RED BEARD WALL S/T Review & Track Stream

Self-Titled – CD//DD
Argonauta Records – Release Date May 12th, 2017
Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

We all know how things are done down Texas way, don’t we? Everything is blown up and bigger than life, done up right in a massive way or it isn’t done at all. That philosophical application seems to also be the mission statement of the newest release from the Lone Star State’s Red Beard Wall. The 9-song self-titled effort will be released through Argonauta Records on May 12th and it very well might change the whole game of how music fans view Post-Rock. Of course I label said record as ‘Post-Rock’ but truth is, there is a shit-ton lot more going on in this thing, everything from Noise Rock to Sludge to Grunge and Alternative, just to name a few.

Red Beard Wall has been a true labor of love for the duo currently behind the wall itself, vocalist/guitarist Aaron Wall and drummer George Trujillo. It has been a little over a year now since RBW issued the 3-song self-titled Demo back in ’16 and in that time, the guys have really perfected their sound. You really have no clue what to expect as the feedback-ringing intro of first cut ‘Beauty In‘ heralds the arrival of downtuned riffs and slamming kit-work. Quickly a groove is found and explored to the hilt with a little mid-tempo flare at hand and there it remains for the duration of this instrumental introduction. Exiting out with some more feedback and then, before you know it, the explosive ‘I Am‘ takes over. Reminiscent of some Nineties’ era Pacific Northwest grunge bands, the track is a lulling foray into a bit of hazy alt. rock. The juxtaposing vocal styles, one minute clean and melodic, the next screaming and angst-y, remind you there’s an aspect of aggression ever-present beneath the surface. Intensity comes soaring inward with several of the other songs here too, ones like ‘Switching Circuits‘ and ‘Bottom Of A Well‘ (streaming below) are constructed on controlled aggression. They’re fluid and manage to touch all the bases when it comes to melding multiple styles together with strength and cohesion.

For me personally, I really took to the middle segment of the record especially the triple threat of ‘Alive‘, ‘Born With A Hammer‘ and ‘Top Of The Mountain‘. ‘Alive‘ has a very carefree or uplifting quality about it, very groove-oriented but with a lighter vibe permeating its playing time. It repeatedly brings to mind Local H for me..and that is a damn good quality if you ask me. On the opposite side of that spectrum is the pummeling ‘Top of The Mountain‘, a volatile cut that rides the rhythmic rails straight to the pinnacle of Mt. Anger. Things begin to crest with the hypnotic lyrical rhymes that narrate the next to last track, ‘March In Time‘. It has a Southern Metal-meets-Satanic-Surf Rock type of content, not to mention its very own take on an abrasive breakdown about mid-way through. Things come full circle with the ending track ‘Beauty Out‘, a reprise of the instrumental start that kicked off this aural trek. The gravity-generating grooves pull you back down into place as you begin to stumble from the stupor of what you’ve just listened to.

I won’t try to bullshit you or lay a bunch of undue hype on you here because, truth is, Red Beard Wall is somewhat minimalist in nature. It’s a bit stripped down and as such, it refuses to rely on a bunch of razzle-dazzle studio trickery to make you think you’re hearing something you actually aren’t. No, instead it, and the duo themselves, just lay all their cards out in front of you and ask you to check them out. They don’t need sleight of hand tricks placed within their audio gamble because they are confident they’ve covered the spread and in truth, they have.

DEAD ‘We Won’t Let You Sleep’ Review; Track Streaming

We Won’t Let You Sleep: CD//DD//Cassette 
We Empty Rooms
Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker



Australia’s Dead are on the verge of returning with yet another eclectic album release, ‘We Won’t Let You Sleep‘, via We Empty Rooms on April 28th. If you are already down with the Dead then you know the duo of drummer/vocalist Jem and bassist/vocalist Jace are quite a unique entity and unlike much anything else out there. Joining them on this latest effort is Kevin Rutmanis (Cows/ Melvins/ Hepa.Titus) who plays on at least a third of the material here. Plus, producer Toshi Kasai (Melvins, Helmet, Big Business) also guested on some guitars, keys and vocals across the record as well. To reinforce the notions of oddity and quirkiness that are so prevalent with Dead at times, this is the third installment in their four LP series The Trilogy, heh. ‘We Won’t Let You Sleep‘ is an album that heads in an entirely different direction than last year’s Untitle.

