Howling Giant “Black Hole Space Wizard” (Parts I & II) Review + Stream…

HOWLING GIANT

Black Hole Space Wizard (Parts 1 & 2) – CD // DD

Self Released – August 25th, 2017 

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

Location:  Nashville, Tennessee USA

Line-Up:
Tom Polzine – Guitar and Vocals
Roger Marks – Bass and Vocals
Zach Wheeler – Drums and Vocals

Drew Harakal – ‘Guest’ Organ/Synths
Additional vocals on ‘Mothership’ provided by Kim Auch and Kevin Dempsey

 

Previous Releases:

“Howling Giant-s/t” EP (January 2015)

 



 

Review:
It didn’t make sense to review these as separate releases as you have to hear the opus in it’s ENTIRETY to get the full impact of the complete tale of the “Black Hole Space Wizard” and seeing as ‘Part 2’ has just been unleashed, following ‘Part 1’ that was launched August 16th, 2016.

After hearing Howling Giant’s first EP, I was floored and hoped for more that would be as heavy, if not even MORE so as the last notes of ‘Camel Crusher’ had hinted at. As I am before you, this pair of releases deliver even more than previously hoped for, heaped in macro-bass, slamming riffs, splitting cymbals and strong, clear vocals that will guide you throughout this journey, into the deepest outreach of the infinite cosmos of “Part 1” and back into the forgotten realms of the Earth Goddess of “Part 2”. We are advised by Howling Giant that “For greater riff-sensation, listen to these songs at maximum volume.” Smoke ’em if ya got ’em, crank it up and hit ‘play’…

“Part 1”

Black Hole Space Wizard_Part 1_Album Cover

 

‘Mothership’ opens with a strong riff amid cymbal washed before the full body hits 20 seconds in and already the power is palpable before we hear “She’s our Mother…” and we are truly off and running as we hear that “The life we’ve built has come undone” and are beckoned to open up our mind… this is not the end. Loopy and soaring to the last staggered, fading note that leads directly into ‘Exodus:Earth’ with it’s slower tempo intro as “We rise into the black skies…” in this tale of traversing the atmosphere and beyond. Breathe deep and hold it in as riding the crescendo of true stoner/doom/sludge filled measures of headrush inducing guitar outbursts that take you even further into the expanses before your mind’s eye, even as the ghost of War Of The Worlds echoes in your mind, soaring further and further into the blackness and the when the needle sharp frenetic notes of ‘Dirtmouth’ hit, it is the perfect wake-up from. Hyper-speed and crushing in weight is the only way to describe this four-minute plus outburst, complete with time-shifts galore to make even the strongest necks snap along in tempo, and when you hear the scream that “The Wizard Lives!!”, you know it’s true, and then, sudden dead stop.

The silence seemed immense until the sound of a screaming wind fades in as if to mirror the return of consciousness as whispered breathing gives way to a footstep close as the power chords permeate the air as ‘clouds Of Smoke’ rumbles in, “Stranded here in this ocean of sin…” and the desolation seems to loom beyond the horizon before you, languishing in the fact that you would “Rather be anywhere but here…” as the solo rips your heart from your chest before your eyes, even as “Up in clouds of smoke, let it go, just let it go…” and as you take all of this in, even as the notes climb beyond sight as the keys fade slow as your eyes close once more.

 

“Part 2”
Black Hole Space Wizard_Part II_Album Cover

 

‘Henry Tate’ comes on full gallop, complete with the spoken meanderings of Kublai Khan wafting in and out through the plethora of musical might being flexed here as the mix is even MORE lush and thick through what is an insane instrumental stroll. ‘The Pioneer’ opens with the plush bass line suiting a tome of this strength, as “My mind begins to melt, my soul strives to break free…” and another soft fade out greets you. ‘Visions’ opens, slow and blues-filled in tone and progression,  and when the opening solo progression rises up, it is as haunting as ever as the body of the song gels over “Besides the embers of my fire…” and we are cast into another dream of “whipping winds that fortel a storm” that can be smelled in the air.

