Friday, September 27, 2013

Bandcamp Picks: Jesu, A Storm of Light, Rosetta, Across Tundras

Justin Broadrick sure is busy this year...not only has he aired the first new Godflesh recording in over a decade, embarking on his first US tour with them since the 90's, but there's a new Jesu EP out this month as well. Everyday I Get Closer To The Light From Which I Came is classic Jesu, bleak yet uplifting, trudging towards oblivion with a slight smile on its face. Gaze at your shoes for forty minutes and contemplate the inevitable. The 5 song EP is available as a digital download for $8, and comes with an additional 4 songs recorded live in Belgium earlier this year.

A Storm of Light's connection to Neurosis is well established and while comparisons are unavoidable, Nations to Flames shows that Josh Graham is capable of carving out a musical identity of his very own. This is the heaviest and most aggressive album that ASOL has released yet. If the idea of Soundgarden jamming with Neurosis sounds good to you, then revel in Kim Thayil's presence as a collaborator on some songs. Not sure which ones; also not sure why only 3 tracks are available on ASOL's Bandcamp page, but all 11 songs are streaming here courtesy of Noisecreep. The album is available as a digital download for $7.99.

I've had a soft spot for Rosetta ever since I saw them open for Kylesa during a snowstorm back in 2011. The Anaesthete, the band's first self-released album (and fourth overall, apparently) expands on their hypnotic, post-rock influenced doomcore with a bushido inspired theme and some quiet parts that remind me a lot of Australians (and DoC faves) Nuclear Summer. Cerebral and enveloping, if slightly too long for its own good. The album is available as a "name your price" download.

Like a less droning version of Earth, Tennessee's Across Tundras inject a great deal of southern twang into their slow and heavy atmospherics. Electric Relics finds the band at the crossroads of psychedelic doom and dark country - possibly the same black crossroads that Robert Johnson was made an offer he couldn't refuse. Across Tundras make a similar offer: the album is available as a "name your price" download.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Metallica were on The Colbert Report this week, promoting their new 3-D concert movie Through the Never. Stephen seemed genuinely delighted to have a metal band to (*cough*) riff off of, and for their part Metallica were game straight men, allowing their host to score some laughs and even scoring some of their own.

The Colbert Report
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• The match up between motormouths Lars Ulrich and Stephen Colbert was no contest. Stephen is just too fast with his quips and Lars could barely get a word in edgewise.

• Stephen tells the band that he loves Saint Anger ("Never actually heard the album"), and they smile politely, perhaps knowing that it's the lowest point in their 30 year discography.

• Stephen suggests "Next to the Always" and "Under the Sometimes" as alternate titles to the somewhat nonsensical Through the Never.

• The band's performance of "For Whom the Bell Tolls" was introduced by Colbert's previous guest, Jesuit pastor Jim Martin. Multiple levels of irony to unfold: a priest introducing the world's biggest metal band; the same priest gleefully flashing devil horns; the author of an article chiding the entertainment industry for its "obvious contempt for the Catholic Church" roped in to introduce the band that wrote "Leper Messiah" and "The God that Failed"; and the fact that the pastor shares a name with Hetfield's old buddy, Faith No More guitarist Jim Martin.

• Metallica running around and vamping on Colbert's tiny (compared to what they're used to) studio stage like it was their normal arena set up was pretty endearing.

The Colbert Report
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• Massive reverb on Hetfield's vocals throughout the night, but the performance was still fairly raw and unrestrained. Going to go out on a limb and guess that Metallica aren't playing to a backing track yet.

• Even though I saw Metallica play "Master of Puppets" live and in person, it was somehow even more thrilling to see them play it on The Report, with Hetfield substituting at least one "master" with "Colbert!" Also, Stephen's introduction was beyond amazing.

The Colbert Report
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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mixtape 5: Screamapore

Here's the fifth Dreams of Consciousness "mixtape", featuring our friends from across the causeway in Singapore. This podcast features an interview with my buddies Bloodstone, which I recorded in March when I saw them play the Home Club in Singapore with Wormrot, Hell and Hell, and Demisor. Bloodstone are all really smart and funny guys, and the interview was one of the most fun I've ever done. I meant to transcribe the recording as soon as I got home, but kept putting it off... half a year later, here it finally is.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bandcamp Picks: Gorguts, Ulcerate, Orbweaver, Pathogen

After years of anticipation, the new Gorguts is finally here. Coloured Sands builds off of their genre-redefining meisterwork Obscura, taking both the band and death metal into strange new worlds. According to a recent Decibel playlist, Luc Lemay has been listening to plenty of Philip Glass and prog rock; it shows. Simply put, this is one of the most unique and important metal releases of 2013. I look forward to disappearing into its confounding depths over and over again. The album is available as a digital download for $9.99.

Not to be outdone in the "confounding death metal" department, New Zealand's Ulcerate return with the equally brilliant Vermis. Don't be fooled by their jazz influence, though; this is as relentlessly heavy as any Morbid Angel or Suffocation album you'd care to mention. Between this and the new Gorguts, 2013 might be remembered as the year that R'lyeh finally emerged from the depths. The album is available as a digital download for $8.99.

If your hunger for jazz-influenced metal still hasn't been sated, Miami's Orbweaver are self-described as "Zappa-esque controlled chaos". There's so much feedback and math on Strange Transmissions From The Neuralnomicon, expect your brains to melt and flow out your nose. Lovers of blast need not fear; for all its progressive leanings, it never wanders too far off the path of brutality. The 5 song EP is available as digital download for $5.

