Thursday 26 September 2019

TRACK PREMIERE: Rorcal debut "A sea of false smiles hiding murder jealousy and revenge"

By: Eeli Helin

It is a tedious task to dig for striking and fresh music from the heaps of uninspiring bulk, but a delightful one when it pays off. It is also extremely pleasurable to be approached with something stunning and magnificent, for a premiere, for instance. Leading an obvious bridge from there, RORCAL are one of those outstanding ones. They're releasing their new album "Muladona" on November 8th through Hummus Records, and we're pleased to bring you the first single cut "A sea of false smiles hiding murder jealousy and revenge" today.

Three years after their previous effort "CREON", the band returns with an adaptation of a novel of the same name written by Eric Stener Carlson, mirrored through the bleak and violent whirlwind of dissonant and abrasive death metal, borrowing flavours from blackened aesthetics and noise. The droning and haunting feel carries through the album, the latter aspect being very prevalent in this particular track. Drenched in horror and cacophonous terror, "A sea of false smiles hiding murder jealousy and revenge" will gnaw your bones clean and leave you with a tense expectation for the rest of the album.

The track offers few isolated, passing moments of clarity that will only drag you deeper into its depths. There is a sense of despair very rarely obtained in such a graceful manner, which only goes to underline the primal force of RORCAL, the key atmosphere on the album, and the deep meaning behind every single word. Sit back, prepare to sink into the lyrics and blow out your speakers with the track from below.  ”Muladona” is available to preorder HERE

Band info: facebook

Wednesday 25 September 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Colored Moth, "Dim"

By: Eeli Helin

Album Type: Full-length
Date Released: 29/08/19
Label: Wolves And Vibrancy Records

”DIM” DD//LP track listing:

1. Letters to Aldous
2. Maelstrom
3. C
4. Whataboutism
5. Cognitive Bias
6. DEL
7. The Social Darwinist Program
8. A
9. Der Blinde Uhrmacher
10. L
11. Indefinite Hiatus
12. M
13. H.useless

The Review:

Colored Moth are a German experimental band who characterise themselves as ambient noise punk, incorporating elements from noise-rock, screamo and post-hardcore, and whose second full-length album "DIM" was released on August 29th through Wolves and Vibrancy Records. Personally I wasn't exactly familiar with the band apart from hearing their previous album "Fragmenting Tensions" partly once. That is also something I slightly regret at the moment, but at least I'll now have more material to sink my teeth into. Silver linings.

Experimentalism tends to be a fancy expression, a polished way of saying "we crammed all these different approaches and influences into one, smashed them to bits and had some fun with the malformed and weird appearing jumble." Given that it's simpler just to throw around that label, the outcome also varies a lot. That tag contains a whole lot of unpredictability and uncertainty, but at best, also the source of being surprising and fascinating for the listener. Even though at times it's hard to wrap your head around their produce, Colored Moth are still from the vital and, well, colourful end of the spectrum.

"Letter to Aldous" kick starts the album in a discordant and emotionally heavy pace. The tones are abrasive and the drive is constant yet gyrating, and this continues through the second track "Maelstrom" as well. Sonically the band is close to the likes of KEN Mode and even early Daughters, though the latter is mainly my observation, don't need any purists to crawl up my ass for it. Rooted in hardcore and expressing themselves very agressively but on the contrary, tangibly touching, the album hits its first quiet waters on "C". There's four of these kind of silent, droning ambient tracks sprinkled throughout the album, respectively titled "C", "A", "L" and "M". Obviously you get the idea by just staring at those letters in that order.

After this brief pause, the band really shows it's teeth with the violently raging, noise-topped "Whataboutism", punkishly advancing and lead-wise deranged "Cognitive Bias", and the simplistical declaring of "DEL". While these tracks start to stand out at this point, it really takes a few listens to get the idea behind them. Each instrumentalist brings their own flavour and feel to the tracks, which all flow like water, all the time. After these and the following one minute dip to the caustic and scorching end of things on "The Social Darwinist Program", the album turns more sectioned and cyclical.

"A" is a bridge to "Der Blinde Uhrmacher" the first slower and perhaps the most fascinating track. The song picks up very haunting and melancholic vibes along the way, letting the listener breathe and sink into the moment. While being instrumental, it feels that Colored Moth's strongest field would surprisingly be here, amidst the less vile and chaotic fields. "L" takes us to the shiver inducing "Indefinite Hiatus". At this moment, the point I just made grows more meaningful, together with the music and compositions. After the last drone piece, the cinematic closer "H.useless" takes the tension to a new level until a tiring, slowly dying clean guitar passage comes to a well-deserved halt.

