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

сряда, 19 февруари 2014 г.

Rites - Rites (2011)



I came across Rites quite spontaneously. As far as I can remember it was someone from Headless Kross (Scottish doom metal) who had recommended them and since I quite dig Headless Kross and have been to all of their recent gigs in Glasgow, one could expect that I'd check a band with plausibly similar sound. Rites are rather different from Headless Kross, even though they bear some similar traits and both bands are from the UK. I'd define their music as a low, down tuned, particularly heavy sludge doom. 

I quite dig the fact that the vocalist sounds a bit like Kirk Fisher (Buzzov•en). Well, no one sounds exactly as screwed and greasy as fucking Kirk, but the manner of delivering the vocals is quite similar. Most songs don't vary in pace a lot, all of them being rather slow and grouchy sludge metal. While in their latest album you can find quite a lot of interesting solos, the first Rites LP is rather straightforward. The intro is much more an instrumental song than just a few notes thrown together just for the sake of it, and I find it particularly awesome. I mean, a lot of bands just compose a few notes to make some opening track, but this one here is quite solid. It's also probably the fastest you will get on this record.

Second song, "Vessel" is tuned damn low (as we like it, baby) and has the catchiest riff on the record. The vocalist is damn awesome again. He sounds like spitting acid. The guy also reminds me of Martin Van Drunen. Ok, I hate to make these references all the time, but it's a decent way to make people actually get some links to a particular sound in their head. I'm very often unimpressed with sludge records as most bands tend to repeat themselves, but here you get some actual content. Not to mention that the bass lines are pretty audible most of the time and this is a feature you definitely need for decent sludge. I can't think of any other sub genre of metal which depends on bass so much. Like, you can basically listen to some bands with never realising what the bass guitar does. The case here is not one of these and you only need to play a few minutes of "Plastic Lung" to find out that I am right. Another bloody awesome track, which you most definitely need to check if you like Graves at Sea.


I purchased Rites's EP before even listening to their latest work, which is probably to some extent good for my bank account as I'd have gotten everything they released. In my own opinion, the II Rites is much better than the one i have already been talking for. No confusion, the EP here is pretty sweet, it's just that they have become a lot better at their second attempt. It might also be that I'm a bigger fan of doom metal than sludge and there's clearly more doom on the second Rites and specifically a lot more soloing. So if you like this folk here, I'd definitely suggest that you check the band's other songs.

неделя, 16 февруари 2014 г.

Dread Sovereign - Pray to the devil in man (2013)



What is this? For a starter, some records should have a label mentioning with small but clear letters "danger of overexcitement". When I first heard that Primordial’s main man, Alan Averill is releasing a doom metal thing, it interested me but I let it somehow pass by my ears. Then “Pray to the devil in man” was released and it buried me six feet below sea level. There’s something cursed in the Irish extreme metal scene and I don’t know exactly what it is, but they manage to pull off some brilliant wretched metal. No generic crap. However, here I am not even touching the matter of mediocrity, this EP is really fucking good.

Consisting of 3 tracks, with an overall length a bit more than 20 minutes, it’s got no note that’s not at its place. I wish it were at least twice its duration and hope for a full-blooded release sometime soon. Musically, the EP is a mixture of the classiest parts of Primordial’s latter albums and mind crushing doom with a fairly good modern production, which fails at no time. In my opinion, the most impressive track is the third one; I feel they’ve left it for last to completely finish you. It’s basically 9-minute vocal cursing, which bursts at the end just to throw you a mile from where you were just sitting before the song began. Typical structure for a doom metal song, but I’m still excited like I hear something of that sort for a first time. And maybe in some ways I do, because how often do you hear ‘Primordial goes doom.’ The songs don’t vary greatly, speed being always mid slow. Personally, it reminds me of another favourite band from England, Gallow God. There’s something similar in the manner of tranquil and bleak delivery.

Don’t worry if Twilight of the God wasn’t your thing, this piece here is quite different. While Twilight of the God were okay, generic at best, “Pray to the devil in man” is class. Maybe it has something to do with my personal taste, but I think it’s among the best EPs I’ve heard in the recent months and damn, I listen to a lot of bands.