Hey all you doom freaks this is The Ancient One and I have just learned of the return of Nottingham, England’s IRON MONKEY. Their original line up was: Justin, Greaves, Johnny Morrow, Jim Rushby, Doug Dalziel, and Steve Watson . Formed in 1994 this band of misanthropes sole purpose in life was to irritate and piss as many people off as they could. Spewing forth an auditory assault of bellicose, nihilistic vocals IRON MONKEY then fronted by Johnny Morrow was doing a hell of a job. But, like the notorious G.G. Allin they developed a cult of Misanthropic followers who liked what they were doing and so began IRON MONKEY’s then 3 year recording career that produced 2 albums and a split album with Japan’s Church of Misery.
Rumored by its cult of follower to have been playing when Pantera’s frontman Phil Anselmo had a near fatal heroine overdose the IRON MONKEY S/T debut album was first released on the Union Mills label. The release generated a stir that when combined with their insane live performances lead them to being signed on with Earache Records who re-released the album in 1997. Soon after its defection to Earache Records, IRON MONKEY released their masterpiece of negative rock “Our Problem” in 1998. Then in the following year they released their IRON MONKEY/Church of Misery Split album. Following their split album the band members got involved in side projects and with the death of their unholy vocal terror Johnny Morrow in 2002 it seemed IRON MONKEY was to be a legend relegated to compilations and box sets that old SLUDGE-CORE / PSYCHO-DOOM fans told the young’uns about. But the Fat Lady hasn’t sang yet.
Rather than call IRON MONKEY a memory, Steve Watson and Jim Rushby with addition of current Chaos UK drummer Brigga have returned once again, this time on Relapse Records with their album “9-13″. So get yourself ready for this psychotic power trio to unleash their simian rage. While Johnny is no longer on this earth to assault us with his beastly vocals Jim Rushby who has taken up the mantle is a force to be reckoned with. Throughout the 9 original tracks and 48 minute album, Jim Rushby assaults us with bellicose hate filled rants as Steve Watson lays monstrous fuzzed out sludge laden riffs with Brigga pounding out warlike drum beats.
While I had a great time listening to 9-13 it really seems to take off with the album’s 4th track “Toadcrucifier – R.I.P.P.E.R.” It is the point were I start hearing some ass kicking guitar leads to go along with the breakdowns. With Five short verses THE ROPE, NO HOPE, NO HOPE, THE ROPE, THE ROPE… The 7th track “The Rope” is a breakdown that prepares you and flows into “Doomsday Impulse Multiplier”. Listening to this album has truly damaged me!! Listening was like being attacked by a baboon in the throws of a PCP induced rage. Available on Relapse Records “9-13” is set for release on October 20th, 2017!!
Band Members: Rich – Drums
Josh – Bass (Thom on our EP)
Reno – Guitars/Vocals
Mushroom man – Producer/spiritual counseling
Previous Releases – “Introducing” 2015 / “Speaking Without Words (Bicycle Jams)” 2016
Three guys make up the line up here. Having faced numerous personnel changes and almost four years from founding to first release, DERELICS is serious about their craft and this new EP, “Guilty of Being Young,” delivers even more than what we have come to expect. They describe themselves as “technicolor/heavy/psychedelic rock” and this is pretty spot-on. This album was recorded with Wayne Adams at Bear Bites Horse (Shitwife, Vodun, Luminous Bodies).
Three tracks clocking in at just over 19 minutes on this release and each track is as strong as the other two in ALL instances. From the screamo-feel of ‘The (Wicked) Witch Is Dead’ complete with the meandering soloing, to the staggered, jazzy feel of the drum intro to ‘Guilty Of Being Young’ through ‘The Summer Song.’ There is a more driving energy and vibe that permeates this release that seems to have replaced the ‘doom’ feel that seemed prevalent with the previous releases.
