Untitled Metal Column: Volume 9 (Nachtmystium, The World We Left Behind)

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Is this the end of Nachtmystium or isn’t it? According to a recent interview with Blake Judd the end isn’t exactly nigh for the Chicgao black metal luminaries.

Regardless, if The World We Left Behind is, in fact, the last Nachtmystium album then listening to this opus is a bittersweet experience. From beginning to end it’s a reminder of not only how important and vital Nachtmystium is to the black metal scene but also the need for the scene to sometimes morph and change over time.

Assassins: Black Meddle Part I started the trend by adding elements of psychedelia and classic rock (Think Kyuss does Satyricon), Addicts: Black Meddle Part II in 2010 continued along the path while 2012’s Silencing Machine went back to basics almost erasing what had been built.

On The World That We Left Behind, however, Nachtmystium brings their sound full circle and lay everything bare. Those Assassins-style experimentations are back on not only the epic introspective lumbering beast that is “Voyager” but scattered throughout. Speaking of “introspective”, that word is a theme that runs rampant throughout The World We Left Behind touching on the tumultuous year that band leader Blake Judd experienced on almost every track.

But back to the music.

The first proper song here (“Fireheart”) is more of a rocker and less a metal affair with, dare I say, danceable drum beats? Experimentation indeed.  On the other spectrum, “Into The Endless Abyss” is the blackest of black metal fusing spaced out electronics with a slamming blast beat by Sam Shroyer as Judd just fucking roars. The title track builds for a solid minute and a half to a chaotic peak and then just explodes as Judd screeches the chorus and you bang your head in solidarity. Elsewhere, the gorgeous (Yes, I used the word “gorgeous” to describe a Nachtmystium song) “Epitaph For A Dying Star” closes TWWLB with Judd’s howls of “No More Pain” set against Karla Murphy’s lush vocals amidst a sonic maelstrom of screaming guitars.

The World We Left Behind crash landed on Planet Earth today via Century Media Records. You can still get some pretty sweet package deals at CMdistro or for instant gratification, check the album out on Itunes.

 

 

What’s In A Name? Sex Hands release Pleh!

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“Sex Hands are not a garage pop band, they have never practiced in a garage. They never practice.”

And that statement from the press release of Pleh, the masterful debut from Sex Hands, about sums up the ride you’re about to embark on. From the onset, it’s loose and fun but expertly administered to your ears. But don’t try to pigeonhole their sound, though, because after just one listen it’s pretty obvious what Sex Hands is all about: Rockin’ and a rollin’!

“Space Song” is an instrumental jam fest that opens Pleh and could substitute as an updated theme for The Young Ones (RIP Rik Mayall) but it’s “Flat Mate” up next that ultimately sets the tone for the rest of the album piling on jangly guitars in the vein of Caesars with airy vox like The Raveonettes and nods to The Animals.

First single “Pivot” rocks even more in context with the rest of Pleh while “Gay Marriage” is a nostalgia-fest soaked in ’50’s dream Pop. Elsewhere on their debut Sex Hands delve into more quirky territory on “Hairdo”, straight up Pop on “Hot Cheddar” or full on rockers with “On A Break”.

Pleh is out now through Faux Discx/Negative Space. Buy/stream yours here.

The man, the myth, the legend….Mr. John Garcia flies solo!

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“These songs were not B-sides or leftovers from any of the other projects. These songs were plucked from my career and I kept them in a dusty old cardboard box and every morning I’d look at ’em. And I actually felt bad. I was, like, ‘Don’t worry. I’ll get to you. Hold tight!’ I collected 44 songs throughout 20 years that were special and very personal to me.”

So says the man of the hour, Mr. John Garcia, via phone in a recent interview with Rock and Roll Fables (Full interview coming next week). From the 44 songs collected, 11 ended up making his debut solo album and they are most definitely not B-sides and otherwise.

Rocking from the start with the slow burnin’ “My Mind”, John Garcia sounds exactly like, well, John Garcia. But if you thought you knew this influential vocalist, you ain’t heard nothin’ yet. JG manages to capture the magic from all of his other bands: the best of Kyuss, the best of Slo-Burn, the best of Unida, the best of Hermano, the best of Vista Chino…but it’s not a “best of” by any means.