That direction is a tightrope of simultaneous dichotomy and duality, meaning there are multifaceted avenues taking place. Things are both convoluted and stripped down, chaotic and controlled with both precision and abandon. Pummeling drums are one of the more noticeable sonic traits taking place throughout the music, they are augmented with jarring rhythmic pulses. The vocals are all clean and legible which makes the album easy to follow and absorb. Plus, the varied psychedelic nuances are an enthralling element that do their part to keep the listener involved as well. In fact, that begins with the introductory cut “Frankly“, a brief, slow unfurling of a slightly bluesy, doomy howdy-doo.

You are immediately throttled by the Melvins-esque “Fingers As Arrows” which is crunchy and dense. Things sort of stay in that same mode for “Chartreuse Blew” but the headier tinges return with “Where’s My Gold Star?“. The throbbing number ripples with rhythmic rumbles and the lisp-ridden vocal delivery is pure genius. “Frank Lee“, another short, interlude-like track brings further weirdness to bear before everything erupts within “Picking Teeth“. Its’ music is a spiraling ride of circulating tempos and time signatures while “To Hell With Me” is another semi-dizzying frenzy of music. The cadence-setting pace implies an innate sense of foreboding and danger before we arrive at the album-closing “Pylons“. A hypnotic trippiness permeates the song’s slowly twisting inner workings and switch-hitting vocals. One minute airy and light then much heavier and gravelly.

Dead and their “We Won’t Let You Sleep” is definitely a bit hallucinogenic in content, derived straight out of the school of (the) Melvins and Big Business. It’s thick, it’s enthralling and able to stand on its own merits as it heaves with outside-the-box individuality.

THAL & HASHISHIAN ‘Taurean’ Split EP Review, Stream & NYP Item

Taurean: Split EP – CD//DD
Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

After a string of singles, multi-track EPs and the critically acclaimed 2016 full-length ‘Glitter‘, Columbus, Ohio’s one man abomination that is THAL (The Heathens Are Loose) is back! But the wizard-like maestro behind the project, Vince Green, has brought some friends along with him on this latest offering. Not only is his wytCHord bandmate Kevin Hartnell stepping in to contribute drums and guitars to this new material but hell, there’s a whole other band connected to this release. That band, Malaysia’s Hashishian, contributed three tracks along with THAL‘s three here for this six song, two band recording: the ‘Taurean‘ split EP.

THAL are the first to rumble out of the gate with their bass line-introduced first song, ‘Bloodglutton‘. Things quickly escalate into a full on aural discharge of wailing guitars and crushing drums before the lyrical lull of the first verse draws us into things. Before you know it, a vicious, throat searing scream fully unleashes the track loose upon us all. Things soon settle into a rhythmic patterning while spoken word inserts, in this case news reports, describe sightings of what sounds to be Chupacabra. Next on deck is the southern doom-infused grooves of ‘Flood The River‘, a song driven by thick, chugging riffs and splintering drum work. Hazy tones ripple across the air as Vince’s distinct vocals weave the tale to be told within the track. The last track from the Buckeye State boys is ‘Feast For The Wicked‘ which begins with some seriously Iron Maiden-ish-toned guitars before kicking in. Once fully engaged, the song takes on a bit more airy overtones as its uptempo, energized delivery powers through. You can hear a much different vocal approach here than what we are used to with THAL too but it suits the more European-flared power metal sound of the music well.

