Wednesday, May 31, 2017
With a rancorous eruption from Lansing, MI comes The Jackpine Snag. This year they released their third EP, "Bark Of The Monarch", full of rhythm-heavy noise rock that doesn't shy away from some bluesy twang or hard rock friction. As you listen, you'll be thrown around on rocky rapids of sound as the music fights to push you from one direction to the next with sudden shifts and abrasive turns. At first, the vocals come across clear, sharp, and strong over the violent rivers of distorted guitar running underneath it, but eventually they take a few dips into the discordant waters and the angry shouts start to blend in with the rest of the band. There are a lot of little pieces and parts of different genres that influence the band's style, but with a light dusting of chaos everything comes together in a satisfying way. It's only about 15 minutes long, so give it a quick chance and let yourself get swept up in the sound. -Brandon
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Friday, May 26, 2017
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Meet Boris Randall. Boris is an incredibly talented gentleman with more than twenty-five years of experience playing horror punk and heavy metal in bands such as the Splatterpunks, Hallowmas, and Necrophagia. His most recent work, a solo album entitled "All That Is Black", is a grand force of heavy, doom-infused, sludge-hardened metal that will leave your speakers shaking. On this record Boris did everything: all writing, recording, and mastering. When you hear it, you're getting a true, 100% solo effort. It's a tiny window into this man's soul - and he has some solid stuff in there. It starts out with the slow, hazy track "Blaspheme The Cross" but then smoke clears up a bit afterwards and you can see more of the hard edge that the album brings. The sound is deep and the guitar and bass synchronize to produce a tone that COULD bludgeon you, but will only push you around a bit in a rocky groove. The third track changes up the vocals and becomes a Danzig-esque tune, the fourth track is a short instrumental with an almost uplifting riff, and then the rest of album continues on with the wicked clamor introduced by the second song. This isn't a sound that will brutalize you, but it will rough you up a little with a friendly pounding. This is definitely an impressive release from a single man - another good one for his ever-growing discography! -Brandon
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Monday, May 22, 2017
I had the chance to interview Rosario who goes by the Unexpected Specter, some time ago. He does a lot of work with bands, and one look at his Instagram or Tumblr you can see why he's churning works out for bands left and right. There's definitely an overall theme in his work which is usually in black and white and hand drawn. You'll notice a lot of skulls, bones, decay, animals, and just nature in general. It's bleak, primitive, and raw, and looks great for a band t-shirt, sticker, poster, or flyer. Anyway, I wanted to know how Rosario works, especially someone who does a huge chunk of his output focusing on art for bands.
Super Dank Metal Jams: When did you start drawing? Did you go to school for it or take any classes directed towards illustration?
Unexpected Specter: I've been drawing since I can remember, it was always a constant in my life. By 4th grade I was creating comic books of my own characters with multiple issues. I took classes in high school and went to a few years of college for animation, but never finished. Did a lot of studying on my own, lots of trial and error.
SDMJ: When did you decide to make art for bands and monetize it?
US: I am a musician as well and played in several bands over the years. So it made sense to combine these two passions.I would always do my own band's art and work for friends' bands etc. It was not until a few years ago I decided to try and make a living off of it. A decision that didn't come lightly. I found it difficult at first to charge bands and put a monetary value to the artwork.
SDMJ: What bands were you in or currently playing in? Anything on Bandcamp, YouTube, or Soundcloud?
US: I played in a post hardcore band years ago and nothing remains online from that project. Sometime ago, a buddy and I wrote a doom/folk album and that is up on bandcamp. fridaynightvendetta.bandcamp.com
SDMJ: When you say making a living off of it, does this mean this is a full time gig for you, or is this just something you do on the side?
US: I do freelance full time.
SDMJ: Do you doodle a lot for fun or practice?
US: Yes, for sure. When I am not doing commissions, I work on personal projects. Work that might become prints or maybe trying out some new techniques.
SDMJ: You seem to have a preference for hand drawn over digital. Why is that?
US: A couple of reasons. One, I am still very much a tangible person when it comes to certain things. I still buy physical comics and music and just can't let go (literally) of holding a piece of paper in my hand. Two, I feel I have more control with open and ink and I do a lot of stuff with paint splashes. Some things you can't just replicate. There is also this safety net when working digital that I don't care for. If I miss draw a line in ink or spray too much ink in a direction, its there no going back. It could lead down a direction you might not have gone down, that's exciting to me.
SDMJ: How do you manage doing your art with your normal life? Do you have a routine you like to stick with?
US: Definitely, I find it really a necessity to have a routine. Block out certain times of the day for differing sections of my life.
SDMJ: What's your daily routine look like?
US: It varies a bit, but I usually start with emailing, either reaching out to bands that caught my ear or communicating with bands that I was in a previous contact with, and with bands i'm currently working with. Then some ink to paper, sketches or final pieces which ever the day is calling for.
