Friday, April 28, 2017

Subetroth- Agnozia (2017)

Sometimes a band comes along that defies any sort of categorization. I mean Subetroth play sludge metal, and it's heavy as fuck that's for sure. However, that's just the foundation of what they do. The album opens up with a massive stoner sludge riff, that sways with an odd swagger. Then there's there fucking banjo on top of that! Oddly enough it's not out of place! The opening track "Ungrown Tug" continues to take many twists and turns on what seems to be a bumpy ride through the back roads of a swamp. Blast beats, check! Death growls, check! Harmonica, check! I mean I don't want to give the sense that dudes are like the Mr. Bungle's of sludge, because they're really not. These changes through this song in particular are seamless. However, this shit is still pretty wild!
We shift gears with the song "Preacher, Drunker Killer" which starts off a little more somber, and then adds synths and female backing vocals giving it a subtle gothic vibe, However, once again the song gets heavy as fuck with super detuned riffs toward the later part of the song. It's almost like the non heavy parts give you a greater appreciation for when these dudes really throw down, and once they do it's a cataclysmic event that shatters your skull with ecstasy. Next in line is the final track "Rubber Band Moan", which starts out with a backwoods country feel to it, then just like the other two (hope you're noticing a trend here), it crushes with devastating heaviness. taking the licks from the intro and turning them into a pulverizing force of heavy duty stoner sludge. The song continues its relentlessness onslaught to the very end, with a some ultra heavy detuned riffage at the gooey center of  tasty morsel. 
Overall "Agnozia" is a unique slice of experimental avant garde sludge. It defies categorization like I mentioned, and I really don't know who to compare them to? I mean I mentioned Mr. Bungle as a sort of reference, but they aren't them, and they're definitely their own thing. I loved this album, and I think you should give it a listen. One of my favorites of 2017 so far. Well done! Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Come to Grief- The Worst of Times (2017)

I've referenced Grief before on this blog. To me when it comes to sludge, the Melvins, Grief, Crowbar, Dystopia and Eyehategod are the originals for which all should be judged upon. Many have come, but these are the godfathers I look to when comparing something new. Grief has been M.I.A for a minute not playing live or releasing anything new, not until Terry Savastano (an original founding member of Grief) decided to form Come to Grief, named after the Grief album. What follows is a crushing return to form. Extreme sludge metal the way it's supposed to be played. Moving at a crawl, with fat depressing riffs, and harsh vocals, it's the kind of sludge doom I want to be listening to right now. While it does seem like a throwback, and nothing is new under the sun anymore, it's got a classic sound that just can't be fucked with. Simple, threatening, and brutal "The Worst of Times" gets the job done, and keeps me satisfied until their next release. Which I read is a split with Fistula so definitely expect a review for that when it comes out. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised to discover this had been released, and you should do yourself a favor and listen to these masters putting on a clinic to show you how it's done. Cheers! -Samir 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Saturndust- RLC (2017)

I heard Saturndust's S/T LP back in 2015 when it first came out. I was completely blown away by it. I was like where the fuck did these dudes come from? They were just an amazing space doom band, with amazing tones, and a killer fucking album from front to back. I remember sharing their bandcamp on facebook with people saying like "you gotta hear this!". So out of nowhere it seems, I find out that after resting in their hyper sleep chambers for two years, the dudes from Saturndust have continued where they left off with "RLC". There was no hesitation on my part to listen to it. It was an immediate, "Oh fuck yeah I'm gonna stop listening or doing whatever I'm doing and I'm going to put this on right fucking now!". I'm glad to say this did not disappoint. While the band seems to have not skipped a beat, their return does come with a few surprises.  There seems to be more use of synths on this one, and I don't mean this as a complaint in the least bit. The synths add a layer to each song that seems appropriate and almost needed to capture the vast darkness of outer space dread. Definitely a lot of chill moments on this one which seems like a departure (they don't suck), but it doesn't outweigh the heavier ones which are chunky, crushing, and nasty. There's also different points throughout where the vocalist Felipe Dalam lets out death growls which I'm totally all about, and the first track "Negative-Parallel Dimensional" has a blasting grindy part which I'm also all about Doom bands doing as well. Overall, very enjoyable, and worth the wait! If you've never heard Saturndust before, check out their S/T LP as well when you're listening to this one. This is a great album with well written tunes, an amazing sound, and is most definitely one of my favorites of the year thus far! Cheers! -Samir

