Untitled Metal Column: Volume 12 (High On Fire, Luminiferous)

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Honestly, I don’t know why I’ve never fully immersed myself in the awesome that is High On Fire. I had a record once (2005’s Blessed Black Wings) but since I’ve only dabbled and been a casual fan. If you’re like me then prepare to slap yourself upside the head for missing out on High On Fire’s brilliance for so long especially after you sink your earholes into their seventh full-length, Luminiferous. [Read more…]

Untitled Metal Column: Volume 11 (Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth, Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth

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Hot damn! Are you looking for some doom and gloom to kickstart your 2015? Do you long for the days of Seattle grunge, especially the heavy underbelly? And more importantly, do you miss Tad Doyle? If you answered “Heck yes!” to any of those questions then you are in luck because Brothers Of The Sonic Cloth gives you all that and more. [Read more…]

Untitled Metal Column: Volume 10 (Abstracter, Wound Empire)

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Sometimes the best music is that which you know nothing about beforehand. Take Abstracter for example. Promo came across my desk and like everything that comes across my desk, I gave it a solid listen. Guys and gals, I know we’re barely a week into the new year but hitting “play” on Wound Empire, the second release from Oakland’s Abstracter, is easily one of the best decisions I’ll have made all year. Guaranteed. [Read more…]

Untitled Metal Column: Volume 9.1 (Slipknot, .5: The Gray Chapter)

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I’m not saying this is the greatest Slipknot album yet…but it kinda is. An album that should not be is now less than 24 hours from being released. Fueled by death and inner turmoil, .5: The Gray Chapter is a fury-filled fuck you to naysayers and a triumphant step forward for the nine.

It’s also a giant fuck you to fired founding member Joey Jordison who many believed was the driving force as far as songwriting was concerned. Just listen to “The Negative One”, Slipknot’s first tease from the album released back in August. Never mind the obvious jab in the song name (“One” was Jordison’s number) all you have to do is take one listen to any of the lyrics within: “I hope you live/To see the day/When your world comes up in flames/And as you die/You see my face/You’re the only one to blame”. And that’s just one refrain. Stylistically this “gift to the fans” showed off strong songwriting with a vicious track that captured the raw ferocity of Slipknot merged with modern technology. [Read more…]

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.

 

 

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.

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.

Untitled Metal Column: Volume 6 (Martyrdod, Elddop)

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I liken my first time listening through a Martyrdod record to my first experience with Nachtmystium’s Black Meddle, Pt. 1 in that the music is so utterly engaging from the get go yet the vocals are undeniably jarring for a virgin listener. Even more vicious than Blake Judd, Mikael Kjellman is an absolute monster behind the mic making Martyrdod’s fifth album and the dichotomy within a must own this year.

If you like Converge but could do without the breakneck pace, want more from Aaron Turner’s Split Cranium, and like your Entombed with their foot planted firmly in the Clandestine days then Elddop is an album you need to listen to.

“Nodkanal” opens up the floodgates and once that musical monsoon is unleashed, you better make sure you’re strapped in tight because it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. “En Jobbigt Jnvel” is a headbangers delight and just pure thrashing madness. The riffs are urgent and intimidating with Kjellman’s and Pontus Redig’s guitar squeals and harmonies lighting the song on fire.

If you want it slow, then  you’ve come to the wrong place. While “Tentakler” might start off on the low end of the BPM spectrum,  it quickly gains momentum into another rock out so that minute reprieve at the beginning should be considered your “break”. “Slav Manual” is another rager and the title track that follows, even more so. Then there’s “Synd” which blisters and boils with sinister fury with riffs up the a-hole early on.

Elddop is out on July 22nd through Southern Lord. Pre-order yours here if you dare!

 

Untitled Metal Column: Volume 5 (Monuments, The Amanuensis)

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The next evolution of djent is here. Monuments latest album, The Amanuensis, is a blistering aural assault of machine gun riffs, technical mastery, and vocals that soar above the stratosphere only to strike down with visceral intensity at a moments notice.

From the instant “I, The Creator” fades in fans should already know they’re in for a crispy, metallic treat. Equal parts Meshuggah with hints of Roadrunner Records upstarts Five Pointe O while vocalist Chris Barretto channels Ra’s Sahaj Ticotin during meloidic moments and Threat Signal’s Jon Howard and Phil Anselmo at Monuments most animalistic times.

“Origin of Escape” slaughters senses next with an acoustic opening acting as a facade before the mayhem begins while “Atlas” is a little more straight up and eases on the tempo but not the force with which the message is delivered. “Quasimodo” is just a gorilla of a song that has John Browne and Olly Steele proving their guitar prowess on The Amanuensis once again.

Then there’s songs like the odd “Saga City” which starts, um, well you just have to hear it. From there it progresses into a sweet little Pop jam until the inevitable metal maelstrom with Adam Swan’s divine bass strums peaking in throughout. But if you want even more range, skip directly to Genesis-like closer “Samsara”. Wow. And lest we forget drummer Mike Malyan who slays on the hyper-aggressive “Jinn”, pummels with tribal aplomb on “I, The Destroyer”, and basically kills on every song here.

If you like progressive metal, you like it heavy, and you’re looking for a new sound this summer then be sure to pick up Monuments The Amanuensis today!

The Amanuensis is out through Century Media Records now. Pre-orders are available here.

 

Untitled Metal Column: Volume 4 (Godflesh, Decline & Fall)

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The news on the new Godflesh front was becoming increasingly quiet and I was wondering if A World Lit Only By Fire was ever going to see the light of day. I can only imagine that Godflesh must have sensed my concerns (Obviously!) because not only has their new album been slated for a Fall 2014 release but, to tide fans over, they’ll also be releasing an EP entitled Decline & Fall on June 2nd.

This is what you’ve been waiting for kiddies! The first new Godflesh material in 13 years (Along with the cover of Slaughter’s “F.O.D.” released as part of Decibel’s Flexi Series late last year) is here and it’s everything you hoped and dreamed for. Didja like Streetcleaner but prefer the vocal stylings a little more polished a la Selfless? Well, it looks like you got your wish here because opener “Ringer” reeks of both albums.

Want your Godflesh even more aggressive? Justin K. Broadrick’s bark is absolutely seething on “Dogbite” while “Playing With Fire” drones on with industrial aplomb. If you want the full experience, though, turn your ears towards the title track, “Decline And Fall”, which brings equal parts intensity and slight glimpses towards what the future of Godflesh hold.

If you’re feeling nostalgic for early Godflesh then Decline & Fall is sure to get you going and hyped for the upcoming full-length. It’s a nod to the past with a solid foot in the future and, hopefully, a vision of what’s to come this fall.

Decline & Fall is available through Avalanche Records on June 2nd. Get a copy here and here. North American fans can get their copy on bandcamp now.