Thursday, April 30, 2015

Monday, April 27, 2015

Bandcamp Picks: Oshiego, Imperial Triumphant, Dead in the Manger, Irreversible Mechanism

Our friends from across the causeway Oshiego have returned with the best album of their career. Crossing The Bridge Of Siraat combines thrashing, blasting death metal with some groove and the occasional middle eastern melody for an album that's fairly unique and highly enjoyable. One of the best albums I've heard come out of the Lion City. [$6.66]

The hole Portal and Ulcerate ripped in the space/time continuum continues to allow otherworldly death metal bands to tear through our world; to wit, New York's Imperial Triumphant, featuring members of the similarly genre bending Pyrrhon. Abyssal Gods blasts with no regard for convention and plenty of (per the song title) "Black Psychedelia". This is the soundtrack to a holiday in R'lyeh. [€8]

I have many questions about the mysterious Dead In The Manger. Where are they from? Are they a real band, or one guy programming blastbeats on a computer? [Seriously, Metallum has nothing.] Cessation for the most part is somewhere between the churning death metal of Incantation and second wave black metal, then slows to the moody discordance of bands like Starkweather. They may "play music with the intention of leaving a feeling of unease and despondency", but albums like this leave me with hope for metal's future. [$6.66]

With their keyboards, acoustic interludes, and impeccable production, Belarusians Irreversible Mechanism probably epitomize what message board C.H.U.D.s hate about modern death metal. Their label is quick to compare Infinite Fields to Obscura, Beyond Creation and Fleshgod Apocalypse; but for what it's worth, I think this is better than all that. Brutality for the thinking hesher. The album is available as a "name your price" download, though there's a handy guide to how much the label wants you to donate based on your budget.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mixtape 19: S.E.A. Sludge

Here is the 19th installment of the Dreams of Consciousness podcast, focusing on sludge/doom metal bands from South East Asia, and featuring an interview with Malaysian sludge band Gaur. I sat down with the whole band at Rumah Api at the end of February to talk about their history, their upcoming release, and their thoughts on what separates "sludge punk" from "doom metal".

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Bandcamp Picks: Dopethrone, Opium Lord, Vaee Solis, Church

With a name like Dopethrone, it's a safe bet that this Canadian band is heavily influenced by Electric Wizard, or mary jane, or both. Hochelaga, their fourth album, features not just a positively filthy guitar tone and throatscraping vocals but truly memorable tunes as well. This is better than anything the increasingly overrated Wizard has released in the last 10 years. [$6.66]

Opium Lord may have a drug reference in their name as well, but are cut from a different cloth than the aforementioned bands. With its driving bass and skronking guitar lines, Eye Of Earth has heavy shades of the mighty Unsane with some psychedelia thrown in. A pretty unique take on sludge metal. [$7.50]

Portugal's Vaee Solis is as dark and unsettling as you'd expect from a band named after the first Scorn album. Adversarial Light combines depressive black metal, doom drone and Sophia J.Galrito's unsettling screams to create a black hole of misery and despair. Fans of French band Monarch should definitely give this a listen. The album is available as a "name your price" download.

"Crushing, Hypnotic, Doom Metal" just about sums up Sacremento's Church. Their debut album Unanswered Hymns employs shambling chord progressions, simple guitar leads and haunting vocals to eerie effect. With three songs running at almost 45 minutes, don't make any plans, unless those plans include Nyquil. [$6.66]

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Repulsive Regurgitation Zine Interview

I got a present in my (actual) mailbox this week: The first issue of the Repulsive Regurgitation Zine. It's pretty impressive...over 200 pages, and nearly as big as a phone book, featuring interviews with Shane Embury, Bill Steer, Carlo Regadas, Decibel's Albert Mudrian, and more. Stylistically, it's a throwback to the great "cut and paste" zines of the Nineties - I'm reminded in particular of Metalion's seminal Slayer zine. I invited editor/creator Epul Rickard to sit down with me for a quick chat to tell me more about this undertaking.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Bandcamp Picks: Poison Idea, XANCHORX, Gut Feeling, Pure Disgust

The return of Poison Idea with their first album in over a decade is a cause for celebration. Confuse & Conquer is in that same raucous style that influenced everyone from Pantera to Napalm Death, with some strangely fastidious (read: metal) solos and even a cowboy anthem. It may lack the darkness and ugliness of their seminal material, but it's still a high octane, low fat affair. [$7.99]

It's been a while since I've checked in on Swedes xANCHORx; almost as long since they last played Malaysia. Distance & Devotion continues in the same vein of forward thinking hardcore that the band have made their niche. A remarkably mature and unique album; there's more to Swedish hardcore than one sloganeering band. [$5]

Gut Feeling's line-up may include James Chang of the legendary Catharsis and Undying, but their music eschews the metallic heft of those legendary bands. What you get on their second untitled EP is pure heart on sleeve hardcore and the sincerity of lifers. The EP is available as a "name your price" download.

DC's Pure Disgust aren't veterans,  but they sure sound like they are. Chained is a throwback to the early misanthropic days of American hardcore, jangly power chords and lyrics that explore volatile race relations with all the subtlety of a ball peen hammer. No positive, just force. The EP is available as a "name your price" download.