What the unholy hell, 2011 isn’t even over and I have already found one for my 2012 top 6 split list. These songs are so fucking live that they have the power to bring the undead back to life and then kill them again and again. Skin Like Iron and NAILS have united for one of the raddest 7″ inches I have ever heard, and will be out Jan 31st via both bands. Skin Like Iron are the jump off, with two off the chain melodic hardcore anthems that have layer after layer of catchy rhythm. What’s super cool is this band is able to write songs that are full of caustic emotion that touches your soul and gets you pumped at the same time. When you hear their song “Disappear,” you will be able to hear exactly what I’m talking about. Skin Like Iron’s compositions have the power to make you believe in yourself – when the world keeps knocking you down, these dudes will slap you with the power of self! I’m so impressed with guitar playing, and how it speaks to the listener just as much as the vocals, but at the core of Skin Like Iron are the driving drum beats.
Next up are the two songs by the almighty NAILS – hot fucking hell, this band proves why they are nothing to be fucked with. Guard your skull, because these tunes have the force to decapitate you. If this band keeps creating songs like these, their soon to be released album will be one of the top albums of next year. The first song is “Annihilation,” which makes you feel like you are being pulled behind an 18-wheeler at full speed, with your flesh leaving behind a trail of hardcore joy! NAILS killed it with this tune – it’s pure punishment, and the drumming, combined with riffage, creates this sonic torture chamber that you never want to leave. They totally wreck shop with their next composition, “Cry Wolf”; everything about this song has the tornado effect, which means it destroys everything in it’s path. Skin Like Iron and NAILS deserve to be on their own list of rawness, and it’s killer to see two bands unite to make something special. Honestly, this was a very satisfying listening experience that leaves me wanting to hear more from both bands!
#6 Fell Voices at Eli’s Mile High Club
I was able to see Fell Voices and Ash Borer three times during their time in the Bay, but their appearance in Oakland was particularly special. The lineup consisted of Oakland funeral doom band Lycus, San Francisco blackened noise trio Sutekh Hexen, Oregon doom band Hell made their California debut, and Velnias from Colorado played by candle light. The combination of a diverse lineup, good friends and a solid turnout helped make this one of the best shows of the year.
Read the rest of the list and find out who’s number one after the jump.
Neofolk had a tremendous year in 2011. Expanding the soundscapes laid out by legendary acts like Current 93, Nature and Organisation, and Death in June, we saw releases from classics like Sol Invictus, Rome, and Of The Wand and The Moon, while newcomers to the scene, such as Hexvessel and King Dude, took neofolk and merged it with novel folk traditions. Apocalyptic, and brooding, the perfect accompaniment to the dark days ahead, these six releases made a lasting impression on us here at CVLT Nation. Check out our list after the jump.
We all have dreams, but it’s not always that we get to see our dreams become a reality. Well today, a feeling of marvel and wonderment has taken me over. Right now, I’m in a total dream state, because I get to talk about an album that for almost over two decades I never thought I would hear. The record I’m speaking of is Sonic Mass, the new AMEBIX album is out now via Easy Action Records. I have been listening to this album a least two times a day for the past two weeks & with each listen it becomes more & more a part of my physical and spiritual being. It’s made up of ten songs that will reshape the face of humanity & unlock some of the human mysteries we all ponder. The first thing that hit me about Sonic Mass was the sudden wave of positive energy. You can hear the audio cosmic force that AMEBIX conjures up on every song, either in the music itself or in the lyrical content. I’m super impressed with the words that Rob wrote for this album, he lets us into his world & you get to hear the direction his mind’s eye is pointed in. When you have “God of Grain” blasting out of your speakers, your whole world will quake because this song is one of the sickest post punk songs ever made! It starts off with this whisper of a chant, then it becomes a dark musical spacecraft that will take you on a journey around your past, future & present. The fuel for this intergalactic ride will be a huge bass line that is half nature/half metaphysical, & the driver on this trip will be the drums that are being beamed down from the sun. I will say this: if you hear this song and your neck does not start to snap back & forth, or your spirit is not awakened, you might be dead. AMEBIX wrecks shop because you can hear so much growth on Sonic Mass. It has been said that this is the album that they have always wanted to create, and from what I can hear I would say, yes, these songs will stand the test of time & then some. It’s pretty clear that these humans really opened up their hearts and put every part of their existence into making this album, which acts as a magnet for your soul. Musically, Sonic Mass is the perfect combination of the apocalyptic force of crust with the subversive melody of post punk. It’s almost unnatural how rad Sonic Mass Pt.2 sounds; Rob’s vocals are fucking black magic to my ears, while the Roy brings these primal beats into the groove that will leave you in awe. Stig’s guitar playing will have your daydreams walking away into a brand new universe. AMEBIX created an epic novel made up of despair, war, hope, enlightenment, so that the only way to see their vision is to bring their album Sonic Mass into your life. This is a killer piece of creativity that I will share with my kids & I hope they feel the need to share it with theirs.
