Mamaleek "Kurdaitcha" LP
Posted on Friday, April 29th, 2011 @ 6:59am » permalink
Perhaps the most twistedly peculiar release from Enemies List Home Recordings thus far, "Kurdaitcha" marks my first exposure to the unusual "black metal" sounds of Mamaleek (who previously released two full-lengths in 2008) – a band that is said to be "two anonymous brothers recording in a bedroom somewhere in San Francisco". And I can't help but immediately compare them to Wrnlrd (albeit loosely), simply because both acts perform odd and abstract forms of "black metal" that can barely be accurately classified as such. Mamaleek's take on said vision is somehow more linear (the structures and riffs themselves are on the more tangible side, for example), but also physically harder to listen to at times (for me, at least) due to the grating harshness of some of the recording techniques and textures employed. And they certainly head in an entirely different direction in terms of outside influences, what with a number of glitchy electronic beats and oddball samples/"world music" atmospheres adding unexpectedly relaxed and/or melodic moments throughout. A few tracks come across more like dark ambient pieces, a handful of jazzy snippets pop up here and there, some of the guitar work morphs into a fuzzed out 70's rock kind of vibe… I mean, it's just fuckin' weird! To be totally honest, I fully expected to hate this, just because the bits and pieces that I sampled in advance rubbed me the wrong way and felt awkward and forced, but… I was wrong: The album as a whole represents something entirely different. I'm completely surprised by the quality of the feeling that the music and production values are able to achieve, and it's actually the trance-like characteristics of the calmer and more chilled out elements that move me the most. It's different, it's out there, and they're onto something…
Mamaleek "You Can Bury Me in the East"
The album will soon be available as a limited edition of 150 LP's (it's still a pre-order right now because the first test presses were rejected), but you can already score it as a pay-what-you-want download (or free, if you feel like going that route), so… commence further exploration…
@ Enemies List Home Recordings (LP)
@ Enemies List Home Recordings (mp3)
Snakedriver "2011 Demo"
Posted on Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 @ 6:01am » permalink
This six-song demo is the debut from Little Rock, AR's Snakedriver (featuring Jeremiah Chandler from the almighty Dead City on vocals), and it offers up thick, sludgy, southern-tinged riffing aplenty. For the most part the band takes a fairly straightforward approach that fuses the sludge/doom type of angle with more of a hardcore element (not unlike Seven Sisters of Sleep, etc.) by tossing in some faster-paced power chords and keeping the track times down around two to four minutes apiece. The recording can be just a touch on the muddy side, but that does tend to make sense given the types of influences that are at work herein, and the songwriting's got a good energy to it that keeps things moving forward. The demo was recorded a mere two months ago, but I'm looking forward to hearing more and seeing where the band heads from here. Sure, they're not exactly re-writing any rulebooks, but who gives a shit when the formula is executed properly!? You can stream the entire demo from Bandcamp below:
And if you like what you hear, it's available as a free download:
[DOWNLOAD] Snakedriver "2011 Demo" (@ Bandcamp)
The Osedax "Delayed Response" CD
Posted on Monday, April 25th, 2011 @ 6:31am » permalink
"Delayed Response" is the absolutely crushing self-released debut from McLean, VA's The Osedax, throwing down eight lengthy tracks for about an hour's worth of top-notch doom. These dudes just do not fuck around at all. The songwriting is utterly amazing right off the bat, and actually manages to strike a much more emotional chord than most bands of this nature. Of course there's a firm base of thick, plodding rhythms and sludgy runs – not to mention a variety of deep, burly growls and midrange snarls – but they also utilize tons of winding, dissonant melodies and subtly discordant chord phrasings that add a hell of a lot of power to the compositions. Plus, the tempos are all over the place, so they're not just locking into a slow, pounding groove for 6+ minutes straight and beating you over the head with repetition. In fact, some of the "faster" passages actually get pretty damn technical in the riffing department. This is also one of the first albums I've listened to in a while where the drumming jumps out at me as a true strength: The dude hits hard and doesn't stagnate, so there are a lot of forceful fills and well-placed flourishes. Great recording, too. The bass faintly pulses away behind a massive wall of guitars, the percussion is crisp and natural… everything gels together perfectly and is super fuckin' heavy without losing any detail. As usual I'm not doing a stellar job of properly communicating the intricacies of what this music has to offer, but listen for yourself and I think you'll understand. This is quite an outstanding album, and it will be a massive injustice if The Osedax doesn't start getting more attention ASAP. I'm impressed…
The Osedax "Reanamorata"
As always, support the band with a purchase if you like what you hear!