Filipino crew Pathogen have been around for over a decade, and have been actively working their style of old school death metal since then. Originally released on cassette in 2010, Miscreants of Bloodlusting Aberrations has been recently reissued by Germany's Dunkelheit Productions on CD and vinyl. Fans of early Morbid Angel and Immolation take note. The album is available as a digital download for €2.90 (around $3.87 according to Paypal).

Friday, September 13, 2013

Toxemia Interview

Toxemia came highly recommended to me by my buddy Ian from Brimstone in Fire, who urged me to include them on the third DoC podcast. Their guttural old school thrashings will find immediate favour with anyone who loves death metal "the way it used to be". I fired off some questions to the band, which guitarist/vocalist Corix and drummer Kenneth took turns answering.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bandcamp Picks: Exhumed, Infanticide, Doom, Teething

Fall of 2013 is upon us, and grindcore fans are abuzz about a legendary band's long-awaited return. No, not those guys - I'm talking about Exhumed, whose newest album Necrocracy eases off the accelerator, especially when compared to the relentless ear drilling of All Guts No Glory. I don't know, I kind of like relentless ear drilling; but the more measured pace allows the riffs to breathe, and shows that Exhumed can do twin guitar harmonics as well as anyone. Even if it's likely to be overshadowed by the new Carcass album, this is a solid addition to Exhumed's already exemplary discography. The album is available as a digital download for $11.99.

One band that shares my love for relentless ear drilling is Infanticide. Though they're from Sweden, Misconception of Hope is a far cry from the grooves of Nasum or General Surgery; expect pure savagery akin to the last Lock Up and Terrorizer albums. Throwing 19 songs at the listener in under 20 minutes, Infanticide balances songwriting with grindcore fundamentals nicely. The album is available as a digital download for $8.99.

As far as career retrospectives go, Doom's 25 Years of Crust is truth in advertising - this is subwoofer-ravaging biker punk spanning the Brummies' entire career. Diehards will already have most of the the material on here, but this is a perfect primer for a latecomer like me. The compilation is available as a "name your price" download through Bandcamp, as well as a free download from Moshpit Tragedy.

Madrid's Teething come highly recommended by Exhumed's Matt Harvey, who recently endorsed them based on their "unbridled, HM-2 fueled savagery." Not much I can add to that, except that their side of the split with Finland's Ravage Ritual is available as a free download.

Fuck This Place: A Mixtape

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Not Dead Yet

I just finished watching the documentary Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet. Becker was the guitarist for Eighties classical shredders Cacophony  - the "other" guitarist, the one who didn't get famous by joining Megadeth. For metal guys who subscribed to guitar magazines and practiced scales everyday, Cacophony's Speed Metal Symphony was a high water mark for widdly widdly WAHHHH! You don't need me to tell you it was big in Japan.

Macaroni Interview

 One of the big finds - if not THE big find - from my trip to Bangkok last year was Macaroni. Indisputable OGs in the world of South East Asian death metal, Macaroni have been around since the early 90's. With their latest album A Gift For Corpse, they offer a singular and distinctive take on the genre, a true sign of veteran status. Since I've been dying to know more about these guys, I e-mailed some questions to the band, which guitarist Supoth Sakaekhao was kind enough to answer.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bandcamp Picks: Soliloquium, Monachus, Head of the Demon, Seal of Beleth

Soliloquium is a two man band featuring members of NWOOSSDM upstarts Desolator. The Concept of Escape is a pristine slice of atmospheric doom, cold and desolate - just the thing I need as summer comes to an end. As Katatonia slowly transforms into a Swedish version of Lawrence Welk, bands like Soliloquium are welcome to make the style their own. The three song release is available as a free download.

Neurosis cast a pretty big shadow over Monachus, though with their reverbed guitar, moments of Below feel a lot like surf rock on quaaludes (a compliment). The four track album is available as a digital download for €5 (or $6.69 according to Paypal). Their first two albums released under the name Icos are also available on their Bandcamp page as "name your price" downloads.

Mystery is one of the most powerful tools an artist can employ; not knowing is what keeps us coming back. In the case of Head of the Demon, mysteries abound. Are they an actual band, or one guy with a home studio? Was their self-titled debut recorded in stereo, converted to mono, and then converted back to stereo? These questions make their psychedelic blackened doom all the more intriguing. The album isn't available as a standalone download, but one is available when you buy the vinyl or CD version.

Coming from Finland, Seal Of Beleth have a long legacy of doom metal to live up to. Slow Music For Dead People (I see what you did there) utilizes melody and clean vocals to smart effect in making their trudging doom more memorable. The six track album is available as a digital download for €6.00 (or $7.90 according to Paypal).

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mass Hypnosia @ KL Thrashed 2013

I've been sick of thrash nostalgia for a good long while now; just the phrase "thrash til death!" makes me want to spit. Preferably in a retro-thrashers mouth. Honestly, the more half-assed revival bands I hear, the more relieved I am that the combined ubiquity of grunge and death metal killed thrash the first time. I would have skipped KL Thrashed 2013 with no regrets, except that Mass Hypnosia were scheduled to make their first Malaysian appearance there. As someone who trying to sew the threads the regional scenes closer together (with little success), MH coming to Malaysia was a big step in that direction.

This year's event was held in the Water Club, deep in KL's clubbing district. Moving to a venue with its own bar may have seemed like a plus, but it was one that few in attendance took advantage of (no doubt due to price gouging - buying a bottle of water for Mass Hypnosia ran me 8 times what it would have cost at a convenience store).