It’s fitting that Atriarch did one last short tour before the year is over. It was almost like a victory lap for the band as they have been collecting accolades and making tons of year end best of lists (including a spot here on CVLT Nation). This was my third time seeing Atriarch, and I’m never anything but completely in awe of their live performance. I always feel like I’m intruding on a deeply private ritual as I watch them. The lights dim and the scent of burned sage clings to the air. Vocalist Lenny writhes as he screams while bassist Nick nods hypnotically to his rumbling dirge-ridden bass lines. Brooks’ guitar cuts through the thick bass tone like a knife, while Maxamillion holds the songs together with forceful drumming. Their recordings are more ethereal, but their live show is nothing short of primal. Check out the stills from their San Francisco stop below. See a full black and white gallery of Atriarch after the jump.
I have been a Dark Castle fan for a minute, so when I heard they had a new record coming out I was stoked, but at the same time I had very high expectations. With the release of their new album Surrender To All Life Beyond Form, out now via Profound Lore, they fucking blew my mind. Dark Castle has stretched what we call doom & sludge to encompass many more layers that are not usually associated with these genres. I knew something was different by the way the first track, “Surrender To All Life Beyond Form,” started. It begins with this killer dirge bit, then this almost 1st Nations chant comes in, and then on a wave of strange feedback, super distorted blackened vocals kick in – from that point, they had me. Surrender To All Life Beyond Form is a real dark tapestry of sonics, so you will hear something new every time. At certain points when I listen to this album I get the sense as though the songs are alive & breathing, & are trying to tell me something. Dark Castle is heavy as ever on this album, but they are using space as an effect unto itself – they allow the effects they create to transform many times before they introduce another effect. The song “Learning To Unlearn” is haunting experimental doom that explores the textures of bleeps, piano & cavernous vocals that manifest their apocalyptic visions. The emotional impact that the song “To Hide Is To Die” has is fucking transcendental, & Stevie’s singing voice on this track is sublime. With this album, Dark Castle have done what I like to hear bands do – take chances & develop their imagination outside of their comfort zone. The next time I see this band in person I’m going to walk up to them, give them a huge hug & say job well freaking done!
Dark Castle : Seeing Through Time
This year’s fucking awesome heavy festival Roadburn is extra mammoth – it will be curated by thrash metal living legends VOIVOD. From April 12th to April 15th, Tilburg, Holland will be the center of all things rad! The line up this year spans many genres, but all of the bands are connected by the fact that they all are pushing the envelope, no matter their sound. I’m going to keep this short, and let the line-up speak for itself. Check out the full line up after the jump – word is that they still have a few tickets left!
Your Brain Will Never Be The Same….ROADBURN 2012 Line-up!