Hopefully, this line-up is solid and they can push out a full-length sooner than later and can bring their circus to our shores in America!! The Guys have released the Title Track single ‘Guilty of Being Young’ on their Bandcamp Page for stream and purchase (below). Buy the entire EP immediately when it is released. Play it for everybody you think may like it and even those you know will hate it. Support them live if you are given the opportunity and remember to always keep it LOUD!!
Poseidon…crushing, destructive, monolithic. Juxtaposed with melodies of melancholy and the starkest and darkest of beauty. Poseidon…volume, monster thickness of tone. Rhythms with a pulse that can go from subtle to leveling pulverization. Emotional atmospheres of foggy desolation. Based out of East London these four blokes bring the smoke and the ash. Raza Khan-Drums // Matt Norris-Guitar // Matthew Bunkell-Bass/Vocals // Jaime Starke-Guitar hurl fire and smog. They bring a weight down on you that hits the soul. Prologue is Poseidon’s Ripple Music debut. Ripple most definitely know what they are doing. The label is the leader of heavy in North America and expanding. Signings such as Poseidon and this concrete slab of a record will keep Ripple’s reputation held in extremely high regard.
Prologue begins with ‘The Beginning The End The Colony.’ Our journey starts with a slow build of epic proportions. Feedback and tension swirl around your brain. The thickness pushing and putting pressure on the mood. As the monolithic and devastating riff drops, the drums of thunder kick in heaviness and groove that suffocates, and simultaneously exhilarates. Slow, meaty, weighty, emotionally charged sludgy doom. Midway through, the flawless vocals come in as Poseidon proceed to drop the sledge. The band transitions into an atmospheric and dissonant short reprise. Complete with swirling and weaving leads. You are able to catch your breath…if only for a minute. Savor that breath, because the last four minutes of this jam, the band will crush your lungs, your mind, your heart, and your soul. All has gone black.
Mother Mary Son of Scorn follows. A poignant acoustic dirge that lets the sparks and ashes fall and settle, on the smoldering landscape of desperation. Beautiful and dark, lamented and empty. This song makes you feel. Feel deep.
Chainbreaker breaks the chains. The beast is rising. Slogging across a swamp of mud and guts. Angry and agitated, the creature destroys the tethers of persecution, and is coming for the black tower. Tribal rhythmic drums mimicking the heartbeat, guitars raining molten lava. Waves of noise suffocate, as passionate and desperate vocals send shivers up the spine.
Closing track Omega opens with a biblical sermon on top of clean guitars with some reverb. The mood it sets is immediate and intensely felt. Poseidon smash the psyche and the face until the final note.
On Prologue, Poseidon lay the wood. This record takes you on a dank and darkened journey of diabolical sludge and doom. Neurosis noise, ethereal Yob vibes, Conan crushing tones. From the opening feedback, to the feedback at albums end, Prologue has everything. Heavier than one hundred heavy things. Emotional with weight and eerie underlying melodies throughout that are amazingly beautiful. Poseidon will be making waves, or should I say…Poseidon will be making tsunamis. We are all going under, and we are all going to be swept away.
Next up on the menu, is Steak. Not choice, not select, but prime. Meaty and juicy. Based out of London, this four piece of anthemic rock n roll goodness is marbled to perfection. Sprinkled with spices of fuzzy stoner tones, pounding rhythms and grungy vocals. The band consists of, Sammy on drums, and Cam on bass to fill out the massive rhythm section. Reece handles guitar and Kip is on vocals. Releasing two EP’s in 2012 and 2013 respectively, and the buzz building debut LP “Slab City”, Steak now is ready to sear the listener. New record “No God to Save” is out now on Ripple Music. The benchmark label of all heavy independents.
