Juan Pablo Lucco Borlera: Bajo
Mauricio Condon: Guitarra
José Landín: Batería
Tracklist: Cabalgan Los Cielos (7:39) Ouroboros (5:16) Stolas (8:42) Eclipsum (4:36) La Piedra Que Sujeta El Sol (5:45) Nuboj (7:26)
IAH – Self Titled EP Demo
Post-Metal, especially Instrumental Post-Metal, is somewhat akin to walking a tightrope: if executed correctly, it can be a true wonder to behold. However, even the slightest misstep can spell disaster for the artist in question. One of the latest acts to walk this tightrope is Argentina’s IAH.
Post-Metal’s largest pitfall is that it can be a very difficult genre to perform while maintaining the interest of the listener. All too commonly, the music is tuned out, eventually being delegated to being “background music” after the listener sets their attention to something more gripping. Fortunately, IAH does an excellent job of making sure their music remains interesting in their debut album, adeptly shifting the feel of their music at the exact instant that the musical idea of the time would wear its welcome.
This album often feels like 3 friends jamming in their garage, and that is absolutely a good thing. An air of familiarity and camaraderie permeates this release- it lacks the disconnect between the listener and the artist that so many larger releases have. It really feels like IAH are sharing something with you and that you are simply hanging out with them, and this feeling definitely pans out in their favor.
The sections of this album that yield the biggest and best impact are when the band really lets loose: IAH feels, far and away, most comfortable when their amps are turned up to eleven, the overdrive is blaring, the guitar is detuned, and the drummer is holding nothing back. Approximately halfway through album opener “Cabalgan Los Cielos” the fuzz guitar is taken beyond the point of no return and the song opens up into an outright tremendous stomp that characterizes the band at their best: Loud, heavy, and downright punishing. This sensation is taken to its maximum in the first half of album high point “Eclipsum”, a showcase of world class riffs full of fuzz, wah, and bass chords.
Spacey, Post-metal is at its finest when the band lets loose, just as outer space is at its most interesting when one takes a look at the crushing gravitational forces of stars, supernovas, and black holes, and IAH is a band that certainly seems to be perfectly aware of this. Despite being rather new to the scene, IAH weaves a work that deserves plenty of attention in the metal crowd, and if there is any justice in this great big universe, these masters of musical intuition will receive that attention.
Begin to Float (Intro) (4:44) 2. Sannraijz (9:58) 3. Sometimes Going Too Far is the Only Way To Go (7:13) 4. Sannraijz 2 (4:43) 5. We’re Only In it for the Spacerock (20:28) 6. Make Yourself Heard for the Sake of the World (10:47)
First Band From Outer Space are a Aleatoric/Psychedelic/Space Rock band from Gotenborg, Sweden. Their label describes them as being “Swedish intergalactical starfighters on their eternal quest for infiltrating the human race with their alien psychic powers of enslaving the neanderthals by brainwashing [them] with the finest space rock ever done in Sweden!”
There are two variations of this cover. The one for the original release give you a better idea of what you are getting into once you get into the music. (Meaning it is more atmospheric) There is a person in a spacesuit on the right and there is a light coming from over their shoulder. The second cover is the one for the digital release it is black with a starfield and two light spots similar to CD, but instead of a astronaut there is a small module with the band’s name filling up most of the screen with the album title smaller on the bottom. (Both in the NASA font)
Original Artwork of “We Are Only In It For The Spacerock in 2005
Begin to Float (Intro) – This track whirls in with a slow strumming of the guitar leading us into the First Band From Outer Space version of space. It is similar to “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” (Pink Floyd) in the way it builds and builds on itself. More bloops and bleeps are added and the music starts to pick up in the 2 minute area. Here we get our first clip; “All of my most sensitive areas were inflamed. My extremities pulsing and tingling sensation. …Floating higher and higher. A wonderful feeling! I began to float. Up, away from my body… My brain seemed to be held in a giant vice. Swaying back and forth. A beautiful thing taking me away. My head is spinning. It was a bell… a bell…” now we get fast beat of the drum. Building the tension. The guitar strumming along calmly.. and then
Sannraijz – Now we are in a slightly different area. We are speeding through their space. The track slows at four minutes and then speeds back to it’s normal pace. At five minutes we get vocals. At the end of a comparatively quick singing passage we are told, by Johan that; “The end is always the start of something new” as we continue on our way through the rest of the track. Until it starts to slow in the last 20 or so seconds and our next clip; “No one had a bad trip. It was all very good.” as the next track cuts it off. I could not find a translation of what the title means.
Sometimes Going Too Far is the Only Way To Go – Here is where (more of) the 70’s rock comes in. A cowbell is counting in our next jam. Six minutes in we get our 90’s influence. A layered vocal not quite shouting at us. This is another short bit of lyrics. We are counted out by the cowbell as well.