Hashishian are a quite bit different than their predecessors, at least style-wise as these guys play more downtuned, slower-paced sludge. Seth Nazgul (Bass/Vocals), Jiesus (Guitar/Vocals) and Sur Gondrong (Drums) are clearly students of the Black Sabbath-meets-Sleep school of sonics. Once the wispy, sedate intro of ‘Carving The Void‘ melts away, things explode into a deluge of fuzzened guitars, shuddering rhythms and acidic, volatile vocals. The thick-ass tones in the track periodically yield to frenzies of furious, punk-ish musicality. However, ‘Journal Of A White Crow‘ unfolds with some bluesy guitars wailing out as the cleaner delivered vocals present themselves. After a moment or two, things abruptly hit a wall of slowly rendered psychedelic flavors before reprising the frenetic intensities once again. Last track, ‘Magic Of Kenna‘, delves into a dizzying den of southern sludge and relentless rivets of drumming before hitting the brakes and turning headlong into some doom. It all escalates into squealing guitars, spiraling bass, and solid drumming before it finds its end and leaves you nearly breathless from what you’ve just experienced.

The unexpected pairing of THAL and Hashishian for the ‘Taurean‘ split EP was a nice surprise and in THAL‘s case, a nice holdover item while the work continues on the follow-up to Glitter. He probably won’t mind me telling you this but Vince recently let me hear a brand new THAL demo track, a work-in-progress if you will. Even in that raw state I can tell you the song is bad ass and definitely displayed some experimentation going on with the band’s overall sound, and vocals too. Anyway, ‘Taurean‘ is streaming in the Bandcamp embed below so check it out but wait, it gets better! Once there, the 6-song EP is available as a NYP (Name Your Price) item so you can snag it for notta if you must go that route.

CRACKHOUSE S/T EP Review & Stream [Argonauta Records]

We are but a handful of days away from France’s Crackhouse re-issuing their self-titled debut EP via Argonauta Records. The 2-song effort will be unleashed on April 7th and to prepare you for what’s coming, I’m here to discuss Crackhouse a bit more in detail. So, what do you know about Crackhouse..and by that I mean the band, not the notorius place people go to beam up. Do you know that they are a three man band consisting of members Simon Morlec, Jibus Carton and Guillaume Vaillant? Or that they specialize in creating some lethally damaging, dense sludge riddled with doom overtones and abundant aggression? But there is more, much, much more as the guys meld dense Fuzz/Desert/Stoner Rock portions into their batch of intoxicating heaviness.

crackhouse (4)

With these two tracks the trio cook up a dizzying delivery of deep rhythms embedded in this threatening aural upheaval. Resonating riffs shudder through the air around the listener as jarring drums pound and batter you senseless. Both songs, “Swamp Widows” and “Serpent Suuns“, are wide-ranging in content. Both are lengthy explorations into a sedimentary mire of hypnotic hardness. The former unfolds with a trippy intro that soon crumbles away as the chaos is unleashed. A body blow of mile-wide riffs hit you head-on as the angsty, somewhat hardcore type vocals’ gravelly presence is announced. With Southern Doom vibes reverberating all around, the paces of the tune are then alternated times uptempo and more animated while other times finds them throttled down to a slow-oozing crawl.

The latter song takes on a much more uptempo energy after its initial feedback-ringing introduction. Sure, it too is a heavy handed foray but it is definitely more akin to a caustic, post-hardcore style of music. This is the much more ultra-aggressive side of Crackhouse showing their wares in such a way that it will sear your ears from the inside out when you undergo the experience. Things do gradually settle down a bit as the guys take us into a much headier direction with some hypnotic repetitions of the song’s signature riff. Soon, a flurry of activity hits us from all sides like a beehive of damaging hammering and it hurts so good.

Once again, Argonauta Records will re-issue the self-titled debut EP from Crackhouse on April 7th but you can stream it here and now today. But take heed for this is extreme music, it is dangerous and corrosive in this thickly agitated state. It’s a metallic, hard rock blast that provides its own euphoric rush and will leave you geeking for more. Thankfully you can feed that need to fix with the repeat feature on the embedded stream here.

– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker