Well if you were to ask me, name one album from the last months worth of reviews that is guaranteed to please, it would be ‘Heart of the Fire’ by Massachusetts trio Faces of Bayon. It is not that this is album of the month and honestly there is a few albums that I would rate a little higher than this one but this album has all the elements guaranteed to satisfy a wide-range of heavy-music fans.
The band was formed in 2008, and recorded all of ‘Heart of the Fire’ live in the studio and have dedicated the finished recording in memory of drummer Matt Davis, who died suddenly in January 2011. Mike Brown has since become their drummer, but on ‘Heart of the Fire’ , it’s the band’s original three-piece that you hear, with Davis and bassist Ron Miles led by guitarist/vocalist Matt Smith, who played in the legendary Warhorse just before they recorded the monumental ‘As Heaven Turns to Ash’ album.
The Warhorse connection gives you a little clue as to what brand of stoner-doom the band is dishing out here. They trudge along slow with an extremely low bottom-end and just when you think it can’t get any lower, it gets lower still.Read the rest of this smoking review after the jump!
Justin Broadrick did it again – another JESU record, another reflection of a generation’s state of mind. Exaggerated? Maybe. But anyway, Ascension could very well be the soundtrack of literally thousands and thousands of end-twenty / thirty-somethings, who get sluiced out of schools and universities into daily work live; who sit in trains or cheap cars on their way to work, where they keep staring with empty eyes into a grey and numb future with nothing to gain. Monotony and the sweet stench of melancholy is what their lives are all about, thus Ascension fits this mood perfectly.
It took 2 seconds of listening to They As In Them to know that this band were brutal as war itself. This California band put out a demo in 2010 that is face-contorting super rad. I mean, when you hear the beats that the drum is pounding out, you can’t help but wrinkle your forehead while head banging; that’s one sign of good music – it actually can change your expression. They As In Them’s four song demo is four songs of metallic hardcore with a mean crust twist. What’s awesome about this band is their song writing – you can totally hear & feel the thought they put into their music. All of their songs have the right build to them which adds to their character. Vocally, this band has an earnest dude, Michael Edwards, at the i-control stand – his delivery is heavy, raw & blackened. On the music tip, They As In Them hammer you with this calculated rage & nuclear groove that rides under a caustic angst. Alright, I got a job for you – check out their song “Soft Machines.” If this shit doesn’t rock you to your core, maybe you are dead already. If you really dig fucking metalic hardcore on some original shit, well They As In Them is your kind of band, plus you can download their demo HERE!
Recently I interviewed the German band Downfall of Gaia and they mentioned they were doing a tour in the states with an amazing band called Vestiges from Washington, DC. After such a decent band giving the thumbs up on Vestiges, I went to get my own opinion of them. The Vestiges album ‘The Descent Of Man’ is available for free download or on beautiful double matte black gatefold vinyl, cassette or recycled gatefold CD all from their website. The album is an extremely well produced mixture of dark atmospheric post hardcore, with crust styled vocals. If I had to draw comparisons, I’d think of European bands like Fall of Efrafa, Monachus or Alpinist. Lyrically Vestiges sing about the extinction of man and the fear of god. Expressing deep anarcho-primitivism ideals “Rejoice, reclaim, and rebuild what mankind has taken for granted”. Don’t get me wrong it’s not like Crass, where there is a message being shouted at you. It’s more of a dark epic type atmospheric sound. With each song numbered in Roman numerals rather than a track title making it more long like one piece or a soundtrack.
Download the entire album Vestiges – ‘The Descent Of Man’ for free, courtesy of the band here
I respect change, I respect artistic expression, I respect anti the status quo, this is why I salute humans who are willing to create outside of the of the boxes that society tells them to stay in. Even with art or music movements, they can begin as rebellious or different, but then within these movements certain parameters are set up, saying how your art should be made, or music has to sound like this in order to fit the genre that this outsider subculture has constructed for itself. One thing that is refreshing about Black Metal is that there are many people are who willing to stand up to the purists & create from their worldview instead. This is a rad & refreshing fact that is going to keep this art evolving, which will build an even stronger foundation for an awesome culture. Servile Sect is a very special group that conjures up noir metal from their own reality, where no boundaries exist, only the original soundscapes created from their hearts for this bleak world we live in. This group is made of Luke Krnkr (ITHI, Sadness Saturn) and Nhate Clmnt (Golden Raven, Ash Borer), and together they create rad unearthly dark audio documents that can really take your mind on a trip. Servile Sect releases their album Trvth on June 21st via Handmade Birds. Nothing about this release is ordinary; trust me, there is not one three-minute pop song here at all. What you will experience is 24 minute tracks that are journeys in every sense of the word. Trvth Side I is this totally bugged out, blackened mind trip where drone bleeps & sonic glitches present themselves one way to your ear drums, only to morph into apocalyptic breakbeats with hollow shrill screams on top of them. When I listen to Side I, find myself going into this bleak state of bliss, where the whispers of Native American ghosts swirl around in the ashes of our imaginations. Trvth Side II is the place where the blackened chaos is spit directly into your face, & then transforms itself into distorted echo monsters that engulf your being. But all of the accolades I have heaped on Trvth don’t begin to do it justice. Personally, I have always been fascinated by music like this, because once you lite your spliff & this music is in the air, space travel is not too far behind.
When one thinks of Neo-Folk, the dirgey melancholia of Nature and Organisation and Current 93 are the first bands to come to mind. With a sound somewhere between The Pogues and Death in June, Cult of Youth have breathed new life into a genre that often runs the risk of sounding overwrought and too plaintive for the thematic content. On their self titled LP out now on Sacred Bones Records, Cult of Youth have hit their stride both lyrically and acoustically. Produced by Chris Coady and mixed by Kevin McMahon, Sean Ragon and crew have crafted a moody, powerful, work that slinks from ominous folk to enraged punk. Lyrically, these songs are rife with occultism, invocations, and mysterious references all focusing on the search for meaning and truth in this world. It’s powerful stuff, no doubt enhanced by Ragon’s range. Whether it’s the chant-like baritone vocals on “The Pole-Star”, or the punk rock howling of “Lace Up Your Boots”, Ragon’s passion for the genre burns through. The clear vision with which this band operates is readily apparent in their mixing of various folk styles; Tropicalia to Americana to English to Middle Eastern; all these forms merge into an occult fever-dream. Post-punk bass leads dissolve into violin complemented by Glenn Maryanski’s drumming; a martial, stomping style which gets the blood going. Nothing is overpowering; instead the complex interplay allows for some intriguing experimentation throughout.
Opening with “New West”, we see the advantage of Ragon recording with a full band. Martial drumming, driving bass, and a delicate violin line give way to Ragon’s apocalyptic rally cry’s. From the singalong folk-stomp of “Monsters” to the unhinged screaming that closes out “Casting Thorns” Cult of Youth’s ability to mix folk music with a darker, occult punk energy is inspiring. Cult of Youth’s debut album as a full band is immensely promising, particularly for a genre that has had very few notable American artists. Mythic invocations of godslayers and cursebearers, this is music that speaks to that epic spark in all of us. Join the cult.
Check out a sample after the jump.
I refuse to be led to the slaughter; I refuse to be led by these corrupt leaders that so-called govern the world; I refuse to not go after my dreams & turn them into my reality; I refuse to be force-fed rotting pop music that kills my soul. That’s why I dig bands like Planks from Germany, because their music is actually audio nourishment that empowers the listener. They have combined both of their vinyl recordings. The Darkest of Grays & Solicit to Fall, and have re-released them on CD via Southern Lord. The music you will find on this recording pushes the boundaries of hardcore – in a weird way this band reminds me of a blackened crust-laden version of Fugazi. Their are human conditions that we all go through, it does not matter your color, gender etc., we all can be affected by these things & this band addresses them lyrically, which I find refreshing. Trust me, Planks’ music is heavy, dissonant hardcore, but they build these mountains of emotion into their songs that are a joy for the listener to climb. The song writing skills that the Planks display on this record are totally rad & very dynamic. On certain songs like “Fallen Empires Are Ruling” & “We Are Translucent” there are moments of hardcore transcendental bliss. It’s the guitar playing on these songs that just takes your thoughts to a different plane of being. Planks’ vocalist gives 200 percent on this record, & he leaves his sincere mark on every song. What I also really like about this band is that they really grow on you with each listen; you will for sure find something new each time. You have a job to do – research this band, you will not go wrong bringing their music into your world! After the jump, check out some fresh live footage…it’s pretty epic!
When I check a hardcore band, they better fucking come correct, because I have high standards. This is one form of music that was the soundtrack to to my teenage vandalism, so when I hear a new band they must have a sense of in your face danger that draws me in. Disapproval, from El Monte, CA, more than meet my standards when it comes to creating some bone-breaking hardcore. This bunch packs that punch while they eat the posers for lunch; I won’t front, their drums have that murder core crunch. Disapproval makes music that keeps the pedal to the metal, but they also paint their tunes with a blackened sense of melody. They also know the importance of having rad breakdowns for you dive into until the next giant riff makes your neck snap back. Disapproval’s guitar work is straight Cali shred them to death styles & if you know what’s good for you, will enjoy their riffs. Lyrically & vocally these dudes are a non-stop wrecking crew full of integrity, plus I really dig the way they double up on their choruses which make them sound huge. Right now in the Golden State there is an upsurge of young bands manifesting a form of hardcore that takes elements from the past, but are really moving towards the future! So if I was you, I would over to the Disapproval site & download this rad demo.
What is your state of mind when when nothingness becomes your happiness & sadness is your path to enlightenment? What is your reality when the sounds of the mass media give you thoughts of ending it all? Who & what do you turn to for solace? Well, what I do is put on Persistence in Mourning‘s new album Confessions of an American Cult, out now via Land of Decay. This album is an audio document of slow-moving sonic destruction created by one man, A. Lippoldt. Persistence in Mourning has deconstructed the skeleton of doom metal & transformed it into something with a face and soul. The songs on this album surround your thoughts & inject them with sense that there is no hope for a society that is run by the artificial lies of the media & a fake government. Persistence in Mourning’s music is challenging because he channels the neurosis that we feel into a tapestry of sound that has the power medicate your despair. What I like about this album is the use of the mind-altering vocal samples that woven into the songs & are just as important as the shrill screams of blackened pain of the vocalist. Musically, A. Lippoldt’s layers of mechanical doom sounds bite into one another & are constructed into monoliths of audio delight that crawl into your nightmares just before becoming your dreams. What you really do not hear on this album is drums, but to me this record still pounds you all over your cranium & is as heavy as a bunker-busting bomb. What really impressed me about Confessions of an American Cult is the fact that he created it with the vision of his brutal mindseye. If you want hear a rad tormented version of reality, tune out of the mass media and tune into the Confessions of an American Cult.
Sound is vibration & vibration equals movement, which leads to physical feeling that becomes emotion. One reason I’m into so much heavy music is for the emotional response; for many people, once you say “heavy music” they believe that it’s devoid of emotion, but that is far off of the mark. One form of music that has truck loads of feeling in my book is doom, maybe that’s because of the epic roots that ties this art form to the blues, which is all about feeling pain & anguish. The band Thou, from Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana, are a clear example of what I call Apocalyptic Blues. Over the course of their career they have released some rad fucking music…the split that they put out with Human Intruder is awesome. But it’s their 2010 release, Summit, via Gilead Media, that is just mind-numbingly sick. Thou took the genre of doom to another universe, where blackened vocals ride on top of the chariots of ungodly bass demons making their way to earth. The songs on this album are drenched in sub-sonic emotion that just sweeps you away into a world where humanity has done away with the monsters that are sent to imprison our minds. Thou’s guitar playing on this record evokes empathy for those who do not have a voice, but want to be heard. Actually, when I listen to this album, I realize that sound is way more powerful than sight. On songs like “Summit Revisited,” their use of space as an instrument is breathtaking & shows that this band is multi-faceted in the way they see music. “Voices In The Wilderness” is the kind of composition that is a vehicle used for cycodelic crust doom space travel, & will help the THC go deeper into your brain cavity. For those CVLT Nation readers in Europe, you are lucky because Thou have embarked on major tour of your continent this month. After the jump, check some mind-altering live footage, flicks & tour dates.