Festering somewhere in Galway, stoner doom three-piece Weed Priest are a band with a self-explanatory name, it must be said. They say first impressions are everything and when Weed Priest introduce themselves at first, they make it rather clear what you’re getting – a haze of smoky, murky stoner doom conjured from the abyss. Having played a number of shows over the years and released demo recordings, it seemed like the band were working on a full-fledged release at pretty much the same pace that their music trudges but lo and behold, Weed Priest’s self-titled is upon us and it’s an adventurous and brave record for a debut.
When I listen to Mánégarmr, the latest from Belgium’s Hessian, I get pulled in by the guitars. Ostensibly a hardcore group, their playing nonetheless crosses the line into thrash, doom, and occasionally even grind, all thanks to those aforementioned guitars. They have a tone you’d feel uncomfortable living next door to, that you’d watch from closed blinds, convinced it has a darker secret. It buzzes, screeches, whines, scrapes, slashes, and even, on very rare occasions, sounds like a guitar.
Mánégarmr is full of all those things that other recent releases on Southern Lord possess: incomprehensible growls, blast-beat drums, bottom-basement production, awesome cover art, lyrics like “SWALLOWING NAILS.” But it’s that vicious guitar work that sets it apart, moving from full-bodied chords to blackened needling and back again, even throwing in an awesome solo or two for the true metal crowd, like on stand-out “Hollow Eyes.”
Ramlord give a harsh soundscape of the everyday sounds of a bitter life. All arranged into a hundred different rhythms. Cynical and sardonic they deliver the ugliness of life, with subjects from a lifeless old age, blind acceptance and the monotony of modern life. A growling sore throat soars above the musick and delivers lines like ‘Consume hard drugs and mutilate yourself’ or more direct minimal lyrics like ‘Fuck all…pigs’.
The album opens with ‘Nihil Fucking Lifeblood’ which follows a heavy musical tradition of starting with a slow pacing melodic riff, then stopping abruptly for some real heavy chaos. The difference here is from there they go from crusty punk to blast beats to slow sludge. They have this type of unconventional song structure throughout. Lots of changes but the the songs still maintain a decent flow. I suppose if you wanted to label the band you’d use something along the lines of blackened crust. But there is a lot going on here from crusty sludge to whatever other heavy down tuned genre you can think of.
Debut album for the Swedes progressive/experimental post metallers and you really should not miss this one. Moth Gatherer in their debut album, A Bright Celestial Light, while stepping on the shoulders of giants of the genre such as Breach, Neurosis and Cult of Luna bring five truly excellent tracks that will not leave any fan of heavy experimental music disappointed.
With the inclusion of electronic elements to give a more psychedelic dimension to their music, something that is further added by the ingenious use of synths, keyboards and various effects to build a daunting atmosphere, the album will remain unforgettable to anyone after the very first few minutes. What is even more intriguing is the emotional charge that comes with the bands music, from the heavier cathartic moments of songs like “The Water That We All Come To Need” to the melancholic lead guitar parts, for instance in “Intervention” (which reminds me a bit of The Atlas Moth in places), A Bright Celestial Light transfers an extreme variety of emotions to the listener.
Band’s like Sweden’s Blessings instill a certain kind of emotion in me that I’m not sure I can accurately describe. The relatively young 3-piece blends so many different styles, all of which I like, that I find myself wondering why this hasn’t been done as well before. The emotion that rises from the perfect mixing of sounds, textures, styles, and influences, could simply be elation; maybe someone’s finally done it?
The band cites everything from Black Flag and Unsane to Darkthrone and Swans, which are quite apparent the more you listen to Bittervatten. The jutting 90′s post hardcore thrust of the opener “Bittervatten“ and its eventual noisy collapse gives but only a small hint at on coming dirges like “Seven Blessings” which is the most obvious nod to Swans here. “Worms of the Earth” is a d-beating punk frenzy which leads into the mid-pace stomp of “Strings of Red” and “The Shrine,” the latter having a nice dose of ABINS era Darkthrone to it.
Vuyvr’s debut album, “Eiskalt” is one of the most fresh and stimulating albums coming out this year that will probably shock the most puritan of the black metal puritans while on the other hand, it will please many of the new generation of black metal fans out there.