The acoustic track ‘The Forest Speaks’, is a soothing composition complete with soft horn sounds that permeate the air in a ‘softness’ not present before this is the ultimate precursor into ‘Circle Of Druids’ where we are told we have gone too far before the power chords hit again, giving even more of the lush heaviness I have come to expect over the course of these songs that have lead me here knowing “You must ascend…” and rise indeed on the hooks and time shifts.

 

Band Pic

 

‘Earth Wizard’ is the absolute culmination of all points traversed up to this moment and serves as the bookend to tie it all together and does it incredibly well. Over seven minutes long, Polzine, Marks, Wheeler and ‘guest’ Harakal put 200% into this song, as they have seemingly done with every other song included in this opus and does not disappoint in any manner.

Switching studios between Part I and Part II helped Howling Giant bring the process closer to home for these guys but the continuity between is flawless and if I have to say this record has done one thing for sure… left me wanting, no, scratch that, NEEDING more!! Grab these two, listen to them as a single release and climb aboard for a journey you have not experienced before. Share it with every mind you encounter and support them live if you get the opportunity… keep it LOUD!!

 

Tour Schedule

Boris “Dear” Album Review + Video + Stream…

Boris

Dear – Vinyl // CD // DD

Sargent House Records – released July 14, 2017

Reviewed by Santiago “Chags” Gutierrez 

 

It’s been twenty-five years since Boris was formed, taking their name from a Melvins song, they have since released a multifarious catalog of music. From the onset, they have run the gamut of ambient, drone, doom, noise, psych, punk, sludge, and shoegaze along with everything else in between, and no one has been able to pull that off as effortlessly as Boris has. They weave their multi-genre magic seamlessly and to great effect on every release. Takeshi Ohtani, Wata, and Atsuo Mizuno have been together since the formation of the band and the chemistry they have still bonds well to this day.

Opener ‘D.O.W.N. – Domination of Waiting Noise’ sets the pace with a powerful and impactful intro of controlled noise with enchanting vocals. ‘Deadsong’ continues along the same path with an electronic drone number that showcases whispered vocals among haunting screams and howls. ‘Absolutego’ may be considered the most accessible song on the record, as it follows a more traditional song structure. You can find the official video for ‘Absolutego’ on YouTube as well.

‘Beyond’ is a highlight of the record as it takes the listener on a roller-coaster tempo ride while vocally, they hit every mark perfectly. ‘Beyond’ segues into ‘Kagero’ where Boris showcases their noise/experimental/dreampop skills with efficacy. Shoegaze-like vocals are featured on ‘Biotope’ with dreamwave and noise components.

Boris brings the doom with ‘The Power’ and ‘Memento Mori.’ Both tracks would irrefutably fit perfectly on any respectable doom record. ‘The Power’ is an instrumental piece that recalls elements of Electric Wizard and Trouble. The vocal tone on ‘Memento Mori’ is damn near perfect to go along with the funeral doom musical melee going on behind it. Certain elements of the song reminiscent of the gloriously classic Italian doom era.

Pro Band Pic

This brings us to ‘Dystopia Vanishing Point.’ To say this has song of the year potential is an understatement. Clocking in at almost twelve minutes, this one will be hard to beat. The song intro is reminiscent of a great soundtrack record. Chino Moreno-like vocals kick in to go along with the slowed down shoegaze vibe followed by an amazing guitar solo that runs the final five-minute leg of the song. The album bookends nicely with “Dear” which hearkens back to the slowed down drone feedback style we heard on ‘D.O.W.N. Domination of Waiting Noise.’

Boris are still going strong after all these years, continually looking for ways to challenge themselves with experimentation. Dear, like most of their albums, is about motion and magnitude. It is without a doubt a spiritual journey and despite the variety of genres explored, it’s still dexterous in its delivery. Thankfully Boris never seems comfortable staying fixated on one single style or genre. They continue to change and explore the dimensions of sound. I think by now it goes without saying that this will undoubtedly make my end of the year top ten list.