4. Sannraijz II – Here is an almost Mike Oldfield type of track, there are birds chirping. We have now landed on a strange desert planet. This is the most radio friendly song; it is acoustic and has lyrics throughout. It serves as an intro to the next track.
5. We’re Only In It for the Spacerock – This track is an experience. It is a slow jam calling back to the first track. It is similar to a song by Acid Mothers Temple and the Cosmic Inferno called “Anthem of the Space.” Just a very spacey sounding with heavier guitar. There is another sound clip at the end but I cannot quite make it out. The title is likely in reference to the Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention album We’re Only In It for the Money.
6. Make Yourself Heard for the Sake of the World – This track has a Jethro Tull flute part in it. We get our space or eastern sounding intro then we get a rocking riff and MoonBeamJosue is bringing us home with his flute. Two minutes in we get our 80’s/90’s sounding vocal style again. The track ends how it begins. The tracks are all faded into another so it is a continuous piece.
The synth parts of the music are like a 50’s or 60’s look at what music from aliens, (meaning the bloops and bleeps) that was depicted in the old sci-fi movies/shows with guitar and rhythms from 70’s (and at some points the late 90’s) Rock. This album is a mix of Budgie and Acid Mothers Temple and the Cosmic Inferno that I didn’t know that I needed until now. The band show their influences well while making their own brand of Spacerock.
If you like 70’s style Rock with some space synths added in you should definitely pick this release up.
Stream and download the album here. “No one had a bad trip. It was all very good.”
Austrian Ambient / Alt. Rockers Our Ceasing Voice have been at it awhile, though this is my first encounter with them. Folks are always surprised when I haven’t heard of this band or that band, especially if it’s something that is well within the realm of what I usually find myself listening to. The fact of the matter is just that there’s a whole slew of music out there, and there’s simply no way for me to keep up with it all. Nearly everyone these days is in a band, or two, or three, or five. With that kind of saturation, it’s easy for even really good bands to slip through the cracks. That’s the case with Our Ceasing Voice, and I’m honestly surprised that these cats don’t have a bit more exposure. Their sound is both unique and accessible, though perhaps the vocals are a bit of an acquired taste. Also, Free Like Tonight was only released about a month ago, so this album hasn’t really had enough time to get out there and reach a wider audience. In truth, I’m not sure how their back catalog compares to their latest, so this album is my only point of reference.
When talking about this album, I think that it’s important to write about the vocals first and foremost, as they’re the center point; they’re what stands out and drives the music. It’s the kind of style that’s going to be polarizing: a deep and tortured baritone, goth-inspired and pain-strickenly emotional. For me personally, they work and totally make the album, and I can see how others may be turned off by them, especially as they veer towards the melodramatic more often than not. Still, vocalist Dominik Dorfler delivers his poetic lyrics with both poise and power.
The songs themselves are fairly simple in structure and instrumentation. They’re focused on texture and atmosphere rather than any form of musical pyrotechnics – layers of reverberated piano, subtle guitar parts echoed for emphasis, and airy washes of synthesizers float in and out of the mix, laying a backdrop for the vocals, and minimalist drums form the bedrock and foundation underneath. It’s tough for me to tell if there’s an actual bass guitar playing, or if the low end is simply carried by the guitars and synths; if there is bass, once again, it’s subtle. There’s no bassist credited on the album, so there very well may not be one.
Now, as much as I like this album, it’s not without faults, like most albums. While I can appreciate the shifts in dynamics that break up monotony within the songs themselves, on a whole, there’s not a lot of diversity within the album. Every song is extremely similar, and the tempos are all in the same ballpark. There’s not a whole lot to differentiate them, and perhaps that’s why these guys have kept a relatively low profile. This isn’t a deal breaker for me, and it shows a clear area for growth. Moving forward, if they incorporated something different every third song or so, or even used some interludes to break things up a bit, I think that they could have a lot of success with future albums. Their basic formula is solid – they just need a little bit of tweaking so that their albums really stand out and don’t start to feel tedious or repetitious halfway through.
I can see fans of ambient music, post-rock and goth rock getting into Our Ceasing Voice. The vocals make their music fairly unique without being wildly experimental, and what they do, they do extremely well. As I’ve noted above, I’m more concerned with what they don’t do. Namely, they do need to fix things up a bit. It’s tough for me to even identify a standout track because….well, they’re all pretty good, and they’re all pretty similar.