The greatest accomplishment of Garcia’s first solo outing is that, despite his unmistakable voice, the album sounds like nothing he’s done before. It’s more “hard rock” than “stoner rock” if you’re looking for labels but those signature Homme/Fevery-style guitar licks still pop up (Check out “Flower” and “The Blvd” especially).

If you like that desert vibe, however, “5000 Miles” has got that in spades for you laying on the grooves and the riffage thick. Later still, “Argleben” and “Saddleback” hit another  groove sweet spot on the album. Garcia also does a solid job bringing things full circle with a standout performance from The Doors’ Robby Krieger playing flamenco lead on the “Planet Caravan”-esque closer “Her Bullets Energy” while looking to the future by covering current Canadian rockers Black Mastiff”s “Rolling Stoned” earlier on the album.

If you live for the groove and for the rawk, then it’d be in your best interest to pick up John Garcia on August 5th through Napalm Records. Some pretty sweet pre-order packages are available here.

Adage get Defined on debut EP!

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Hook these guys up with a national tour opening for Lo-Pro! Can you imagine what a duet between lead singer Justin Doyle and Pete Murray would sound like? Hot damn!

But I digress.

On Defined, Adage channel the best parts of heavy alt rock that’s sorely lacking in today’s scene. Think that already mentioned band with a little smattering of Breaking Benjamin and some of the more aggressive moments of the Sevendust catalog for a proper taste of Adage.

“Anymore” gets the ball rolling with a driving beat laying the foundation for some solid riff action. The minute Doyle opens up his voice, the range that Murray conveys immediately comes to mind with broad moments of melody and underlying hints of rage just waiting to breach the surface. Solid opener for a solid debut.

As listeners get deeper into Defined, it’s immediately apparent that Adage sound more like seasoned vets instead of a 4-piece putting out a debut EP. Slower tracks like “Best Of” and especially “Growing Colder” (Easily the stand out track here) already display a maturity in their songwriting capabilities and almost guarantee that new fans will stick around to hear what’s next from this young band. But if you’re just here to headbang then skip straight to “Hold On” and get ready to scream along to the chorus.

Defined is out on August 19th through Pavement Entertainment. Pre-order yours here.

Untitled Metal Column: Volume 8 (Corrupt Moral Altar, Mechanical Tides)

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Corrupt Moral Altar bring the stuff of metal nightmares on Mechanical Tides. On their debut, these UK metallers bring the frenetic intensity of Converge, the frenetic intensity of Goes Cube, the frenetic intensity of…..there’s just a lot of “frenetic intensity”, okay?

Speaking of GC, “Father Tongue” begins MT like a Goes Cube song that went berserk and flows into “Blood Harmony” with ease slowing things down considerably and focusing on Chris Reese’s brilliantly vicious voice. Next, Carcass’ Jeff Walker helps out on the crazed schizophrenia of “Die Glocke” complete with gang vocals and Tom Dring’s time changing drum mastery.

If that wasn’t enough “old school” metal for you then try “Line Check” which channels Entombed with John Cooke’s guitar capturing some of that Swedish crunch from Wolverine Blues. Reese has some of that Petrov punch in the low range but it’s his ear piercing screeches that take this one to another level.

You still want more? How about the epic slab of metal mayhem known as “Wire Mother”? At almost eight minutes long and still barely in the middle of Mechanical Tides yet, this one has it all. Time changes? Yep. Massive breakdowns? Oh yeah.  Style changes? Got those. Indecipherable shrieks? What’d you say???

If you’re looking for a metal debut that really hits all that and more then Corrupt Moral Altar is a band you really need to check out. And I didn’t even touch on the second half of MT and crushers like “Closed Casket”  and “Garland Greene” or the out-of-left-field “Admit Defeat” which has some full on crooning hapening. Seriously. And it’s really, really good.

Mechanical Tides is out now through Season Of Mist. Get yours here.

