Tuesday, November 24, 2020

November is Doom - Chained to the Bottom of the Ocean : " the Vestige"

 





This album is heavy as fuck and should go on the record as being one of this year's most crushing albums. How does this fare in terms of song writing well lets find out. It opens some where between sludge and doom, with the vocals saying it over toward the sludge side. There are some Eyehategod vibes to this. I like the chugged attack to "Four Cubits and a Span" . There is more of a doom tempo and mood to " the Dead Who Climb up to the Sky" .  Even this some gains some traction and is not content to sit still. Speeding up into a blast beat for a couple of bars. The black metal influence is pretty mild. The song moves in a very interesting direction almost kinda indie rock. 

"Hollow Feeds the Emptying Death" has more of a traditional stoner doom swagger to it. Not overtly blues , but in the Sabbath rumbling direction. Yes they do hit you wit ha very heavy pounding on " Escape! Harmony is Disclosure" , that doesn't get interesting until it finds more of a palm muted groove. Of the two covers they do The Death Cab For Cutie is superior to the Devo song. Granted I am also more familiar with the Death Cab song. 

They cover a great deal of ground on "With Every Wrist Outstretched" . It goes from angular sludge to more of a death metal blast beat, though the vocals stay the same. There is dissonance and darkness so I am happy with the song. A little dynamics and melody and I am good to go. This one is not big on any melody , but it is interesting enough for me to compromise. "With Every Sword Unsheathed " has more of a stoner metal feel to it. When the clean vocals come in toward the end of "Out Brief Candle" I am not surprised even though they sound kind emo, because they covered Death Cab so that only makes sense. The album ends with a more dirge like take on sludge. Over all this album was fun, I will give it a 9.  




Inquisition : "Black Mass For a Mass Grave"

 




There is talk among critics regarding what a band maturing mean . Some think is involves some closer to selling out. Younger bands have a great deal of zeal and energy, when you get older you mellow as a person and one might hope not being a total wasted mess. Does this band have heavier albums? Yes. In fact the two previous to this almost steam rolled you with sound. This one finds the sound more stream lined. It opens with a more rock n roll riff. One of the thing I am most pleased with is one of the things some might not like is the atmospheric layer of guitar on the first tow songs. These melodic leanings  to not stop there, they continue perhaps even to a fuller extent on "Necromancy Through a Buried Cosmos" . It is a more traditional metal pacing , no that they have really exploded off into blast beats so far on this album. 

The more traditional metal riff that opens " Triumphant  Cosmic Death" holds the kinds of hook to it that I want to hear more of . The blast beats do come in on this song, but there has already been such a range of dynamics it works . I do not hate all blast beats I just do not want them to be the default. The guitar lines become more wandering and intricate on "My Spirit Shall Join" . The eerie cold ness still sets the mood even in the more melodic moments which finds me still classifying this as black metal . You could almost say "Majesty of the Expanding Tomb" is mellower, than their previous effort. It kind of floats along like mist over a river. It should also be noted at Dagon's croak is not a droningly monotone as it has been in the past. I was ready for the pace to pick up by the time we got to "A Glorious Shadow" . Sure it find falls more in line with other thrash centric black metal, but still feel like the band. They stay in a similar drifting  forward on the languid waters of hell with "Extinction of Darkness and Light" . 

"Hymn to.." find them still floating in the more placid parts of hell. In some ways this album reminds me of Deafheaven , it is certainly this bands most melodic work. It is a shame only their actual fans are going to hear and not a larger audience to the metal media's self righteous slant to these guys. If you do not want your metal bands  to be dangerous and bucking the moral norms like barbarians from hell, If you are like " Oh my god I did not expect them to be actually evil , the whelp you are a poseur who only likes the trapping of darkness and not the reality of it.  At one point in time Satanic bands were seen as riding the edge, now you have gothed out hippies pretending to be a kinder gentler take on Satanism that is false as hell. I want bands that are burning churches, eating children and hate everyone , They get some teeth back and sink them on the storming "Beast of Creation..."  I will give this album a 9, I can leave it on and let it play . 


Saturday, November 21, 2020

Soft Kill : "Dead Kids R.I.P City"






 There is a more 80s new wave touch this time around. The vocals are breathy baritone croon not unlike Jesus and the Mary Chain. The mood is lighter than the Mary Chain gang. Yet darker than the kind of Crowded House pop that dominated the radio during the time this sound pays homage to. They nailed the sound for sure, now lets see what they do with the songs. The second song has little but more of a Cure like drive to to. I like better than the first song. The 80s college pop runs even deeper in the breathy vocals of  "Matty Rue" that features the vocals of Adam Klopp from Choir Boy. They dip into shoegaze on "Floodgate" which finds Tamyrn lending her voice. There is also a slight Smiths  like atmosphere to how the vocals hover.. Which considering they are one of my favorite bands makes this a huge compliment.

 Where atmosphere worked on the previous song , it  causes "Crmey" to blow away in the breeze. There is more balls to the tension of "Pretty Face"? The synths are still pretty thick in the mix, but the song works more often than not. "Ducky" has a little more of a dancey feel to it thought the vocals back off and mutter in hushed tone just over the bass line that holds the song together. "Inverness' finds us back to a more brooding blend of new wave. The bass line once again is the back bone of the song holding it together for them to dream their melodies around. It is a little more Modern English in it's intent. 

"Oil Burner' is another more shoegazing song. Perhaps they are not as skilled at this sound as Nothing, but it works with what is going on here and appreciate the sonic nature of it. The last song is kind of an emo ballad/along the lines of what you might expect from early Foo Fighters. Certainly  veers in a different direction from the rest of the album. I will give this album a 9, it sounds great and the songs are strong. Not sure how much I will listen to it given the fact I already listen to the bands it is drawing influence from. 




Aesop Rock : "Spirit World Field Guide"








Opens with the title track which is really a spoken word intro. The first actual song is a lesson in what hip hop artists should do. He has a complex word flow weaving around the beat which has enough groove that your head never stops bobbing to the beat. The second song works off of what he already established works. On "Dog at the Door" he gives a minute and a half demonstration on how to switch up word play . He spits faster on "Gauze" which has a more interesting backing track , his lyrics darting in an out the paces in the music. If anyone doubts that hip hop can be just as vital and technically musical art form as any genre needs to listen to what he is doing here.  "Pizza Alley" find a more atmospheric mood underneath him which he makes work, but it is not as compelling as the first 4 song, 

"Crystal Sword" is not only as compelling as the first four songs it might even be better. At least that is my first thought though the beat is not as biting so the groove is not as urgent. "Boot Soup" is really interesting , as it is different from the other songs, the musical shift it makes is what wins me over. The way it shifts in the last minute of the song is jaw dropping. "Coveralls " works , though perhaps not the top tier of the albums songs. "Jumping Coffin" has enough funk to it so it sounds retro and futuristic at the same time,  The futuristic path is the road taken on "Holy Waterfall" . This one is without question one of the album's best songs. 

"Flies" is under a minute , while he crams more song into that you might expect. It does not go where the other songs can due to time constraints. There are 21 songs here , so with a double album like this I am not expecting every song to totally hit to the maximum. "Salt" musically paints a picture with the kind of surreal atmospheric weirdness we have known him in play in for sometime. "Sleeper Car" opens organ and then uses a more disjointed array of sounds . He is experimenting more with album for sure. "1 to 10" is more of an interlude than the other ditty that was under a minute.  "Attaboy" finds the funk again and it works well as he gets back on the spirit world lyrical theme. 

There is a more organic almost rock feel going into " Kodokushi" then the drugs kick in. "Fixed & Dialated" he creates a hook just by saying " hold up". Timing is every thing. The drums on this one are kicking so that helps/. "Side Quest" is just over a minute, so it falls into the same place as the first song that was under a minute. He hits you with a lot of songs here. The album is familiar yet different and give you an example of what he is one of the best at what he does so I will give it a 9 since the parts that did not knock me off my feet from the get go just need to grow on. 