A band like this has all kinds of options – add some more experimental elements and really abstract sounds, rev up the tempos for a tune or two, add some vocal harmonies, get some guest musicians. Hell, even add some more traditional rock elements like a fitting guitar solo, adding more hooks in the vocals and instrumentation, or just some bridges. Getting a bassist may help with this by beefing up the rhythms and offering opportunities for interplay between the bass and drums. Like I’ve stated over and over – Our Ceasing Voice have developed a unique sound, and they’ve got a ton of potential. If they can carry that approach over to the treatment of individual songs, so that each song on an album stands as its own individual statement, then I think they’ll really start to go places.
Our Ceasing Voice at The Great Wall of China during their last Tour!
Hey everyone this is Terry the Ancient One and I got some more kickin’ Doomaphonica for your Rocktober by Clouds Taste Satanic. Formed in 2013, Brooklyn’s instrumental Doom Quartet is made up of bassist Sean Bay, drummer Christy Davis, guitarist Steven Scavuzzo, and guitarist David Weintraub. While pretty close mouthed about themselves on their Facebook Page and just as mysterious in Encyclopedia Metallum, They have managed to amass a small army of followers which I think is due to the fact Clouds Taste Satanic is promoted mainly by their loyal and deeply devoted fans through word of mouth and social media outlets.
While “DOOMED & STONED” has been quoted as saying “one of the most remarkable and tragically unknown metal bands of our time continues to reach new creative heights.” in their review of latest album by Clouds Taste Satanic. I must say I disagree on the part about them being tragically unknown. If they are then tell me why I am seeing them all over Facebook’s various metal and doom pages and communities and in the big underground Webazines: Decibel Magazine , CVLT Nation, DOOMED & STONED, Outlaws of the Sun, The Sludgelord , Metal Bandcamp, Sleeping Shaman and these are just the big ones. DOOMED & STONED, as cool as I think you are I think you’ve smoked a bit much.
Now that I have probably pissed off the Rolling Stone of doom music I will tell you a little about Clouds Taste Satanic latest musical offering “The Glitter of Infinite Hell.” Scheduled to be released October 31st, 2017, this 4 song, 74 minute demonic masterpiece of doom backs one hell of a punch. It’s songs fell like an opium dream turned into nightmare. Quite possibly inspired by Old Scratch himself “The Glitter of Infinite Hell” seems to tell the story of Lucifer’s rebellion and fall with the songs Greed, Treachery, Violence, and Wrath.
Opening Track off “The Glitter of Infinite Hell”
The songs feel like an opium dream turned into nightmare. What’s really cool about this album is the songs sound like the titles they are given. Through a brilliant combination of Doom, Sludge, Psychedelic Rock and Stoner riffs; “The Glitter of Infinite Hell’s” tracks manage to convey the meaning of the songs titles. For instance, the opening track ‘Greed’ sounds like a hulking beast lumbering across the land it laid waste filling its maw in a vain attempt to satiate its endless hunger. I could continue about every track but I think you are going to have to listen for yourselves to fully understand. You now have your soundtrack for Halloween this Year compliments of CTS!!
Break out your headphones for this one boys and ghouls Clouds Taste Satanic has some amazing ear candy ready for you. In “The Glitter of Infinite Hell.” If you can’t afford this one, beg your mom, dad, wife, husband or don’t buy that $6.00 Cup of Coffee for One Day… and spend the $5.00 to get the digital download, or $7.00 for the CD. If that doesn’t work, sell blood, volunteer for an experiment, sell sperm/eggs or you could try to sell your soul to Satan. In the mean time here are some of their past videos and a Bandcamp link to the new album.
Lineup: Bill Wyant – Guitar, Vocals
Jed Guthrie – Bass
Dennis Flynn – Drums
Perversions of the Anti-Ego 03:59
On Pilot Wave 05:07
Nothing Is, But What is Not? 10:27
The Anatomy of Thera Macula 11:04
Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder 06:31
Neon Spiral Hydra 10:57
Glory Whole 05:46
Review: Bat Chain Puller are fuzzy Stoner Rock group from Bloomington, Illinois. I use the adjective fuzzy because; as they explain it themselves, [We are] “Specializing in fine handcrafted metal that is fuzzy […] even before you bake…” (From their Facebook page). Their name is likely in reference to the album(s) by Captain Beefheart. The band have two previous releases; the first being a studio album from 2012, “One Million Tomorrows” and the second being a single (that is the first track off of this album with an altered time from 2016,) “Perversions of the Anti-Ego”
I could not find any direct pictures that the cover is made of. I am guessing that it takes place in either World War II or after some nuclear fallout. I say WWII because of the gas mask the model is wearing and because the background looks European. (Which leads into…)
Track 1. “Perversions of the Anti-Ego” – This is the single that was released a year before the album came out. It is Black Label Society-ish sounding; slow, it keeps the same tempo for most of the song until the last few seconds where they pick it up barely and once they hit the last note it fades out.