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sabretooth- Metal Animals Demo (2017)

Fat, messy, raw- that's what you can expect out of a speed metal assault by Sabretooth. On their first ever release "Metal Animals", they channel the power of wild beasts and use that force to tear down anything in their path- including you! The rhythm has the driving force of a charging rhino and the leads will tear into you with the ferocity of a tiger. There's no mercy with this one, as every moment from beginning to end is frantic. The production values sound like they were lifted from an old school black metal band. When you combine that fact with the jungle themes I almost imagine these guys as a bunch of Tarzan-esque barbarians going nuts and recording this in a cave somewhere. Whatever the case, it works because these songs have me crackling up the volume and banging my head. Only downside is that it's short- only 17 minutes. I'm hungry for more! -Brandon

Monday, April 24, 2017

Iron Buddha- RAT (2017)

Hailing from the swamps of Florida, Iron Buddha emerges to bring us their first album, "RAT". This one is a strong stoner/doom release that doesn't take itself too seriously. There's a good mix of songs on this album, some of which follow a traditional dark, gloomy motif, while others are silly and upbeat. "Wizards v. Aliens" is an especially fun track about aliens with fancy weapons and a wizard who ain't gonna deal with none of their nonsense. However, "Winds of Suffering" is a more serious experience that evokes imagery of someone waiting in the darkness. "RAT" is definitely not a one-trick pony and you'll be getting something a little different with every track. Songs might creep along slowly, or they might work up a quick groove. Some of the best moments on the album are when the two members of the band, Emilio Acosta and Jihad Nasser are both singing on a track. Their voices really work well together, whether they're trading off parts or shouting at the same time. Overall, this is a cool combination of different stoner/doom perspectives, so chances are you're going to hear something you like on here. -Brandon

Friday, April 21, 2017

Bummer/Pinko Split (2017)

Bummer sounds like the missing link between Helmet and Unsane. Brutish, stiff, and straight to the point, Bummer play aggressive sludge rock for those looking to unleash their inner captain caveman. As more bands are riding the whole noise rock revival thing like Whores and Wrong, Bummer keep it simple and catchy. These dudes will bludgeon your mellow with sheer sonic force. I've been a fan of these dudes since their "Milk" EP, and they continue to slay it with each and every new release.

Pinko sound like something off of the 31G label. A raw combination of noise punk and post hardcore fierceness. This Texas trio sounds like a side project from members of Fugazi and Refused if they decided to form a super group. These dudes weave together this chaotic frenetic energy that makes them a beacon of hope and a ray of sunshine for noise rock. If Bummer knocked you down and you lived to tell the tale, Pinko will finish you off by picking you up and sending your head straight through a window. Well done dudes! Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Ockultist- Present Day Neglect (2017)

Ockultist fucking rules! They play blackened sludge/doom that oozes like a festering wound. This is the epitome of what a blackened doom band should sound like. Just take Sleep, Eyehategod, and Iron Monkey and pour a bunch of filth, pus, and bile on them, and somewhere in there emerges the dark cloud that is Ockultist. I mean this is so fucking evil sounding it's fit for a failed exorcism. It's as if the band was there to witness cheering on in victory, and their instruments and amps are covered in the piss, shit, vomit, and blood from the aftermath. The pace of the album moves like a syrupy river of black slime. The mixture of detuned swamp riffs and possessed harsh vocals create a cacophony of misanthropic delight. Highly recommended for anyone looking for some hateful doom metal to brighten up their day. Cheers! -Samir

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Glacial Tomb- Cognitive Erosion (2017)