The album is very, very dualistic, even bipolar. On one hand we have this almost juvenile, rampaging critter, but on the other, there's this mature and thoughtful, oppressing but liberating being. There's a clear division between the two ends, which is why it also feels like a slam to your face each time. The flow isn't problematic at any point, but the unity feels a bit off, mainly during this one bigger, atmospherical shift. I can see the appeal to utilizing the installment approach on an album, albeit the transition is a bit curdled here. To end on a positive note, there's a great deal of beauty hidden in all this cacophony, and it's admirable. I'm surprised there hasn't been more buzz around this band lately, since "DIM" is something that should be more widely taken into account. Colored Moth doesn't reinvent the wheel here, but they show they can quite pleasantly roll it.

”DIM” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Monday 23 September 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Exhorder, "Mourn The Southern Skies"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 20/09/2019
Label: Nuclear Blast


“Mourn The Southern Skies” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. My Time
2. Asunder
3. Hallowed Sound
4. Beware The Wolf
5. Yesterday's Bones
6. All She Wrote
7. Rumination
8. The Arms Of Man
9. Ripping Flesh
10. Mourn The Southern Skies

The Review:

Exhorder, the real Exhorder- are back. Those in the know will readily espouse the fact that “Slaughter In The Vatican is one of THE greatest thrash albums. Those who delved deeper will know that follow up “The Law” was just as good and influential. They will also say that in Kyle Thomas, the band had a frontman of the highest calibre with a voice so good that Phil Anselmo took more than just notes on it. 

With good unfriendly violent fun being firmly on the agenda, then, what else can Exhorder offer up all these years after their heyday and now that the band are a lot older and a lot greyer? Well, after twenty seven years... the band is as heavy and aggressive as ever. Thomas' voice has not got any weaker at all- one of metal's best vocalists without a doubt. From the opening fury of “My Time”, the band's light is blazing brighter than ever. There are more groovesome tracks (“Asunder”) and pure speed demons and tracks that combine both- “Hallowed Sound” springs to mind.

Of course, to say that this sounds like nothing else after twenty seven years, countless bands influenced and countless thrash bands who forged their own path would be untrue. It occurred to me that Exhorder here sound like a particularly pissed off and up tempo Testament of the latter day (“The Gathering”) onwards. Naturally, the band also have that Southern swagger and groove that their most famous step child also had and this sets them apart from their Bay Area brethren. Ultimately, though, when thrash is executed so expertly as on “Beware The Wolf “ then you can enjoy this for what it is: one of the best thrash bands of all time making a killer third album decades after it should have even been possible.

Over the course of ten tracks, the band don't put a foot wrong. It rages, it grooves, it demonstrates exactly why the band are so revered all these years later. Thomas' voice on “All She Wrote” is superb. His performance on every track is just incredible. His work with Floodgate, Alabama Thunderpussy and Trouble lifted all those releases and added an extra dimension to two of the bands. His work here is just as good, his life-force undimmed.

The grooves that the band conjure up on “Rumination” are excellent as they are on the slower sections of the album- on “Arms of Man”, for instance. Down the back stretch, you also get the thrash-fest of “Ripping of Flesh” and the more measured and epic title track to close out the show.

If Exhorder never make another record, they will be three for three- three records of exceptional quality with an unwavering commitment to heaviness and aggression. There are not many bands that can lay claim to three excellent albums in a row and no-one I can think of that achieved the feat after a near three decade hiatus. A storming and total victory.

“Mourn The Southern Skies” is available HERE

Band info: facebook

Sunday 22 September 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Russian Circles, "Blood Year"

By: Eeli Helim

Album Type: Full-length
Date Released: 02/08/19
Label: Sargent House

Blood Year” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Hunter Moon
2. Arluck
3. Milano
4. Kohokia
5. Ghost on High
6. Sinaia
7. Quartered

The Review:

 "Blood Year" is Russian Circles' seventh album and fourth released by Sargent House. Three years after the instrumental post-metal-ish acts' last album "Guidance", the trio returns in a stronger and more vivid form, matching and even surpassing all the expectations one could've possibly set for the new album.

Whenever bringing up the subject of contemporary, metal-rooted instrumental music, it's practically impossible to survive through the discussion without mentioning Russian Circles. The band's influence on the scene is indisputable, having released a strong and powerful set of albums with unbroken quality standards within the past fifteen years. "Blood Year" provokes haunting imagery of empty streets and post-apocalyptic ruins, much like their earlier albums, but with a more dismal and moving elegance.

