonspeak” we are straight into “The Silent Life” which is devastating, melodic, labyrinthine and jam packed with ideas. To be fair, that track description could sum up the whole record. This is not really like anything else I have heard in the extreme metal genre. If “Monarchy” was largely identifiable as tech-death, this is something else entirely.

To be absolutely clear, the textures and sounds on this album are not to be found on many records at this end of the musical spectrum. Saxophone, clean guitars, synths, jazzy drums and noodling bass all combine to make this a fascinating listen. If Cannibal Corpse and Obituary represent two sides of the same death metal coin, then perhaps Rivers of Nihil are akin to something like Bitcoin.

As the record progresses, things get even more progressive; the breadth of sounds and arrangements here are quite dazzling and highly unusual. Picking tracks as highlights is almost impossible being as the record exists as a total piece. It is uniformly consistent in that it is experimental and progressive, it is not in any way samey or boring. The likes of “A Home and Old Nothing” are all of the epithets used so far. There are pulverising bass drums, there are blasting sections of ferocious speed. There are also jazz fusion type breakdowns and an otherworldly atmosphere throughout.

The sounds and approach of “Subtle Change (Including The Forest of Transition)” is a crazily good example of technical performance and forward thinking arrangements coupled with a state of the art production. I guess Mastodon (at their best) could be used as a reference point along with black metal like atmosphere and a harnessing of technology (both in production and instrumentation) that has not always been seen as a good thing in the world of metal.

“Terrestria III: Wither” could soundtrack a 2000AD/Judge Dredd film and contains not a trace of death metal in its sound or scope. The second half of the album pushes forward just as much as the first with “Hollow” or “Death Is Real” being great examples of the record's depth and overall approach (fantastic bass work on the latter) and the title track being an Opeth-like example of prog rock by a band who are absolutely expanding the boundaries of their own playing and also the genre(s) they are operating in.

By the time of “Capricorn/Agoratopia!, I was left wondering (on first listen) what to make of it all. It's hard to take it all in. There is so much going on that the record is very hard to assess on the first couple of listens. I have no idea how much I will listen to this album going forward- it may be all the time, it may be every once in a while. However, one thing is for sure: it will go down as a classic genre expanding album. It's like nothing else I have heard and will deserve the plaudits heaped upon it. One giant leap forward for extreme metal has occurred.

“Where Owls Know My Name” is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Tuesday 27 March 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Ancst, "Ghosts of the Timeless Void"

By: Conor O’Dea

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 02/03/2018
Label: Lifeforce Records

Ancst have evolved, seemingly effortlessly, certainly gracefully, and sound more like themselves than ever - whatever inner telos they have been moving towards has been realized in this beautiful album

Ghosts of the Timeless VoidCD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Dying Embers
2). Shackles of Decency
3). Concrete Veins
4). Revelation of Deformity
5). Unmasking the Imposters
6). Of Gallows and Pyres
7). Quicksand
8). Republic of Hatred
9). Dysthymia
10). Sanctity
11). Self-Portrait

The Review:

Lex transitum per ignem, in honorem Molechi prohibens

Pure Fucking Hate. As album opening phrases go, this quote from 2017's “Life” is poignant, jarring, and certainly germane to the themes raised throughout Ancst's second full-length album, “Ghosts of the Timeless Void”. Where the film discusses the return of life-form responsible for an extinction avalanche on Martian soil, one cannot help but think that Ancst's object of antipathy may be more earthbound. And while we may speak of dying embers and pyres here, the fires of injustice-fueled rage are an abiding conflagration across the album - there are no coals cooling in the furnace of Ancst's anger, and the insatiable Moloch of capitalism continues to consume endless sacrifices.

The sound that this side of Ancst has been evolving towards, to my mind, first manifested on track two of the 2013 EP, “The Humane Condition”, which was partnered by the first release of their first ambient/drone work, “Lamenting a Dying World”. That track, “Entropie”, captures a sound that eloquently defines Ancst: polished but savage, graceful, commit and unrelenting. And they have been prolific: despite this being only their second full-length, 2017 saw the release of the superb “Furnace” EP as well as two top-notch splits, one with King Apathy, one with Depravation. This is not to ignore 2016's brilliant “Stormcaster”, the most fulsome interlocution of the soundscapes first explored in “Lamenting…”. Across the course of these releases, Ancst have entered the elite pantheon of 'do no wrong' bands for me: I always eagerly anticipate new music from them, no matter what the sonic angle. “Ghosts of the Timeless Void” is no exception.

