Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bandcamp Picks - Venomous Concept, Die Hexe, Pink Mass, Black Shiva

Shane Embury and Kevin Sharp, seen here
with their OTHER grindcore supergroup
Grindcore supergroup Venomous Concept return with their third and strongest album to date. Kick Me Silly; VC3 sees them expanding on their Poison Idea fetish and veering remarkably close to recent Napalm albums (though with Shane Embury as lead songwriter, maybe that was inevitable). With the members being involved in a ridiculous number of other bands, the necessity of one more is debatable; this album must owe its existence to nothing more than love. [$9.99]

Toronto's Die Hexe sent me their self-titled debut EP, and I'm glad that they did, even if it's not the kind of thing I usually listen to: Emotive hardcore with an ear for melody, at times going "post" like a lot of modern hardcore does. But they wear their hearts on their sleeves like the oldest and truest hardcore bands. The EP is available as a "name your price" download.

Whatever that is on the sleeves of New Jersey's Pink Mass is probably not heart. Their debut full-length Slvt Kvlt is a brutal hatefuck of death, thrash, and grind that's quick and to the point, and will leave you either satisfied or guilt-ridden. Just make sure you wash your hands after. [£7 GBP]

Geneva's Black Shiva can't decide whether to rage or to party, and so they alternate between both. When Evil Lives flips a switch between turgid powerviolence a la Nails and Disfear's rock and roll crust - HM-2s set to "chainsaw" the whole time. The integration of the two styles isn't seamless, but it is an idea that apparently hasn't dawned on Trap Them or Blackbreath yet. [12 CHF]

Sunday, January 24, 2016

An Interview with Taste

[Brutal Heaviness from Sendai, Japan]

Good death metal is hard to come by in Malaysia, so it was a treat when Japanese trio Taste played not one but two shows in Kuala Lumpur at the start of the year. Their style of brutal heaviness recalls Morbid Angel and Immolation, but with enough personalized tweaks to keep lifers like me interested (and impressed). Since this is a band that fans of the true brutal daeth matel need to know about, I fired off some questions, which bassist/vocalist Takashi Harima fearlessly scaled the language barrier to answer. [The band is completed by guitarist Masaaki Sasaki and drummer Naoki Sugano.]

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Bandcamp Picks - Amber Asylum, Ego Depths, Nonsun, Lumen et Tenebrae

"Heavy" is an entirely subjective description, but one that's usually tied to distorted guitars. That doesn't have to be the case: For two decades, violinist Kris Force has been an active contributor to the world of heavy music, both through her collaborations with the likes of Neurosis and Today is the Day, and her own (mostly) string ensemble Amber Asylum. Sin Eater, their first album in 6 years, sees them combining their apocalyptic neo-classical approach with sparse guitar lines and power electronics, making for an all around ominous and unsettling listen. One of the most unique and under appreciated acts roaming the borders of the metal landscape. [€6.99]

EGO DEPTHS (newly rebranded OᎮƎDEPTHS; because, sure, why not) would have a place on this blog even if they didn't describe their music as "Fear Emptiness Despair". On Dýrtangle, the mysterious "Stigmatheist" shows he still has a knack for conjuring suffocating claustrophobia; but it's on the quieter moments that you see how far the project has grown from its primitive beginnings. A black hole contemplating the universe before devouring it. [€8.90]

Ukrainian dronelords Nonsun celebrate the new year the best way possible: By drowning it in darkness. Anchored by a thoughtful drum performance, Black Snow Desert sees the duo achieving weightlessness through minimalism, building tension through repetition before everything comes crashing down in doomy fury. Drone that does more than just drone. [$4]

The work of one Matthew Meehan, Lumen et Tenebrae are a fairly new but incredibly prolific instrumental project. Released in December, WTL marries the ambient with the oppressive, verging on funeral doom with some icy keyboards and ominous chords. Simple, but effective. [$5]

Sunday, January 17, 2016

An Interview with TEETH

California's TEETH are one of the more intriguing new bands I heard in 2015; I came across their debut Unremittance on Bandcamp, and marked them as ones to keep an eye on. Like recent releases by Gorguts and Ulcerate, they reshape death metal into a slower, more dissonant form, with sudden shifts in tempo and eerie melodies to keep the listener guessing. With a new split 7" about to be released, I felt it was a good time to reach out to them. I e-mailed some questions to the band, which vocalist/guitarist Justin Moore was quick to answer.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Mamatfest 01.02.2016

Pat from Atomicdeath invited me to this all-day show organized by Mamat Records, held at the Black Box in swanky Publika Mall (where I haven't seen a show since Doom came to KL in 2014). With metal shows being few and far between in Malaysia right now, this looked to be the only chance to see some death metal this month (without getting on a plane or a bus first).

Friday, January 8, 2016

Bandcamp Picks - Throneless, Isaak, Ape Machine, Beesus

Swedish trio THRONELESS know their doom. Despite its restrained pace and dogged repetition, their self titled debut is an engaging affair, treading through ambient waters on its way to the land of nod. They don't hit many notes, but the ones they do are the right ones. [€7]

Isaak, like Big Business or Floor, are a heavy band that would probably most appeal to non-metalheads - but even this horncrowned hesher finds himself won over. Sermonize, their sophomore album, varies itself nicely with veteran swagger, showing these Genovesis understand that songwriting is a craft. The gorgeous production is just icing on the cake. [$10]

It's hard to say sometimes what draws me to a band (other than blastbeats and pure deranged speed). With Oregonians Ape Machine, all it took was their name. Coalition of the Unwilling throws itself into 70's rock with flair, driven by what sounds like the bastard offspring of Glenn Tipton and Billy Gibbons on guitar. A welcome relief from the remedial riffing of most stoner rock bands. [€7]

Rome's Beesus reference weed on no less than three titles of the nine songs on their debut, and end with an ode to marijuana; so I'll assume they're only too happy to live up to the mantle of "stoner rock". Lo-fi to a fault, Rise of Beesus is so fuzzy it's practically coughing up furballs, Melvins' influence on its sleeve and loose stems all over its pants. [€10]

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


It’s 2016. The new year brings with it new challenges, new beginnings. A time for promises and resolutions.