Glacial Tomb seamlessly blend sludge, black metal, death metal with great ease and without blurring the lines. The band is brutal, crushing and relentless with its execution. Featuring members of Khemmis and Abigail Williams, their sound is a whole new beast of its own. Imagine being thrown into a lake in the dead of winter only to be retrieved later as an ice cube with bones and skulls attached from other unlikely victims. Then you're pulverized and walloped until you're pounded into dust. That's what the riffage on Cogitive Erosion did to my mind. I'm seriously digging this, I kind of wish there were more bands out there in extreme metal that mixed metal subgenres this fluidly. I mean I know they're out there. Granted, I love the old school death metal stuff, and sabbathian doom, but I also like stumbling  across metal that pushes it forward in different dark corner. When i cam across this band, the name alone drew me in. I honestly thought I was going to be hearing a crusty blackened doom band as the cover might suggest, but I'm glad it's different from that, and has unique sound that is familiar yet fresh. Here's to losing all hope in mankind and remaining despondent until we make it to our Glacial Tomb. Cognitive Erosion fucking rules! Cheers! -Samir

Monday, April 17, 2017

Wulfskol- Hellshock (2017)

Holy Hell! Wulfskol (Pronounced Wolf Skull) is a magnificent four piece out of Houston, TX that is half black metal, half punk and completely fucking brutal. At 23 minutes long, their debut album "Hellshock" may seem short for a full release, but that's only because they know that it's so good you'll be listening to it twice in a row. The songs are all fast-paced and catchy, complete with melodic backing vocals singing "woah", but that does nothing to distract from the band's raw metal assault. The guitar is absolutely furious and rages through every song growling out death threats that are only overshadowed by the violent roar of the front man. The drumming is so sharp you'll cut yourself, and if you aren't paying attention some lightning fast rolls in the middle of the song will end up making you bleed. As I listening to this album Venom came to mind, but in retrospect, this has a harsher, grittier tone. You've got to hear this- but just be warned that it will grind your bones into dust. -Brandon

Blood Raven- Jotunn (2017)

Above a valley in Maryland, perched atop a towering rock sits a creature known as Blood Raven. From its post, Blood Raven has watched the world through the smokey eyes while crafting something wicked. Now realizing the time has come to unleash its creation, it swoops down from on high and delivers "Jotunn" to an unsuspecting public. Filled with hazy jams and sinister grooves, this album is a solid hunk of stoner metal that will keep you driven as you stagger through the fog. A powerful rhythm section helps to keep you grounded, but the soaring riffs raise you up; these opposing forces leave you suspended in midair as spacey vocals wash over you. The solos on this album really showcase the talents of the entire band. The guitar leads are obviously the main focus; wild and e;electric, but they also allow you to hear the bass more distinctly with some fun licks and great interplay with the drums. Even the vocals creep back in to haunt you as the guitar wails on. I suggest you let Blood Raven guide you through their murky valley- it's a good trip. -Brandon

Friday, April 14, 2017

Disgusted Geist- Demo (2017)

Disgusted Geist play dystopian sludge that borders on death/doom at times. The demo is recorded live so there's an almost lo-fi quality to this demo, and I think it makes it sound even more gross, filthy, and disgusting which I love. I need more music like this in my life. It just sounds so rotten and putrid and it brings great joy to me. The band lurches back and forth on its heavy pounding beats and goes for the throat with its harsh vocals which latter turn into death grunts and growls. The bass and guitar provide a thick layer of grayish green smog that's a warning of impending doom, threatening to poison those who may enter its clouds. If you're a fan of Corrupted, Grief, and Noothgrush you're gonna dig this. Also buy their cassette! All the proceeds go to funding a full length recording and I want to hear more from this band! Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Witchapter- Spellcaster EP (2017)

I knew once I saw their logo what type of music this band was playing and I was right! Witchapter play burly sludge that oozes along and speaks to my soul. They sound like a woolly mammoth riding a giant slug. Gigantic, heavy, and fucking slow. Just big fat filthy riffs, with loud fucking drums, and harsh vocals (some death growls peppered in there as well). It's just the type of music that crushes and makes you wanna bob your head.  I also just checked out their Facebook and these guys wear corpse paint and robes. Fucking sick! I have no idea where they dudes are from, but I'm guessing the UK. Anyway, great fucking EP, I hope they put out more shit, and I think you should listen to this too. Cheers! -Samir