Bloodnut “St. Ranga” Album Review + Stream…

Bloodnut

St. Ranga – CD // DD

Self Released – Released August 1, 2017

Reviewed by Aaron “Red Beard” Wall

 

Bloodnut…the burly, bearded, ballistic, berserkers of fiery red have returned to pillage and destroy. St. Ranga, is the sophomore follow up to their acclaimed debut, Blues for the Red Sons.  This slab of concrete has progressed the Bloodnut accoutrement immensely. While some of the tongue in cheek humor remains, the ginger heavyweights have upped the seriousness factor. St. Ranga is still fun, but its definitely not funny. Heavy stoner, massive sludge, and raw punk rebellion. Normally a three piece, Bloodnut recorded the album as a four piece. Adding a second guitar to the fold, which lends extra girth and goodness. Doug McFarlane-Bass/Vox, Nick Smith-guitar, Kyle Wetton-guitar, and Ty Boniface-drums are here to viscerally eviscerate.

Opening salvo, ‘The Space Orangutan’ builds a force of fuzz. Slowly creeping, raising the cackles. Down tempo and enveloping distortion, as Doug raises his vocal game tremendously.  Oddly, but very intriguingly sounds like the Doors in mood…albeit much heavier. The drums pause to let the main riff show its head. The redheaded beasts then explode in full on stoner glory. The chugs begin as the groove runs full steam ahead. The vocals are gravel, but with soul you can feel. No doubt Bloodnut bring the heavy, but also have an excellent underlying melodious factor that grips. The second half ups the tempo and the dirt. The brood throws in a shredding solo, then beats you into submission until ‘The Space Orangutan’ has destroyed you.

Full Band Pic_8-6-2017

‘Mark of the Outcast’ is four minutes of straight up beast mode. Huge High of Fire-esque intro, into a mid-tempo sludge toe tapper. Tunes like this are the reason I am completely on board with the boys in Bloodnut. Heavy as gigantic balls, while always retaining a soulfulness that is undeniably felt throughout.

Next up is ‘That Fire Inside’  This song is straight up raw punk filth. Quick bass intro and cymbal grabs, prime the ears for a fury of fiery flames.  Gruff vocals, raw guitars, pounding drums of perfection. This jam is a sharp, powerful, quick punch to the gut. You will be doubled over, in glorious pain.

‘Burning Bush’ brings back the cheeky lyrics, but there is absolutely no joking going on instrumentally. Bringing some of the thickest riffs on St. Ranga, and multiple tempo changes keep the listener blissfully on their toes. The song is executed masterfully. The riffs are sweet, the rhythms are tasty and the vocals outshine anything previously in the Bloodnut catalog.

‘Red Dead Riders’ is a sing along song. Dirty and rough musically with huge choruses. This track is a journey across the desert, looking for blood, on the back of a mammoth steed. Kicking up dust and spit, only in death do we quit. Standout song on a stand alone album.

Closing St. Ranga is ‘Song of Fire and Ice.’ No explanation needed on this song. Best song on the record in my humble opinion.

Bloodnut have composed an album more crushing and weighty than an avalanche of boulders. The fire headed gang of badasses continually bruise and batter eardrums. St. Ranga is an escape into landscapes of flame. Visions of battle and triumph. A plethora of genres in relation to all things heavy. No pigeonholing Bloodnut. New Zealand has something to be extremely proud of in this band of gingered berserkers.  These redheads have definitively smashed the sophomore slump with a battle axe. A record filled with passion and soul, drums that roll, and riffs that are raw while still being in full control. Take a pilgrimage in St. Ranga, and prepare to shed blood. It is worth it.

