Friday, September 12, 2014

Bandcamp Picks: Earth, Dread Sovereign, Iron Void, Cardinal Wyrm

After the double dose of tepidness that was Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light, Earth come roaring back with Primitive and Deadly. Since 2005, Dylan Carson has been carving out his own niche of western tinged, psychedelic doom/drone, and the results here are nothing short of sublime. Vocals - a rarity in the Earth canon - are used sparingly but to good effect, courtesy of Rose Windows' Rabia Shaheen Qazi and the Screaming Trees' Mark Lanegan (lest anyone forget Earth's grunge/Subpop cred]. This is the best thing the band have done since 2008's The Bees Made Honey, and possibly even better than that. [$7.99]

Dread Sovereign is the doomy, Satan-loving brainchild of Primordial's Alan Averill. Owing perhaps to the genre bending of his main band, All Hell's Martyrs isn't just heavy but surprisingly inventive, alternating between bluesy Sabbathness and a more droning, atmospheric approach. This should tide Primordial fans waiting for the next full-length, as well as anyone hungering for a doom band that isn't the usual dredged up sludge. [€7]

Is it me, or is there a doom metal renaissance going on in the North of England? Iron Void stomp heavy boots of lead like a less manic Orange Goblin, or a less bluesy Spirit Caravan. All the true doom ingredients are present on their self-titled debut: unabashed Iommi worship, Ozzy-ish warbling, topless chick on the cover... why isn't this on Rise Above? [Note: A standalone download isn't available yet, though one comes when you order the CD, which is £10].

Even though their songs average 8 minutes, you'll know whether Cardinal Wyrm is for you or not within seconds; if the operatic singing doesn't send you in the opposite direction screaming (or laughing), then you'll find a fantastic slab of tote bag metal. Somewhere between Sleep and Therion, Black Hole Gods finds a balance between earth rumblingly heavy and shamelessly melodramatic. Frankly, I'm kind of surprised by how much I'm digging this; but considering how highly I rate the similarly eclectic Grayceon, maybe I shouldn't be. [$8]

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Pretty Mouth - The Endless Mistake

So here it is, the last album from the volatile madhouse that was Toronto's Pretty Mouth. The Endless Mistake is frustrating for all its flashes of brilliance, and the glimpses of what may have lay in the band's future if their unique style of misanthropic noise had been given time to fester. Alas, their time is up.

On previous albums, targets included religion, big business, and middle class privilege; this time, the primary target seems to be the idea of the song itself, at least in the established punk rock way. There's nary a recognizable chorus, and the band seems to go out of its way to frustrate listeners by hitting a nasty groove and then yanking it away to punish with feedback and noise. [Guitarist Andrew Cleveland loves feedback as much as Greg Ginn loved hitting all the wrong notes.] While hardcore has been slowly transforming into death metal in its pursuit of a heavier sound, Pretty Mouth maintains the chaos and unpredictability of the genre, channeling the ghosts of Daughters and Deadguy (two other bands, it should be noted, that also combusted before their time).

Vocalist Lance Marwood alternates between screaming and...well, not singing exactly, but a more tuneful kind of yelling. Clearly a guy with a lot on his mind, he sounds like a sidewalk preacher who wandered into a recording studio before heading back out again to yell at people waiting for their bus. It works for the most part, though the song "Decisions" goes on for longer than it should. This is a band that did its best work in minute-long bursts; by comparison, a four minute spoken word piece starts to feel like Sabazius.

The title track features the indictment, "There's too many girls and not enough women; there's too many boys and not enough men." Add to that: There's too many followers and not enough risktakers. And now there's one less. RIP Pretty Mouth.

The Endless Mistake will be released September 8th

Pretty Mouth on Facebook

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mixtape 14: Al Dimalanta of Dead Ends and Throw

Here is the 14th installment of the Dreams of Consciousness podcast, featuring an interview with Al Dimalanta of Filipino punk pioneers Dead Ends and Throw. We delve into the early days of the Filipino punk and hardcore scene, as well as Al's thoughts on the present scene.