Thursday, May 25, 2017

Danzig : "Black Laden Crown"







I am good with Danzig digging deeper into more of a doom sound. I am not ok with how tired his voice sounds on the title track. It's not like this is the 30th night on tour. You are in the god damn studio take a nap then record your vocals. Are you telling me after fifty takes that is as good as it get to for you. His lack power is shocking he adds a little more grit on "Eyes Ripping Fire" , but it sounds like he talking his way through the song and barely singing. If you are just not into the song than don't record it. Some of the guitar lines are pretty decent in a cock rock way, nothing is more ground breaking than anything I haven't already heard on a Monster Magnet album that followed 'Dopes to Infinity". I am not sure I can make it through this one ...is the first thought that hits me by the third. He sounds like he is about to lose his voice on the first line.

I get it that you are 61, but Bowie did way better and 8 years older. If you can't do better then it's time to retire. He tries to get back into his chest voice on "Last Ride" , but it sounds like when he is trying to rally the band loses steam beneath him and he can't catch a break. "Witching Hour" almost starts off decent , then when it should build it totally tanks and you can almost hear him panting for breath in the vocal booth. Who ever this wanker of a guitarist is the solos coming out at every chance is not doing these songs any favors. The guitar tone improves and "But A Nightmare" is coming across as darker and heavier. His voice even begins to sound alright on the first verse, so I am holding my breath for the chorus.

I think with better production, some of these songs might not sound so amateur. His voice sounds alright on "Skulls and Daisies" but the guitar sound is like something you hear a teenager at Guitar Center doing. Where is Rick Rubin when you need him. I would be fine with the guitars sounding like AC/DC again. "Blackness Falls" finds the vocal feeling for better footing, though the song writing itself is a little dialed in. This is a guy whose first four solo albums are pretty stellar, so the bar is high and if David Bowie could do it and we are under the belief that all people are created equal then that means Danzig should be able to as well , if he indeed still cares about his craft and is not just putting out albums as that is what is expected. The album ends with "Pull the Sun". Which is the first decent song on this album and makes it all the more frustrating because if you are capable of doing this then why wasn't it happening the whole album?  I'll round this one down to a 5.5 as it's pretty disappointing.

Danzig - Last Ride [New song from "Black Laden... by kaiserbilly14

Blood Sun Circle : " Distorted Forms"


This band from New York caught me by surprise as they are much darker than what you normally think of when it comes to noise rock. There is a rowdier spastic anger to the second song that finds them falling somewhere in-between the Jesus Lizard and Black Flag. They lock into bouncing chants. I can also hear a darker side that hints at a Nick Cave influence lurking here though not a pronounced as the first song. "the Golden Bones" is more angular to the point of making the song songwriting seem awkward until they transition int more of a groove.The manage to also find the play where they are sonically heavy. The tense pounding of "the Spook" is the first song that doesn't deliver the extent of it's promise. The melodic dissonance of " Eyeless Bliss" works pretty well almost to a Swans like proportion. Here the drone has more pay off in it's explosive release.

"Mercykill" picks up where the previous song left off though there is a more bouncing variation on the droning throb of a riff this song sinks it's teeth into . Unlike Swans these guys keep their drone within the confines of a more standard song time frame. There is less of a jamming experimentation. Some of the riffs have more exotic touches that bring to mind Wovenhand,especially on "Firebath" where the singer actually sings more than just hollering and scowling to varied degrees. "Learn to Love" also has more of the melodic qualities they dabbled with on previous song. The monstrous tone of the bass player continues to ground the more atmospheric jangle of the guitar. The vocals go into more of a chant at one point that sits nicely against the more chilling guitar passages.By the end of the songs the vocals have escalated into more of a howl.

There is a more weighty pound to the darker "Hideous Twin". I don't feel this song hooks me in as much though it could be that the further into the album we get I grow more accustomed to their sound so it becomes less of a novelty and needs more song writing to hold my attention. There is moment in this song where it clicks for me that in some ways these guys are likea heavier version of the Afghan Whigs. The guitar continue to pick out an eerie brooding melody on "Son of the Stars". The vocals are more of a whispered croon. Overall this album is pretty killer I will give it a 9 for now and see how it sits on me. I like the moods it captures and for noise rock doesn't just settle for ripping off the Amp Rep bands.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pig : "Swine & Punishment"




I am going to go ahead a treat this re-mix album as if it a album of new material as for all practical purposes the re-invention of these song makes it as such.The album opens up with the  darker moments of "Viva Evil" that reminds me a little of My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult.  The bump and grind that KMFDM normally invokes is summoned on " Found in Filth" . Vocally it sits at more of a Iggy Pop place in the verses. "the Diamond Sinners' is a  Tim Skold contribution that has a bit of a gospel slink to it. While the bulk of this album has more of a KMFDM feel to it this song feels more like Marilyn Manson to me. "the Fly upon the Pin" focuses too much on the atmosphere to the point that it comes across more like an dramatically ambient .

The second take on "Viva Evil"is more upbeat. The guitar is more minimal and the song bounces along it's rubbery groove. The gospel element to 'the Diamond Sinners"remains intact though with a odd edm vibe. Then the dance vibe gets off the chain with the Mortiis remix of "viva Evil" which is not as dark as I expected from him, but I guess this is the direction that roll has been headed .  The second pass at "the Fly Upon the Pin" finds the song moved in a darker direction that feels more like a song. I expected there to be a little more groove to the London After Midnight remix of "the Diamond Sinners". The vocals on the chorus sound like something from a Siouxsie song. So it's plenty dark and I am not sure what I am complaining about.

There is something more Revolting Cocks like about the next version of "Found In Filth" with various televangelists sampled. This is one of the album's best re-mixes for sure. "the Diamond Sinners" and "Viva Evil" get the most remixes. I think it would have been more effective if there had only been two of each song. The the fourth version of it , even the coolest sound begin to sound like filler. To this versions defense it does sound like something from the Tron soundtrack. "Drugzilla" comes across more like a rock song in the context of this album though the more dub glitched elements toward the end of the song work well. The tweaker remix of the final installment of "Diamond Sinners" is less than thrilling though it might have had more impact if this wasn't the 5th version. The last swing at "Viva Evil" might be one of the album's best as it reminds me more of his work with KMFDM. The album closes with "Violence" which is more graceful than most of the songs here. The low Rammstein like vocals don't wow me ,but work for what this is. I do like the line "this is the future that you planned" which sums up my thoughts on anything I hear in the news. With albums like these it can be hit or miss though this hits more than it misses I think pulling from a wider range of songs would have played in this album's best interest, but for what it is I'll give it a 7.5

Monday, May 22, 2017

Samsara : " When the Soul Leaves the Body"



Slovakian metal is gaining ground now when it comes to doom. The proof lies in this band Samsara who has a big majestic sound, when they pick up the pace into a chug the results are without a doubt powerful. The vocals are growled in a low more death metal manner than the more struggled gurgle I associate with doom. But it can not be argued if they are a doom band or not. I think it can be called into question if they are funeral doom, but it's up to the genre straw counters and critics like myself to keep the gate on that one. These guys are very good at what they do. This album is very well produced and they have a vast sprawling sound.By the time we get to " the Letter About Knowledge" they soaring formula that worked so well on the opener seems to be meandering slightly here.

There is a more melodic touch to "the Calling". The vocals are more forceful growl, that carry more of an aggressive roar to them than what I normally call doom. That is not to say it usurps the entire song. The guitar melody is hooky enough to keep my attention. By the four minute mark they have picked up into something hard to not head bang to. Arrangements are one of this band's strong points. I really like the interplay between the guitar and synths on "Between Two Worlds" it sets the stage for a memorable melody way before the growls come in. This song is over thirteen minutes so some sections drag on longer than others. Overall they tend to drone less than many doom metal bands of today. They also clock in at next to nothing when it comes to Black Sabbath worship owing much more to bands like My Dying Bride.