Band Logo 2


Tau Cross “Pillars of Fire” Album Review + Stream…

Tau Cross

Pillars of Fire – Vinyl // CD // DD

Relapse Records – released July 21, 2017 

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

 

 

Band Line-up:
Andy Lefton-Guitar (War // Plague)
Jon Misery-Guitar (Misery)
Tom Radio-Bass (Frustration)
James Adams- keyboards
Michel (Away) Langevin-Drums (Voivod)
Rob (The Baron) Miller-Bass and vocals (Amebix)

Hometowns:
Montreal
Isle of Skye
Minneapolis
Seattle

Review:

Having grown up with MTV from it’s inception, I find that if a band really wants me to buy their album, the spectacle of a good music video is sure to catch my attention. About 2 weeks ago while watching music videos on YouTube, I stumbled across the Video “Lazarus” from their 2015 self titled debut album “Tau Cross”. Impressed by the music and the Cinematography I quickly followed the links to their Relapse Record’s Bandcamp. It was there I discovered they had a new album called “Pillars of Fire” due out in a few days. In the mean time I purchased their first album and made a note in my head to return and buy “Pillars of Fire” especially after being blown away by the debut release.

I could probably write volumes about the members of Tau Cross but will refrain as it would turn into a novel. Vocalist & Bassist “Rob (The Baron) Miller (Amebix)”, drummer “Michel-Away- Langevin (Voivod)”, “Jon Misery (Misery)”, “Andy Lefton (War//Plague)” on guitars, and “Tom Radio (Frustration) ” also on bass bring a great deal of talent and creative energy from the punk and various metal sub genres they offer up. Which is why I suspect they refuse to box themselves into a specific genre. But fear not as the unspecified genres are for my punk and metalhead friends.  Tau Cross brings a musical Smörgåsbord.

Pro Band Pic

“Pillar Of Fire” is an album that shows Tau Cross has a second act. While listening I found myself engrossed by the songs. While Tau Cross do not sound like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden or Dio, the lyrics, vocals and instrumentation created the same musical spectacle that drew me to them as a teen. Some may try to compare Vocalist // Bassist Rob (The Baron) Miller for his raspy voice to Lemmy Kilminster of Motörhead. While he can sing with a harsh rasp, I discovered Rob has a vocal range that at times had me asking who’s the other guy singing. These are a few of my favorites from “Pillar of Fire” – ‘Raising Golem’ a song the Golem from Jewish folklore, ‘Bread And Circuses’ which speaks of the savagery Rome descended into. Then comes the tale of the horror of being lost at sea done like a good old fashioned sea shanty ‘On The Water.’ I could go on but I am including a link to the album on Bandcamp so you can listen and buy for yourself and “The Short Stories” the band masterfully forged through the lyrics the band kindly offers up (also on their BC Page). The end result is nothing short of Amazing.  This should be in your music library yesterday!!  Must Buy!!

 


Tau Cross Releases New Video ‘Deep State’ from New Album “Pillar of Fire”…

Tau Cross

Deep State – Vinyl // CD // DD

Relapse Records – released July 21, 2017 

 

Pillar of Fire_Album Cover

 

TAU CROSS, the multinational punk/heavy metal collective featuring Amebix bassist/frontman Rob “The Baron” Miller, Voivod drummer Michel “Away” Langevin, and members of cult crust outfits Misery and War // Plague, has announced their second full-length album, Pillar Of Fire, due out July 21st on CD, Double LP, and digital formats via Relapse Records.

Comments TAU CROSS on the new album: “Pillar Of Fire is the continuation of some of the ideas that were explored on our first album. This time we have managed to share the songwriting more equally and introduce some other textures to the songs. This should help to establish TAU CROSS as less of a one-off phenomenon and more of an ongoing musical collective producing our own distinctive sonic environment.”

Pillar Of Fire was recorded across three different countries and co-produced by “The Baron” in the same manner as their eponymous debut. The drums were tracked in Montreal, guitars in Minneapolis, bass in Seattle and Minneapolis, and vocals on the Isle Of Skye in Scotland.

Physical preorders and exclusive bundles are currently available via Relapse.com at THIS LOCATION. Digital preorders are available via Bandcamp HERE.

Pillar Of Fire further expands the group’s unique musical approach ranging from dark folk witchery to industrial punk metal brutalism; a moody melting pot of Killing Joke’s metallic post-punk and Motörhead’s anthemic, hard rock with flourishes of traditional instrumentation and an infusion of 16th century English mysticism. Pillar Of Fire is a musical unearthing of TAU CROSS‘ philosophical preoccupations: mythological motifs, ultra-terrestrial hypotheses, surreal, social political landscapes, and the endless search for meaning in a controlled universe.