SDMJ: What is your goal when working with bands?
US: That I created a piece of work that represents both the band and myself.
SDMJ: What is your favorite piece of work you worked on?
US: Over several years I have been working on a one shot comic, that I will be releasing soon. I am very proud of it. I worked on every aspect of it and it is a story I am excited to tell.
SDMJ: What's the comic about?
US: It is called "Three Day Pallbearer" and I should be releasing it fairly soon. Its about a couple of life long friends and dealing with losing loved ones. It takes place just after the American Civil War.
SDMJ: Who are your favorite artists? Who do you look up to? Who would you say is an influence on your work?
US: There are a few artists that were a big influence in my early years, Jim Lee and Jack Kirby. From seeing their art, which not only was I in awe over as a kid, it would also set me on a path to want to do what they do. Later in life around high school, I discovered Ralph Steadman and my mind was blown.
US: It's hard to pick a favorite Kirby book, too much to chose from. I will say, the character designs of Thing and Darkseid are some of my favorite. The texture of their skin and broad features are killer. As for Lee, early X-Men and Wolverine work definitely an influence on me growing up. Also his work on Batman: Hush is fantastic.
SDMJ: Where do you get your ideas from? How do you stay inspired?
US: Nature. It is a never-ending source of inspiration. So many variations of life and each life has different forms and phases. There are a lot of time throughout an average day when I see something and say, I want to draw that.
SDMJ: What are you currently listening to or what would you recommend listening to?
US: Bands I have been listening to a lot lately, not just one album but their whole catalog: Converge, Neurosis, Deftones, and Faith No More. Also, I had the pleasure of doing some work for Moon Curse for their last album "Spirit Remain". It is a really great record that I have had in pretty steady rotation since I got it.
SDMJ: What advice would you give yourself if you could travel back in time to when you first started?
US: To work at it as a constant. Keep creating always, even if nothing is on your mind to draw just start drawing something, and put pen to paper.
So here's our very second interview for the blog, and I opted to interview an artist rather than a band. Why might you ask? Well other than being truly interested in Unexpected Specter's work, in general I want the interviews here to be more of an exploration into the mechanics of things. A sort of "How does it work?" from the interviewee's perspective. So expect more interviews here to be focused on the behind the scenes aspect of things, and the people who are more involved with that. I'm not going to shy away from interviewing bands, but expect them to be more specific.
Here are some other recent artworks done by Unexpected Specter. Enjoy! Cheers! -Samir
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Friday, May 19, 2017
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Loudwire posted the full album stream of this yesterday and I was like how could I not listen and review this album? When I heard "Lusus Naturae" for the first time I was like "Wow, my new favorite band!" I was instantly sold. The songs were simple and straight forward with no filler, and they're catchy, heavy, and sinister as fuck. The songs had the atmosphere of an old Hammer Film. There's a lot of dread and foreboding in the tunes, all accompanied by Trevor William Church's ghastly yet melodic sung vocals.
"Inside The Skull" picks up right where "Lusus Naturae" left off. What you get here is nothing but horror infused doom laiden heavy riffage and it fucking rules! Only difference I can hear right off the bat that kind of separates it from the previous release is the wider use of dynamics, and an underlying NWOFBHM influence that I may not have picked up on the first album. However you can really hear it in the solos and they fucking rip on this one. I'm not much on solos unless they add something to song, and Church's solos are top notch.