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

No/Breaks / Rotokiller Split

I only know two things about Coldwater, MI. First, I know that it's the hometown of UFC and WWF alum Dan "The Beast" Severn. Second, it's where hardcore punk band No/Breaks is from. On their recent split w/ Rotokiller, No/Breaks showcase their fast and furious, pissed off, raw as fuck punk rock. No/Breaks sweep through their side of the split like a Mid West tornado on a gloomy as fuck summer day, with no remorse, and no fucks given. These guys have so much raw energy when they play, that it's hard to resist not starting an instant circle pit wherever you're listening to them. Sadly Rotokiller's side of the split is not currently online, so it could not be included with this review.

Also wanted to mention you can see No/Breaks play this Thursday if you live in the S/E Michigan at the Preserker show at Small's in Hamtramck. Preserker is the kick off party for Berserker (now in it's 4th year) an annual punk/metal festival usually held in the Metro Detroit area. This year features such killer bands as Eyehategod (w/ Mike Williams), OFF!, Gwar, Child Bite, and Weedeater. However, Preserker is going to be a fucking rager, because like I mentioned No/Breaks will be playing, as well as such great bands like Homewrecker, LT DAN, and Nemesis (whose demo was reviewed here). Cheers! -Samir

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

In the Company of Serpents- Ain​-​Soph Aur (2017)

For the last six years, In the Company of Serpents has been playing doom/sludge and self-releasing that has grown progressively more atmospheric with time. Their latest record "Ain-Soph Aur" continues that trend to an incredible end. The whole album seems to be built on a foundation of western desolation with mournful country inspired acoustic guitars that echo with the emptiness of the prairie. However, on top of this sits a dissonant melancholic metal that is dark and forgiving. Both of these pieces are bonded by their sorrow and the reverberation that fills the void. The result is a cohesive, gut-wrenching sound will leave you gazing towards horizon in introspection. Gravely vocals fit just as well during the quiet, contemplative moments as they do during the powerful, relentless blasts. Transitions between these two extremes are seamless and you find yourself at the climax of a song without realizing how you got there. This album doesn't just cover new ground- It absolutely conquers it. These guys are masters of their own style and i need to see where it goes from here. -Brandon

Monday, April 10, 2017

Human Sprawl- Exit (2017)

Somewhere near the city of Philadelphia, PA there exists a murky, fetid swamp, where most dare no tread. Here, the air rank with the wretched stench of decay and the ground is steeped in vile ooze. It is from this festering cesspool that Human Sprawl emerged to bring forth their newest recording "Exit". This EP take you trudging through the death bog, only occasionally rising from the mire in a frenzy to kill, then dragging the carcass back and letting it rot. As the album creeps along, you'll hear solid riffs and steady beats that make it hard not to bang your head, but when the band bares their fangs and kicks up the tempo you can't resist. The vocals are harsh, but the lyrics are beautifully written glimpses into realms beyond our own. If you're in need of something coarse, slow, and heavy then follow this trail of sludge into the darkness. -Brandon

Friday, April 7, 2017

MONOCEROS- Space Dungeon (2017)

Before listening to this EP you should probably read the short description the band posted regarding "Space Dungeon" on their bandcamp.

"After a lengthy pilgrimage across time and space, three weary inter-dimensional nomads found themselves stranded on the mud planet, affectionately referred to as "earth" by its strange bipedal inhabitants.

The three travelers tried to tell the earthlings the tale of their journey, but their primitive human brains could not fathom the intricacies of inter-dimensional navigation.