The record begins with the awesome ‘Overthrow.’ It starts with a completely fantastic riff, that is melodic, fuzzy, stoned out, and powerfully emotive. An extremely memorable riff that Steak let build until the thunderous rhythm section kicks in the groove. A really killer intro to this album. The main riff comes on like an avalanche as the band takes the energy up another notch. The vocals triumphantly come in and to me are very reminiscent of an old favorite band, Kilgore from the mid to late 90’s. Grunge-esque and executed very nicely. In my humble opinion, ‘Overthrow’ is the best track on the record…but don’t fret…this song may be the porterhouse, but the rest of the record has prime cuts all over it.
‘Coke Dick’ is next and starts with a slower paced groove that heavily lulls you into a slow head bob. Then the next second, Steak takes the tempo up more to the middle and smacks you right in the chops. A pure rock n roll jam.
‘Clones’ kicks off with a fuzzed out bassline from the desert. A weaving lead over the fuzzy low end, gives the song a lonesome feel. A journey to find oneself. Another anthem that could fill an arena just as comfortably as a dirty dingy UK club. Steak is at home in either, and anywhere in between.
‘King Lizard’ is a journey across an atmosphere thick with heaviness and spectacle. The energy throughout the first half of the record stays interesting and very high.
‘Living Like a Rat’ hits hard as hell from the jump, and pummels until a small reprise halfway through, that leads in to the heaviest part of the ‘No God to Save.’ The second half of this standout track beats you down and tenderizes your brain, in the best possible way.
‘Mountain,’ Rough House,’ and ‘Creeper,’ keep the emotion level to a peak that ‘No God to Save’ maintains from front to back. Powerful and stunning riffs, along with amazing bass and drum work. Vocal that never fail to soar on the choruses and verses that retain grit.
The final two tracks wind the record down. ‘Wickerman’ reminds me of a very heavy Pearl Jam. Steak has a little bit of everything on this album. Fuzzy and stoner, with a grungy aesthetic. Triumphant rock n roll. Pure and simple.
Closing track ‘The Ebb’ is an acoustic instrumental that lets the listener down easy after an album full of rocker after rocker, jam after jam.
Steak are like I said previously, prime beef. Fatty, thick, juicy, sizzling, and with the bone in. ‘No God to Save is chock full of animal protein. If you like you meat cooked rare and a little bloody, then give Steak a taste…and enjoy the flavor.
My sincerest apologies for all the clichés…not really though. All Hail!
It may come as a surprise to some people given my pedigree, but I’ve got a real soft spot for the guitar driven indie/alternative rock of the 90’s. My favorite band and biggest influence in high school was The Smashing Pumpkins. When you really think about it, it’s not that surprising at all. Growing up in Western Mass, some of our most prominent local bands were The Pixies, Dinosaur Jr, and Sebadoh. Also, growing up in a small town with no music scene whatsoever, none of us realized that it wasn’t cool to like both Metallica and R.E.M. Our musical tastes were allowed to develop organically, outside of the confines of the types of local scenes that often promote purism, elitism, and insularity, a hive mind whose tastes are established by a few strong personalities within the group who have a strong influence over what’s defined as “cool”, and what’s musical taboo.
What I liked about these indie bands were that they were distinctively guitar-centric bands, and they were distinctively rock bands, with an emphasis on distortion, volume, big rhythm sections to back up the guitars, and elements of anger mixed with other various emotions within the songwriting. Which transitions us right into NARCS, the little Leeds U.K. band that could. Wow, that was a rather short tangent for me, I may have to drudge up another one later in the review!! The first sentence of this paragraph accurately describes their sound, though I’d obviously like to get into it a lot more. I’m not much of a fan of one sentence reviews, although I do believe the review I wrote for Metallica’s new record was right on the money, and distinctively wrapped up everything I had to say on the matter in a single sentence: “Wow, Metallica tries really, really hard….” I’m just quoting it here for posterity, and to also start my second tangent, which is basically to say that more and more, I’m realizing I don’t want to fall into any kind of formula when I review records. I used to talk a little about each individual song, because a lot of other reviews do that and it seems impressive. It also makes the reviews lengthy, and maybe too much so for a society that’s been conditioned to have such short attention spans. I’m largely going to start avoiding this practice, because it is formulaic, and it’s redundant. Plenty of other reviewers do it, and I’ve said time and time again that their opinions are just as valid as my own. Read their reviews. I’m not taking it totally off the books, as it may make sense at times, just like my Metallica review makes perfect sense for me in the context of that record.
What I’d like to really get into during this review is a point of contention: I do read other reviews because I’m insatiable curious about the thoughts and opinions of others, and what keeps reoccurring is this tendency to refer to NARCS as a grunge band. And I don’t really like that, perhaps because for me, grunge pretty much died with the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind. Seriously, from my perspective that’s the nail in grunge’s coffin. To me, grunge was the sound of early Soundgarden, Melvins, Green River, Mudhoney, and TAD. These bands initially recorded their records loudly and cheaply, often with Jack Endino, and often releasing them with Sub Pop. They tended to mix elements of punk and metal in a way that differed vastly from crossover thrash. These records came out in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and yes, I’d include Nirvana’s Bleach as a prime example of an actual grunge record. Later on, the term became applied to just about ANY band that came out of Seattle in the record industry’s attempt to figure out what in the fuck had actually happened with Nevermind, to replicate that magical yet allusive formula, and most of the aforementioned bands got major label contracts and mainstream-ized their sounds. Of course, this also led labels to sign just about any band with “alternative”/underground credibility, which led to the term “grunge” also being applied to bands like The Meat Puppets, Cell, The Screaming Trees, and Nudeswirl. I can accept that, and in this terms, I can also accept that NARCS are a “grunge” band. They’re loud, swanky, aggressive, quirky, catchy, noisy, and draw from a wide variety of influences. However, another part of me thinks that it’s really a disservice and a bit lazy to call them a “grunge” band. They certainly draw influence from almost all of the bands that I’ve listed, and their sound is extremely 90’s centric. With that being said, I can hear also hear elements of The Jesus Lizard, Unwound, and Fugazi in certain songs, and none of those bands fit very neatly into the grunge category. There’s also a lot of shoegazing going on in terms of the production and the way that the guitars are layered. Some of the stereo panning is quite lovely.
The vocals are also quite lovely and subdued at times, though at other times, they’re snarling, over-the-top blasts of bile and vinegar. For me, they’re one of the high points, and frontman Wilko (not to be confused with the critically acclaimed band that I do not really care for) is to be commended for his performances. The juxtaposition of his soft, lulling indie adulation and roaring punk sneer is one of the main things that makes this record sound so vital and so immediate, and his performances always mirror the instrumentation. Wilko should also be commended for the passion of his lyrics, and their political relevancy. England needs more bands like this right now, hell….we all need more bands like this right now.
Despite that no two songs sound all that much alike, there’s a strange coherency to the record, largely in part due to how eerily the guitars, vocals, bass and drums are always clearly on the same page stylistically. It’s rather magical to listen to. At 11 songs in 43 minutes, NARCS don’t overstay their welcome, and it’s the perfect length for vinyl. I feel like the supremacy of the CD in the 90’s often led to albums that were overlong, had filler, weird “hidden” tracks that were ultimately annoying, etc. You’re not going to find any of that on A Thinking Animal, just another demonstration that these definitely were using their heads when they made this record. It’s aptly named. Do yourself a favor and check out the single “Pigs”, which I’m sure is up on YouTube. It’s a pretty accessible place to start. If you really want to hear something wild, see if you can find some of the more acetic tracks like “Mile Die” or “Empathy The Dog.” Everything is on YouTube these days, so you can make up your mind if this is an album that’s worth your continued attentions beyond reading this review. For me, I’m kind of kicking myself that I didn’t hear this last year when it came out, though they were largely off my radar. I’m seeing an extremely bright future for these Leeds lads, as long as they can keep thinking like animals.