 

 

TAU CROSS:
Rob “The Baron” Miller – bass/vocals
Andy Lefton – guitar
Jon Misery – guitar
Michel “Away” Langevin – drums
Tom Radlo – bass
James Adams – keyboards

 


Fetal Pig “Autopia” Album Review + Stream + “In Case…Episode 2”

“In Case You Missed It” Series – Episode 2

FETAL PIG 

Autopia – Vinyl // DD

Sump Pump Records – released October 14, 2011

Album Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

FORMED1991

LocationDes Moines, Iowa

Spring 1991 found brothers Dan Hutchison (g/v) and Jeff Hutchison (d) forming the band and after gigging around trying to find the right line-up and they released a 4-track EP in 1995 on cassette, before disbanding. Fast forward 15 years to July 2010 wherein the brothers returned , ready to go with Charles Hoffman (b/v) in tow to round out the lineup and they headed into the studio soon after to record their first full length release “Autopia”.

Consisting of 10 tracks making up this 45 minute slab of prog-punk that the band tries to underplay, describing themselves as quote “a pathologically eclectic old-school punk sort of power trio, or alternately, just 3 more kinda yelly white dudes, if a little on the middle-aged side, and FETAL PIG’s music (and lyrics) are fun, sarcastic and paranoid, combining the ferocity of punk with the angular guitar dissonance of post-hardcore noise rock, and the compositional ambition of prog rock” enquote.

Pro Band Pic

What is actually delivered is a slab of attitude and angst reflecting all of the vocal tendencies of punk heavyweights like JELLO BIAFRA and The DEAD KENNEDYS, the time-shift madness of THE MINUTEMEN basslines hammered hard-enough to knock you down and drumlines that seem perfectly accentuated by the twisted guitar meanderings that surround these tracks with all of the precision and seeming madness.  There is no denying that these guys have their mission and this is it.

Tracks like ‘Meaningless’ / ‘Concerns’ / ‘Identity Crisis’ and ‘Inside The Pyramid’ all have that punk-ish edge and a vocal line screaming of rage, discordant misplacement and anger while not giving a fuck that comes with the territory of our post-hardcore world, where ‘Power Slide’ shows an even more aggro-fast side.

‘The Piano Movers’ opens with this ultra precise bass line that kicks in with the rest and takes you on this almost dizzying ride of stop/start/shift tempo that pulls you along with an urgency to take it all in for the just over two minutes of mastery of their craft, not like the “middle-aged, yelly” guys they portray themselves to be and this proves it, while ‘New Apostles’ is as fast and frenetic as could be with dual-vocals and all, screams intact as the guitar-bee zips and zigs and zags all around, showing that progressive flavored-post-punk tag is indeed suiting.

Two tracks in particular stand out to ME on this and those are opener ‘The Dawning Of Autopia’ and closer ‘FP Vs. Mecha-Godzilla’ and if I get the chance to see these guys onstage, it would be utter perfection for them to play these two one after the other as the ultimate prog-punk jam song and would melt the crowd’s collective consciousness by the end of the combination. Each member shows off their individual musicianship and integrity during EACH of these instrumental offerings as well as a combined unit working in complete syncopation.

This album still sounds ‘new’ with each listen and is one you need to add to your library and share with ALL, if you haven’t done so already. Let’s hope the “NEXT” is in the works, to be released sooner than later… keep it LOUD!!

Live Band Pic


Screamfeeder “Pop Guilt” Album Review + Stream…

Screamfeeder

Pop Guilt – Vinyl // CD // DD

Rogue Wave Records – June 23rd 2017

Reviewed by Andy “Dinger” Beresky

 

Believe it or not, if you haven’t figured it out by now, I don’t particularly like reviewing stoner rock and doom metal.  Not all the time anyways.  The less I listen to that kind of material, the better, because it just makes it more memorable when I do reach for my old Kyuss albums.

That’s really the crux of the issue for me – those Kyuss albums are indeed old.  It’s hard to believe that I bought Blues For The Red Sun 25 years ago, based solely on an offhand comment that Nirvana’s Krist Novoselik made praising the band in an interview.  It’s even harder to believe that 25 years later, there are still bands that go out of there way to sound like Kyuss.  I can remember thinking that was cool around 1999-2000, when there were only a handful of bands going for that sort of sound, and it was truly exciting every time a new one popped up.  Ah, the Golden Age, it’ll never be the same….Okay, it’s 2017 now, and frankly, I can’t keep up with all the stoner/doom bands coming out, nor do I want to.  It’s like glam rock from the 80’s – there was only so much we could take of it before it was just formulaic, cliche, and ultimately passe.  It’s also simply a case of “too much of a good thing” at this point for me personally.  I like to be a LOT more selective and diverse about what I listen to nowadays.  I’m sure some of you have seen me go off on similar rants in other reviews, so I’ll cut this one short today.

Pro Band Shot

With that all being said, I still have quite the insatiable curiosity when it comes to new music, and I do love writing these here reviews.  So when Taste Nation LLC founder Matthew Thomas ran the idea of reviewing a band named Screamfeeder by me, at first I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect.  That name could really suggest anything, any genre.  I listened to about 30 seconds of the first track, “Half Lies”, and immediately told him “I’ll take it!!  This sounds very 90’s indie guitar rock.”  Matthew was kind enough to inform me that this was probably because they were an indie guitar rock band from the 90’s, and they were from Australia, so lo and behold – here we are!!  I’m very fortunate that Matthew puts up with my nonsense, and seems to have good instincts about just how finicky I really am, and that we’ve also got a terrific writing staff here at Taste Nation who are passionate enough to compensate for my disillusionment with certain styles.

I’d heard through the grapevine that Ripple Music owner Todd Severin was going to be starting up a second label, one that focused more on indie rock and shoegaze, and I was really excited to hear this news.  Actually, I’m pretty sure that Todd and I discussed this briefly at one point, in full disclosure.  I listened to a lot of that stuff in the 90’s.  I was a huge fan of Dinosaur Jr, Sebadoh, The Pixies, The Replacements, The Breeders, Guided By Voices, The Posies and Sugar.  There was something special about these bands that could write a totally sugar-coated melody, and just juxtapose it with over amplified guitar, brash fuzz, and abrasive noise.  I mention this because A) this Screamfeeder album is the first release from Todd’s new label, Rogue Waves, and B) they are definitely cut from the same mold as those bands I so adored in my youth, while they don’t directly sound like any of them.

Screamfeeder formed in Brisbane, Australia in 1991.  They’re were originally a three piece, though their current lineup is composed of Tim Steward on guitar and vocals, Kellie Lloyd on bass and vocals, Dean Shwereb on drums and Darek Mudge on second guitar.  This is the first  that I’ve ever heard of them, which is a real crying shame, because they’ve got quite the back catalog going for them and I would have eaten this up back in the day.  Well….I guess that gives me something to do with all my copious amounts of free time.  Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1992!