This album is all about the evil riffs. This is one way I feel Beastmaker separates themselves from the rest. They have a retro sound that appeals to the Sabbath lover in me, but its thick and heavy and they manage to make it their own rather than just being another copy. They write good and memorable riffs, that you can hum and band your head to. Plus I found myself even singing along to some of them chanting "Abomination... Of God's Creation", Overall I probably don't have to convince many of you to listen to this, as you probably were going to anyway. I fucking dig it and its one of my favorites of the thus far. This is going to be on repeat for days! Cheers! -Samir
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Monday, May 15, 2017
Emerging from Ange, Sweden with mouths full of dirt is Eartheater. Thankfully these guys managed to stop munching for long enough to record a potent self-titled EP that we can enjoy before they completely devour the planet. It's loaded with dirty stoner metal featuring an awesome gravelly guitar tone and cymbals that hit you like a whip. Eartheater has a versatile vocal style where each song is a bit different. You'll hear clean singing, group shouting, wretched screeching, and more- and it's all done really well. The guitar leads are mini masterpieces that seem to sing alongside the thick, unhinged sludge of the rest of the band. I love the sounds on the second track "Baptized in Bongwater". The whole song seems to tremble and ripple but without the delicate notions that those terms normally carry. This one's really good-take the time to listen to it before the band swallows the world whole. -Brandon
Friday, May 12, 2017
Kolossor is fiery and thick like sriracha mayo, and plays sludge metal that harkens back to the days of old when Mastodon played music that wasn't geared to the arena rock crowd. When I speak of sludge I'm not talking about the gooey murky type stuff. These dudes are from the swamps of Southern New Jersey, but you'll find none of that stuff here. The sludge riffs found on this EP are massive heavy chunks slab. The ones that are made chugging around in a cement mixer. The singer kind of reminds me of Lars-Goran Petrov's vocals on Entombed's "Wolverine Blues" album. I really like a pronounced low end when there is detuning involved. A lot of that can lost in the distortion, but the bass on this manages to pull off a good heavy handed punch to the gut, and overall the mix on this with the entire band is fucking spot on. The riffs are catchy as fuck, and they hook you right in. Nothing too over complicated here, but it fucking gets the job done if you're for something to bang your head too. Really dig these guy's sound, and from the looks of things there is more to come from these dudes, as they are releasing a full length later this year. Definitely interested in hearing that one when it comes out. Cheers! -Samir
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Hailing from Helsinki, Radien play dark droney sludge that sounds like it was made for the downcast souls. The downtrodden, the crestfallen, the disheartened and the despaired. The cover art creates the atmosphere one only needs to understand what this totally sounds like. It's the sounds of a sunless overcast sky, with grey clouds hovering over isolated nothingness. This is the soundtrack for a dreary and dismal day. The music itself sounds like a combination of the bands Yob and Kongh, but these dudes are straight minimalists when it comes to riffs. Even though each song is like 12 + minutes, they probably play enough riffs to fit in one song. While that may read as being too repetitive, I actually really enjoyed it quite a bit due to it's fierceness and intensity at such a slow tempo. As the drum beats are plodding and lumbering along with maniacal intent, the guitar and bass pummel with heavy fists of rage. The vocals are screamed to perfection, shrill and brazen. Overall the band stirs a melting pot of blackened sludge that is desolate and bleak. Radien forewarn of troubled days ahead. Cheers! -Samir
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Here's some great stoner/doom metal out of Birmingham, AL. From the opening riff on "Adorned in Fear and Error" I was hooked. I'm a sucker for a good opening riff. The rest of the album is pretty fucking amazing as well. The wall of fuzz from the guitar and bass is the aural equivalent of being smoked out in a room or car. Just nothing but a haze of grayish/white clouds, and all you can do is fucking inhale and let that weed smoke in. But oh well, there's probably a reason you're there anyway getting baked out of your gourd, just like I continued to listen to this album. It's so fucking good! The vocals have the sharpness of a broken whiskey bottle, and the harshness of rusty barbed wire. These guys move like an avalanche of cough syrup running down a mountain. Thick, slow, and heavy. I kinda get the Weedeater covering Eyehategod vibe going here, but I mean obviously that's a great thing. Overall, these dudes rule, and you should probably listen to this if you want some swampy southern fried stoner/doom that's the real fucking thing made by people who give a fuck about the genre. Definitely one of my new favorite bands, and I hope they got something else in the works for the near future. Cheers! -Samir
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Holy smoke! If you like fuzzed out stoner/doom you NEED to listen to this! Smoke Mountain is a new band out of Tallahassee, FL that just put out their first self-titled EP and it is blowing me away. This release is three tracks of massive riffs, wicked female vocals, and an overwhelming sinister groove. From the moment the guitar kicks in on the first track all thick with distortion and playing that electric saunter, you know this is going to be something special. At the same time the drums come through loud and steady, heavy on the cymbals, creating a perfect pair. Then Once the vocals start, you're completely mesmerized by the trio. The voice cries out "demoooooon" through the chorus and it leaves you absolutely enamored with the dark allure of the music. When you couple all of that with the healthy doss of feedback and reverb you'll be hearing throughout, you'll get an incredible sound that will completely possess you. The whole thing is rich with a witchy motif which only helps it to capture a kind of occult magic that powers the EP. This one comes highly recommended, and I have to imagine that is the band keeps going, they're going to get big. I don't know what they're planning next, but I can't wait for it. -Brandon
