четвъртък, 28 август 2014 г.

Autopsy - Macabre Eternal (2011)



I've been buried under the glistering summer heat, enjoying the calm spiritual death of my burning summer break of a chemistry student, being turned into a human craving for silence and sleep as a means of enjoying myself (that's also why university is not always the best idea). Then one day I woke up and passed around my Autopsy Severed Survival vinyl and thought 'maybe I should give it a spin'. Which proved a successful means of waking the beast from her eternal summer slumber. Then it lead to me listening to 'Macabre Eternal' as I remember how much I loved and praised it when it first came out. Oh, hooray, down-tuned guitars, ravaging soloing - a glimpse of clear air, finally!

What bums me most about death metal bands created in the new millennia is the way in which they decide to produce their records, absolutely minimalizing the human effort by using machines to do all their work. Don't get me wrong, I don't care whether you work more or less in the studio, I care about the final product, which is the music I am listening to and I definitely don't like my drumming crystal clear and my bass clean and shaved. Autopsy have definitely 'improved' a lot sound quality-wise from their early days. However, what is great sound and production in their case, does not ruin the spirit and smell of this package in the very least. You get straight, non cheesy and always as balled, down trodden death metal. Or maybe I should say 'doom death' if we're speaking about some of the songs. What's particularly enjoyable about this album is that is has everything your ears'd need - it has the fast, bludgeoning guitar solos, it has the doomier, slow-paced grim songs, it has everything and done in the finest way possible.

The songs themselves feel complete and actually contain some real meat - such diversity of riffs, astonishingly rude bass; when you have almost forgotten that bands used to record something in such a raw way - you get it - the bass is fucking there, it is audible! The most important ingredient in cooking your death metal. Then in the next song you get an acoustic guitar, a plethora of surprises and all of them are good. Just when you think you're hearing the beats of the dead in a slow and grim manner, the next songs throws you at a completely different situation - suddenly you'd be floating in the rives of the underworld hearing a serene chorus. God, I love this album, in its longest and shortest tracks, just the same.

When I am listening to this album I feel like I hold a diamond that I could put in a secret vault and get it out when I really need it. There are very few bands in the world that would produce something with such a high quality these days. It's as if I am listening to the Repulsion demos again but with a much more enjoyable sound and it's not a hundred years ago. There are some albums - whatever you say, you won't to them justice until you finally hear the material and this is one of them.

неделя, 27 юли 2014 г.

Serpent Warning - Serpent Warning (2014)


Maybe I need to send a bucket of flowers to the Finnish nation for being the ones that never disappoint and release the best traditional doom metal in the planet, no matter how sucky the situation throughout the world. Finland has saved my ears so many times when there's nothing good to put on, eh. There are probably several gay doom bands from Santa's homeland that I don't know of, but the overall quality far outreaches the trash, if any at all.  

I was going to say that Serpent Warning sound ultra mighty, totally like The Wandering Midget but hey, both bands share the same vocalist so now we know why. Typical majestic, finnish, traditional, clear singing with rare higher pitches. If you like this manner of singing ala Reverend Bizarre with a strong accent, you'd probably appreciate the vocal delivery.

Many people would tell you that traditional doom is a 'said and done' genre and there's not much going on to reinvent the wheel. If you're among these folks I doubt you'd dig Serpent Warning as you simply don't get to doom more traditionally than them. If I have to sum up for the whole album - yes, it isn't something very original or varied, but it's quality doom nonetheless. Not innovative, but good. 


One thing I've always appreciated is when the musicians manage to deliver the music in such a way that it all sounds like a one big whole, yet managing to give the instruments a voice so you hear each one of them individually. Not one big mish mash. The bass is there, the rhythm is felt strongly. I guess a lot of this could be contributed to the vocalist  as it seems he is conducting all the band and they all march in his steps. The result is very catchy, mid to slow paced doom.  

I love the picture on the album cover and if the band wanted to set your mood with it, their goal is complete.  

Go check them out at: http://ihate.bandcamp.com/album/serpent-warning 

събота, 19 юли 2014 г.

Ocean Chief - Universums härd (2014)



Ocean Chief are among the strangest 'sludge' bands that my ears have encountered and I mean it all in a good way. When you hear the name you might as well delude yourself that they have something to do with the post rock/sludge style of metal that's been popular recently, something in the likes of later Tombs, but no. They hammer on in a more primal, refusing to be sophisticated kind of way and the raw energy that erupts from the record won't miss burying in its lava anyone listening to it. 

The first song powers off in a very Melvins kind of a way, contains a lot of vocals (unlike most other songs) and although the guitar hammers decently enough to call Ocean Chief above average, I think the instrumental songs that follow bear more pride and are definitely among the more interesting work of the band. It works for them to build on guitar solos and riffs without the music becoming too impersonal or boring. What I personally dig most is the way the band never fails to sound grim. It's the more nihilistic, doom kind of sludge rather than something hardcore.