@ The Osedax (CD)
@ Amazon.com (mp3)
@ iTunes (mp3)
Rot in Hell "Niu" 12" and "As Pearls Before Swine" CD/LP
Posted on Friday, April 22nd, 2011 @ 6:00am » permalink
I'm a little overdue on this, but some time ago A389 Recordings unleashed "Niu": A six-song, 20-minute live set from the mighty Rot in Hell that was recorded live in the UK sometime during May of 2009. Included are the tracks "Lucius Ferre", "Black Omega", "Iron Halo", "Between Iron Teeth", "Erebus", and "Dionysian"; and I must say that the soundboard recording quality is surprisingly awesome. I guess when a band is as raw and in your face as Rot in Hell, the typically rugged characteristics of live recordings automatically feel more familiar and appropriate. And expect no banter! The set opens with a little bit of ambient noise and feedback, you'll get brief segments of the same between tracks, and about five minutes of it at the end. No, "Hi, we're Rot in Hell." No, "Thanks." Nothing. Which is, quite frankly, fucking perfect! It's just an onslaught of the raging metallic hardcore for which the band is known. I've written about Rot in Hell a number of times already, so you shouldn't need me to repeatedly link their sound to the likes of Integrity, Ringworm, Gehenna, etc. If you don't know by now, there may be no hope…
Rot in Hell "Iron Halo" (live)
The vinyl is limited to just 300 copies (each including a download code), and I believe it's almost sold out. That being said, you can snag it digitally for a paltry $2.50, so… you know what to do!
@ A389 Recordings (mp3)
@ Rot in Hell (12")
@ Deathwish Inc. (12")
@ Hellfish Family (12")
@ RevHQ (12")
Recorded way the fuck back in December 2008/January 2009 and finally released a few weeks ago (via Deathwish Inc.), "As Pearls Before Swine" is Rot in Hell's long-awaited debut full-length. Opening with the perfect balance of early Integrity meets Ironside in "Fulminate of Mercury", it becomes immediately clear that the album will offer up 11 tracks/a little over 31 minutes of the same relentless attack the band has been honing since day one. As mentioned above, I can only draw the same parallels between Rot in Hell and some of their influences so many times before it just gets stupid, so… listen for yourself if you still don't get the picture. For the most part their approach remains steadfast here, with instrumental "Hallways of the Always" branching out a bit to combine eerie acoustic guitars and melodic leads with unexpected strings. The strings also return towards the end of "Ars Sina Scienta Nihil Est", which is by far the longest track at just under six minutes, and also makes the most use of samples and experimental textures. The production's a touch thicker overall, but certainly not polished, and the density creates a solid bass presence that's always welcomed. I hate to keep it so brief, but… what more needs to be said, really? It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Rot in Hell, and still find them to be one of the most consistent hardcore acts out there right now. I'll never tire of bands that keep this style of hardcore alive…
Rot in Hell "Fulminate of Mercury"
Shattered are the boundaries of time and space, invoking Dionysus. Tear apart fragile realities, atomic Promethean. The crowned and conquering son, breaking the chains and calling to arms. With sacred sciences you opened the door… and something flew in…
Both vinyl and CD purchases from Deathwish Inc. include an instant download of the album, or you can score it digitally for just $6.00…
@ Rot in Hell (CD)
@ Rot in Hell (LP)
@ Deathwish Inc. (CD)
@ Deathwish Inc. (LP)
@ Deathwish Inc. (mp3)
Morethanthis "s/t" 7"
Posted on Wednesday, April 20th, 2011 @ 6:08am » permalink