Track 2. “On Pilot Wave” (Favorite track) – I will elaborate more below but I feel that this should have been the single they chose from the album. It is Bush-ish sounding; abstract sounding lyrics, changing tempos, pseudo-Grunge aggression and a good rhythm.
Track 3. “Ostrich” – This is the song where you hear the bass guitar the most and it is what makes me enjoy it. This track is more of a Black Sabbath/Bush hybrid; strange lyrics, the bass keeps the track moving (along with the drums of course)
Track 4. “Nothing Is, But What is Not?”/Track 5. “The Anatomy of Thera Macula”(Best tracks) – These tracks go back and forth between all of their influences. There are brief points of Metal throughout both with points of Progressive Rock and Stoner Rock. Thera Macula most likely refers to one of the dark spots on Jupiter’s moon Europa. Which just happens to relate back to the cover, because; “Thera Macula is a region of likely active chaos” and that is what the cover and even points of these songs include.
Track 6. “Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder” (Heaviest song) – This is a close second favorite song. It goes between Bush style lyrics and modern (1990’s-2000’s) radio metal music. The repeating riff and how the guitar is the fade out at the end.
Track 7. “Neon Spiral Hydra” – This is a close relative of tracks 4 and 5 but different enough to where it doesn’t fit into the one song scheme. The song is very close to newer Alice in Chains.
Track 8. “Glory Whole” – Very Alice in Chains with hints of Layne Staley vocals. The way the vocals are layered is reminiscent of how AIC do theirs.
Bill Wyant’s vocals remind me of a strange mix between Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society and Ozzy Osbourne) and Gavin Rossdale (Bush). The music itself is a strange mix of newer Black Sabbath, the William DuVall lead Alice in Chains, Black Label Society and Bush and often the music styles come together and move apart song to song.
The drumming is the highlight of the album to me. Strangely enough; this album reminds me of Bless the Martyr Kiss the Child by Norma Jean, but a softer Rock version. Even though I feel the album has more of a Metal feel than a Rock feel. Tracks 4 and 5 serve best as one track. In these two the band creates a world that showcases their influences and shows the talent that they have as composers. Other than the 10 minute plus tracks this is a good biker album. Tracks 4, 5, 6, and 8 are the highlights.
If there is anything to complain about it is that it’s not heavy enough! At some points when they are building the soundscapes, I kept expecting some rapid fire drums or a speedy guitar solo, they teased it a little bit. Also “On a Pilot Wave” should have been the single, even if it would have to be shortened for radio play. (But these are personal gripes, not a musical one.)
Overall, Bat Chain Puller puts on a stellar performance with “The Anatomy of Thera Macula.” Definitely get a copy of it! Take a listen here and buy the DD or CD
Florian Analfox / Voices, Bass
Felix Geniusfix / Guitars, Samples
Tiwo Meiz / Drums
From the nether regions of Poland, Nihilosaur return with their 3rd full length album entitled “Hymn & Ruin”. Nihilosaur has a unique sound. I don’t feel that music needs to be categorized but it’s a lot easier to describe a band by their genre. Usually when I don’t know how to classify a band I’ll hit the net and check the usual places. Wikipedia is my go to but Wikipedia never heard of Nihilosaur. My next stop is Encyclopedia Metallum who list Nihilosaur as “Death Metal / Hardcore”. Even the shortest of listens leads me to believe that what they actually meant when they said “Death Metal / Hardcore” was “we don’t know”. Off to Nihilosaur’s Facebook page where they list their Genre as “Hymn and Ruin”…. That’s not a fucking genre. That’s the album title. I assume what they mean when they say their genre is “Hymn and Ruin” is “We don’t care”. I don’t think we can lump them into any category.
With that in mind, I think the best way to describe Nihilosaur’s sound is by conjuring up an image in your mind of the Nihilosaur itself. What would that be? First, the Nihilosaur is ancient & long dead but reanimated, presumably by some toxic waste and a few shots of lightning though no one knows for sure. Some of the Nihilosaur’s flesh was preserved in the tar pits from whence it came while some places the flesh is rotten, even decomposed to the bone. Its movements are slow. Despite having emerged from the pits a decade ago, tar is stuck to the Nihilosaur’s exterior. Flowing like molasses off its body with each movement, despite leaving a trail behind there seems to be no end to the muck. Nihilosaur is large, carnivorous and hungry – but not evil. No. Nihilosaur will devour you with indifference; not malevolence. He’s also horny as fuck.
Let’s see if we can complete the metaphor as we tour through the album. Starting with the cover, the analogy breaks down but let’s ignore that for just a minute. We’ve got a comic book style cover with an upright elephant with multiple arms, its trunk rammed into its gut. I guess it’s eating itself? I’m not really sure. The lettering of the band name looks eerily familiar and I’ll kick myself when I figure out where it’s from. Hopefully you’re reading this and yelling it at your screen, maybe I’ll hear you. Anyway, I have no clue on the significance of the elephant. Maybe it’s some sort of Nihilist symbolism though that’s a complete nonsense thought.