"In Anxiety" starts off strong, but I have learned with these guys its how things click when you are in the middle of one of those sprawling epics that matters the most. The middle finds them locked into a deliberate chug ahead. Overall this might not be at the same level of excellence as Loss , but it is more than likely going to home out as one of the year's strongest doom albums so far . I'll give this a 9.5.



 

TRIØXIN : "Огни"

This album came out back in February, but flew under the radar.  Russian post punk band is dark and yet pretty upbeat. Their guitar tone sounds more surf rock than death rock. They throw in some double bass and pick things up a bit when the song builds in the last minute. They rock out even harder on the second song, which I think is great as it shows there is more than one way to this sort of thing and many of the post-punk revivalist bands could use more balls. It could almost be argued that these guys are closing in more on the black gaze sort of thing as they are heavier than most of the more recent Alcest albums. The vocals are mostly in a detached monotone though never really go into a full on Ian Curtis tribute which my ex-wife used to refer to as the voice.

One thing that can be said for this album is the guitar tones are excellent and the guitar playing shows a wide range and they are limited to holding a chord to build tension as their songs wind around a wide range of dynamics. By the time we get to  fuzzy bass driving "Cat Scratching" I find myself downloading this album as it's something I need in my life. More surf rock also surfaces. "Themselves Gods" has a more over rock feel, though ample amounts of shoe gazing are brought in thanks to the sonic spectrum of the guitars. Indie rock collides with a shady surf rock shimmer on "December Dance". It has a cool slink to it , though not dancey even in December. The vocals don't come in until midway into the song. They are not a huge contribution to the song, but work well enough.

There is more kick to "The Soul is a Fool"  thanks to the drums. The disheartened apathy of the vocals could stand to shift a little dynamically. I am not sure screamed vocals would be the answer , but hear something more going on in my head. The music is interesting enough to distract me from returning to this thought. Their drummer is this shit for this kind of music and is certainly the metal head of the band though I suspect their might be more than one. Even though it has more of a rock guitar riff somehow in my mind the previous song just kind of bleed over into this. I suppose the rather uniform vocals added to this confusion. The more sonic sweep of guitar at the end is a nice dynamic touch to the song.

On the last song it feels like the vocals are making more of an effort to actually sing. Once again they rise to the occasion when it comes the very fluid guitar lines that ebb and flow. I'll give this album a 9.5 and see how much play I get from it , the vocals are really the only thing that keeps it from being a 10. If you like shoe gaze or post punk this album is well worth your time.


8.6

 

Seer : " Vol. III & IV: Cult of the Void"





Here is a Canadian band brings metallic elements to their brand of harder rock n roll. This makes them more along the lines of a rough and tumble version of Katatonia as the baritone vocals are carried with more balls. I like that this is very melodic and has darker side to it. I wouldn't call this grunge, the vocals are more crooned so there is part of me that wood liken this more to Woods of Ypres. Harsher vocals do eventually come in around the six and a half minute mark. The song begins to accelerate towards a black metal like place , but never commits to it.It is always a good sign for a band if I start off streaming it then by the end of the first song I am clicking to download the whole thing. There is a weighty rumble to "Acid Sweat" which finds the vocals taking on a more aggressive harshness amid the Trouble like chug. The more melodic elements do return. One of the band's strengths is they don't do this trade off in the most expected ways. I do prefer how this is handled more on the first song than the second.While it's somewhat counting straws , that is my job around here so that is what I am going to do.

"They Used Dark Forces" reminds me more of Crowbar. The vocals are more guttural and the guitar that opens the song is heavy as fuck. This album does get progressively more metal as it goes. They are more sludge driven than not when they do break into metal. "Burnt Offerings " is more straight forward and I can hear where it might be compared with that Times of Grace band that spun off from Killswitch Engage as the vocals are similar. The guitar riffs snake their way around the vocals in a more Katatonia manner with rock solos coming out from the cracks. The harsher screams are not as forward in the mix.

Once we get into the second part of the album there are more acoustic passages and things that sound like they might have come from an Agalloch song. The last song is actually a real song. The vocals are mixed in a way that makes them sounds very distance. The phrasing is different than what was being done earlier in the album so I appreciate it.The song itself drones along for the first six minutes then builds up in the last minute. While I was a little bummed out that half the album turned into folk guitar doodles , the songs are here are really fucking excellent. I'll give this a 9.5.





Vallenfrye : "Fear Those Who Fear Him"






I first heard about these guys while interviewing Louis from Goatwhore. I never gave them a fair listen even after they came so highly recommended by him. Now that I have it seems like a fairly simple concept to present...So members of Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride got together to worship Entombed. Granted this is an itch I get scratched in other ways Goatwhore being one of them, and the more obvious "Wolverine Blues" album the other. So I end up listening for moment that don't sound like Entombed as they are the more unique ones. The first of these is the doomier "Apathetic Grave" . There is a more death metal touch to what is going on. The guys do have a dense , dirty guitar sound that is raw as hell. The two minute "Nihilist" takes off with a more punk fueled grind-core speed. It really doesn't do a helluva a lot for me. The brief guitar solo is very Slayer.

There is more of a thrash groove to "Amongst the Filth". It's a dense heavy bull dozer of a song , but this much like the more punk fueled death metal of "Kill All Your Masters" fail to really connect with me aside from being a loud wall of guitar that blitzes by me. I guess its one of those things that makes it where Entombed either had to be your favorite band or you never heard of them in order for this to work. They are aggressive as hell. So if aggression is something you place high value on when it comes to metal then these guys are more than worthwhile. The forty second grindcore blast of "Dead World Breathes" is a longer song title than it is an actual song.

By the time we get to "Soldier of Christ" I am sure that the drummer is pretty solid , but like I say all the time if this is the kind of music you are going to play then your drummer can not be a joke. Where Entombed obviously beats these guys out is they have serious groove to the dense metallic slabs they used to hit you with. There is a darker turn on the very grim grind of "Cursed From the Womb" which is oppressive in the best way possible and is the album's song, as I am sold on it midway into things. So they guys are old pro's who should have been delivering like this the  whole time.  The reason is clear in "Temple of Rats" they just want to thrash it out at higher speeds that they don't get to use in their other bands and praise Entombed.

These guys are good at what they do and even show at times they can be great at it so I'll give this album an 8 though I have no plans to listen to it again though if raw Swedish flavored death metal is your thing then you can even round it up to an 8.5.

3Teeth : " Shutdown.exe"





You might have caught these guys when they were opening for Tool. There first album had a little more organic industrial feel to it. This go around the production is slicker in a weird way. It starts off plenty dark and heavy enough with the dramatic "Divine Weapon". There is more melody and even some heavily effected singing to "Pit of Fire". This finds them still getting the job done as it's certainly dark enough and has the kind of creepy vibe that I want from industrial when it goes this route. The changes become more evident when they take a turn into the purgatory between nu-metal and industrial, that Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie have known to occupy. The chorus is very Zombie due to the shift of the vocals. On second listen this doesn't irk me as much as it did when I first heard this, but it almost has you waiting for the chant of "Living Dead Girl". This kind of nu-metal vibe does strike me stronger "Oblivion Coil" which reminds me of a harder version of Cruxshadows.

The title track has more of a dark wave groove to it. This one is very 90s feeling, but considering that was the high water mark for the genre I don't think that should surprise anyone. There are some shadows of Marilyn Manson cast over the vocals in places."Degrade" is a more fulfilling blend of brooding and groove. The militant chant of the vocals is what I want from this harder brand of industrial. It does strike me that they are playing it much safer in terms of what the cyber goths these days are wanting. This is what sets it apart from classic industrial acts that made the music they wanted to make and the audience conformed to it rather than letting them become power bottoms in this regard. The Marilyn Manson comparison's can resume on "Tower of Disease" which made me want to go listen to "Portrait of an American Family" again. The robotic groove makes up for this . It's the screamed vocals that really bring Manson to mind.

