Archive for November, 2013

Spoiler alert: This is an old review. I am a MASSIVE Boris fan, ever since I first heard ‘Pink’ in 2005 and own pretty much all their records, even the hard to find ones and the vinyl only. I don’t buy much vinyl so that’ll tell you something. But this is from 2008, so I was only just beginning to fully understand how good they were.

Boris are one of these avantgarde bands from the Far East that like to push the limits of everything they do. Their sound changes with every album they make, from drone to fuzzed up stoner rock, noise to psychedelic weirdness. You really need to listen to them to try and understand their work. I recently got a hold of their 2003 ambient/noise/rock opus ‘Feedbacker’, a 43 minute single track split into 5 parts. The cover is Wata, female guitarist of the band, lying in a pool of what appears to be her own blood. An apt cover for an album that melds the savagery of noise and rock with the beauty of pure sound and experimentation. Somewhat of a listening endurance test, but not in a bad way, not at all. It’s more of an experience, a twisting collaboration of screeching feedback, fuzzy drone and all out rock.

Whatever you do, do not turn up the volume during the rippling drones that open the album. From nowhere it seems a wall of wailing guitar and thick distortion explodes over your senses, startling you completely from the peaceful, Earth like beginnings. It takes almost 23 minutes before the trademark howling of bassist/vocalist Takeshi begins, during a moment of rocking out that breaks up the noise. And there has always been that draw to Boris, they always seems to be able to effortlessly meld back into a good old rock out no matter how far from the musical template they have wandered. Guitarist Wata pulls out some of her most adventurous fret play on this album, licks of flame blaze all over the soundscape, sounding like fellow Japanese guitar virtuoso and collaborator Michio Kurihara.

And suddenly it ends, with a blast of white hot noise, squealing guitars, a thunder of drums and then the band are gone, and all that remains is the yawning chasm created by their efforts. The feedback spirals away, the visceral expression of Boris’ vision fades out and you’ve just experienced one of the more unique albums you’re ever likely to hear. Now put it on again and see what else you hear.

Riffs are the flavour of today. Big chunky doom riffs, spazzy djent riffs, brutal fret shredding death metal riffs. RIFFS! Ok, calm blue ocean… Without riffs, metal is shit. Ok thats not true, but riffs are amazing. ACTUAL amazing. I write this while listening to some serious riffs, that explains my excitement.

First choice tonight is fucking Make Them Suffer. Probably my favourite Cannibal Corpse song, (just throwing it out there) and an Australian deathmetalcore band (10 points for new genre creation). Its a track from their 2010 EP ‘Lord of Woe’, called Weeping Wastelands. Its fucking brutal, very Black Dahlia Murder style overlaid with gothic piano tones and it is chock full of riffs. Like, hundreds. This is what focused, precision, modern death metal sounds like. If they lost the keyboards I wouldn’t complain, but they are used suitably sparingly here to be bearable. Keyboards are for black metal or prog, not for head caving brutality like this. Still, I fucking love it. \m/ Listen here:

Next is Norwegian doom lords Tombstones with their track ‘Supernoid’ from 2010’s Volume II record. I’m really upset at myself for not knowing about these guys sooner. They are seriously good. This track kicks in (after a suitably melancholic acoustic intro) with one of the best Sabbath/Candlemass esque riffs you’ll ever hear. EVER. If you had to show someone that didn’t know what doom was, you play this. Then properly educate them with the classics. This is a ten minute steamroller death trip; a sneak at what Electric Wizard sound like if you strip out the 70s haze and psychedelica. There are no vocals, but I swear you put Messiah Marcolin over this, you’d probably die from the awesome. It slays:

Finally, I’m leaving on a slightly lower note (no offence) with Temporal. An Australian…um…metalcore/deathcore/djent band? I’m not entirely sure. They have a new song called ‘Infinite’ out, and most of it is pretty badass. It’s got crazy ass djent riffing, deathcore breakdowns and clean choruses that are reasonably catchy. So far, so good. It even has a quiet, almost prog moment right in the middle, which is kinda different and cool. But then for a brief moment they go all Linkin Park (2:20), and that’s disappointing. Other than that, it kicks a reasonable amount of ass, the band have a good potential and hopefully it’ll happen for them:

Now this is only a short post, but I felt compelled to write after hearing the new project from Candlemass bassist and doom god Leif Edling. Avatarium are not Candlemass however, they have much more in common with the epic occult rock leanings of The Devil’s Blood or Jex Thoth.

Edling handles bass on this new record, leaving the melancholic guitar licks to Evergrey guitarist Marcus Jidell. Vocals are done by Jennie-Ann Smith, who I don’t know but her rich, powerful voice creates a sense of grandeur. This record is officially on my radar for the next few days, and by the sounds of ‘Boneflower’, it’s going to be a contender for my top ten.

I’ve been reading back through my old blog tonight, feeling reasonably embarassed at my work from five years ago when i originally started this hobby of mine. My use of paragraphs was poor, the hyperbole I used while reviewing some records was daft (not all but there was definitely some artistic licence used), and I tried to start debates with all the people (read: nobody) that actually read my blog. Sigh.

BUT, and here is the key point I have found. BUT I have found that I used to listen to some fucking awesome records that I haven’t listened to in years. I’ve reviewed records that I can honestly say I probably haven’t listened to since I reviewed it. February 2008 I wrote about 4 unsung death metal records I really enjoyed. One of them was Grave’s debut. Fucking GRAVE! One of Swedish Death Metal’s big four, and yet here was me writing about how their debut (essential) was unsung. What a dick. I’ve come a a long way…

Now to the main reason for this overly long moment of self pity and realisation. As I said in a previous post, I will be reposting some of my old reviews on here, but will now add in new thoughts to make them seem more contemporary. Hopefully I will then make them more relevant to my new readership. Since, thanks to WordPress site stats, I can at least see there is some. 157 views motherfucker, I’ll bet my first blog didn’t even get close to that.

Coming soon: Textures – Silhouettes, Deicide – Until Death Do Us Part and Esoteric – The Maniacal Vale

Spoiler Alert: I LOVE EyeHateGod. Their brand of groove heavy, feedback (and whiskey) drenched nihilistic sludge has always struck a chord with me. I’m not sure why really, maybe it’s just the fact that ‘Dixie Whiskey’ has probably one of the best riffs I’ve ever heard (future Riff of the Day post is coming on that one). But I think the reason I like Outlaw Order so much, is because I like EyeHateGod so much.

Outlaw Order are very EyeHateGod. Its probably because 4 of its members have either been in, or are still in EyeHateGod. Except the mighty Joe LaCaze, may the ghosts of the Mississippi carry him to his final resting place. But Outlaw Order have less of the gut wrenching, vein bursting dirge and pain that EyeHateGod do. What they do have is spadefuls of NOLA groove, the tortured howl of Mike IX Williams and a sense of speed. Not that they would ever challenge thrash or anything, but compared with a lot of sludge records, ‘Dragging Down the Enforcer’ rocks along at a fair whack. Tracks like ‘Mercy Shot’ show off that thick, Southern groove that is so endemic of the NOLA sludge scene. Where black metal took the frozen north as part of its sound, sludge took the swagger of southern rock and roll, and then drowned it in tar like riffing and elephantine groove.

‘Siege Mentality’ has the most potent mix of hardcore punk and Sabbath, with a frank awesome riff near the end, while ‘Safety Off’ find its riff and keeps it, varying slightly from the blueprint, but remains faithful to the groove. The title track is a serious rager, that breaks down into a crushing EHG-esque ending.

‘Dragging Down the Enforcer’ has been Outlaw Order’s only record, which is a shame because they bring a potent mix of sludge and a no frills punk attitude. It’s a record that feels dangerous (in fact the name Outlaw Order came from the fact that all the members were on probation when the band came together), far more so than the wretched, puking spawn of the Dirty South that EyeHateGod is. Its refreshing to hear that so many members of the same band can create a side project that SOUNDS like their day job, and yet isn’t simply a clone.

Well, after the Helvellyn demo I reviewed yesterday went live, I received word that there was at least another Cumbrian metal band that I should check out, Blind Spite. Being the person I am, I added it immediately to my long list of ‘shit to listen to’. But after seeing that the Helvellyn demo got me my biggest number of views on my blog since I started (23 motherfucker), and that local metal should be supported whenever possible, I decided that I’d jump them up the queue. Well done fellas, you’ve nipped in above the new Onslaught record and Apex Terror from Otargos. This better be good…

Fortunately, it is. ‘Dethrone the Earth’ is a blistering concoction of rumbling death metal and savage black metal fury. The opening track ‘Oblivion Embraced’ buzzes out of the gate with a very second wave Norwegian black metal riff before their crushing death metal influence comes into play. Vocally its back and forth between a belching, death metal low end and a vicious, black metal rasp. There’s something dissonant about the riffing, lending a unique quality to the music, almost like if Pestilence were black metal, and the expansive section just before the end of the song lets the listener breathe before the next wave hits them. ‘Epoch of Despondency’ has a deceptively ambient intro before another black/death battering occurs. Tracks like this remind me how good blackened death metal can be, when it becomes a sum of its parts rather than throwing black metal and death metal in a pot and hoping what comes out sounds good. Blind Spite have clearly honed their craft so that the monolithic crush of the middle section of ‘Epoch…’ feels right, rather than an extra idea thrown in.

The rest of the record follows with a similar level quality, from the raging blackened death maelstorm ‘This is Our Abomination’ through to the doomladen finale of ‘Dethrone the Earth’. It’s good to see a band experiment within death metal without becoming too technical and widdly, and keeping their black metal influence clear but not overbearing. I think these guys, with the right timing and record label, could be successful. They strike me as a band that could support someone like Behemoth or Belphegor and win some new fans. Let’s hope they can. I certainly will be picking up this CD when I get paid, and if you can afford a paltry £4 for some quality brutality, you should too.