The album opens with a track called “No, No, No”. The heavily distorted guitars start the number, giving us a clue as to what comes next. The drums and bass of join the fray filling out a thick doom sound. Slow, melodic, distorted voices start creating eerie, ancient doom. They soon give way to death voices but quickly return to eerie again. Unfortunately none of the voices are discernible so I have no idea what this song is about. I agreed to review this album based on the band name alone (it’s so clever!!) and was hoping to hear what these guys have to say. The incomprehensible voices are a theme throughout the album. In fact the voices are turned down so they don’t stand out but rather blend in with the music. I suppose this is why the band calls them voices as opposed to vocals. It does suit the sound.
Moving on track to track, we have an atmosphere of thick goo. Imagine your lungs filling with tar. How they achieve such density with a 3 piece is beyond me. I would guess it has something to do with the heavy distortion and the blending of the voices which throughout the album go from eerie to death vocals to deep chants to low rumblings to screams.
Song titles like “A Kiss is the Beginning of Cannibalism” and “A Bag of Bones” tell me the Nihilosaur is hungry…or perhaps he was. After all, it’s not a bag of drumsticks, it’s “A Bag of Bones”. Song titles like “Night is My Nudity” and “What Are You Doing After the Orgy?” tell me he’s horny… but then again, if “A Kiss is the Beginning of Cannibalism” then he’s probably planning on working up an appetite during the orgy. Don’t go anywhere alone with the Nihilosaur unless you want to be dinner.
The album closes out with a track called “Reptile Parthenogenesis”. If you’re not aware, parthenogenesis is when an animal impregnates itself. Get ready for there to be many little Nihilosaurs running around having orgies and devouring whatever’s in their path. (Edit note: after writing this paragraph and submitting this review, I woke up in the middle of the night and realized what the elephant is doing to itself on the album cover… a little parthenogenesis action!!!).
Seriously though, it’s hard to take a band seriously when their members have names like Analfox and Geniusfix. I have to assume that they don’t take themselves too seriously either. That’s a trait I think is very admirable in music and musicians. It’s supposed to be fun. Grab a copy of Hymn and Ruin, give it a listen and have a good time.
Poia – Guitars and FX
Urlo – Bass, vocals, FX and synths
Vita – Drummer
Ciccio – Soundlord
Lu – visuals
– Godlike Snake – full length cd/lp – Beard of Stars – 2000
– Snailking – full length cd – The Music Cartel – 2004
– Lucifer Songs – full length cd/dvd lp/dvd – Rocketrecs/Supernatural Cat – 2005
– Idolum – full length cd – 2lp+cd – Supernatutal Cat – 2008
– Snailking – full lenght double vinyl – Supernatural Cat – 2009
– EVE – full lenght cd – LP+cd+dvd – Supernatural Cat – 2010
– ORO – cd – LP+dvd – LP – Neurot Recordings / Supernatural Cat – 2012
– ECATE – full length cd – LP + dvd – Neurot Recordings – Supernatural Cat – 2015
Hey doomsters this is the Ancient One and I’ve just returned from yet another odyssey through the cyberscape traveling the ethereal soundwaves. While traveling I learned through fellow music heads Italian wizards of heavy psych / stoner / doom Ufomammut have released a new album entitled “8”. Wanting to know more I wasted no time in getting a early preview but I unfortunately failed you. While I wanted to let you know about it before its September 22nd release date to give you all time to get your pre-orders in I was unable to because personal issues got in my way.
For those who are unfamiliar with them, Ufomammut (pronounced- ufomam’mut) is a heavy psych / stoner / doom band hailing from Italy. Going strong since 1999 “Ufomammut” was formed by Poia (guitarist, synth, and sound effects), Urlo (bass guitar, synth, sound effects and vocals), and Vito (drums) With 7 albums to date the bands upcoming album was released on the “Neurot Recordings label on September 22nd and is the bands 8th album, thus its title “8”.
As in past albums “Ufomammut” fearlessly experiments with sound and music. But what makes “8” unique is the method in which it was recorded. Seeking to give the listener the experience of listening to them live Ufomammut recorded the instruments in live studio sessions. And this painstaking process that has resulted in an amazing album.
Opening with “BABEL,” stoner doom Wizards Ufomammut begin weaving their auditory spell using a language all can understand. While I’d like to tell you which songs I liked most I really can’t. Every time I took time to look at the title of the song playing it broke my trance. So instead I will tell you what I enjoyed about “8” as a whole.