It's interesting to compare LP openers here: “Moloch” is one of the most explosive album introits that I have ever heard - instantaneous teeth-kicking power unleashed from go. “Dying Embers” starts off considerably more restrained by comparison, even slow by Ancst's punishing pace-standards - until about the 1:00 mark - when everything explodes in dynamic fury. It almost feels like an inversion of the earlier structure in certain ways. This more thoughtful approach allows Ancst to marry the melodic, riff-dense elements of their approach to some mindful sophistication in terms of metrical and rhythmical variety. But it is never heavy-handed, never overly obvious, and at no point loses the plot of what makes Ancst a standout band that places them high in the melodic crust mythos. Poignant exemplars of this maturation are found throughout the album: in the opening riffs of “Quicksand”, in the death-inflected “Unmasking the Imposters”, in the epic “Republic of Hatred, in the classic blackened tremolo work of “Sanctity”. “Dysthymia”, is the closest I have heard Ancst to creating what almost sounds like post-black/blackgaze ballad. Meaningless subgenre references aside, what I am trying to emphasize is that Ancst have evolved, seemingly effortlessly, certainly gracefully, and sound more like themselves than ever - whatever inner telos they have been moving towards has been realized in this beautiful album. Listen to it from start to finish and love it. I know I did.

“Ghosts of the Timeless Void” is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Monday 26 March 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Vile Creature, "Cast of Static and Smoke"

By: Daniel Jackson

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 7/3/2017
Label: Halo of Flies |
Dry Cough Records

On ‘Cast of Static and Smoke’, Vile Creature have given us not just a fantastic piece of music, but a truly immersive experience. It’s an experience I encourage you all to let yourself get lost in it, in hopes that you’ll find the journey as rewarding as I have.

‘Cast of Static and Smoke’ CS//LP//DD track listing:

1. Water, Tinted Gold & Tainted Copper
2. Circuits, Bending & Breaking
3. Forest, Subsists as a Tomb
4. Sky, In Descending Pieces

The Review:

I’ve dreaded the prospect of writing about this album from some time now. Not because it isn’t great (it is), but because I feel so woefully under-qualified to write about it. From a purely musical or performance-centric standpoint; the album is very easy to process. ‘Cast of Static and Smoke’ is a gruelling, caustic doom metal album. Its ringing and corrosive chords and thunderous, colossal drumming speak loudly and clearly on its own. But there’s so much more going on that informs and influences the music, and that’s where I know this review will come up short.

In broad strokes, ‘Cast of Static and Smoke’ is an album about sentient machines undertaking an arduous journey through a decimated wasteland in the hopes of exploring the new freedom given to them after an unlikely twist of fate. Of course, there’s a lot more going on within the story, particularly as it relates to how each machine responds to their new freedom, and in turn how their actions speak to the way we as human beings respond to strife, or how we treat people in oppressed groups. But again, there are many better, smarter people writing about the concept behind the album, and can write about these topics in ways I’m simply not talented enough to manage.

‘Cast of Static and Smoke’ is as fully realized a doom album as you’ll hear this year. There’s an outstanding amount of effort that went into the album’s story, written by KW and Vic themselves and edited by Ed Blair and Jack Solar, and also including narration and an audiobook presentation of the story from Erin Severson of sludge band Former Worlds. Everything from the album cover to the illustrations accenting the short story come courtesy of brilliant artist Stephen Wilson of Unknown Relic. There’s plenty to digest before you even press play.

Then there’s the music, which is as emotionally wrenching and unflinchingly earnest as doom and sludge metal can be. Every downbeat feels like forward momentum, though it’s painfully earned. Each chord or plucked note feels like it was drenched in filth and misery and smashed into the pickups of KW’s guitar. Vic’s commanding performance behind the drum kit devastates, with each strike unloading some extra burden, each beat choice feeling carefully considered and tailored to everything it supports. Even the album’s closing riff, carrying something of a more final and triumphant tune as it fades away; it still bears the damage of the machines’ journey with it. Acrid, layered howls sing us into oblivion like a demonic greek chorus and we’re left to reflect on all that Vile Creature have left us to consider.

On ‘Cast of Static and Smoke’, Vile Creature have given us not just a fantastic piece of music, but a truly immersive experience. It’s an experience I encourage you all to let yourself get lost in it, in hopes that you’ll find the journey as rewarding as I have.

You can pick up a digital or LP copy in North America here. In the UK/Europe, you can find it here.

Band info: Facebook

Thursday 22 March 2018

REVIEW: Knaaves, "January" [EP]

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 20/02/2018
Label: Independent

“January” is a defiant hardcore manifesto that feels unrelenting from literally the first five seconds out of the gate.

“January” DD track listing

1. January
2. Nine Lives Lost

The Review:

Although it is hard to call the two-song "January" an EP, Milwaukee's Knaaves emerge with a bellicose stance and plenty of reasons to keep an eye out for this viscerally tantalizing four-piece.

While the band is not exactly a supergroup, Knaaves has several explosive regional performers in its midst. It may be best known for the inclusion of Amanda Daniels. Bassist Daniels formerly played in hardcore act Enabler, which gained traction not too long ago. She departed the group in 2015, alleging physical and sexual abuse by former boyfriend and Enabler's chief songwriter and vocalist Jeff Lohrber. Dustin Albright, who toured with the band, issued a long Facebook statement then backing up Daniels' claims, including assaults he'd witnessed. Lohrber went on the offensive after Daniels' story broke, virtually denying the accusations and claiming a witch hunt against him. Shortly thereafter, however, Enabler dissolved into indefinite hiatus land. A few years may have passed, but it is evident Daniels' formidable bass work is as transcendent as ever.

The title song is a defiant hardcore manifesto that feels unrelenting from literally the first five seconds out of the gate. There are likely a dozen apt and favorable comparisons one could make to this sort of intensity. Suffice to say Knaaves represent themselves on the opener quite well. Andy Parmann is a volatile frontman, caterwauling hard against the jagged guitar riffs of Jamie Kerwin. Kerwin grabs you with his musicianship throughout, in fact; blistering chords at the start of the song melt into a wailing, anguished conclusion.

Drummer Antonio Ninham is also going to catch your ear on "January." He punctuates both songs from the beginning, and interpolates fast, aggressive beats with melodic playing that blends effortlessly into Daniels' bass lines. "Nine Lives Lost" showcases the experience in Knaaves' narcotic rhythm section, with Daniels blasting charcoal-black thickness to the music and reminding you why she's been appreciated for so long as a musician. Knaaves make the most of this song, which stays within hardcore conventions mostly, but still manages to be subversive and dystophic in the presentation.

Your only complaint is that these abrasive selections are quite scorching, and you want to know what else Knaaves has in the tank for more than two songs. There is much to like about "January" though. Now let's have the full-length.

“January” is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

ALBUM REVIEW: Solleme, "This Infinite Violence"

By: Jay Hampshire

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 01/02/2018
Label: Independent

Solleme conjure an unholy racket, but one that is woven and crafted with a keen eye. ‘This Infinite Violence’ might well see your play count stretching into the infinite too.

“This Infinite Violence” DD track listing:

1. Cost Of Conviction     
2. This Infinite Violence
3. Dolore Fra Noi
4. Sanguine Earth
5. Bide  
6. VI       
7. In Suffering

The Review:

For a city so synonymous with cheerful positivity and acceptance, Brighton is currently producing some of the rawest and most desolate heavy music around. Genre-confine-bucking triumvirate Solleme’s sound might be difficult to pigeonhole, but ‘desolate’ at least begins to convey the void black undercurrent of bleakness that suffuses their debut album ‘This Infinite Violence’.

And it’s not an album that eases you in gently. Opener ‘Cost Of Conviction’ is like barrelling through a dimly lit labyrinth, constantly shifting, the ground moving under your feet. From the intro’s distance noise and sparse guitar that drifts like smoke, the calm belies the growing storm that drops in as concrete-thick grinding chords and lances of feedback. From this, racing blackened tremolo guitars spur things on, more akin to the expansive blackgaze of Deafheaven than the sweeping northern exposure of acts like Mayhem. The trio rip into a driving, chugging groove, drums and guitar locked in mechanically tight, before ending strong on one-two hammerblow chords.

The title track encompasses doom influences, pillars of held chords interwoven by spider-like atonal guitar notes and crashing cymbal hits. It’s unhurried, lumbering at a predatory pace, lurching from one vitriolic riff to another. ‘Dolore Fra Noi’ (Pain Between Us) broods with distant shrieks and uneasy, groaning feedback, the muffled shouts materialising into a breathless warning from across the void.

‘Sanguine Earth’ lays down a thick foundation of rolling drum work before shrieked vocals firmly establish the centre ground, guitars ambling in a class-edge sharp waltz as the drums nail things in place. Things take on hardcore infused shape through a breathless d-beat section before an abrupt end stops things dead. ‘Bide’ inhabits the distance, tolling guitar notes ringing and echoing out until a feedback drenched riff barges in, galloping into a strident chug, hefty kick drum hits used almost like punctuation. ‘VI’s steady, slow drums are surrounded on all sides by a shimmering, almost industrial noisescape.

Finale ‘In Suffering’ whips away, carried aloft by a pulsing black metal headwind, descending into a crawling, sludge infused riff that opens out into creeping guitars. The band prove they can shift dynamics on a dime, blindsiding with false endings, opening out to cast their sounds into a seemingly infinite aural negative space. As the track slows and winds down amid final throat ruining screams, there’s a sense of wearied exhaustion that no doubt connects band and listener alike.

In a scene creaking under the weight of the sheer number of formidable riffs, where bands seek to channel as many disparate influences as possible, it’s rare for an act to manifest both so effortlessly, and rarer still for this to happen on a debut album. While drummer Fred and guitarist Sam’s musicianship lays solid foundation, it’s vocalist Frank’s stunning delivery that secures the final piece of the jigsaw. While not fully conveying his magnetic live presence, the record still showcases his inhuman talent. There’s a glut of heavy vocalists making all sorts of horrible noises, but few do it with such tortured finesse, with such communicated emotion. Despite being ‘just’ a three piece, Solleme conjure an unholy racket, but one that is woven and crafted with a keen eye. ‘This Infinite Violence’ might well see your play count stretching into the infinite too.

“This Infinite Violence” is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

ALBUM REVIEW & TRACK PREMIERE: Monster Magnet, "Mindfucker"

By: Victor Van Ommen

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 23/03/2018
Label: Napalm Records

If you’re ready for a simple space rock record that’s sturdy, hooky and well written, take “Mindfucker” out for a spin. 

“Mindfucker” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Rocket Freak
2). Soul
3). Mindfucker
4). I’m God
5). Drowning
6). Ejection
7). Want Some
8). Brainwashed
9). All Day Midnight
10). When The Hammer Comes Down

The Review:

Monster Magnet’s evolution has been fun to follow. Back in the day, when front man and key driving force of the band, Dave Wyndorf, got his band of psychedelic gods together, they got weird. As time progressed, the ‘Magnet remained a psychedelic powerhouse, but one that consistently moved forward from where they began. The days of long, drawn out and druggy jams are behind us. Now, we’re reveling in a period of shorter, leaner songs with big hooks. Fans of Monster Magnet are sometimes divided in the camps of “early” and “modern” Monster Magnet. There’s no need for these camps, though, because Monster Magnet has always been - and will always be - a band that knows when it’s time to get weird and when it’s time to rock out. Isn’t that what stoner rock is all about?’

So it’s now 2018, almost five years removed from Monster Magnet’s last studio album, “Last Patrol.” Where that album, and certainly the redux albums that followed it, brought both hooks and jams to the fold, this new album, “Mindfucker” is all about the rock and the roll. “Mindfucker” tells a simple story to the tune of compact riffs and songs that move pretty quickly. About half of the songs are around the 4 minute mark, which reflects the simple song structures.

But rest assured, simple isn’t bad, by any means. In the case of “Mindfucker,” simple is even somewhat a breath of fresh air. There’s that MC5 vibe in these songs and punk rock is never far out of reach. The hooks are firmly mounted and effortlessly carry the weight of the songs. Bob Pantella and Chris Kosnik play their asses off, running the sturdy rhythms up and down the dance floor.

Like any good Monster Magnet set list, the weirder tracks are spread out evenly between all the ragers. “I’m God” (exclusively streaming below) rears its head after the three songs that open the “Mindfucker” party. This track is the largest of the bunch, with a huge chorus that has Wyndorf stepping to the mic to proclaim that he, in fact, is God. Kind of a strange claim to make, sure, but Wyndorf’s lyrics have always been pretty out there, rather arrogant and more or less out of this world. After all, he delivers these lines with such conviction that he makes the lyrics work. The song uses every second of its 6:16 run time to fly off into space, in only the way that Monster Magnet knows how; Wyndorf at the helm, one foot on the monitor, colorful, flashing lights everywhere…all seen through a fish-eye lens.

The songwriting aside, the production of this album is also top notch. “Mindfucker” is a party, despite some of the themes in the lyrics. The way the guitars sound and how this is mixed with Pantella’s cymbal work, makes this record sound rambunctious. “Mindfucker” even goes so far as to sound like a live recording, one that has Wyndorf pulling in the crowd and having the audience scream their lungs out for the entire duration of the record.

If you’re ready for a simple space rock record that’s sturdy, hooky and well written, take “Mindfucker” out for a spin. Go on, let loose of the hopes that Monster Magnet are going to make another “Spine of God.” The band’s moved on and is having a great time doing it. Join them for the ride, you won’t regret it.

“Mindfucker” is available here

Band info: facebook || bandcamp