Influenced by the old masters the genre, Vuyvr’s sound appears to be quite traditional yet it contains a big dose of originality for it to be contextualized into nowadays. “Eiskalt” is one of those albums that after a first hearing it might not glue immediately with us, this specific case is one of those albums that must be assessed with particular attention and specially, with time for you to discover them buried deep in the frost which abounds in this album. Only then you’ll see that the more you listen to it, the more it will grow on you. Vuyvr’s sound is all about simplicity, releasing great sharpened riffs that could cut a mountain into half and vocals with that just right amount of harshness, fitting perfectly into the this kind of record you’re about to hear. All of this entangled in a very stripped down, raw, straightforward production.
Let’s look a little bit more inside this Swiss blizzard..
Where have Agrimonia been? It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly three years since Host of the Winged. A band as good as this should never be absent for too long but good things come to those who wait, right? Rites of Separation, the Swedish post metal/crust band’s third LP is the start of a new era for Agrimonia. It’s their first record with Southern Lord, a label that has more than become a crust/hardcore home over the last two years or thereabouts, so Agrimonia should fit in just nicely, and justly many more ears will meet Rites of Separation.
Review Source: Forever Cursed
Stillborn Fawn are a black metal duet from Denver, Colorado playing a very raw and rudimentary kind of black metal. Composed mainly of guitar and drums only and harsh vocals capable of at times cause us some spine tingling, Stillborn Fawn present us “Abature”, their latest Demo released in physical format as tape by the hand of Bleak Environment, who also houses other names like Xothist for example. And what can you expect from “Abature” Demo? Well basically four awesome tracks of some unorthodox, visceral, raw black metal with a very punk vibe in it. Starting with an intro that summons the Great Goat, the black candles are now lighted and the dagger awaits on the altar as Stillborn Fawn begin their ritual. Stream the tracks, download as “name your price” (thank you Stillborn Fawn) and carve a pentagram on your forearm. Everything is now aligned…
The way “Someone’s Got It In For Me,” from Denmark’s Lower begins, you could be forgiven for expecting a very different song from the one that emerges. The first half of a two-song seven-inch, “Someone” is heralded by a squall of feedback, leading the listener into expecting something decidedly blackened, and truthfully the band embraces something at least a little necro, blasting the high-hat and washing out the guitars. But once its melodic bass figure kicks in, the song proceeds into the post-punk (“downer punk” according to their last.fm) of country- and occasionally tour-mates Iceage, all snarled, sneering vocals, repetitively pounding drums and biting dissonance.
The first track continues in this vein, sounding like Joy Division soundtracking an Italian western, or maybe a giallo horror film. It doesn’t do a lot more than this, but it doesn’t have to, as it finds a simple groove and sticks to it. The band even adds a little banjo overtop for good measure.
It’s almost preposterous say in the first sentence of a review, but Unru have created perhaps one of my favorite releases of the year and it’s a demo. Unru hail from Germany and, like many bands of the more contemporary blackened crust movement, only reveal themselves through veiled mystique and runes. But image aside, let’s talk about the powerhouse that is DEMO MMXIII.
The demo itself brings with it all of the gritty qualities one would expect to be associated with a demo: low production, cymbals crashing and creating waves of non-sound, guitars that are seemingly lost in the mix, however none of this is a slight against Unru in the least bit and if anything, it really drives the point home. Four interlude tracks I-V serve as moments of atmosphere for the album, giving the listener breaks in-between the absolute onslaught that is DEMO MMXIII. I think what strikes me the most about Unru is the ridiculous vocal sound because I’ve never quite heard anything like it; the vocalist creates something so animalistic and sinister that it’s actually quite exciting to hear from track to track. Similarly, I felt as though the drums throughout most of the tracks held a particular antagonistic relationship with the guitar, much to each instrument’s benefit.
Throughout the album, it becomes evident that Unru have a single idea in mind and execute it to the best of the ability. Unru avoid some of the more typical conventions of blackened crust (or d-beat) such as alluring listeners with enigmatic aesthetic and instead give them exactly what they’ve been looking for without the bullshit. Tracks such as “Es schiebt sich zwischen uns, wie Schatten” and “Ich bin der Hexenmeister” showcase their ability to avoid cliche in lieu of a distinctly primitive, chaotic burst of music.
Pick up what is one of my favorite demo releases of the year right here.