Recently released by Sjakk Matt Plater is the debut 7" from Norwegian hardcore/punk outfit Morethanthis, a new band that features Bjørnar Næss and Håvard Godøy from Lash Out, no less. Expect four concise tracks in about 12 minutes that take on a D-beat influenced style that's loaded with driving midpaced rhythms and gruff vocals accented by just the right amount of melody. Great recording, too. They're not trying too hard to shoot for an oppressively heavy sound, nor are they taking things in an overly raw direction, so the mix is nicely balanced and you can get a good feel for the different guitar and bass textures, etc. Many bands of this nature can tend to fall on the boring side, but Morethanthis definitely brings enough energy and character to their songwriting to keep things memorable and interesting. In fact, once all of the subtle melodies, darker atmospheres, and killer backing vocals gel together, the end result starts to become reminiscent of To What End?, another Scandinavian act that has perfected this particular style of hardcore. I'm not sure what Morethanthis has planned in terms of future activity, but I'm certainly looking forward to hearing more! This is great stuff…
More Than This "Manifest"
Unfortunately, I'm not seeing many distributors for the 7" just yet, but hopefully it will start to spread around a bit more in the coming months!
Wayfarer "Letumus Cathari" picture disc 7"
Posted on Monday, April 18th, 2011 @ 6:02am » permalink
"Letumus Cathari" is the latest from UK act Wayfarer (released in cooperation between Carry the Weight Records, Green Menace, and Worship Records). A two-song concept EP, the tracks deal with the Catholic crusade against the Cathars in France during the 12th century: Opener "In Absentia Lucis Tenebrae Vincunt" from the perspective of the crusaders, and "Consolamentum" from that of the Cathars. And this is definitely band's finest work to date. "In Absentia Lucis Tenebrae Vincunt" combines straightforward, 90's styled metallic hardcore with loads of blazing, Integrity-esque solos and an absolutely awesome clean break with sick melodic bass runs – which really exemplifies the more intricate side of the band's songwriting. Then "Consolamentum" takes a slower turn and opens with a gradual build that eventually blends in chilling acoustic guitars behind distorted power chords, while the core of the composition is driven by chunky midpaced rhythms and octave chords with whispered/spoken vocals often tucked away in the background. Awesome. This is a killer 7" from a band that really has a lot of potential to do some great things, so I'm very curious to see what will come next…
Wayfarer "In Absentia Lucis Tenebrae Vincunt" (excerpt)
The 7" is available with three different covers, one from each label, and is limited to just 300 copies, so don't sleep on it for too long if you'd like to get your hands on one…
@ Carry the Weight Records
@ Green Menace
@ Worship Records
Foreseen/Upright split 7"
Posted on Friday, April 1st, 2011 @ 7:55am » permalink
From Take it Back Records in cooperation with Green Menace and Street Survival Records comes this raging split 7" between two Finnish bands that I've written about in the past: Foreseen and Upright. Foreseen kicks things off with two tracks that take their crunchy, energetic metallic hardcore and toss in even more badass solos and thrashy metal riffs. It sucks that a lot of bands from Europe still have a harder time getting the same amount of respect as comparable bands from the US, but Foreseen is stylistically right up there with bands like Bitter End, Take Offense, etc. and damn sure deserves just as much love. Upright then follows with four shorter songs comparable to the straightforward, no bullshit approach of classic bands like Madball or the like. Expect a traditional hardcore base with high-speed energy and just the right amount of chunky groove during the breaks. What more needs to be said here!? I've been an enormous fan of this aspect of the Finnish scene for a long time now, and it's so great that there are still top-notch, 90's styled metallic hardcore bands coming out of Finland that can easily keep me excited about this style. Awesome.
Foreseen "Paving the Way"
Upright "Better Days"
Each copy of the 7" includes a download code that will also score you two bonus songs (one from each band), which is awesome, so… make the grab if you like what you hear!
@ Green Menace
@ Street Survival Records
@ Take it Back Records