After the intro track "Hunter Moon" built entirely on ambient guitars, a rhythmical drum beat and bass lead set off the second track "Arluck", also giving the tone for the rest of the album. Built on simple movements and easily comprehensible patterns, the band demonstrates their stronger output right from the beginning, lifting the track amongst the prime picks of "Blood Year". The atmosphere is eerie, even more so than it has been before. This continues on the following pair "Milano" and "Kohokia". The flow is consistent and flawless, and the tracks are structured to appear both interesting and sensible throughout. I also appreciate the fact that they experiment and play around with tones very little; the main weight is on good and clever compositions and organic, natural emotions caused by just that.

"Ghost on High" is an intermission piece similar to the first track, leading seamlessly into "Sinaia", the longest, most varied, and bleakest of the bunch. At this point it's noteworthy to mention that the whole album has its own distinct feel and characteristics that separate it from Russian Circles' past albums. While the melancholic aspects are there, the sadness never gets overwhelming, not on this record at least. "Sinaia" is a genuine post-metal track that despite it's own moments, doesn't leave as permanent mark to your memory as the other tracks. The course is still kept steady, and the final track is guaranteed to floor you completely. "Quartered" seems to partly abandon the emotional side and fill the spot it left with more violent and pummeling drive, bringing the album to end completely somewhere else in contrast to where it began. The track also excels to mirror its name, inducing sensations of having your limbs torn apart for one reason or the other.

The overall feeling is what sets this album well apart from the others, relying on something else rather than your run-of-the-mill aesthetics. It's hard to say if "Blood Year" is Russian Circles' best album to date, but it sure as hell is worth all the repeats and time it takes to listen to it. Reverting back to what I wrote earlier, the level of quality is still higher than most and stays unshaken.

”Blood Year” is available HERE

Band info: facebook 

Thursday 19 September 2019

TRACK PREMIRE: "Weightless Light" by Woodhawk

From the foot of the majestic Rocky Mountains hails Calgary, AB’s rock n’ roll trio Woodhawk. Masters of the straight-ahead riff rock, Woodhawk blends classic rock influences of Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy with smooth grooves, cranked amps, and heavy-hitting drums. The coalescence of melodious vocals, catchy riffs, and dynamic instrumentation creates a vast soundscape for the listener to explore. With lyrical themes of science fiction and sorcery to more recent themes of struggles and triumph, Woodhawk wears their heart on their sleeve.

A firm favourite here at sludgey aches, Woodhawk are back and readying their new album “Violent Nature” which is set for release on November 1, 2019.  Coming 2 years after their rip roaring “Beyond the Sun” record, Woodhawk returned to Rain City Recorders in Vancouver, BC during February 2019, and worked with Jesse Gander (who has worked with our very own Waingro & Heron) to to record and over the course of 2 weeks, Woodhawk have tracked their strongest effort yet, producing songs that address the struggles of mental health straight on, and laying it all on the line. Woodhawk’s new material abandons the world of fantasy in pursuit of emotional authenticity and self-discovery.
Woodhawk features guitarist Turner Midzain, bassist Mike Badmington, and drummer Kevin Nelson. Today we’re excited to preview a new track “Weightless Light” exclusively, but first Turner had this to say about the track.  You can stream the track below.  Turn it up loud and let your speakers die!!!

“This tune was one of the last songs we wrote for the record. We had been playing around with that opening drum beat for about a year trying to find somewhere to make it work. And without hesitation, it just clicked right in like a missing puzzle piece for the album. The songs stems from my struggle to sleep for a few months over the fall of 2018. I would wake up every night at the same time and lay awake staring at nothing. My mind would race and inhibit me from sleeping, no matter what. So I would lay in this state of almost non-existence where I couldn't tell if I was asleep, awake, alive or dead. It was an odd feeling of vulnerability. To pass the time, I would get up and play guitar in the middle of the night, until I felt I could attempt to go back to sleep for the last 45 minutes before my alarm.” -  Turner Midzain

TRACK PREMIERE: Lost Orb defy the boundaries of stoner rock to create the sprawling odyssey "“Low Ebb’s Lament”

It’s not often that stoner metal is boundary-pushing, but Chris West is out to change that. Recording under the name Lost Orb, he has pieced together a 17-minute odyssey entitled “Low Ebb’s Lament” that has been several years in the making and is a departure from the style of the bands he's usually associated with (Stubb, Trippy Wicked & the Cosmic Children of the Knight, Landskap). 

The track draws from a gamut of styles, ranging from Earth-esque graceful doom through stoner rock to folksy strumming. It doesn’t end there - guests come in to broaden the palette, such as the supremely talented Chantal Brown of Vodun, whose beautiful wordless vocalizations soar over the riffs, and Tony Reed (Mos Generator) puts in the right level of showmanship and class to round out the track.