Pop Guilt proper is 13 songs, which is a very lucky number, because that’s how many people were seated at the last supper, and it’s also the name of the LP that Fugazi released which combined their first two EP’s.  However, I’ve got two bonus tracks (NOT on the Fugazi record) included in my promo package, which is pretty sweet, especially considering that they’re both just as good as any of the album tracks.  This really isn’t surprising, considering there isn’t a clunker to be found on here, so I’m really not sure what these cats are feeling so guilty about.  My favorite of the bunch is “Got A Feeling.” It’s a driving number written around an upbeat two chord progression which reminds me of Pearl Jam’s “State Of Love And Trust”,  which is my favorite PJ song. (don’t worry haters, they otherwise sound nothing like Pearl Jam whatsoever, and Tim doesn’t sing like Eddie Vedder at all)  Another track that I really love is “Alone In A Crowd”.  It features a more jagged, abrasive main guitar riff, though once Kelly’s dreamy vocals drift in and the beautiful swirls of layered guitars take over, it’s overwhelming. “Sonic Souvenirs” starts off eerily reminiscent of Dinosaur Jr’s MTV classic,  “Out There”, with its blown-out lead guitars and fragments of distorted chords before Kelly’s distinctive vocal style sets the tone. “Karen Trust Me” has a really strange, off kilter ending that even gets a bit on the heavy side.  “I May Have Some Regrets” is the best song that Paul Westerberg never wrote. “Sciatic Heart”, the closing track, is also an early favorite, due to the quirky lyrics and Kelly’s more energetic vocal delivery.  Really, the whole album is ear candy, with no two tracks sounding the same.  Every track stands on its own and has something unique to offer.  I’m not sure who’s written what, though it seems like I generally like the tunes that Kelly sings just a little bit better.

Live Band Shot

If you’re like me and missed out on these guys and gal the first time around, do yourself a favor and check out Pop Guilt if my description sounds at all intriguing.  It’s such a fun listen, and I have a feeling it’s going to be one of those classic summertime records for me, the kind of record that reminds me of cruising around the back-roads with the windows down, meeting up with my friends, lying around soaking up the summer sun and sensing the sweet smell of the newly mowed grass with just nothing particular to do whatsoever but enjoy each other’s company and whatever happened to be playing on the stereo at the time; that magical time in one’s life when we were all still so bright eyed and bushy tailed; every crush is just like first love and every new record just like heaven in our ears.  That’s the kind of mood this music puts me in, and it’s not just nostalgia.  This is something special, a bygone relic from a lost age, fully actualized in our present day.


Mutoid Man “War Moans” – Album Review & Stream

Mutoid Man

War Moans – Vinyl // CD // DD

Sargent House – Release Date: June 2, 2017

Reviewed by Aaron “Red Beard” Wall

 

Supergroups usually suck…Mutoid Man does not. Formed in New York, and comprised of Nick Cageao on bass, Stephen Brodsky on guitar/vocals, and Ben Koller on skins.  The latter two members are from a couple of seminal bands of the last twenty years…Cave In and Converge respectively. On the heels of one EP, “Helium Head” and their critically lauded debut LP “Bleeder” released last year, momentum has been rapidly growing. After touring for “Bleeder,” the band returned home to find out they had lost their practice space due to evil gentrification, ultimately landing in the basement of one of, if not the most heralded venue in the heavy scene…St.Vitus Bar…(where bassist Nick works as the sound-man). On the stage of St. Vitus during off hours is where Mutoid Man’s new record ‘War Moans’ was assembled and constructed. Make no mistake, Mutoid Man are one of the most exciting bands in music. Destined for legend status in the underground if not more. Chock full of explosive attitude, bombastic energy, detonating musicianship, with aftershocks of memorable melodies, ‘War Moans’ is something to behold.

“Feel the heat, of the fire at your feet,” is the beginning salvo of opener ‘Melt your Mind.’ The music starts with galloping drums and bass with a killer melodic riff coming in over the top. Brodsky’s voice immediately brings to mind Magnus Pelander of Witchcraft. The song is feverish in its energy and direct in its delivery. Fantastic thrash riffs and punk rhythms fill the middle section to perfection. The chorus of ‘don’t let it melt your mind…’ makes me feel like they’re talking about this record. It is truly mind melting.

 

Live Band Shot

 

‘Bone Chain’ is next, and immediately rips and roars. Beginning with a chuggtastic riff and groove that you cant help but bang your head to. A stellar harmonized guitar section in the bridge goes into a shredder of a solo to end. ‘Micro Aggression’ follows with a punky start and a bluesy chord progression that flows into a sing along chorus with monstrous double bass underneath that crushes. These two songs are quick and flawless. Executed with  a simple virtuosity that grabs you with immediacy.