Monday, May 8, 2017
There is a cruel, dark force in Atlanta, GA and we call it Crawl. They've teamed up with Bad Roads Records in Russia to release "30 Year Suicide"- a 7" with two tracks of sludgy doom that puts all of their gloomy ruthlessness on display. It starts with "Pornography of Grief, a slow and harsh song demonstrating a guitar tone that with crush you with every note. The screeching vocals bring a sharpness to it that balances well with the deep sound of the bass. There's also a short guitar solo on this one that is sorrowful but absolutely beautiful. Then comes the title track "30 Year Suicide" which is introduced by tones that all seem to echo in a warning of oncoming danger. As the ominous music drones on, raspy vocals come in completely laden with agony, seeming almost deranged amidst the quiet but bleak atmosphere. But after about 4 minutes the terror is exposed as the full power of the band hits with a violent rhythm, The crunch from the first track returns and the vocals find their home in the fully featured sound. As a whole, "30 Year Suicide" feels like step up in brutality from Crawl's previous works with more anger and anguish then what we've heard before. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a physical copy once it's out! -Brandon
Friday, May 5, 2017
The first time I heard War Brides was in the basement at the 3rd Death Star in Ann Arbor, MI. Their LP "Burden" was spinning at the door and I was like holy fuck who are these guys? I also realized they had played there not long before I had listened to them, and regretted not checking them out. It's funny because their new LP is called "Regrets", however I don't regret having listened to this. If there was a modern band that came to mind it might be KEN mode, but that would be kinda lazy of me to suggest that, so I won't full on endorse that idea. They could definitely open for them, that's for sure. War Brides play really gritty and aggressive noise rock influenced post hardcore punk. It's hard to walk away from this and not think of stuff from Touch and Go Records and Amphetamine Reptile, but they walk away from it and fuse with the intensity of late 90s early 2000's post hardcore. The guitars cut through with dissonant melodies and jagged overly distorted chords. The bass pulses and it hits hard with walloping punch. The vocals are yelled and screamed with a preachy delivery. Like the singer is on a soap box ripping pages out of tabloid magazine and telling people the end is nigh. The drums beat, pound and whip the band into a fury with its angular patterns and rhythms. "Regrets" might be exactly about that, but like I said, I didn't regret listening to this, and I don't think you will either. Cheers! -Samir.
Thursday, May 4, 2017
Here's some nasty blackened thrash from Brazil. "Desecration of Blood" has Celtic Frost and early Bathory worship in all the right places. It's evident that the band also has some strong punk ( crust and d-beat) influences as well. It would be wrong for me not to suggest there's a little bit of Sarcofago in there as well. What you get here is a pretty straight forward thrash attack that is relentless from front to back. Well actually in between the creepy organ intro and outro parts that doesn't seem to have anything to do with the rest of the album. But oh well, those parts fucking rule as well! The guitars and bass rip with malicious intensity, the drums bulldoze with a frenzied fury, and the vocals pierce like a knife at a sacrificial ceremony for the dark lord himself. Overall, "Desecration of Blood" is raw, blistering, and evil as fuck. It's a swift brutal reminder that not all thrash needs to be about partying or just a retrograde rip off of something better that came out 30 years ago. This is grimy, filthy, and disgusting, and I don't think I would have it any other way. Stay fucking evil my friends. Cheers! -Samir
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
I really love DEAD's sound on this album. They make the most of just being a bass and drum duo, and create a wall of sludge and fuzz. Conjuring something up that sounds like a combination of Karp, Big Business, Coady and Jared era Melvins, and a little bit of godheadSilo sprinkled in for good measure. The reference to the Melvins isn't too far off either as this was recorded with Toshi Kasai (longtime Melvins collaborator) and Kevin Rutmanis (former bass player of the Melvins, and now of Hepa/Titus) plays on a few tracks. Toshi also contributes to some tracks as well. "We Don't Let You Sleep" has a stoner rock vibe to it, but it's DNA is more linked with the bands mentioned above, and it's got an Amphetamine Reptile swagger going for it. Listening to this is like chewing into the most decadent candy bar of all time. It's chewy, with multiple layers of satisfaction, and a cosmic gooey thc infused caramel center that melts your mind. This release is actually the third volume of a trilogy, so check out the earlier two releases in the trilogy to get the full effect, but overall this album fucking rules and you should give it a listen. Cheers! -Samir
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Monday, May 1, 2017
Lord Scum, I give my soul to you! Out in Cape Cod, MA the kooky kids at Secret Awesome Records reached into a sea of ooze and pulled out Lord Scum. This band of filthy fellas is here to baptize you in slime and bring you a new stoner gospel. Every song on their self-titled debut album is dripping with all the gross shit your heart could desire: bile, ooze, slime, puke, and of course scum. They even sound like they were recorded in a dank cavern, with the sound reverberating in a mossy chamber of rock and stagnant water. The drums and bass get a dirty groove churning as the guitar leads are plucked from toxic fumes. The vocals make me think of Fanatics era Electric Wizard, but this isn't nearly so gloomy. Even through the lo-fi filter, these are powerful jams that will get you hooked. By the time the last track starts moaning "all hail Lord Scum" you're ready to bow down in devotion! If you can get your hands on the art and lyric book (hymnal) it gets even better. In addition to all the words you'll want to chant in order to sing praise to your new lord, it's also got amazing illustrations of demons, skeletons, and various types of scum to go along with every track. After all this I'm ready to worship the Putrid One - all hail Lord Scum! -Brandon