One of this album's strengths is the use of samples. They are well placed and the subject matter is well thought out. "Voices" is one of the albums stronger songs. There is a great balance of dismal mood and melody working together. When it does get heavy the dynamic is well earned rather than being an easy way out. The guitars are way in your face and massive on "Slavegod" and while they are powerful and sound great it makes me wonder where have the guitars been for the rest of this album. The vocals are handled in a more KMFDM manner. They come back with the very well balanced blend of sounds that makes up "Insubstantia". It's all tied together with some pretty decent songwriting that proves these guys can get the job done as needed. The cohesion this song has is what "B.O.A" lacks and keeps it from working as well.  The slower and darker has the right amount of heft in it's pound to make it's kind of creepy work well as a closing for this album.

There is a sad lack of this brand of industrial these days and this band does a pretty decent job of helping fill that hole. I am going round this album up to a 9 and see how this sits with me over time. If you miss 90s industrial rock then these guys should without question be on your radar especially if the last Marilyn Manson album did not have enough balls for you.



Sunday, May 21, 2017

Classics ? Soundgarden's "Badmotorfinger"




It would almost be pointless for me to review "Louder Than Love " which is my favorite album by these guys so there is no question there. This one however is much more up for debate. When it came out I was a little disappointed as it felt less metal and more rock n roll than "Louder Than Love" So lets dig into this and give it another listen. I could give a fuck that this is the album that helped break them into a wider audience as wider audience doesn't mean quality , but quantity. It opens with a song that is yes decidedly grunge, but has more in common with Pearl Jam than I wanted these guys to have when it came out. It's an up beat rock song that could do without the horn accents. I do like when it breaks down to just bass, drums and vocals. Soundgarden had already raised the bar for themselves past the point of shuffling off into glorified garage rock. There is a more Mudhoney punk recklessness to "Face Pollution". Not sure if this manic direction the album starts off in wins me over any more now than it did then. They slow down to the Black Sabbath swagger and it gives Chris more room to open up an actually sing. I love the line "as I'm raped another monkey circus freak". I think this song has more of the things I want from the band than the first two.

The first song they really slay me with is "Jesus Christ Pose". It finds Cornell's voice soaring up where I want him to be and the drums locked into a tribal mechanization versus the bass and guitar. Its one of those rare perfect songs that a band writes sometimes as happy accident. The bass leads into "Mind Riot" which is a dynamic shift down from the song that preceded it, which found them at 11 so there was no where else to go from there. The guitar riff is more introspective and Cornell delivers with the range of Robert Plant applied to the cerebral fixation of the Doors. I love how the vocals are layered with the call and response. I had almost forgotten about the song "New Damage" until I went back to give this album another listen. It has a darker throb to it. The bridge coming out of the chorus is the song's only weak link. Is this nitpicking? Well these mother fuckers just wrote "Jesus Christ Pose" so I don't think so.

"Outshined" this one of the singles from this album that got beat into the ground. The lyrics are great. At the end of the day this song has stood the test of time so anything else that I might have attached to it doesn't really matter. I think my favorite song on this album might be "Room a Thousand Years Wide" the riff has weight yet glide. You get to hear a very dynamic range from Cornell.The guitar riff to this song is not my favorite though I like the reverse delay on the vocals and I really love when the song breaks down to a more half time. The intro to "Searching For a Friend With My Good Eye Closed" is one of the best ever , making this the 3rd perfect song on this album. It's another one that captures that hypnotic groove that is sonic and heavy, but flows with not effort . "Slaves and Bulldozers" has more of a Sabbath meets Zeppelin groove to it. Chris adds grit to his voice and then soars back up into something with the soul of Ian Gillian. It's one of the albums heavier and more metallic moments.

"Somewhere" is another song I don't really give much thought about until I go give this album another listen. I'll go ahead and give this one a 10, so it is a classic of the decade in which it was conceived, so I will have give "Louder Than Love" another listen and see if it holds up to the pedestal it's on.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Arcadea : s/t






While it might lack the more overt heavy metal trappings of Mastodon, Drummer Brann Dailor's new project is aggressive in it's brand of synth driven prog rock. I have run into Brann at enough shows of the Genesis tribute band The Music Box, to not be surprised with the direction he has gone here. He enlisted the help for Atlanta locals to round out this odd power trio with members from Zruuda and Withered. There is a weird Kraftwerk like robotic pulse to this album, but songs like "Gas Giant" have enough of a human element to the vocals work for me. "Gas Giant" moves at a much more frantic pace. Surprisingly the acrobatic drumming is not as pronounced in the mix as it is on Mastodon albums. The vocals also sit back as the synths battle it out for the dominant role in the song.  If you can't stand keyboards then this is not going to be the album for you and you might as well stop now. Unlike most prog these songs are very compactly written though they do cram many twists and turns into the three minute span of  "Rings of Saturn".

Things get weirder and mellower on "Neptune Moons", but the female vocals are not the greatest. They launch themselves further into the space age on this song.There is a darker and more aggressive turn on "Infinite End". This song is trippy enough so fans of some psychedelic might also connect to this one. I lock the vocals better on this song than what I have heard at this juncture in the album. There is more of a rock touch to the more driving drums of "Electromagnetic". "Motion of Planets" finds them back in more aggressive territory, almost to the point that it sounds like metal being played with synths instead of guitars, this also brings more industrial qualities to mind. The going gets weirder with the angular blips and bleeps of "the Pull of Invisible Strings". Brann's drumming is the main element that gives this songs a sense of cohesion.

There is a more sci-fi sound to "Through the Eye of Pieces". The vocals have robot effects draped over them. I do like the groove created when the drums kick in. The vocals split into layers with an more stripped down vocal sitting on top of the  robot one. The album closes with the more grandiose side synth wave flavor prog. The first verse is sung in a lower register than the bulk of the vocals on this album. One thing that set this apart from Mastodon are the keyboard solos that hold the places for where a guitar solo would normally be if this was a Mastodon album. I really like the vocal melody that chimes in at the two and half minute mark before they spiral off into a jam,

I will round this one up to a 9, though I am still unsure how compelled to have this in my iPod for daily listening. I do like what is being done hear some of the grooves and moods are fun even if it's more upbeat than what I normally listen to. Don't think it overshadows the newest Mastodon album nor was that the intent when this was made.



Solstafir : " Berdreyminn"

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I like some of the more bizarre artistic turns my favorite bands have gone in. I am a big fan of Disco era Kiss and New Wave era Alice Cooper. I like even the glam rock days of Celtic Frost. So the turn this band has taken might not phase me like their long time fans. Though I am not as emotionally invested into their path as i am Kiss or Alice Copper.  like this fact it sounds album is a weird shift for the Icelandic band  like a cross between the Cure and Neurosis colliding . The song is upbeat despite it's crusty edges. The production is a little weird The guitar shifts in where it sits in the mix, the drums almost sound like they are programmed, but this could be the fact they are playing almost a dance beat to create this illusion. They blend pop hooks with the some kind of prog inflections that Muse uses , but the vocals are less Queen like and a emotive yet gruff baritone that seeks to reach beyond it's range. "Hula" finds the atmospherics becoming much thicker and darker more sonic shadow cast over the song before it relaxes down into dreamy reverb filled guitar line that has almost more of a shoe gaze edge to it before the vocals come in. The vocals hold a firmer melody than someone like their country men in Sigur Rios. Distorted chord ring out in the background, but it would be hard pressed to call this rock much less metal.

