Pristina "The Drought (Ov Salt and Sorrow)" CD/LP
Posted on Wednesday, November 24th, 2010 @ 6:42am » permalink
Released by French label Trendkill Recordings, "The Drought (Ov Salt and Sorrow)" is the debut full-length from Connecticut's Pristina. And don't be misled by the fact that there are only five tracks herein, because the total running time clocks in at just over 45 minutes of dark, schizophrenic insanity. The vocals alone range from scathing screams and guttural growls/shouts to spoken passages or even some Neurosis-esque crooning. And the music? Where to begin!? Built largely upon a base of explosively chaotic bursts and acerbic textures reminiscent of 90's metalcore, the compositions are constantly swirling from ridiculously heavy, churning, dissonant grooves to scorching death metal runs; unexpected dashes of hardcore-influenced power chords; eerie acoustic passages; roving basslines; blasting, hammering and/or jazzy and/or ritualistic percussion; surging melodies; samples; ambient noise textures… and on and on. And they somehow manage to focus all of this into a relentlessly intense assault that actually makes sense!? Channel said focus into songs that range from three-and-a-half minutes to the massive 23-minute title track (which makes up half of the album and includes stellar guest appearances from Bloodlet's Scott Angelacos, Today is the Day's Steve Austin, and Starkweather's Rennie Resmini) and you've got yourself a keeper. Again, I feel that you've got to hear what they're doing yourself to really understand what's going on. And please keep in mind that this track is but a brief segment of what "The Drought (Ov Salt and Sorrow)" offers in its entirety:
Pristina "Salt Water Cthulhu"
Hopefully this one will secure some wider distribution in the comings months, 'cause it damn sure deserves it…
@ Trendkill Recordings (CD)
@ Trendkill Recordings (LP)
Alaska/End Reign "Baphomet" split 7"
Posted on Monday, November 22nd, 2010 @ 5:29am » permalink
More UK hardcore in the form of the "Baphomet" split 7" between Alaska and End Reign comes co-released by UK labels Fist in the Air Records and Worthless Nights Records. Alaska kicks things off with an absolutely excellent sample over feedback and subtly sludgy riffing before breaking into some straightforward, no bullshit metallic hardcore driven by crunchy midpaced power chords and vicious shouting vocals. Some slightly noisier textures pop up on rare occasion, as do some great little arpeggiated riffs with some eerie melodic tendencies. End Reign then follows with a very similar approach that keeps things more rugged and stripped down production-wise, not to mention a vocal style that's much harsher and more blown out. Still, expect more driving midpaced rhythms, forceful breakdowns, and some unexpected bits and pieces of cool dissonance creeping into place here and there. When all is said and done you've got four songs in 13 minutes, and this is a perfectly matched split 7". The similarities between these bands' writing styles are pretty uncanny, but they still manage to maintain their own identities. Good stuff.
Alaska "Mark of Life" (excerpt)
End Reign "Release the Wolves" (excerpt)
This one's limited to just 500 copies (150 on clear and 350 on transparent blue), so snag one now if you like what you hear, as usual…
@ Fist in the Air Records
@ Worthless Nights Records
Eibon "Entering Darkness" CD
Posted on Wednesday, November 10th, 2010 @ 8:03am » permalink
Released earlier this year through Aesthetic Death, "Entering Darkness" is the absolutely superb debut full-length from French act Eibon, and pretty much everything that I said about the band's self-titled EP still stands. Expect six tracks that add up to an hour's worth of crushing, pulsing doom – loaded with everything from your standard doses of slow, pounding power chords and oppressively thick basslines to droning melodies; sparse clean passages; and forceful vocal growls/snarls that really carry some great texture (to the point where they actually lend a bit of a blackened vibe to the compositions from time to time). All of this is occasionally accented by well-placed samples and efficiently blended ambient noise textures, not to mention some shockingly hard-hitting and emotional moments where surging melodies and dissonant chord phrasings come together to create some of the finest atmospheric doom I've encountered in quite some time (check out 14+ minute epic "Substance", especially). Once more the recording is great, too. Devastatingly heavy, super dense, but still clear enough to let you get a grip on all of the subtle intricacies that are scattered around the core. There are some truly mind-blowing moments herein, and I really prefer to let the music do the talking these days, so I hope this excerpt properly conveys a good bit of what this band has to offer…