If you love Melvins's Bullhead you would instantly hear the King Buzzo manner of raging and blurting. It can be felt in the first song more than anywhere else later on. The whole record sounds like a massive black whole that's going to suck you in its gravity in any moment. What's best, the solo guitar is present at so many times, you won't feel like listening to something deprived of character.

What could've been improved in my opinion, is the audibility of some of the instruments, the bass is barely there, the drumming could've been stronger. Singing in Swedish will probably leave you clueless like me about what's going on in the lyrics. The production is good as it preserves the raw energy of the band. May I be excused as I am not an expert in mixing but I think there's something missing there as at times I hear the instruments like a bowl of soup instead of pieces lined as to stand out. 


Generally I'd say Universums härd is a good record to relax to on a grim day. Intelligent without being pretentious post rock shite. 

You can give it an ear here: http://ihate.bandcamp.com/album/universums-h-rd

петък, 20 юни 2014 г.

Naam - Naam (2009)




I’ve been trying to keep up to date and review mainly “the records of the day” but today I pitifully remembered that I’ve skipped Naam, something I think is a criminal offense towards my tastes in music, so take a good seat, we will have to go five years in time. 

If you’re into the arts of the holy stoner doom, Om-esque bands from around the globe, you’re surely familiar with Naam. Unless you’re not here’s a quick reviewing of their spiritual genius. For a moment there I thought the band was from Sweden, having in mind how many successful bands from their caliber hail from the northern land. My guess failed, these boys come from nowhere else but good old hectic New York. Their location, however, is the only thing that links them to the States. Musically this beautiful piece of stoner only speaks of high mountains in the Middle East, clear water valleys and misty mountain tops somewhere very, very far from the familiar sight.   

Naam’s debut is extremely spiritual, very uplifting and not depressive in any way that you’re used of associating doom with. The only reason the band is described as stoner doom is because of the heaviness of their records and that’s where the “doom” bit ends. The tribal motive is present in each songs, in some more than in the others. The opener track, a sixteen minute beauty is an example of a tribal journey that in no way feels like sixteen minutes. I really like these bands that can produce the longest of tracks but you never notice because they are so good. And to be fair, not only I needn’t skip any of this music but would often have to come back to it, listening many times to only one song. The debut album reminds me a lot of Om at particular places, partly because I am a big Om fan, partly because they are of the few heavier bands that encompass eastern melodies. A note here, Naam’s sound always feels much heavier than Om and of course, there isn’t such heavy bass presence. However, it’s in no way reminiscent.  The music flows freely and unrestrained, evicting pictures in the mind – crescent moon under a silent sky and a complete inner nirvana.  

One more point to make, the songs – even thought they flow so freely and feel like one big whole, are very different in pace and structure. There are the completely tribal, almost acapella songs and there are the faster stoner tracks. Astonishingly well balanced album that you’d come back to. 


I’d very rarely find something to listen to that’s so amazingly linked to nature and epic in sound. There’s nothing too trite here and frankly, nothing earthly. 

http://kingdomofnaam.bandcamp.com/

вторник, 13 май 2014 г.

Salem's Pot - ...Lurar ut dig på prärien (2014)

 

I am so hyped and fried at the moment; it’s hard to start this review. Be aware that the amount of fan girling might exceed the Chandrasekhar limit. If you’re someone like me, chances are that Salem’s Pot can easily be among your favourite bands. Well, not really, as they have only released a few songs so far; but you would definitely dig them. Dig them hard.

For a starter, their three songs album sounds like Electric Wizard, only if they cared what was going on. So much slow sleaze, it feels like crawling through dirt in electric colours. The vocalist is buried under five tones of smoke and blurts out lyrics like Clayton from Satan’s Satyrs. If you have listened to both records a lot, they sound totally alike. The sound is garage, may I I am so hyped and fried at the moment; it’s hard to start this review. Be aware that the amount of fan girling might exceed the Chandrasekhar limit. If you’re someone like me, chances are that Salem’s Pot can easily be among your favourite bands. Well, not really, as they have only released a few songs so far; but you would definitely dig them. Dig them hard.

For a starter, their three songs album sounds like Electric Wizard, only if they cared what was going on. So much slow sleaze, it feels like crawling through dirt in electric colours. The vocalist is buried under five tones of smoke and blurts out lyrics like Clayton from Satan’s Satyrs. If you have listened to both bands' latest records a lot, you'd probably find a lot of resemblance in the vocal "style". The production sounds super garage, may I say, basement; and altogether the feeling is one of being in an 80s giallo horror movie.

After having listened to this album for ten times, I find myself whining it’s not any longer - and the mere fact that I was in utter joy after finding they have two other demos, can only give a hint about them being something more than your average three man down-tuned shit ass doom fuck. As a whole, the music sounds driven by drugs and psychedelia, no idea how true that is, but what matters is that it sounds rightfully in its own space and dimension. There is no ray of positivism, no female infused vocals and no retro chicks, sorry. Actually I have no idea if there are any female members, but thankfully you can’t hear any tiny voices.
 
The pace of the whole thing is real slow (wah, surprise!) and feels more like you are being dragged rather than led to somewhere. The coolest down-tuned guitar solos enter here and there, always being distorted and sludgy.

Many bands in the stoner/doom genre use vertigo for their artistic presentation (booklets, albums covers, etc.) but I can only guess most of them do it because it's considered to be retro and probably because of Black Sabbath. However, these folks here do sound mind fucked to an incomprehensible level and I think they are finally someone whose music is cool enough to use it. The fact they've decided to use Soledad Miranda is another thing I like them. People with good taste should support people with good taste.


Now go listen to them, kids, load another one. Get hype.


http://salemspot.bandcamp.com/


четвъртък, 8 май 2014 г.

Bölzer - Roman Acupuncture (2012)



Bölzer's first physical release is the most crushing, not giving any fucks black/death metal demo that I've listened to in the latest years. The Swiss band consists of two members only but they blast hatred for a hundred. The richness of the sound achieved is quite striking and in my own opinion, it shouldn't be perfected in any way as it is already as it should be.

I'm trying to think of any smart adjectives to describe this band, but If I have to go with a plainer approach they sound like fucking Bolt Thrower of black metal. The experience of the listener can be equalled to a thousand canons being fired at your ears. The blast beats sound kinda garage and the riffs go from slow to fast to highlight the tortured screams. Come on, you don't expect a song called "Roman Acupuncture" to contain chilled vocals, do you?

The riffs sound ominous and ancient, as if produced in some blackened cavern while a dancing tribe follows a ritual. On overall, the vocals are decently audible with a lot of "Ughs" and no unneeded black metal falsettos.

My favourite of the 3 tracks is the first one as it is a total beast with ass kicking riffs in a whirlwind of evil sound. The riffs power off just one after another, with some time for the drums to slow down and kick you below the belt.

Top class black metal, check it out.

неделя, 23 март 2014 г.

Amulet - Cut the Crap (2011)



Amulet have cut all the crap. This is the best demo tape I've listened to in ages. Or aeons. I've listened to it so many times it's a miracle of technology how my player still spins it.

These guys don't sound like anything I've yet listened to or can think of and at the same time they sound like most bands I love. The metal in this tape sounds fucking old school and legit. I have no idea what kind of equipment it is recorded with, but it seems one doesn't need a lot of fancy stuff to record good old school sounding music. If I have to define it, I'd probably go with NWBHM, which by itself doesn't make it really clear, as there are so many different bands within the boundaries of the genre. What is best is that there's nothing cheesy in 'Cut the Crap'. All the possible gayness has fallen sloppy dead. It basically sounds like really badass necro speed.

I think everyone should hype around bands like this one, instead of the limitless amounts of crap that gets covered in popular metal magazines. The solos here are fast and loud, just like in the good old days and you'd probably find yourself air guitaring hopelessly. It's like fucking early Angel Steel emerged from the grave. The bass sound is also very raw and leaves a pinch of good old authentic sound.
 

So what are you waiting for, go check these guys and support them!

четвъртък, 6 март 2014 г.

Drencher - Demo (2014)



Aberdeen’s Drencher might have formed only recently, but they, without any doubt, know how to hit hard. The 4-track bulldozer of a demo presents a bit more than 20 minutes of uncompromising sludge and anguish.

I would allow myself to say that it’s quite an upbeat demo and actually even fast for what you’re used to hear under the sludge tag. I found the vocals quite awesome, as they don’t lean towards metalcore at all. From time to time it gets problematic for me to find decent vocals in sludge, as many bands (especially from the States) sound too metalcore/hardcorish. Ok, so this is not the case here.

The best track in my opinion is the opener, as the riff is just the best and it won’t leave you static, in any way. If it does, you probably don’t like this kind of music anyway. Sea slayer (the name, yass) also has a slower section which, if you like sludge, would know often turns out to be the heaviest part of the song. Plain and simple, this riff makes anything near it crumble. For any two guys, these boys produce a lot of noise. A small minus is the lack of any proper bass section. I am a keen bass guitar lover and think it's especially necessary for any band, not to mention sludge bands, it adds additional wretchedness to the music and always makes the songs appear more varied. 

For the weak hearted of you, or maybe I should say, the weak-eared, I can freely say that the production is good enough and you won't be put through any garage sounding recordings. Go hear Drencher, they are full of anger and dynamics and would hopefully hit hard some underground Scottish club (and beyond) soon.

https://drencher.bandcamp.com/track/sea-slayer