No More Mr Bad Guy – Release date: February 2, 2017
Label: Hominid Sounds – Cassette / DD
“Formed through a mutual desire to play some rock music that’s not had the life squeezed out of it by some kind of poo-faced academic mangler, they make the heavy stuff and they play it loud, the way it should be.” To further quote the band, the BAD GUYS are self-described as “A midlander, a southerner, a Canadian and a Hungarian with double necks, double kicks and no mic stand. Long hair, grey hair, bald-heads and beards.” Still not intrigued? Read on…
From all accounts this is the fifth/sixth and final (??) release, depending on the source, and is the epitome of what they set out to do as early as 2010, the earliest year of release I found. Clocking in at 26 minutes, there is more packed into this release than just about anything recent at double the length and serves as the perfect bookend of everything they have done up to this point.
Starting off with a HIGH ON FIRE sounding drum intro before the feedback squeals keen on until the first power chord hits at 30 seconds in and you are already moving in time to the forward push through the sludge-heavy rhythm line until this tale of looming doom begins, ‘Ekranoplan’ sets the tone…BRUTAL. You better get moving or you will get your ass kicked. ‘Cordyceps’ starts off a little slower, but… wait for it… right back in your face at 200 percent with no sign of relenting.
‘Dickhed For Love’ is a modern love song as only BAD GUYS could tell it, complete with warbling solos that trips back and forth behind the self-efacing chorus.
‘Boiled Head’ is by far the one that grabbed me by the throat with the over-fuzzed everything mixed with the distorted spoken word laced with a triple dose of doom before the pounding gallop along this black road of terror. “Nothing left of you now, just a…” MC5 guitar-tones screaming in the background as you hear “Forever…” before the final fade out.
Last track and the quintessential ‘stoner’ song clocking in at exactly 4:20 is a ‘true-story or three’ as some of us can certainly testify, but would prefer not to *cough cough* and shows a supreme advancement in musicianship during the body of the entire song and the soloing particularly during the last minute plus. Would be a shame for there to not be more from the BAD GUYS, but IF not, perfect exit… stage right.
Thanks to Bad Guys for 6 years of Rock ‘n Roll Bliss!! May the Wind at Your Back be Your Own as you ride off into the Sunset or the nearest Brothel!! Much love from Taste Nation!!
So how often can a drummer for one(or two) already established and killer band break away and do something that is unexpected, something unique and able to stand on it’s own two feet? Not often. Hell I can’t think of anyone besides Dave Grohl or Phil Collins, who have pulled it off successfully. Well now we have Justin Greaves, skin beater for Electric Wizard and Iron Monkey, who with his project Crippled Black Phoenix, have created in their latest album ‘Bronze’ what can be considered a contemporary exploration of mood and atmosphere.
I especially love the places where they take musical chances, like on the album opener which is an orchestral instrumental track led off by a passage from the beginning of Genesis. Another chance was taken with the song ‘Scared and Alone’ employing a horn section to accentuate the tired and troubled lead vocals provided by Belinda Kordic, who shines in the singular track that she takes lead vocals on. All the other tracks are sung by Daniel Anghede who at times is reminiscent of 80’s post-rock goth progenitor Peter Murphy with his deep baritone voice and delivery.
My favorite track on the album comes in the 7th slot titled ‘Turn to Stone’. It is a paean to every great rock song written in the Seventies, with it’s mid to slow tempo march, infectious main riff that makes you bob your head, and it’s psychedelic guitar nuances, emphasized by a vocal delivery that’s half Robert Plant half Neil young. The later part of the song is a ride out on the bridge riff, proving that there is beauty in repetition.
Elsewhere throughout the album you will find hints of organ, synthesizer and other non-standard instruments placed tastefully for maximum affect, enhancing and emphasizing the masterful songwriting. The end result being an artful, moody collection of contemporary prog-rock songs with heart that shines brightly in a musical landscape that is all too often more of the same.