Eibon "Substance" (excerpt)
@ All That is Heavy
@ Moribund Records
@ Red Stream
Corrosion of Conformity (C.O.C. III) and Righteous Fool…
Posted on Thursday, November 4th, 2010 @ 7:02am » permalink
"Your Tomorrow (Parts 1 and 2)" (released by Southern Lord) is the first recorded output from the reunited three-piece "Animosity"-era lineup (Mike Dean, Woody Weatherman, and Reed Mullin) of Corrosion of Conformity (also being referred to as C.O.C. III). I honestly can't say the material has that raging hardcore/crossover sound of the "Animosity" days, but that doesn't mean it's not an excellent EP. In fact, this material actually fits in quite well with the general tone of the Southern Lord roster, and the vibe kind of reminds me of The Obsessed or something like that. There's an unexpectedly dark, rocked out core, but it does have the energetic thrust of hardcore/punk. The recording's nice and dry, too, so all of the elements feel like they're pulled in close and working together. Good stuff. I definitely expected something that would more literally revisit the sound of the band's early days, but I actually think this kind of atmosphere is more interesting. Hopefully they'll keep at it. Here's a quick snippet to give you a feel for what's going on here:
Corrosion of Conformity "Your Tomorrow (Part 1)" (excerpt)
It looks like this one's already sold out directly from the label, so pick one up from one of these other sources while you still can…
@ All That is Heavy (black vinyl)
@ All That is Heavy (colored vinyl)
@ Blue Collar Distro
@ CM Distro
@ Amazon.com (mp3)
@ iTunes (mp3)
Also from Southern Lord is the debut self-titled EP from Righteous Fool, a trio featuring Mike Dean and Reed Mullin from C.O.C. with Jason Browning. The material's not unlike some of C.O.C.'s post-"Blind" output in that it's basically heavy rock loaded with solid grooves that have plenty of those southern twists and turns. And since they're a trio you'll get to hear some great bass work going on behind the solos, which is always a nice touch. I really dig the overall energy of this stuff, and the songwriting's damn strong as well. I had been looking forward to hearing more from this band ever since I first came upon their MySpace page, and this 7" doesn't disappoint. I'm still hungry for more…
Righteous Fool "Edict of Worms" (excerpt)
This one appears to be sold out from the label now as well, so… same story. If you want a physical copy, take action while you still can!
@ All That is Heavy
@ Blue Collar Distro
@ CM Distro
@ Amazon.com (mp3)
@ iTunes (mp3)
Violator "Annihilation Process" CD
Posted on Monday, November 1st, 2010 @ 7:05am » permalink
"Annihilation Process" is the latest EP from Brazilian thrashers Violator (on Kill Again Records), and they're still the best of the best when it comes to contemporary bands recapturing the true vibe of classic thrash metal. I was really into the whole thrash revival for a short time years back, but then I started getting tired of most of the new bands failing to hold my attention and generally lacking the overall atmosphere that I love about old school thrash, so I started focusing more on listening to actual 80's thrash instead. That being said, Violator still fucking rules. I don't know how the hell they do it (it must have something to do with how authentically dedicated and enthusiastic Brazilian metal fans are), but everything about their attitude and delivery is completely in line with the good old days: Excellent riffs that balance meaty midpaced breaks with ripping speeds, totally badass gang vocals, slick melodic solos, energetic songwriting, the works. I love it. Rather than meandering on and losing steam, every track is three to five minutes of well-focused intensity (including a cover of Executer's "You'll Come Back Before Dying"), and I really appreciate that they're not trying to achieve crisp, modern production values. But they're not going for the overly raw and in your face sound either, so the end result works out very well for their appropriately dated approach. Awesome cover art and perfect logo, too. I can't believe this band doesn't get more attention here in the US. Genuine 80's thrash bands have reunited and released new albums that are embarrassing compared to what Violator's doing. Seriously. Don't sleep on these dudes…
Violator "Deadly Sadistic Experiments"
It looks like the label might only sell to Brazilian customers, but thankfully Hells Headbangers has the disc in stock for those of us in the US, etc. Pick one up immediately if you like what you hear (and you should)!
@ Kill Again Records
@ Hells Headbangers