It's not until "Naros" that something chugs into place that ties this band to their metal roots.It reminds me of where many metal bands found themselves when trying to find their identity when alternative music got big. The song that follows is some what of a power ballad as it starts with a more delicate piano piece and works it's way up gathering intensity as it progresses. They lay it on thick with the keyboards going into "Dyrafjorour" then bring in a very Pink Floyd guitar solo. David Gilmore is one of my favorite guitarists so if you can bring him to mind that is saying something. Though their guitar tone is far from being as immaculate as his. The vocals are sung in Icelandic which doesn't translate well to the melody they are trying to employ. So this puts the song's fate in the hands of a guitar melody that brings us back to our rule here ....cool riffs alone do not make a good song. The "Us & Them" ambiance is cool and all, but doesn't knock a home run.

They are back in a more Floydian direction on "Ambatt" which finds the softer vocal touch working form  better than some of the more rock tinged moments. There is a slight jammy tone to how this song unfolds. When the over driven guitar melody slides in they have hit one of the album's stronger dynamic places. "Blafjall" has a more aggressive pulse that eventually turns into a more metallic chug, but aside from the heaviness, it doesn't connect as soundly with me as some of the albums other songs. The final two minutes of this song find the band taking off in a way that might remind you of their earlier days, but it's almost too little too late in that regard.At the end of the day it depends on how much you embrace the changes this band has under gone over the years, if you have been along for the ride up until this point it will seem like a very natural progression to this point. In any case I'll give this album an 8.5.


Slowdive ; s/t



Right from the intro it's obvious that these guys are  not just trying to recreate the glory days but writing honest to god songs. We could compare this album to " Souvlaki",   but what would the point of that be? If they tried too hard to recreate it I would pan it and if they had forsaken it all together I would have been pissed so what we have is something that acknowledges and is true to what the band's original vision was. "Don't Know Why" just kinda breezes by me without really connecting, but I can recognize that the band is doing something that is very them just with more of an indie rock indifference , which still casts it's shadow on "Sugar For the Pill" but for some reason this is done in a way that seems more honest and heartfelt to me.

Without question the guitar tones on this album are great and the production is spectacular even if the vocals are intentionally lo fi. No longer Making Time" finds them knocking it out of the park both mood wise and the sprawling atmosphere the paint before you. I like all of the sonic places it takes me to. Any post- rock band should make note of how this album was produced. The guitar that opens "Go Get it" sounds like it is dripping from the stars.There is a very "Obscured By Clouds" era Pink Floyd feel to this one.  The second time the drums kick back in the song's sense of movement increases.

The album closes with the tinder tinkle of piano on "Falling Ashes". The vocals become more of a centerpiece. They are layered male and female. This song is more of an outro than something I feel compelled to listen to. Overall however they have returned to prove why they are every bit as vital to shoe-gaze as My Bloody Valentine. I would argue even more so as they actually wrote songs uses the hypnotic sonics, where My Bloody Valentine was more concerned about hitting you with the sounds and could often careless how they were formed. Whatever the case I'll give this album a 9 and see how it sits with me for the rest of the year.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mind Mold : "s/t" EP






I normally shun EP's, but over the course of the past five years I have learned sometimes you gotta take what you can get. This Calgary based falls in the cracks somewhere between blackened death metal and dark hard core. They are dissonant in a way that reminds me of Ulcerate at times yet on song like "Antipath" they blast off with feral snarling. They refrain from taking you on sprawling indulgences that might have made this a full length if it had been handled by other bands who like to wallow in feedback. I can say that "Antipath" didn't hook me in as intently as the opener and I think it's a case of at that point I had gotten use to what is in their bag of tricks. This can be the case with many extreme metal bands the heaviness of what they do leaves you stunned so the first song slips by with your ears ringing in it's wake with the second forced to answer the question "so I get it that you are heavy, but can you write songs?"

Once I am almost all the way through "Opyl" this question still has not been answered with a defining yes or no.I get that they know how to use varied shades of sonic dismal gray. What they are drawing with this is more abstract on this song. The mid range yowl of the vocals doesn't really do them any favors in answering this as the guitars are forced to do all the work when it comes to melody. Their drummer is good. He is not the machine like monster employed by Ulcerate, but he can fill the gaps with fills in a way that covers them well. I have heard grind core referenced in regards to these guys and I do not hear that at all. I hear less of what I thought to be hard core influences the deeper to delve into this album and more atmospheric death metal. So far I think they get the most props for creating some beautifully ugly chords which seems to be their stock and trade.

Shoe-gaze is also an exaggerated term used in reference with this band and the closest they come to that is a anguished take on atmospheric death metal called "Nyx" that closes the album. This might be the best song with the opener coming in at a close second. Since I don't feel that they really gave me a solid answer when it comes to their song writing I am going to round this down to an 8. You might want to round that up if you are a fan of atmospheric death metal who likes for it to be approached in a way that hints with bringing other things to the table. So it manages to be thinking man's metal without having to put to much thought into it.




Friday, May 12, 2017

Gold : " Optimist"




This Dutch band is back, this time with more introspection to their gloom. They kick the shadow fest off with "You Too Must Die" which carries more of a Chelsea Wolfe flavored drone than what I remember these guys having. Then they go into the more shoe-glazed rock of "Summer Thunder". The drums build the driving tension here. Their lead singers plaintive alto carries more of an indie rock indifference, where it was smokier on the first song. There is an almost Burzum like tremolo to the guitar of "White Noise" which is an apt title as it does have almost a murky Sonic Youth  buzz to it. The vocals feel more raw and punk like to me hear like a teenager having a nervous break down. They linger there way into "Teenage Lust". The guitar melody is creepy and the vocals more of a mild whisper. I could imagine this song being used in a David Lynch movie. The vocals begin to sound like they almost want to be part of another song that the instrumentation under her is not making happen. There is a drone that never has the dynamic payoff I am looking for when it comes to that sort of thing.

They find a more sonic and aggressive pound to "No Shadow" the bass drives this song the hardest with the drums trying to race to keep up behind it, but this works. The vocals are much mellower than the music this contrast works here and the more exotic intervals she uses when sh chants what would be the chorus is perfect. The formula for what constitutes the sound that works for them is clearer by the time they get to "I  Do My Own Stunts". This bass and drums drive things, the guitar accents it with some noise and the singer adds a sweeter icing to this cake. On this song it is all put together in a manner similar to that employed by Savages. The sing song manner she sings with here makes her sound like a teenager as she scolds "you do not repeat a lie". It's at this point in the album when I realize you can not fit what these guys are doing here into one neat sub-genre as they have taken elements of post-punk and merged them with shoe-gaze and the energy of punk tinged indie rock.

The drums once again form a more tribal tension on "Be Good" but the singer throws her voice up into her upper register here for a brief moment which I am glad to hear she has the pipes to do that if she wants and for the bulk of the album she has been holding back for the sake of serving the song. There is a more Siouxsie like smoothness to the tension on "Come With Me" though I can also hear Deborah Harry in the way the verses are phrased. The darkness is waiting underneath, but is only venting in angry bursts here and there. They go back to a shimmering post-rocky shoe gaze on "Tear" to close out things. Her vocals are lower and more brooding, though now I hear Deborah Harry in her voice I can't un-hear it. Overall I always like something that is this heavy sonically without being metal so I will give this one a 9.5 and see how it grows on me over the course of the year. This is being released on Van Records.

Minus the Bear : "Voids"




Its been awhile since I have caught up with Minus the Bear around 2004 they were one of my favorite bands. The last album I owned by the was 2007's "Planet of Ice" so it's been a decade since they were really on my radar. In that time frame they have releases a few more albums, I felt with "Planet of Ice" that the song writing was not as focused as the first album. Things have changed and there is a better balance. It opens with one of the albums most lyrically powerfully songs while retaining their normal cool, calm and collected detachment. It's a apathetic take on a break up song. Then the more electronic tinged "Give & Take" has some pop sensibility to it without coming across as a plea for radio play. There is a drugged laze to "Call the Cops" which sounds like is about a drug overdose. Its not a ballad , but it is very relaxed. "Invisible" cruises along with a smooth grace and the kind of shimmering guitars that the band is known for. Not as strong as the first three songs it's still pretty good.

"What About the Boat" finds vocalist Snider reminding me of Carson Cox from Merchandise, though not as quite as resonate of a baritone.There is a western reverb to the guitar and moves at less of an upbeat tempo as the previous songs, but there is a certain honesty to it that I like. They hit their groove and " Silver" hits a middle ground between their older stuff and the more slick pop infused direction they have since ventured in, though with another layer of atmosphere to it. An electro rock groove  drives  the catchy "Tame Beasts". The is one of the first songs where there is a clear distinction between the guitar and the electronic elements. They go back into the smoother flowing groove they are known for but with a more rock tone to it than I remember them having an an actual guitar solo that is dialed way back in the mix. The lyrics to this one are not as much they focus and instead the emphasis is one the almost funk like beat.

"Robotic Heart" which is another one of my favorites also embraces a more rock tone to the guitars. The vocals float up into his head register which I don't recall hearing on earlier releases. Lyrically it's gold as well. Something about the vocal melody on the chorus reminds me of the Foo-fighters. There is a more subdued Chris Isaak like tone to "Lighthouse" . Overall the dream like qualties to these songs is very thoughtful and makes this album carry a lot of depth as well as being a fun ride for casual iPod listening and makes me want to go back and see what I might have missed out on from these guys. I'll give this a 10 no questions as it marks a return to the band I want them to be.


White Ward : "Futility Report"


This band from the Ukraine uses a wide range of atmospheric touches to delve darkly into their songs. They do this using samples , electronics and even sax. There is more jazz present on the first song than their is black metal so these guys are hard to define. They do blast into a double bass driven section with coarse growls. There is a more blackened straight forward onslaught of metal on "Stillborn Knowledge". It does ebb back down into that jazzy place. I found myself looking forward to these moments as the metal sections were much less novel. The sax lines over the swells of distorted chords is the one thing that gives their metal moments a trait that sets them aside from the hundreds of other bands who do this. There are some shimmering post rock parts and shredding guitar sections so a range to touch upon the taste buds of many a metal head.

"Homecoming" starts with a more jazz like touch and a really great guitar solo is layered upon it. I don't normally get into guitar solos, but this has a very Frank Zappa like quality to it.It builds into their more middle of the road version of black metal, but for what it is still works. "Rain is the Cure" is a jazz interlude that could have been the intro for the more Enslaved like charge into "Black Silent Piers". This works off the typical epic metal gallop into battle. This does work its way beack into the cross roads of where their black metal sides meets their jazz side and the results prove to once again find this project at their best when residing here, as the blast beats that follow could come from anyone. The title track starts off with them on a more straight forward metallic path that is hardly as inventive what they have done earlier in the album. They do throw some electronic elements in at the end of the song but it seems more like an afterthought rather than the next logical place for the song to go.

I think these guys hit on some stellar moments, I feel when they really got mired into the metal they lose their sense of identity and it could be anyone unless the jazz touches of experimentation are there, they show they can write songs, so sometimes the metal sections feel like they are taking the easy way out. Regardless the over all result is still impressive enough in its high points for me to give this a 8.5.



Loss : "Horizonless"








So everything you liked about "Despond" is present, but the production is much fuller and shows they have gone the extra mile to expand their sound. I am going be partial to this band because they got me into funeral doom. I came across them when they were opening for Agalloch. The guttural gurgle of vocals is still there though more vocal colors have been added. The more scathing higher pitched black metal like snarl that explodes out of " the Joy of All Who Sorrow". gives a different feel while the guitar play it closer to what is familiar from this band.The differences are some of the uglier sonics in the chords progressions where the first album found the guitar in a more mourning melodic longing, The first song even builds into something more like black metal. The mood is closer to "Despond" on "All Grows on Tears". The melodies weep and the more metallic elements that have dialed up are not as in your face. It might be the production of Billy Anderson that  continues to give even these more familiar moments a greater grandiosity. It accelerates in a more black metal picked section before the guitar trades places with the drums as the double bass speed up beneath the rest of the song.

Their more trademark sound of a lingering clean guitar melody resurfaces in a more dynamic fashion of "Naught" which still gives me everything I want from this band. The vocals go into a higher nastier rasp.  Things get darker and take on a more elegant creepiness on "the End Steps Forth" with a pipe organ following a piano intro. The vocal have a more of a breathy chant than growl here. This song serves as almost more of an intro to the lush title track that only flirts with the more delicate guitar before beginning to build around the two minute mark. Toward the end of the song clean vocals come in they are a low goth like baritone. "Banishment" is like a murky death metal interlude with a sample running through it as the growls roar out from what feels like an angrier place.

"Death is All" goes into the more introspective melancholy and finds them locked into the sound they now own. This one builds into a more sonic heaviness with a touches of black metal ugliness counter balance by more melodic guitar textures. The lower goth like vocals also make another appearance at the climax of this song. This album is a triumph by the band and everything I can want out of this brand of doom. It gets a 10 no questions asked. Released May 19th on Profound Lore.



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

War Brides : "Regrets"





My first impression hearing these guys from Chicago was "This sounds like the Rollins Bands spazzing out". I do like the angular nature to what they do and the punk thing staying in the forefront from them just trying to be another Amp Rep rip off. The vocals are in a more boozy angry Rollins place.When it comes to "Day Drinking" things are not as tightly coiled.They do get it together. My room mate thought there was someone screaming outside our house and I had to tell her no that's this band War Brides I am listening to.Even when I am not really paying attention and it fades into the background I still like this. There is more of a jangle to "Designer Life". At this point the vocals begin to get a little one dimensional. It's all on the guitars for this song. They throw punches into the song and hit you from many chaotic angles. They do hit you with hammers at the end of this one.

"Halitosis" expands a little more and lets things breathe a little more thanks to the drummer holding the groove down. The vocals just become more ranting. There is a slight Fugazi element to how some of these riffs are handled tension wise. At four minutes this feels like one of the longer songs , though the guitar player does form some interesting melodies to make up for what they vocals are not doing. "Ode to an Old Man" has the disjointed jangle of the guitar setting the tone for something that is moodier. Of course if you have figured out my tastes I am a fan of this. It's like darker angrier Fugazi, if the bass was mixed way down.

At almost six minutes "Cubano" is actually the album's longest song.So by this point in the album the pace has died down and it's like we are listening to the soundtrack to some punk rock kids mental collapse. Three and a half minutes into this song and we have not really gone anywhere. It's not until four minutes in that things begin to contract. "Human Cow" is more of a punk rock song with a reckless edge to it's temper tantrum. Things get a little more mathy with the guitar parts of "Thyme". The vocals on this song remind me a little more of the Cro-mags. There is a more explosive quality to "Marrow" that I like.  But it kinda stays in one place. I like this guys more than I normally like this sort of thng, it reminds me of bands like Porn Orchard that I used to listen to in high school so I will give it an 8.5.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Shores of Null : "Black Drapes of Tomorrow"





This Italian metal behind often finds themselves falling close to black metal if we are still referring to new Enslaved as black metal. This is the band's second album and it  is very cleanly recorded. The mix is impeccable. The first song is more of an intro, though "Donau" feels like a logical extension of it. The vocals are the first thing that is very different. The are a tightly harmonized baritone that I can understand why someone might compare it to Alice In Chains. They do drop into a lower goth like tone.The gruff vocals that eventually come are not as interesting as the sung vocals. The vocal refrains to "Tides Against Us " are perhaps marginally more interesting than the vocals of the first song. It does become clear that these guys have a formula in place in terms of dynamics. "House of Cries" would sound more like black metal if the more feral vocals were screamed out rather than the smoother croon. The drumming is as on point as what this sort of thing requires. The guitars are not out to dazzle you they kind of sweep you away in a majestic drone. The blast beats happen , but don't feel as in your face since they are not dependent on them.

 The title track breaks away from the soaring black metal like drive that carries the album up to this point. The vocals start off as low goth narrative and then shift in the more harmonized sung vocal. This spoils you so when the growls come in they are kind of a buzz kill rather than a savage release. Sometimes this almost makes these guys feel like a mellow black metal version of Mastodon. However just when I think that they introduce acoustic guitars to lead into a song that is really just the intro for "Carry on, My Tiny Hope". They begin to introduce more layers of guitar melody and by the time they speed up it sounds more like prog metal.The vocals even take one more of an Evergrey or Symphony X, where they are still powerfully sung, but with a husky baritone rather than the doubled harmonies.

There is a doom power ballad feel to "We Ain't Ashes" which in some ways would translate to Dio era Black Sabbath. Things build into more of a Opeth gallop. The harser vocals continue to not be their strongest suit. There higher more death metal like screams work better than the lower Unleashed like growls. The clean vocals reclaim the spot light on "A Thousand Storms" ,  another smoothed out black metal like ditty that is more of a happy medium dynamically. The vocals are still sung but more emotive on "The Kolyma Route". Here the balance of the harsher vocals to clean vocals works well and the lower growls that accent the first few verses sound better, maybe it is a production choice and they just shit better in the mix. The song transitions well into more of groove towards the end. Overall the vocals help this stand out as a very unique take on moody melodic black metal, though not black metal in the sense we commonly think of it as a blasts fests. I enjoyed this album and will round it up to a 9.5.

 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Beastmaker : "Inside the Skull"



On their first album it didn't feel like there was a much Sabbath worship as what goes down here. The slight Dax Riggs inflection in the vocals is now more of a Ozzy like whine. Not in the same tenor register as Ozzy, but the phrasing is similar . This time around there is more weight in the Sabbath like punch they are packing.Seems like the guitar solos have been dialed up on this album as the band gets more adventurous. I like the melodic middle section that reminds me of "Snow blind" There is a more ominous doom tone to "Of Gods Creation".All metal bands claim their next album is going to be heavier and darker this time the claims were true. It might sound like it came off "Vol 4", but what they are doing works and it's no more of a bowing down to Iommi, than most other traditional doom bands.

Its when we get to the darker and more melodic "Give Me a Sign" that things escalate to the next level of songwriting. It's more of a "Sabotage" era of Sabbath, but it's bad ass. "Nature of the Damned took another listen to grab my attention and even them it's more of a run of the mill proto-Sabbath riff. The pace picks up into a more barreling lumber for "Psychic Visions" the vocals are still very Ozzy as the melodies cruises under the guitar. The guitar solo happens, doesn't really add to the song, but as far as those go it's not too obnoxious either.The title track more of a bunch and the vocals sit on top of things with more authority without being forceful. The chorus is more like a refrain to turn the verse around. While it seems the vocals have more of singular focus on this album, they do smooth out the riff to "Night Bird". This is a song that I can't imagine not playing loud as hell, even as it's blaring into the one ear bud as I type this.

They close the album with  "Sick Sick Demon" that starts at a creep and launches into a similar mid paced Sabbath worship that most of the album tread in with it's heavy boots of lead.I'll round this one up to a 8.5 and see how it grows on me. I think it's heavier and well done but doesn't play to the band's own personality that I preferred on the previous album. But good doom even of this variety seems hard to come by so you take what you can get.



Saturday, May 6, 2017

Full of Hell : "Trumpeting Ecstasy"





I was impressed when I saw these guys open for Mutilation Rites a few years ago. Since then their recorded out put has not really wowed me.There is less of a hardcore sensibility to what they do and they are are almost straight up grindcore with  touches of death metal. The vocals on the one minute opener go from a more black metal like rasp to a low gurgle.But it's too brief to really consider as a song. The same can be said for "Branches of Yew", they have a mean guitar tone, but that is about it. "Bound Sphinx" is the first real song. It pretty good and closer to what I have in my head from when I saw them live. "Cosmic Vein" is somewhat evil sounding in it's intent with lyrics referencing Satan. It's much more of a song than the 40 second "Digital Prison". The more metallic " Crawling to God" is pretty decent with stronger more defined riffs.

One common thread I notice which comes from their thick distorted tone is a lot of the sounds they create kind of collide in the barrage and things get murky and chaotic more often than not. With bass tone to "Gnawed Flesh " production choice is hard to argue against, but the song writing suffers hear because of their dependence on it. "Ashen Mesh" is dependent on it's chaos and brutality and doesn't make the most of the qualities I think are the bands strengths. The use of female vocals on title track and the more deliberate pacing make this is album's best song and a sound that I would like to hear them delve deeper into.

The close the album with the frenzy that is "At the Cauldrons Bottom".  This is more black metal influenced which is a a shadow that hangs over this album as a whole even though there is never a song where you can say ok they are playing black metal now. There is also a slower more Converge like riff, Converge is a band that I originally thought these guys to be most influenced by , but they have carved out a much darker place for themselves hear and if this was going to reflect Converge in anyway it would be their "You Fail Me" period. I would say this is the band's second best song on the album and perhaps the one the drummer shines the most on I'll give this one an 8 as it eventually won me over despite the little micro-songs that I felt would have been better served cobbled into a real song , fans of the band can round this up to a 9 since they are going to be into that sort of thing.
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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Brightly Painted Corpses : "Auditory Hallucinations"




The album starts off much more black metal than I remember these guys being as I think their last album was one of my favorite doom albums. They do a pretty decent job when it comes to black metal though and I like where they are going with the keyboards. At the five minute mark it seems like they should should have ended the song when things linger before breaking down into the piano part. They do build it back up into a more grinding death metal. Their sense of melody is still intact with a slight neo-classical twist on "Broken Throats Learned New Hymnals". The vocals come back in snarling as they take you on a lush black metal waltz. I guess where this songs goes is a very clear cut example of blackened doom as any as it embraces the sonic qualities of both genres.

The first song that really wows me and instantly wins me over is "Expendable Like Anyone for that Matter". It kinda floats over the fence dsbm finds it self in with sweeping emotion over taking the song without wallowing in it. The drummer is pretty impressive on this one and it's more obvious that for this album they have things more dialed in from a production standpoint. All the instruments sit cleanly in the mix. There is a more ominous tone to " the Tongue With the Thorn" this song swells more than it transitions until the seven minute mark where it breaks down to bass and drums to build back up into a heavier movement. I say movement because, it doesn't sound like these guys are really using defined riffs as their main plan of attack and hit you more with the feeling of their sounds.

"Fragments of Ice Held in Suspension" creeps out of the gate with a doomy darkness and finds little blasts of black metal thrown in at random before they take an abrupt turn into some kind of progressive death metal. The drummer is really at his best when he is allowed to cut loose with the double bass, it's the fact he does so tasteful that gives it the impact. The album closes with the 11 minute "Sigils Stained With Blood"  it has a weird horror movie soundtrack quality to it. The vocals are pretty evil sounding, and if you are getting me to say it's evil sounding you have accomplished something. The synths keep this one hovering in the dusk, before they go into a section that reminds me of Nocturnus. When the song goes into the heavier section the mix gets a little uneven, but I get the point.  The lower death metal vocals are aside from the evil vocals,  my favorite of the varied vocal colors they use on this album. They put out almost every kind of harsh howl or growl the throat can utter.   I'll round this one up to a 9. I think they are moving in the right direction in many ways even if it is away from the more doom oriented direction I first heard from them.




Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Peasants : "Dirt Worship"



 They are not lying to admit to this being a demo. It some nasty dirty doom tinged sludge that is raw to an almost punk extent to do the lack of production value. In some ways this is the charm of the sound presented here. The drums ring out like you are sitting in their practice space. The more distant guitar tone helps create atmosphere whether it was intentional or not. It opens with a jams that runs over 11 mins. The bass tone is really what is lacking here. When it drops down so you can hear the bass it is apparent that is the band's weak link. The vocals shift from a more Eyehategod like scream to a low gurgled growl. "High Wraith" is heavier and more aggressive , but doesn't sit as well and when they shift gears and speed up in highlights the flaws in the recording process.

I like the title "God is Garbage" It is more traditional doom, until it is driven by a more crusty beat. A guitar solo occupies a good chunk of the song, but it works pretty effectively.Medusa rumbles along with mammoth steps that follows in the blue print laid out by black sabbath and later bastardized by Celtic Frost , but run through a filter of sloppy death metal. That doesn't feel the wheel is being reinvented by a longshot but it works for them. I am sure live this hits you at a volume that makes even more of an impression, but even with metal I need to be just as effective as when I am listening to it wtih only one ear bud in at my computer. "Bongchitis" rumbles only the same bellowing path with out veering to add any other dynamics aside from the occasional guitar melody that surfaced.

The album closes on it's most atmospheric and melodic note with "Pilgrimage" This also might be the albums most well-written song as it has an expansive sense of dynamics building into the more intense death metal like section with low gurgled vocals. It is clearly not doom in the way it builds but works with the hybrid form of metal these guys encompass. I'll give this album a 6.5, it is a demo so the rough quality leaves something to be desired at times and I feel this documents what their potential as a band might be rather than the final testament of what that should sound like, but then again it's a demo, if you like rawer production then go ahead and round this up as it might not phase you.


Monday, May 1, 2017

The You and What Army Faction : " RITE"


Greece is supposedly known for its post-punk scene. This feels more like indie rock from the late 80s, like a juncture where Sonic Youth is meeting the Butthole Surfers. It's moody, but meanders amid feedback and atmosphere with out a ton of drive. The 2nd song has a thicker coating of noise and is harder to really dig into. It a little rawer than what typically works for me, "Degeneration Vacuum" glides with the garage punk shuffle that Sonic Youth used to engage in during the Goo and Dirty years. When things so into a darker groove around the three and a half minute mark I think the band is in the direction they need to venture further into.

There is a clanging of noise surrounding "I'll Be Johnny Castle You be the Cancer". Things thankfully find a darker groove after the ambient noise intro to "I see you stalking me". The pounding drone of "Fraternity" is one of those cool riffs alone do not make a good song moments. There is a more sleepy form of indie rock on "Breathtaker" , though this is woken up with punches midway into the song, I like this as it reminds me a little of Swans when they come pounding at you. There is  similar feel with "I Used a Knife...". This one is a little more off the rails in terms of the waves of feed back and distortion that come rolling in on you.

The album closes out with the more relaxed and almost jazz influenced "Damnation Brochure". These guys might have Sonic Youth influence, but are doing their own thing and have a lot of potential, I think if some of the noise was trimmed back to let these songs be songs and the whispered vocals were more sung it would be an album that holds greater appeal for me personally. There are some dark and moody moments, but I am not sure why the death rock tag is being thrown around as there is nothing death rock about this album. I'll give it a 7.5 .


Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Top 10 Toxic Love Songs





Yeah, I know we already did a top 10 break up songs, but this is my fucking blog so I do whatever the hell I want. Toxic Love are chemicals still in motion, making the difference being these songs the end result is not as clear cut and in the dysfunction there is the hope for a light at the end of the tunnel which may or may not be the train. I think this rings true because even when things go wrong there are always layers of feelings, so that what I am going for here, so this is almost more of a playlist for exploring the range of feelings. The songs are selected as what has hit my current mood this morning rather than me going through ever song I own to make sure this is the definitive list, after all love is more of in the right now than the forever. I'll let the lyrics of these songs do the talking rather than throw my to cents in as we count these down , which are not in the strictest order so if you are ocd, then get over they have just been arranged the way they are.


 10- the Magnetic Fields- "All My Little Words"

 Now that you've made me want to die , you tell me your're unboyfriendable"

 

 9- the Used - "Buried Myself Alive"


 "I guess it's ok I puked the day away, I guess it's better you trapped yourself in your own way"


 

8-Chris Isaak - "Things go Wrong" 

 "Trying to remember , what I know I should forget"


 

 7-Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - "It Gonna Rain Anymore" 

 "Once there came a storm in the form of a girl It blew to pieces my snug little world "


 

 6-Morrissey- "the More You Ignore Me" 

 "I now an essential part of your mind's landscape , whether you care or Not"


 



 4- Emma Ruth Rundle - "Furious Angel"

 If I send you my army only you can disarm me If you won’t have me or bring me your love Furious angels reign death from above onto me


 



5- The Postal Service - "the District Sleeps Alone Tonight"

 "I am finally seeing, I was the one worth leaving"


  3- the Drums - "Blood Under my Belt" I am scared of the child that lives in me I don't know if he learns You left your t-shirt under the bed we shared together I put it over my face

2- Sunnyday Real Estate - "Song About an Angel" 

 And all the time I tried to let you know Discomfort comes clearly




 1- Chelsea Wolfe- "The Waves Have Come" 

 I made you queen and you forgave me we'll be given the world in the right time but we made our own and left it empty


 

the Drums : " Abysmal Thoughts"

I have liked this band for sometime. Right from the beginning it sounds like they have taken the direction they went in on the last album and have combined it with the more 50's beach music tinged pop that works best for them. The electronic pulse gets stronger on "I'll Fight For Your Life" . Jonny Pierce does what he does best and doesn't stray from it despite the shifting landscape underneath him. I like how is voice drops down a little on the chorus. "Blood Under My Belt" has a playful melody that reminds me of the Cure's earlier punk days. The vocals are obviously more sugary than what Robert Smith did back in the day. Lyrically this is an album of break up songs so that part really works well for me. Speaking of sugar, diabetics need to be careful when listening to "Heat Basel". It has more skip in it's step than what we have previously heard on this album. I do like the fact Pierce goes into his head register a little more on this album.

While the chorus about him putting a blanket over his face stuck with me, I had to play "Shoot the Sun Down" to absorb the full impact of the song. "Head of the Horse" seems to be about the aches and pains of coming out of the closet. The hooks are very sleepy. I do like how the guitar rings out on this song. I can hear the hooks hiding in "Under the Ice". The guitar is more intangible and while there is a more organic feel to the instrumentation the vocals are very multi-tracked. 'Are You Fucked"  has a lighter heart to it than the lyrics might suggest. The bass line adds to the drone of the song. The electronics threatened to smother "Your Tenderness" . At the  end of the day despite what experimentation they delve back into it's Jonny's melody that makes this interesting. The sax gives things more of an organic glaze.

"Rich Kids"  bounces around enough to merge post-punk meets early R.E.M. The ballad "If All We share" has some really nice guitar work.  There is something much more soulful about the title track that closes the album. For a few seconds he sounds like Bono. IT takes the more post-punk qualities of indie rock and marries it to some with layered pop. The vocal parts feel like they are arranged like something from Paul Simon's "Graceland" album. I will give this album a 9 as it's emotional output is pretty impresses.


Friday, April 28, 2017

Statiqbloom : "Blue Moon Blood"




The opening track meets in that dark alley created in 90s by the likes of Skinny Puppy and pre-metal riffs Ministry. It has a beat the hammers you as it makes you dance. Things get even darker on "Black Walks Eternal" Fade offers a wider range of vocal flavor some of these more tortured and almost death rock like. The samples are clever and well placed. The vocals are used to set the tone to "Crooked Line" has do so with a smart syncopation that compliments the rough beat under it. "Talons Teeth" comes much closer to being the more typical brand of industrial that blared in most of the clubs during the genre's peak. The vocals are shouted in the cyber-drill Sargent manner, but a few other vocal colors are injected. There is more of a creeping synth slither to "Adrift". The vocals are more of a croaked narrative. It does find it's groove like the others and works of a more droning pulse.

"Feel the Flesh" finds Skinny Puppy's long lost "Rabies" drum sound. They had a somewhat more angular glitch to the pattern and the vocals take on a lower murmur. I like the more sung vocal moan that the 2:30 mark. It took me a second listen before I paid attention to "Mortuary". It is a little more formless than the rest of the album. The vocals are in a low whispered underneath the formless shift of the beat that never takes on a groove. "Nigredo" not only has a beat, it has one that pretty much slays the rest of the album, and this song might have my favorite lyrics as well.

The synth pulse in "Pale Lust" feels like a theme that is being continued from the previous song. It is almost like the outro for "Nigredo" if it was allowed to drone out more. The albums closes with the chaotic epic "Phantom Eye". The songs starts off with samples colliding into the beat and ambient noise smacking you around a bit. The song never takes form like the others. It flirts with many of the elements that I have like throughout the album, but here they are thrown against the wall for the sake of seeing what sticks. When the beat builds by the end of the song it does gel more for me. Overall the songs he decides are going to be songs are all excellent. I will round this one up to a 9 and see how it sits on me.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Night Sins : "Dancing Chrome"





The first thing that hits me about the Philly act's new album is the depth and maturity. By the second song it's apparent there is more of an electronic thing going on here. It's less Sisters of Mercy then their previous releases though the vocals are still uttered from a coffin. There is more of a new wave synth sound at the beginning of the title track which darkens considerably when the vocals come in. The low baritone croak is mixed back behind the synths.Some of these tones  are brighter than what you might expect from them leaving the vocals to keep things creepy.  All the songs are within range of  the three minute mark.

They do find a more organic sound with reverb ringing guitars on "Enamored and Nailed Shut". The vocals seem to be sinking back further with each song. There are some punchy accents in place that help give this more balls than your average dark wave band.I didn't even notice the guitar solo in this song until the second listen.  There is a harsher noise tone to the beginning of  "Schizoid Ice"  which is more of an interlude than a song. "Daisy Chain" has more of an old Depeche Mode feel, think 'Black Celebration". "Spire and Ecstasy" dips back into a sound that you might find more typical of this band, a cavernous cold wave. There is a upbeat tone to "Heaven's Eyes" the only problem is the vocals are once again buried.

This album has the most experimental edge to it.It really begins to grow on me with repeat listens and will not disappoint any one who is already into them though they stick pretty true to who they are up to this point so I don't see it really wining over a larger audience either. I will round it up to a 9. My only complaint is the production and how I would like more clarity from the vocals.But aside from that the third time is the charm for this Philly based band

Monday, April 24, 2017

Hexheart : "Midnight On A Moonless Night"




Jasyn Banger of God Module is releasing the debut album from his newest project Hexheart, that backs away from the more electronic propelled edm industrial of God Module. This project is more dark wave. The guitar sits low in the mix and I had to listen for it pretty closely as it is almost mixed behind the synths. There is more of an edm/ dance current running through the back bone of "Nothing" almost making this seem like more of a re-branding of God Module. His low raspy voice is not as heavilly altered with distorted filters as it is with the other project. He says in more of a static spoken narrative than singing. While 'Stars In Your Eyes" is a turn in a darker direction, I think "Falling" a better song. The purpose of the vocals is much clearer and hooks me in.

He comes closer to singing on "Second Sight" which is a very well put together song. Banger's range is very limited and he manages to make the most out of where he puts what he does manage to get out in his sing song whisper. There is more of an epic new wave hook to the synth lines adorning " Problems and bigger ones" . There is an almost aggro tech aggression to the synths on "Lunatix' and he slips back into his more comfortable industrial boots. "Hollywood" is darker, but doesn't do as much for me as it sounds like it is not a fully realized as the other songs. Though when I pay more attention to the lyrics and the reverb heavy guitars it grows on me a little,

A similar problem plagues" Never  Understand". It has more atmosphere , but all the moving parts don't feel like they are really screwed into one another soundly. When this is the case the flaws in his voice are exposed. There is a bigger industrial feel to the last song. Its a big finish so you can't fault him for that. I will round this album up to an 8, which means I am considering loading it onto the iPod. If you like God Moduile, then this album is different, but still a must. If you like darkwave with a heavier electronic edge then this is also on your to do list. It comes out June 9th on Metropolis.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

NEPHILIM'S HOWL : "Through The Marrow Of Human Suffering"




This band from Finland might not be black metal in how kids today think of the genre. The vocal somewhat spoken and declared from behind a veil of effects. The pace picks up on " Of Ordeals and Triumph". This brings them into a more black metal territory, the vocals gain some grit. They are not screamed and remind me of a less dramatic version of what Urfaust does. I like the fact that they put such a hypnotic throb into their music. The song builds but hangs in similar dynamic footing. The ten minute "Hate Revelations" finds them taking on more of a Venom like stomp. The vocals are delivered in a more dramatic fashion with a hateful sneer to them. Less punk influenced by Venom they are clearly metal in their intent. Things get more melodic around the six minute marks as the vocals take on more of a croon and the drums slow into a more graceful gallop.

They return to a more hypnotic throb once again for "Against the Worlds that Bind Us" . His vocals here to take on more of a Cronos like harshness. Not a flat out growl, but increased aggression in the way the lyrics are spat out above the pulse of guitar. Four minutes in the most overt form of black metal comes in by way of the blast beats. The albums reaches it's climatic end with the 12 minute "Through the Marrow of Human Suffering". At this point in the album I have already decided these guys are a bit of an enigma when it comes to Finnish black metal as they are rough around the edges but care about the songs rather than throwing a bunch of raw an reckless blast beats at you. They hold off until two minutes into the song to break them out.

If you are looking for black metal that combines the balance of grit and songwriting from the genres early days with a more sonic swell then this band is who you have been looking for. It generally kept me engaged, I am not sure how often I would listen to this , but appreciate it for what it is , which is enough for me to give this album an 8.


No Omega : "Culture"




This hard-core band is no stranger to this blog as we love them here because just like any other form of music I want my hard core dark and tortured. This is the Swedish band's third full length and even in the opener they drop down into the shadows to let things breathe with some atmosphere as the chords rings out midway into things. There is also a more metallic power, that is sonically similar to black metal in some ways. Despite some of the more heady guitar tones "Phobia" embraces the more punk tendencies. While I can't fault them for being who they are or where they come from in this regard, it's not my favorite side of the band. "Misgiving" falls out of the fade from the previous song into something more brooding that carries greater appeal to my personal tastes. Though when the song kicks in it goes into a more straight forward punk thing that has the rather stiff snare beat I'm not a fan of.

 At times though the ride the line between hardcore and screamo when they go into a more indie rock guitar jangle. As the album progress we continue to hear more of these melodic clean intonations. "Autoimmune" finds such lighter notes used as the calm before the explosion. They do get pretty brutal and battering on songs like "Cogs". This almost feels neanderthal in comparison to some of the moments they have already shown us. "Agora"finds them darkening back into the place that I prefer them to be in. Their lead screamer asks the listener if they know what its like to be treated like a stranger. So there is a very emotional current to these songs. They have an interesting trade of of dynamics on " Unsociable". This may or may not been embraced by the hardcore crowd who is trying to keep their scene underground as this song could appeal to a larger punk audience in the same way as early stuff from the Refused.

They get rowdier on "Within, Without". This has more of the punk recklessness and abrasion. There are some punches that get my attention. It's the moments that just don't sound like temper tantrums that get my ears peaked. "Contortion" is a more straight forward punk fueled song. The vocals on "Safe" are more barked despite the guitar at times providing room for more. The builds on this one are pretty powerful. They return to a cleaner strum at the onset of "Feral Houses". This one finds an angular groove in the syncopation they employ here. I like they more screamo juxtaposition of melodic guitar being screamed over, as they guys do it with a little more class,  The album closes with the angry pleas of "Resignation". This one works off more piss and vinegar than thoughtful song writing.  I'll give this album an 8.5 it's pretty solid the more punk side of this band typically just has me waiting for more of the dark brooding stuff, but fans of hardcore might have more of an appreciation for them.