Unlike some music in which you feel like a spectator watching or listening to the metal gods on high, “8” envelopes you making you feel like you are part of the music. Listening to the fuzzed out guitar, drums, bass, droning chants, and psychedelic sound effects had me feeling like I was part of some strange musical mystery cult. “8” is best listened to in full and if you don’t have a decent stereo I recommend listening with headphones.
Helping them launch their latest album on September 22nd the “Malleus Art Collective” unveiled it’s “A Malleusdelic Art Trip Into Ufomammut exhibition” at the release party held at the Santeria Social Club (Milan, Italy) on September 22nd.
AVAILABLE NOW (Here) https://www.malleusdelic.com/store/index.php… – “The Art of Ufomammut” is a graphic journey by Malleus through 18 years of UFOMAMMUT. We wanted to put together almost all the designs we created during these years for Ufomammut, from the first album covers to the last silkscreen posters, from the Limited Edition vinyls to the t-shirt designs. 96 pages – softcover.
Like many Ufomammut fans,I would have loved to go to the release party or to one of their European dates following it. But since I can’t get to Europe I can console myself with the fact Ufomammut will also be appearing at the Maryland Deathfest in Baltimore, Maryland next year May 24th – 27th, 2018. Highly Recommend!!
Released By Some Big Label on September 15th, 2017
Reviewed by Andy “Dinger” Beresky
So….I’ve been asked to review the new Foo Fighters record. Taste Nation owner Matthew Thomas prefaced our conversation around the possibility of this review happening by saying that he’d talked to another reviewer he’s friends with, and this particular guy had said that “it was actually pretty good.”
Okay – let’s just take a moment right here to talk about the significance of this statement. What does it actually mean that in order for folks in our business to take a band seriously, we need to be told that the record is “actually good” in advance? What does that say about Foo Fighters, and about the way we operate in the review business?
In full disclosure, I’ve never been a Foo Fighters fan. Okay, there was this one song, on one album that they released in the early 2000’s that I actually enjoyed (the song was “Come Back” from the album One By One, thanks Googles!!), though that’s really about it. I actually bought the album, because someone told me that it was “actually good”, then I sold it because I never really listened to it more than a handful of times or appreciated it beyond that one song. I can, however, appreciate Dave Grohl’s contributions to the canon of punk and rock n’ roll, obviously with Nirvana, though also with Scream. And I recognize his contributions to our little scene itself: when he took over drumming duties on the third Queens Of The Stone Age album, and with his Probot record, which brought some of the biggest movers and shakers in the underground metal scene into the limelight by virtue of Grohl’s musical reputation. And I believe that it’s Grohl’s reputation that has prompted the writing of this review – I may not be a Foo Fighters fan, though I recognize that in an industry filled with some real d-bags, he doesn’t seem like a total asshole. He seems earnest and passionate, hell, even humble….well, as humble as a guy in his position can be. Aside from that, I do want to recognize his contributions beyond Foo Fighters, and let’s face it – Foo Fighters are a mainstream alternative radio rock band with a huge following and fan base.
Also, the album ACTUALLY is good, by mainstream alternative radio rock standards. That’s what we’re really talking about in the underground when we say that a record of this stature is “good” – we’re saying that it has at least something that appeals to those whose tastes tend to either veer away from the mainstream, or who are perpetually in search of something beyond the mainstream. We’re saying that it’s not run of the mill radio swill, and I’d be tempted to dismiss much of Foo Fighter’s catalog as that kind of fluff. That’s not entirely the case this time around. In regards to reaching beyond the mainstream norms, Concrete And Gold delivers the goods, ironically by embracing the mainstream norms.
Bear in mind, I’m not 100% behind it. Grohl’s grandiose statement that its a combination of Sgt. Peppers and Motorhead is patently absurd. I’m not fully endorsing the Foo Fighters as the second coming, nor am I hailing this album as the one that’s going to “save rock and roll.” There’s some critics who love to drop those kinds of statements; always have been. I remember in the “alternative 90’s”, when Fig Dish released That’s What Love Songs Often Do. Great album, you should pick it up if you like 90’s guitar driven alt rock. It’s a beauty, eh. I like it well enough, I still own my original CD copy and it’s gotten a lot of repeat plays over the years. They managed to get a single on the radio that was pretty decent, though it didn’t make much of an over all impact. My point is, I read this one review of the album in Spin Magazine or some other big name rag, that praised it with outrageous hyperbole and bold prophesy, saying that in 10 years we’d be referencing Fig Dish as a household name, that we’d be comparing all other similar bands to them, and saying things like “oh another band that sounds just like Fig Dish.”
Obviously none of these things came to pass. Granted, we’re talking about the post-Nirvana 90’s, where everyone in the industry was both eager and unable to recognize the “next big thing” in the wake of Nevermind’s surprising impact and legacy. I’d like to think that we can all agree that the conditions in the music industry of the time were what made Nirvana’s meteoric rise from promising indie rockers to colossal megastars possible, and that those conditions are no more. Everything about the music industry has changed, and things will never go back to how they were. The other key ingredient in Nirvana’s success, that’s more nebulous and harder to define, was their ability to take all of the angst and alienation that our generation felt after the impact of the 1980’s, and channel that into an album that succinctly and directly addressed to how many of us were feeling. That’s what gave “Smells Like Teen Spirit” it’s anthemic quality and lasting resonance – at the time it DID smell exactly like teen spirit. Not the cheap, superficial spray that simply masked what lies underneath: the lyrics, jagged power chords, dynamics, even the simply chorused solo that echoed the song’s main melody cut right through all the glitzy and glossed wool that had been perpetually pulled over our eyes during the 80’s.
I bring this all up because simply making an album that’s “actually good” isn’t going to have the same impact; it’s not going to magically save rock and roll from the vapid auto-tuned pop ditties and overproduced pop country that dominate the airwaves. Lots of folks would love to see that, I get it. Part of me would love to see that as well. The stark reality is that it’s not 1992, and this isn’t Nevermind. It’s Concrete and Gold, and much like that long-lost Fig Dish album, we’re not going to be saying “oh another band that’s trying to sound like Foo Fighters on Concrete and Gold” in 10 years.
Part of what makes this album actually good is its over-the-top production. Instead of rebelling against the machine and recording a raw, stripped down rock album, as his prior outfit did with In Utero, Grohl opts for the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach. It makes sense, since Foo Fighters have basically pumped out pop-rock since their inception. This is as overproduced as anything that Taylor Swift has ever recorded. That’s actually not a bad thing, as it makes an otherwise milk toast band sound pretty peaches and cream. It’s got plenty of layers and nuance, little touches here and there that really make the album shimmer and shine. Grohl and company have definitely made excellent use of their studio time and a veritable “who’s who” list of special guests (look them up), and I can appreciate the album solely on that level.
What really makes the record work better than prior Foo releases is that it feels more album oriented to me. It showcases a chance to explore music within the context of a studio, rather than just to write a collection of hit songs. Sure, there are obvious singles; I guess the second track (after a brief but bombastic intro track), “Run”, is the first single off the album. It’s the obvious choice. It’s upbeat and catchy with a huge, hook laden chorus followed by a crunchy, remotely heavy two note riff and harsh screams that will make those whose musical tastes gravitate towards modern rock radio pronounce “Wow! Grohl’s got his edge back!! He’s angry.” Yeah, sure he does….it’s a pretty transparent ploy, and I’m sure it will be lauded and successful in its re-branding effort, thanks to sly marketing campaigns, plenty of PR, and the credulous naive, gullible, and downright disingenuous critics at more “respectable” music rags.
The rest of the album has its moments, its ups and downs. “Make It Right” has a funky/fun guitar riff that’s akin to what Queens Of The Stone Age are doing. “La Dee Da” also reminds me a bit of QOTSA, though Josh Homme and company are much quirkier in terms of songwriting and instrumentation. “The Line” sounds like a classic Foo Fighters track, simple, non-offensive guitar driven rock, treated to the production standards of modern pop. “Dirty Water” is similar, although it’s more subdued, like the kind of track a band would release as their third MTV video in the 90’s daze of Alternative Nation after their first two hard-hitting singles. These songs, though unremarkable, are at least coherent – I’m not sure what Grohl was thinking with “The Sky Is a Neighborhood”. The composition and arrangement make about as much sense as the song title, and his attempts to write “political” lyrics are frankly embarrassingly disconnected from the zeitgeist. His weak, equivocal words don’t capture any spirit of our current age, they simply smell like Axe body spray. “Sunday Rain” is a fucking mess; the intro has some bluesy licks before the verse uses a reggae styled downbeat/offbeat and keyboard swirls underneath the overproduced vocals, which seem an attempt at Grohl sounding “soulful.” Instead it’s pure cliche heaped upon cliche.
It’s actually the more somber, understated songs that I prefer. “Happy Ever After (Zero Hour)” sounds like a bar room ready drinking song, and although there’s much better music I’d prefer to have a beer to, it stands out as a stronger track, as does the title track, which finishes the album on a melancholy note, with drawn out passages of slow, longingly over-saturated guitars and moody vocals….
I don’t know folks. Sure, this album is “actually good” in that it’s not totally boring and takes some unexpected turns, which I think is largely a product of the modern pop production combined with some actual ambition on Grohl’s part to push himself outside of the typical verse/chorus/verse format that’s par for the Foo Fighter course. It’s also not going to have very much replay value for me, nor is it going to save rock and roll. Plus, Taylor Swift’s last album was much better.
Michael Scola/ Vocals
Maxwell Damske / Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Bass, Drum programming
Alex Damske / Lead Guitars
A Brief History:
Screams of Winter is a melodic death metal act hailing from Chicago, Illinois. Forming in 2004 as a middle school act, they disbanded in 2010 when they “failed to evolve musically”. (Reference their Facebook about page). Fast forward 7 years, Screams of Winter have reformed and re-recorded 5 tracks that “finally sound like what the band always wanted them to sound like”. I haven’t heard their 2006 release, which they describe as “far from listenable” but I have to say the 5 tracks schlepped up on Divine Chaos are what I want them to sound like as well.
First the cover, which I’m guessing is a depiction of Saint Peter. The gates behind the angel-like figure suggest he’s standing atop the stairway to heaven waiting to pass judgement on whoever seeks entry. He is the Devine. However, there’s also an element of space here. The planet, stars, and comets are the Chaos. Well thought out.
The album opens with ‘Mechanical Chaos’. The first minute and a half is mostly keyboard ambiance with some light percussion and the odd strum of the guitar. This is the kind of thing a band might have the Sound Man play at the start of a show to set the mood as the band enters. Sound Man or keyboardist, that is, if they had one which it appears they don’t though I believe I hear some here and there throughout the album. Guitars lead us into the tune and finally the vocals join the fray. The first thought I have is Screams of Winter sound like a cross between Children of Bodom and Arch Enemy. Michael Scola’s vocals remind me of Angela Gossow and whoever is taking the lead on the guitar shreds like Alexi, early Bodom. Upon reading their bio, I see they list In Flames as an influence and now I can hear it big time. To be clear, I’m talking early In Flames, not current In Flames. There is one low point to the song that I feel compelled to mention and that’s the clean vocals. They’re not bad; I just don’t think they fit the track. In this particular case, they remind me of Ray Alder of Fates Warning, specifically from A Pleasant Shade of Grey. While Alder is one of my favorites, unfortunately in my opinion, using them on this track takes away a bit more than it gives. And don’t get me wrong, ‘Mechanical Chaos’ is solid regardless.
‘Divine Tragedy’, track 2, opens with a super melodic riff and again I can hear that early In Flames. I love the harsh backing vocals here as they allow for a pace that couldn’t be done with a single screamer. Again though, they cut to the clean vocals which I’m not fond of. In this track, they do better suit the layout, as they come while ‘Divine Tragedy’ slows. I believe they’re inspired by God Forbid who uses clean vocals more frequently and who are also, coincidentally, listed as an influence on Screams of Winter’s “About” page. Despite my reservations, this might be my favorite on this EP.
‘Orwellian Overture’ begins with Rush-like keys which come and go throughout the track. Again with the clean vocals; but they’re growing on me. I love how they transition in and out of the melodic riffs on this track.
‘Rise of the Nephilim’ is the perfect tune for a live show. It’s got all the elements I’m looking for. It begins with a pace that’s sure to open a pit. It slows a bit after 30 seconds or so, allowing the guys who get gassed easily the opportunity to stand aside and breathe while the few psychos remaining can keep at it as the reduced pace still justifies some slamming. The backing vocals again suit the track (fry, not clean). ‘Rise of the Nephilim’ continue the tradition of sweet transitions as the guitars sustain, the drums take over for a few seconds before the soloing begins which gives way to a chant “Rise! – Rise! – Rise!”. Of course, in the live setting this is the time for crowd interaction and I have no doubt there’ll be any problems getting the fiends in the audience to chant along. Sure, the nuts in the pit will likely be gasping for breath, single fist raised to open the airways as they labor out a hoarse whisper. Those who stand back banging their heads and fists will be sure to compensate. Once the chant ends the drums take off, a little back feed and back to the shredding… and moshing. Rise of the Nephilim maintains the pace until it closes.
Holy Lust closes out Divine Chaos with a nice slow melody that takes off unexpectedly. Again, smooth transitions bridge the gaps as the songs changes speed, from death to melodic and back again. I mention them every track as I feel transitions are key in separating the average Melodic Death Metal acts from the exceptional.
With so much going on in each track, it’s hard to notice that the earworms on Divine Chaos average almost 5 minutes each. Despite being just a 5 track EP, Divine Chaos clocks in at 29 minutes. Aside from being an amazing blend of Bodom, Arch Enemy and In Flames this album has one more feature extremely attractive feature and that’s the price. Digital download of Scream of Winter’s album (at the time of this writing) is listed on Bandcamp for $4USD. Are you kidding me? $4? I could create an endless list of trivial items people piss away more money on, sometimes on a daily basis. I’m not going to. All I’m going to say is there’s links below to 4 different ways you can buy it and Bandcamp is the cheapest.