Friday, November 20, 2020

November is Doom- Holy Death : "Deus Mortis"

 






The first track is really just feed back and droning drums so we will write it off as an intro. Yes this is more doom than some of the sludge bands we have covered this month, but they also have an Entombed fixation. Going as far to to cover "Wolverine Blues" . The first song is more deliberate than Entombed so lends it's self more toward doom. More though not full fledged so do not go and throw away your Electric Wizard album's just yet. The vocal are a low gruff bark very much in the vein of Entombed. This is also not uncommon for sludge bands. I will say it once and I will say it again, sludge is doom for punks. The raw nature of what is going down here weighs in favor of this verdict.

The title track is gloomier so leans more in a doom direction. The drums sit back in the mix as the guitars dominate here. The vocals bark in a manner , a little more aggressively than they did on the first song. Their guitar tone is mean as fuck. They might be all some of you need to sell you on this. They are very effective at being heavy as fuck. Since the last song is that Entombed cover, I am going to need the song after this to prove to me their merits as song writers. They have gotten by with just being heavy and having a great guitar tone thus far. So better than just narrowly edging out the cool riffs alone does not a good song make rule. Lots of bands do not make that cut so that is something. 

This make or break song is more doomy. It lumbers on a more droning riff, almost like a death metal band covering Black Sabbath. In all fairness these guys might be more death doom than they are sludge. The focus is firmly on the chug. Dynamics are not their bread and butter, hitting you with the mammoth weight of their riffs is. To their credit they chose the song "Wolverine Blues" rather than "Full of Hell" so the second most popular song on that album. I think covering a song by a band you are obviously influenced by is kinda pointing  the finger back at yourself. I will give this album a 8.5, they got by on heaviness and tone alone, so it can work , you just gotta do it right and these guys did. 



November is Doom- False Gods : "No Symmetry​.​.​.​Only Disillusion"

 



This band from New York as a fair bit of buzz about them. Is it warranted ? We shall see. The first song has more rowdy punk drive to it. It shifts into a riff that makes me think, this is what happens when hard core kids get into Black Sabbath. The vocals stay gruff , but have a little more melody to them. They slow down into a more of a groove and it works all the way around. Is it the most original thing I have heard? No but it works for me. By the end of the song it gets dismal in a more Crowbar manner.  

Then "I Know Too Much" is pretty typical as it reminds us of my theory that sludge is really just doom played by crusty punks. This has more than enough punk roots to prove this . It is almost like blackened punk at first then slows down into more of a groove. The vocals are still pretty punk. When does go full on sludge it is punchy as hell. They stomp back at you with "All That's Left Behind" . They use a similar formula to one that occurs on previous song  'Lords of Emptiness" is not only superior to this song. But it might be the album's best song., It starts off as more of a battering ram and smooths out in a darker more melodic pulse.

There is a smoother strum going into the last song "Eternal Failure" The vocals are cried out in a manner closer to singing. It works of a singular throb that progresses well into a more apocalyptic dynamic I will give this one a 9, not sure how much I will listen to this one, but there is no denying  what they have done here. A dark enough vision of sludge that will appeal to fans of doom. More end times doom saying to it's gloom that mournful despair of what we think of as doom here , but a blazing success none the less. 



The Mix Tape - Emo EDITION




Woah I am reaching back into like  mid 90s to early 2000s . A time when I was pretty numb, but there were moments when I allowed the chemicals ebb for a moment and then felt too much. But those moments were more real. These songs take me back to a place where I allowed my self to be present in real life, something I am miles and miles better at, from where I was. Wow... um that got introspective fast, on a lighter note these song also bring back the breath of fresh air I took to feel the chill in the air and turn to winter, before depression cranked up and I went back to just listening to metal. This is what I get for sleeping past therapy I start processing things while just writing an intro to a mix -tape, which is a happier more carefree thing. Here is where emo was not a ugly word referring to hair cuts on Myspace, there is also a little 90s grunge thrown in, since some of it intersected at one time.


Dashboard Confessional - " Hands Down"


 


 Hum - "Stars"


 

 

Sunny Day Real Estate - "Theo B"


   
 







Weezer - " Say it Ain't So"


   


The Juliana Theory- "Is Patience Still Waiting" 







 Jimmy Eat World - "For Me This is Heaven"









Five Eight- "Oh Surgery" 




 Foo Fighters - "Walking After You "



   


Mineral - "Parking Lot"


 




 

the Get Up Kids - "I'll Catch You"