There is only one Entombed and they’re apparently named Entombed A.D. (Back To The Front album review)

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I don’t care how many Entombed’s are out there now. If LG Petrov isn’t fronting your outfit then you ain’t Entombed. Simple as that. I’m not going to get into all the politics about the different sides, I just know that what I’m listening to as I type this sounds like the Entombed I know and that’s all that’s going to matter to fans, too.

Like a mix of Clandestine and Wolverine Blues, Back To The Front (Their first in 7 years!) is a welcome reminder of why Entombed is still such a relevant and visceral unit. Once “Kill To Live” really kicks into full throttle at the beginning, fans will know that long wait was all worth it. Teasers “Bedlam Attack” and “Vulture And The Traitor” don’t do the album justice as they’re just a taste of how great this album really is. Petrov sounds like a beast once again and hearing him roar on some fresh Entombed material is like a breath of fresh air.

“Waiting For Death” is the latest “death ‘n’ roll” rocker with some nice chants inside. “Eternal Woe” sounds as if it could play nicely on Serpent Saints with a low, heavy crunch accenting Petrov’s unmistakable growl. Other highlights include “Pandemic Rage” which opens with a string section straight out of a Hitchock-ian thriller and “Bait And Bleed” featuring some nice thrashin’ making for some superb headbangin’ and mosh pittin’ action.

Just as powerful as anything the band have put out thus far but more urgent, Entombed A.D.’s Back To The Front is out on August 5th through Century Media. Pre-order packages, as always, are a avilable through the always reliable and lovely CMdistro.com.

Dog Fashion Disco offer Sweet Nothings on latest!

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Of course I’ll review an album that has my name in the “Thanks” section! That’s actually because of DFD’s Indiegogo campaign and not because of any actual affiliation to said band BUT STILL! That’s pretty freaking cool, right?

But I digress.

Dog Fashion Disco is back. Their new album is upon us! Sweet Nothings is the logical (and illogical) follow up to Adultery only bigger, badder, and brassier. It’s even a contender for album cover of the year. Seriously, check out that wolf!

SW opener “Greta” is that creepy little sister of Adultery’s “The Uninvited Guest” while “War Party” (Breaking into an evil “We Didn’t Start The Fire” verse even) is a more focused rage-a-thon than “The Sacrifice Of Miss Rose Covington” was on that aforementioned album. “Scarlet Fever” follows with its staccato bursts of excitement and never has a baritone saxophone sounded so exciting (You know, outside of the usual jazz circles and in Morphine).

Todd Smith’s range is still incredible. Jasan Stepp absolutely shreds. And the horns are everywhere! If you’re feeling “horny” look no further than “Tastes So Sweet” or “Doctor’s Orders” (Remember Average White Band’s classic in Superman II? That’s “Doctor’s Orders). If anything, Sweet Nothings proves that the internet provides tenfold giving Dog Fashion Disco the “Oingo Boingo on methamphetamines” sound  they were always destined to have.

Is it the comeback of the year? Pretty much. And it’s the best thing DFD has put out to date. Now it’s time to see if the rest of the world will finally wake up to their brand of musical brilliance.

Sweet Nothings is out now through Razor To Wrist Records! It’s brilliant. Buy yours here and let me live vicariously through you by purchasing the “Envy The Vultures” hoodie. Be the “envy” of your friends and scare the crap out of the kiddies at the same time.

 

Untitled Metal Column: Volume 7 (Mamaleek, He Never Said A Mumblin’ Word)

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Mamaleek bring four tracks of mechanical mayhem on He Never Said A Mumblin’ Word. A cacophony of sound wrapped in electronics and black metal, San Francisco’s Mamaleek bring the noise through experimentation and a taste for the apocalypse. Imagine, if you will, you’re watching the upcoming Mad Max movie. Our hero walks the desolate wasteland as chants accent the isolation he feels building into an electronic screamfest with syncopated drum beats and, dare I say, a chorus as the main credits roll and carnage ensues on screen. That’s track number two, “Poor Mourner’s Got A Home”, and it’s a good indication that the rest of HNSAMW is gonna be a bumpy ride.

If you lean towards the more avant-garde aspects of Old Man Gloom and wish Caleb Scofield would really let his freak flag fly then Mamleek is definitely for you. The instant the title track explodes from your speakers it’s as if you’re having a religious experience despite the noise rage at the forefront. “Almost Done Toiling Here” is even more of a cacophonous mess with distorted beats and guitars surrounded by echoed screams while “My Ship Is On The Ocean” hones the intensity in a confined space (Barely clocking in at four minutes even!).

Then it’s over, and you’ll be left wanting more. Just the way Mamaleek likes it.

He Never Said A Mumblin’ Word is out through The Flenser on July 22nd. Buy yours here.

Total Slacker: Not slacking at all on Slip Away

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Total Slacker’s latest album, Slip Away, is akin to a musical Oreo cookie. On either end, you have the crunchy exterior (In this case the Killing Joke rocker of an opener “Out of Body Experience” and the Bleach-ed sounds of “I Don’t Want To Be A Yuppie” to close) covering this gooey, sugary filling that just makes the overall cookie that much better.

Post-punk, Post-rock, grunge….what’s the point of a label when you have bands like Total Slacker just making great quality music? If the aforementioned tracks don’t hook you then any number of songs on here are bound to.  “Keep The Ships At Bay” is another solid rocker followed by the lo-fi drone of “Sometimes You Gotta Die” with a massive wall of sound which meanders into Pixies (and Failure) territory at times. Bassist/vocalist Emily Jane and Guitarist/vocalist Tucker Rountree complement each other perfectly on “U Ever Been Satisfied?” as their respective instruments speak to each other just as they do through their mics. Meanwhile, “Who Killed Kennedy” slams relentlessly thanks to drummer James Colon as Chris Topah adds that second guitar on top.

As far as sophomore albums go, Slip Away is tops. If you like your rawk honest and loud, then Total Slacker’s latest is definitely an album you’ll want to check out.

Slip Away is out now on Black Bell Records. Be sure to head over here to see where you can catch them live this summer (July 21st at Brighton Music Hall and July 24th at Pearl Street for us Massholes) and go here to get their latest album.

 

Cocksure’s TVMALSV is the only industrial album you need in 2014.

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Fans of Chris Connelly are in for a treat in 2014 as the eclectic vocalist returns to industrial in a huge way with not one, but two projects being released. There’s Bells Into Machines which sees Connelly partner up with his former Ministry co-hort Paul Barker and the RevCo-inspired slab of awesome that we’re talking about here: Cocksure!

Teaming with Acumen Nation’s Jason Novak, Cocksure’s debut full-length is a rollicking throwback with a firm foot placed firmly in the now. Were you a fan of early Revolting Cocks or the Connelly-era of Ministry in the early to mid-’90’s? Then you better not miss this one.

“Skeemy Gates” comes out swinging and easily lays waste to most industrial music out there today. Connelly, as always, is in fine form with a range that goes from Bowie-esque croons to “Cannibal Song” shrieks of madness instantly. “Alpha Male Bling” distorts Connelly on top of swirling, hypnotic Novak electronics while “Guilt, Speed, & Carbon” is almost The Damage Manual “Take Two” with its’ Geordie-like guitar line looped throughout.

If you’re craving some raunch, go no further than “Cock Ripped To The Giddy Tits” which has some hints of NIhil-era KMFDM swagger and would make for some fine pole dancing music (Imagine the booty shakes to Connelly’s “Hoo! Ha!’s”). “Silikon Suckaz” is even more perfect for that setting with Connelly at his most maniacal. Soon to be touring partner Richard 23 of Front 242 shows up on “TKO Mindfuck” further into TVMALSV  to really bring things full circle on a track that is instantly mesmerizing and a reminder that you can’t keep a good Cock down.

TVMALSV is the album you need if you’re looking for some old school industrial without having to go on a nostalgia trip. It’s fresh, it’s new, and it’s easily a must-have for any industrial music and Chris Connelly fan.

Cocksure’s TVMALSV is out through  Metropolis Records on August 12th. You can pre-order yours here.