‘Kiss of Death’ is fucking sick! Sick in every way that’s good. A wildly mathy intro that drops right into the heaviest riff up to this point. Its tongue in cheek lyrics are so well written and performed that the song almost fools you into thinking it’s a pop song…which I suppose it is. If that’s the case, then this is one of the heaviest pop songs ever. The end section is pure brutality. Holy shit I love this song!

‘War Moans’ has begun with banger after banger with absolutely no let up. Next is the jam, ‘Date with the Devil’ This song is a damn masterpiece of sonic intensity as well. Mutoid Man is blowing my skull in every facet. It kicks of with another thrash shredder of a riff with a swing rhythm. Sounds weird, but man does it work. The guitar tones on this song are some of the best I’ve heard in a while. Especially the verse riff. Goddamn! In under three minutes this tune takes you from space to earth and every where in between. I can’t explain the badassness of this song. More tongue in cheek lyrics but with meaning. Very hard combination to bring to fruition and Brodsky pulls it off in spades. Go listen for yourself and get your mind blown. Wow ‘Date with the Devil…just wow.

 

 

From the pure metal riffs and blast-beats on ‘Headrush’ to the Bad Religion style punk of ‘Irons in the Fire’ Mutoid Man are exquisite. I’m running out of adjectives and superlatives for this record.

The title track ‘War Moans’ follows. This song is all Slayer and Megadeth. A pure throwback thrash song but with a fresh feel. I’m completely mesmerized and hypnotized by the songwriting and performances on these songs. Simply stunning. Marty Friedman guest solos on this track.

‘Wreck and Survive’ is another metal manifesto of amazingness. With guest vocals by the awesome Chelsea Wolfe that add an atmosphere of eeriness to this diamond of a song.

‘Afterlife’ is a straightforward slab of weight with a Burnt by the Sun feel.  ‘Open Flame’ rips and roars and who has your hair back from jump to landing.

Album closer ‘Bandages’ is Mutoid Man’s homage to 80’s hair metal balladry.  It sounds a little off when described that way but, its so spectacularly awesome, and a perfect conclusion to ‘War Moans.’

Mutoid Man have utterly and fantastically impressed and intrigued me. No exaggeration needed…’War Moans’ is a complete masterpiece. There is not a single note or melody wasted. No fluff, no filler. Energy and fervor from beginning to end. Expertly crafted individual songs and a complete piece of art as a whole. My early choice for record of the year. Period.  I could sit here and wax poetic all night about how much I truly love ‘War Moans,’ but I’m not going to. I am going to go listen to this record on repeat…and repeat…and repeat…

Band Shot

Album Review – Gravehuffer “Your Fault”

Gravehuffer

Your Fault – CD / Cassette / DD

Grind/Hardcore/Crossover/British Punk

Swamp Metal Records – Release Date: March 3, 2017

 

When most of us come across the word “retro” used to describe music, we readily think of the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s, but rarely do the 90’s enter our minds – Even though the last day of the decade was over 17(!) years ago.  Of course, it surely didn’t/doesn’t help that as the new millennium loomed close, so too began the severe, still-ongoing decline of quality rock reaching the mainstream.  Joplin, Missouri’s Gravehuffer have something to say about this time frame getting thrown in the trash, and they say it convincingly.

 

Live band Pic

 

“Your Fault” exhibits few, if any, signs that it gives a damn about what is hot or happening in 2017. Throughout it’s thirty minute run time, the record never wavers from taking the 80’s D-Beat punk of GBH, Broken Bones, and Discharge and and infusing it with a strong dose of the early Earache catalog, back when they were actually presenting the most extreme music available circa the early 1990’s.  I do believe I also hear elements of Agnostic Front and the mighty Bl’ast in there too.  Add it all up and you have eleven tracks of unrelenting mayhem, smoothly delivered and more than the sum of its parts.

So, hell yeah, Gravehuffer’s latest gets a thumbs up from me. It’s kinda the musical equivalent of flicks like “Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer”– It’s not a casual, off-the-cuff experience, but when that right moment arrives, little will work better to scratch that itch.

Words by David “The Lovely” LaMay