After years of futile attempts at communication, a new idea was formed to bridge the gap between the minds, and bring about understanding. A collection of sounds that can describe these cataclysmic events in a way that language cannot." -MONOCEROS

What follows is the sound they speak of. A slow winding descent into the doomed unknown. This 30 + minute long song starts out with what I'm guessing is actual sounds from outer space, before the music kicks in rocket fire blazing. While the idea of sitting through one long track may seem like an undertaking, this trip was worth the journey. In the music you can hear the frustration, anguish, and angst of the travels with the massive fuzzed out guitars and screams of pain and misery. I really like how the band transitioned from riff to riff without getting to repetitive that I was bored to fucking tears. Before you knew it a riff had transformed or morphed into another and you weren't sure exactly how you got there, which I thought was a good thing. It keeps thing captivating as the music shrugs along in a gloomy alien landscape. Finally, we end where we started, and everything comes full circle. This is definitely worth checking out if you're into the super slow burn jams. Cheers! -Samir

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Attalla- Glacial Rule (2017)

Well this was fucking good! I've been getting a little worn out from the stoner rock I gravitate towards on the internet. More often then not I feel like bands are just playing the same recycled riffs with a little psych and boogie to it, and shit has been getting old to me. So it's really great when something like this comes along to restore your faith in the genre! These steller riffians from the artic tundra known as the American Midwest play heavy stoner doom rock that would please the almighty Iommic Lord himself. Attalla might be sabbath worshipers, but they definitely carve out their own space in the crowded scene. Pounding it out over 6 tracks with the might of Thor's hammer, their mix of bluesy doom ladened riffs, with clean vocals chanting about fantastical tales, and some of the best leads I've heard in a while, make this worthy of venturing out into the frigid cold to see what the fuss is about. Cheers! -Samir

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Extremity- Extremely Fucking Dead (2017)

Extremity's "Extremely Fucking Dead" is old school death metal at its finest. With a sound that makes this release feel more like a reissue of 90's album that was unearthed from a dank and moldy crypt, Extremity deliver meaty slabs of gruesome and beastly death metal rottenness. It's a love letter written in blood, guts, and rotten chunks of flesh to the american death metal from days of old. Extremity is a super group made up of Marissa Martinez-Hoadley (Repulsion, Cretin), Shelby Lermo (Vastum), Aesop Dekker (Worm Ouroboros, Agalloch, Ludicra), and Erika Osterhout (Necrosic, Scolex, Trepanation), and anything that Marissa works on is fine by me. I'm a fan of Cretin especially with their last release. Marissa and Shelby's death growls are retro sounding in a way, but also still feels menacing, brutal and wraithlike. Lots of chunky organ grinding riffs here that remind me of a mix of between Bolt Thrower and Autopsy. These guys are definitely connoisseurs and enthusiasts of all things that reek. Overall it's repulsive and sickening. Hope you enjoyed it as much as i did. Cheers!- Samir

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Ember- 261

A few fine folks down in Birmingham, AL have come together to bring us the bewitching debut EP from Ember titled "261". Doomy with elegant touches, these three tracks blend crunchy tone, dreamy female vocals, and a slightly mysterious atmosphere in a way that invites you to come deeper into the sound. The seductively smooth voice draws you in and leaves you spellbound as the rhythm buffets against you. Crystal is a siren, with her beautiful call luring you into the dark, dangerous music. It could almost be hypnotic, but the occasional dissonant twangs of the guitar keep you just lucid enough to make sure you don't lose yourself completely. So what does "261" mean anyway? I don't know- probably the amount of times i'll be listening to this. -Brandon

Monday, April 3, 2017

Fjordheksa/Cellahead- Split LP (2017)

Warning! Not for the faint of heart! Fjordheksa and Cellahead, two might forces of stoner/doom from the city of Aachen, Germany, have united to deliver a split LP will chew you up and spit you out- right into space! The first four tracks from Fjordheksa are a savage combination of grit and groove with shrieking vocals, heavy bass, and rhythm that almost becomes primal. These guys are the untamed wild with no credence for conventions! They aren't afraid to keep things weird by bringing in the occasional funky passage or some wailing horns. After you've been pummeled by the sound, the horns and feedback fade away as you leave the earth and Cellahead guides you into the cosmos. Their contribution is a single 27 minute track ripe with ambient sounds and a slow, steady pave that will set you adrift through the universe. The lyrics will remind you that the "cosmos is shining bright", but the wah of the guitar truly illuminates the galaxy and allows you to see the stardust swirling around you. Before you know it, you're left alone, floating in the void and reflecting on what a fearsome duo these two bands make. Their potent union is the first release from MegaBell Records- here's hoping for more!- Brandon