This November, three heavyweights in the world of sludge embarked on a tour together that brought the threat of seismic activity from city to city. Brooklyn’s Batillus, Chicago’s The Atlas Moth and San Francisco’s Kowloon Walled City teamed up to bring their down-tuned riffery across the nation. This was an ideal tour for music fans that prefer lower frequencies combined with crushing tones. By the time the tour approached San Francisco, Batillus had split off, so I saw them separately at Elbo Room and then KWC and TAM two days later at Hemlock Tavern.
Batillus released an album called Furnace this year on Seventh Rule records. The album is a cold, crushing exercise in claustrophobia and despair. Furnace is the soundtrack to 12 hours of forced labor during the industrial revolution. Sludge, doom, and the perfect amount of Godflesh makes Batillus a formidable live band. The bass cuts through just as clear as the guitar as the drums pound and snap all the while vocalist Fade releases his tortured screams. He also makes timely use of synths to create a further distorted soundscape.
Read the rest of this review and check out a full gallery after the jump.
Sound has the power to change the way that we see the universe around us, and sound has the power to take us into an alternative universe that we never knew existed. When you hear the latest album from Argentina’s Vluba, a mind-bending sonic experience called Supraluminosos, released on experimental label Buh records. This is not a record that you should listen to in the normal sense, because you will not find anything ordinary about it. What you will hear are ever-changing soundscapes that evoke a ritualistic energy. Vluba uses sound to restructure how our imaginations operate – there is no way to listen to this band’s music and not feel or think about things in an otherworldly way! This album reminds me what a sonic jungle would be like, where the plants have voices or the rain drops are percussion instruments. You will encounter voices on Supraluminosos, but they will be in the form of ancient chants that will have the force to induce an organic audio mind meltdown! This band also knows how to use space and obscure sound effects as instruments that guide you through what you are taking in at any given second. This band reminds me what it means to free, and to do something because it keeps you sane, and not for monetary gain. Vluba’s music gives me the feeling that with each listen, I’m actually healing a part of my broken soul. If there is one band that gets way more than beyond high, it would be this one. Supraluminosos is not a collection of songs, but is more of a UFO that will have you flying all the way into the hidden parts of your brain. Vluba conjures up a different type of heavy music, where it’s not about raging guitars or crashing drums, but about solar systems colliding, and the sound of the space vacuum. Now I know the rhythms a tree hears as they age beyond any known number!
Revolution is blowing in the air and it’s fucking getting me hyped for the change that must come soon! For too long, the voices of dissent have not been heard, but this isn’t the case right now with all the positive movements for human justice that are taking place worldwide. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself – music has always been my lifeline to social justice. I believe that one of the major things that scared the LAPD about the punk movement in the 80′s was the fact was that our scene called them and Reagan on their bullshit, so they had to bash our heads in! Anyway, I have said it before, one of our favorite American labels is Seattle’s Aborted Society, who are have been releasing crushing positive music since 1999. Their latest release from Portland’s Nux Vomica is a raging 7″ that has me saying I want more! This record will inject your brain with 12 minutes of off-the-hook metallic crust that will leave an indelible impression on your braincells with it’s mammoth sound. Nux Vomica’s vocals are beyond outstanding for a couple of reasons, the tone of his delivery is spot fucking on, totally raw. Something about the words that this band writes are uplifting, and inspires you to look at the world/humanity for what it is really about. Their songwriting is compelling and thought-provoking, and it’s pure sonic crust fury! Without skipping a beat, this band knows the value of melody and uses it as a weapon of change. Nux Vomica’s songs sound like they are well-built ancient audio castles that have ghosts as the gatekeepers to the afterlife. The song “Embrace the Cycles” is a killer journey that has all kinds of twists and melodic detours that keep you interested from the first sounds of feedback. The other thing about this composition is that once the drums kick in, the tune transforms into this black galloping horse that can’t be tamed and gives the oppressors a ride straight to hell! I could tell you more about the other song entitled “The Two,” but I won’t, because it’s your job to head over to Aborted Society support them and Nux Vomica.