Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mixtape # 3: Pilipinas

When I was in Manila a few months ago I sat down with my buddy Ian Fernandez Cuevas from Brimstone In Fire for a chat about the Filipino metal scene. Big thanks to Ian for his help getting the songs for this podcast, many of which were recorded at his Demiurge Digital studios. In truth, he was largely responsible for putting this together. I couldn't have done it without him.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Grey Skies Fallen Interview

Grey Skies Fallen are unsung heroes of the New York metal scene, having been around in some form since 1997. I finally got a chance to see them in May, when they shared a bill with Gwynbleidd. Since overlooked, criminally under-rated bands are this blog's raison d'être, I sent vocalist/guitarist Rick Habeeb some questions which he was kind enough to answer.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bandcamp Picks: October Tide, Demon Lung, Luder, Pheroze

October Tide has been one of my favourite unsung bands since my college days, back when they were tagged as a Katatonia side project; that label isn't really applicable anymore since none of their members are currently in Katatonia, though the comparisons are still inescapable. Tunnel of No Light is firmly on the road of frigid death/doom that the band have traveled since the beginning, only more confident and, dare I say, mature. As Renske and Nyström head into more commercial territory, October Tide becomes an increasingly more attractive alternative to the band they sprung from. The album is available as a digital download for $7.92.

Demon Lung has been getting a lot of love lately; usually that's my cue to move somewhere else, but The Hundredth Name is pretty impressive. With nary a blues lick in sight and avoiding the monotony of sludge, this is "doom metal" with an emphasis on "metal." The riffs are Candlemass at their Sabbathiest, topped by the forlorn wails of vocalist Shanda Fredrick. The album is available as a digital download for $7.99.

For a deathhead like me, Luder aren't particularly heavy - but they are very good; and if I had to choose one or the other, I'm going with the latter. On their second album Adelphophagia, shoegazing psychedelia wanders into desert rock territory ("Luder is not stoner rock" according to their website ...point taken). It's like Lush or Mazzy Star got lost at a Kyuss gig, and then decided while they were there to do a cover of David Bowie's "Afraid of Americans". The album is available as a digital download for $10.

One of the big regrets of my NY trip (besides the fact that it's over) is that I missed seeing my buddy Pheroze play, especially since he just put out a new EP, Ennui. The refinement since his first album is obvious; the Chris Cornell/Soundgarden influence is still evident, but it's now more of a jumping off point as his sound develops its own identity. The five song EP is available for $4.99.

And check out the very entertaining video that Pheroze did for "Today I Belong to the Dead":

Are furries the new hipsters? Or are these hipster furries? This video raises more questions than it answers.

Dreams of Consciousness is on Facebook; put on your bunny suit and come hang out.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Playlist: Fasting Month

It's Ramadan, and all around me in Malaysia people are fasting from sunrise to sundown. But just because I'm still stuffing myself in the middle of the day with bagels and vegan cream cheese doesn't mean I'm not thinking about you.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bandcamp Picks: Fuck the Facts, The Atrocity Exhibit, Sick/Tired, Cryptic Yeast and Girlsnames

Fuck the Facts' new EP was self-released as a limited edition cassette and 7" to coincide with their current European Tour; good for Europe, I guess, but here in SEAsia I'll have to settle for the Bandcamp version. Showcasing the Québécois quintet's knack for writing catchy grind, Amer is Fuck the Facts at their most versatile, topped off with Mel Mongeon's Jake Bannon-esque shrieks. Though at under 15 minutes, it's less a substantial meal than an appetizer for FTF's next full length. The seven song EP is available as a digital download for $4 Canadian (or $3.78 US according to Paypal)

You can't blame Brits The Atrocity Exhibit for sticking to the classic grind template when the results are this good. What Time Hidden Death couldn't be described better than by the bands own motto: "fast, slow, more fast". The seven song release is available as a "name your price" download.

Sick/Tired always seem on the verge of careening out of control, veering back and forth between  seasick rhythms and blistering grind. King of Dirt is aptly titled - the guitars and bass sound completely filthy. Strangely enough, they really remind me of my buds Tools of the Trade - now that's a tour I'd love to see. The album (including a cover of COC's "Rabid Dogs") is available as a "name your price" download.

And now for something completely different... the split EP Blender Children features two bands who are definitely trying to subvert the grind template. Cryptic Yeast's unrelenting drum programming starts to take on the repetitiveness of gabber music, though much more enjoyable. Meanwhile, on their side Girlsnames take the Locust's spazzed out Atari grind one step further with some deliriously hyperactive vocals. The split EP is available as a "name your price" download.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Bandcamp Picks: Deafheaven, Ache, Heartless, With Burning Contempt

The new Deafheaven album Sunbather won't make many friends in the TRUE/KVLT community, with its mix of indie/post-rock and black metal; leaving aside the title and album artwork, which is belligerently unblack. But this is a remarkably strong and confident sophomore album that's going to make a lot of end of year lists, culminating in the epic closer "The Pecan Tree." Whatever common ground that exists between Explosions in the Sky and A Blaze in the Northern Sky is sure to be found here. The album is available as a $9.99 digital download.

Australian label Monolith, who gave us releases by Rumah Api faves Idylls and Nuclear Summer, recently released the self-titled debut by Brisbane's Ache.  Expect apocalyptic hardcore in the His Hero Is Gone vein, with the occasional Botch-ish pinch harmonics keeping things interesting. Doomy hardcore is becoming more popular in Malaysia; local kids might want to check this out to see how it sounds when it's done properly. The 5 track EP is available as a "name your price" digital download.

Pittsburgh's Heartless released a 7" in time for their appearance at Maryland Deathfest. Luckily for people like me who aren't cool enough to either own a record player or get in to see them at the Baltimore Soundstage, the band have made Certain Death available on their Bandcamp page. Topping their previous releases, this is furious and unrelentingly noisy hardcore that will cause nosebleeds. I hope there was a medic at MDF. The 8 songs are available as a "name your price" digital download.

Speaking of MDF, I met the guitarist of With Burning Contempt on the last day of the festival, and promised I'd check out his band. And I'm glad I did, because this is pretty good stuff. Their Red Visions EP is a nice mix of old school and modern influences. There's a heavy Wolverine Blues vibe, and the song "Defaced" has a pretty cheeky Winter lift. As the band themselves say, no overthinking required. The four track EP  is available as a "name your price" digital download.