Chris says of the project

"Working with Chan and Tony was a great experience. I had basic drum patterns written out for the demo but I let Tony do his thing and let's just say the man delivered. With Chan's vocal parts I had a few ideas written that I wanted to include but we spent a day getting those and a lot of other ideas down on the spot. I tend to obsess over perfecting ideas during the writing process with many revisions and iterations so it was good to contrast that with a more relaxed approach to the vocals. 

I originally wrote Low Ebb's Lament towards the end of 2012 and it was based on some themes and ideas I had been developing for a long while before then. I didn't realise what was happening at the time but it was a last burst of creative energy as I embarked on a steady descent into some significant mental health issues. It took me until 2013 to record the music and while I eventually put it on Bandcamp the year after that, I had little energy to promote it. 

A lot of personal work, some essential help and a little luck has led me to where I am now. It was hugely important at the time of writing to be able to present the ideas I had been working on in one cohesive movement and I'm grateful to be in a position to give the music a proper release now." 

“Low Ebb’s Lament” can be streamed below and pre-orders are available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Tuesday 17 September 2019

TRACK PREMIERE: Experience the tar thick sludge of Left to Starve's new track "Zlatni Rez"

Left to Starve was formed in Karlovac, Croatia in 2013. Releasing two EPs and a split with Eaglehaslanded, they have toured Europe extensively since their beginning. On the 6th October 2019, the band will release their debut album entitled "Nikada se nisam bojao zmija" via Rope or Guilotine, Mad Schnauzer and Slowly Growing deaf label.

The experience of listening to this album is like you're slowly drowning in mud, where every move only makes it worse and you know it's the end, but you're stuck there knowing this and there's just nothing you can do about it but to endure this feeling and wait for the bitter end. In fact after the album concludes the listener is left feeling as if nothing is ever going to be fine again.

"Nikada se nisam bojao zmija" will be released on 6th October and today at THE SLUDGELORD you can check out the track “Zlatni Rez” below.  Preorders for the album are available HERE

Wednesday 11 September 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Imperium Dekadenz, “When We Are Forgotten”

By: Nikos Mixas

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 30/08/2019
Label: Napalm Records

“When We Are Forgotten” CD //DD//LP track listing:

1. When We Are Forgotten
2. Bis ich bin
3. My Solace I (Choirs of Solitude)
4. Trauma
5. A Cave Called Wisdom
6. Transcendence
7. Seance
8. Absenz Elysium
9. My Solace II (Paths of Perception)
10. Reverie
11. Frozen in Time
12. Behold the Flame of Time (Bonus Track)
13. Owl of the Black Forest (Bonus Track)

The Review:

There are so many great bands in the metal-multiverse that don’t receive the recognition they deserve. The reasons are simple…they may not be part of your favorite genre of the moment, or your friends aren’t talking them up, or more than likely, popular media sources pass them over.  Personally, I believe that Imperium Dekadenz is collateral damage from all three of those reasons.  Being this is the first time I’ve listened to Imperium Dekadenz, my sample size of them is only their most recent album, “When We Are Forgotten.”  I’ll make a bold statement right now. It’s one of my favorite albums of the year…and I’ve listened to a lot of them.

Imperium Dekadenz is labeled as an atmospheric black metal band and I believe that’s a very accurate description.  Their music is very composed and has a lot of headroom for their melodies to breath and their heaviness to cut through.  The production is very crisp and is not reverb-laden compared to other “atmospheric black metal” bands.  Every instrument can be heard in the mix in addition to the vocals.  Producing a clean mix on an album like this is difficult and Imperium Dekadenz nailed it. 

There isn’t a weak song on the album but a couple tracks do stand out for me from the rest, those tracks being “Absenze-Elysium” and the title track, “When We Are Forgotten.”  I won’t put you through a play by play for each of these songs, but I just feel that both of these tracks summarize the sound of the album.  Both of them are very emotional and contain crafty tempo changes to keep your interest throughout the whole song.  Another thing to mention is that “When We Are Forgotten” consists of eleven songs plus two bonus tracks depending on what version of CD or LP you purchase.  If you prefer digital downloads (Blasphemy!  Get a physical copy you cheapo!), you’ll get the bonus tracks regardless. 

“When We Are Forgotten” is an album worthy of your collection, or at the very least a play through on your favorite streaming service.  During a year of so many outstanding releases, unfortunately there’s a good chance this album will be “forgotten” by the time those annoying Top Ten Album lists start popping up on every music blog site.  I can tell you without a doubt if I’m called upon to create a list, “When We Are Forgotten” will be on mine. 

“When We Are Forgotten” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook