Archive for the ‘Geary of War’ Category

Remember when Job for a Cowboy were the darlings on the Internet scene, before there really was one? Remember when they were all over Kerrang and Metal Hammer etc, just waiting to explode upon release of their debut album, ‘Genesis’? Geary of War and I discuss the merits of now and then, and whether opinions have changed on it.

GoW: When “Genesis” hit in 2007, JFAC where THE next big thing, they were the darlings of the magazines i read at the time, Kerrang! and Metal Hammer. As far as I knew I would love them, despite the odd name. But I didn’t. I didn’t get it. I got a sample CD, turned it on, tuned in and was not impressed. I left them well alone and went onto other glorious things and that was, as they say, that.
Sandy: I always found ‘Genesis’ to be that awkward second album, even though it was a debut full length. JFAC burst onto the scene as Myspace darlings and with the frankly ace ‘Doom’ EP under their belts, they seemed poised to become the next big extreme hope. Somehow ‘Genesis’ didn’t quite do it for me. Granted, at the time it ticked all the boxes for death metal quality, but seemed to be lacking that same spark that gave ‘Doom’ such an energy.

GoW: Skip ahead to now. 2015, I am trawling my vast collection for things to check out and I see this album. Now as covered elsewhere in this bastion of metal blog-age I got into heavier things. I decided to go with JFAC once again. On this occasion the full album. Being honest Job for a Cowboy, as a name, will make me think of an actual job, which in turn makes me think of Raylan Givens in Justified. With that gun toting, whiskey sipping swagger in mind I delved in.

Sandy: it’s strange to me to think that I have listened to their later stuff a lot more, but I’ve never gone back to this record

GoW: And in a dramatic turnaround from my previous encounter I loved it. I discovered that the majesty of this album lay not in one track taken at random but in fact its balancing of brutality with mesmerising moments of calm in “Upheaval” and “Blasphemy”.

Sandy: At the time I found those moments of calm to be kinda cliche, unnecessary bits just to seem a bit progressive and different. Maybe now I can appreciate how the album breathes a bit more between tracks.

GoW: While “Embedded” was the ‘hit’ of the album as much as face eviscerating death metal can have a hit a surprising highlight comes in the doom tinged “The Divine Falsehood”. In addition to being a belting tune it also stands to serve as a rise back into assault with which the album began. ‘Genesis’ is 30 standout minutes of death metal which as a full entity makes sense. I am glad I dug it out and if you haven’t recently then I recommend you do.

Sandy: Their spark reignited on 2009’s superlative ‘Ruination’, and remained high throughout 2012’s ‘Demonocracy’ and last year’s stunning ‘Sun Eater’. Job for a Cowboy are NOW a force to be reckoned with. in 2007, I think the pressure got to them. ‘Genesis’ was good not great. Listening back now however, you can see the touches of quality that would manifest themselves more fully later on. The song writing isn’t quite fully formed, but the blasting ‘Bearing the Serpent’s Lamb’ is still scorching, and the heaviness of ‘The Divine Falsehood’ is not to be fucked with.

GoW: Having never heard anything but “Genesis” and clearly enjoyed it I find my interest piqued when I hear there is something better out there. In an odd way knowing that they mature into a more savage and efficient beast reminds me of The Sword. Lauded for maturity beyond their years and of course “Freya” I don’t think they truly made a great album until “Warp Riders”. Time heals all wounds, matures wines and gives us better albums.

Sandy: It’s actually a bit of a relief to hear how much better they got after ‘Genesis’. I mean, ‘Ruination’ is probably my favourite of their records, but I’ve yet to fully absorb ‘Sun Eater’, and I owe ‘Demonocracy’ more listens for sure. Your Sword comparison is spot on, that is a band that matured into quality, rather than started with it. JFAC’s problem with ‘Genesis’ was that their debut EP was just so much better.

GoW: I managed to get three tracks of “Ruination” listened to on a short break and it served as a brutal soundtrack as I read Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith, set in brutal window of Stalinist Russia. With three tracks too soon to fully commit to an opinion of an album I feel I can say this. They have not taken the foot off the gas. In a small flash I was reminded of Nile. No bad thing by any account. I think it’s safe to say I have found the band to lift heavy weights too. Or just scour the skin off a long working day with a riff and an evil smile.

 

Verdict: Better than both of us remember, but still shy of what they managed to achieve, ‘Genesis’ was just that; the starting seed of a death metal band that were overhyped. Left to their own devices, they’ve created much better records and are definitely KILLCHAIN APPROVED

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Greek extremists Embrace of Thorns are releasing this, ‘Darkness Impenetrable’, on Nuclear War Now! Productions. Geary of War took the trip down to the mouth of hell to hear what it sounds like.

Embrace of Thorns. They don’t do catchy song titles. However what they do rather well is old school black metal, with several injections of death metal and some more modern blackened death.

An amazing example of where the ‘fuck off catchy, here’s something beasting’ is ‘My Hermetic Quest For Thy Black Temple’. While it’ll never be a crowd chant, it is a damn stonker of a track. Its a pounding, head banging dirty bar steward of a track that I have played en route to the gym on a heavy lifting day. Words fail to capture it all. It is a modern life battle track.

Overall you’re taking some Beneath the Remains era Sepultura, Darkthrone and some early Bolt Thrower and smashing it together into a poisonous, virulent whole. It may never crack any best of time lists, but it’s a beast of a record that you should hear in its entirety.

‘Irkalla Transcendence’ by Agos is a stonking blackened death record. Now the brief summary is out the way here is a little more detail why.

As with all music it was having the time and place to absorb the creativity and listening to Agos was no different. I had real life stuff to attend (read driving my girlfriend and her friend to a hen party which meant enduring an hour of prosecco fuelled chatting and chart music) before I could stick in Agos on the way home. Needless to say I was impressed with what I heard. Due to the main need of “get this on my phone” my moments of free time were spent on the downloading and not reading the promo material so it came as a pleasant surprise to see that thought of “this reminds me of Rotting Christ and Septicflesh” part way into the crushing “Akkadian Cenotaph”  was geographically spot on.

Im not sure if its something in the water or the turbulent times the Greeks find themselves in but Van Gimot and Astrous have tapped into something grand. The blend of Sumerian inspired lyrics (and anyone who then doesn’t think of Conan the Cimmerian is lying!) and blend of relentless black metal riffing, blast beats and Bolt Thrower like death metal chugging mean we have a savage beast that makes you think its approachable before it shreds your face right off, just like a Nic Cage movie, with a tremendous solo.

With all that said is it the best blackened death ever? No. But will I have no issue jamming it in my playlist alongside the big dogs of the genre. It made the journey home all the easier and cleansed my ears after a hour which makes waterboarding appealing. It is very much worth the time and I look forward to more.

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/agos218
LABEL: www.iii-damnationproductions.blogspot.com
YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPEOeHzXyuk

Sometimes I’m too deeply entrenched in underground music. This is where Geary of War comes in. He yells down into the void, ‘HO! Remember there’s beer drinking metal too!’. And he is so right. Some of us get so involved in listening to music that’s dense, dark and extreme that we forget that when we’re in a bar on a Friday night and Pantera comes on, we cheer and headbang. Even when we don’t listen to it much out of those contexts. Paul has reviewed the new Godsmack record for us, which I haven’t heard but do remember loving the band when I was younger. Theu were bigger when I was a kid, and I always liked that Hetfield/Staley snarl of Sully Erna. Plus, they wrote some good alt metal riffs!

“Godsmack are a band who I became aware of via the Mission Impossible 2 soundtrack and then saw them support Limp Bizkit as relative unknowns. They haven’t quite made it as big as they have in their homeland but after years of ignoring them, I was drawn back in by the balls out fun of the records. It’s not big or clever but after a few beers I could not care less.

‘1000hp’ starts off with the title track in what I’m sure will be a club favourite, high pace and short sharp chorus. ‘FML’ is musically sound and catchy and 90% decent lyrically, however proclaiming “so fuck my life” is something I would have loved as a daft young boy but as slightly more mature adult I’m disappointed. That said, massive redemption with ‘Something Different’. I will often do my cardio workouts to music and this was a winner, managed to get myself right into a groove and charged on, with superb use of strings adding a new dimension to the proceedings.

‘What’s Next’ is a good upbeat affair but ‘Generation Dead’ is where they once again raise their game. I found that the have developed a feel for the brooding groove, that driving track mentality and they execute it well with Erna’s vocals delivered in a manner that has you singing along in no time. ‘Locked’ and Loaded is fresh beer time and cut from the same cloth as ‘Cryin Like a Bitch’. ‘Livin In the Grey’, ‘I Don’t Belong’ use that formula they have executed for many a year, which is not to say they are not excellent songs, they stand tall with any track you care to name.

Eyebrows rise with the ‘Orion’-like start of ‘Nothing Comes Easy’, which is a hybrid of the new found feeling for sound with the punching riffs and drums they are renowned for.
‘Turning To Stone’ rounds out the 45 mins with something between the atmosphere ‘Voodoo’ and the beefed out sound of ‘Voodoo Too’.

Over all ‘1000hp’ is a decent record. Album of the year material? Gods no, but as something to stick on with your mates or while you are doing something else it’s ideal. Think of Godsmack as a less grizzled Motorhead, not in sound, but in the faith that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Maybe tinker but always deliver and you will get along just fine.

I am soon to be entering my 30th year on this planet. This landmark has given me occasion to pause and reflect upon albums which left a profound impact on me or are something to which I could attribute musical development with a timeframe in my life. As a child I was exposed to rock via my father. He was a huge Slade fan in addition to owning some outstanding records. I can say that the first four vinyl records to enhance my ears were Mike Oldfields Tubular Bells, The War of The Worlds Soundtrack, Iron Maiden – Number of the Beast and Black Sabbath’s legendary debut. I still remember my father saying “listen to the rain”, mesmerising stuff. That being said, classic rock compliations aside I was a wandering soul prior to my 16th year, I listened to classic rock, the radio and dance and happy hardcore as that was the social norm. Then following a tape made by a friend this happened.
The Nu Metal Years.
The tape in question has a lot of indie stuff on it, Idlewild, Symposium, Feeder but also Nirvana and Break Stuff by Limp Bizkit.
Immediatly I gravitated to the heavier angrier sound, not that I didnt appreciate the mellower efforts but let’s be fair, I was 15, full of testosterone and wanting agression. A few weeks hard saving from my meger £11 paper run and off to Glasgow I go. I had no idea about town, I went to HMV, I bought Nevermind at £17.99 the fool that I was. I then listened to that for a long time. But it wasnt angry enjoy all the way I needed. I aquired other CDs and tapes along the way but as a major contributer to my journey to metal, one landmark I have to highlight is the day I bought Significant Other, the CD that Break Stuff came from. I took it home, I listened, loud, my mind was blown. I watched the CD ROM (remember them!?) of Nookie, I was hooked. Couple that with Issues by Korn, a new part time jobs that paid cash in hand, a bus stop near Virgin Megastores with Kerrang and cd vouchers and my Nu Metal crusade began.
I bought as much as I could, copied to Mini Disc ( they were the future goddamn it) and at some point was a fountain of nu metal, rap metal wonder. Of those albums what can i still listen too? Korn Issues for sure, Deftones who got lumped with the nu metal tag but are much more than that. Limp Bizkit for sure, nostalgia is a huge part of that, I make my own best of but I cant slam the door on them. Papa Roach, Linkin Park, Ill Nino ages poorly to my ear. I cant listen to newer bands with that sound, it doesnt grab me anymore but it will always have a place in my collection as it opened my ear to heavier and heavier things.
The Evolution Years
In this window of my life my cash went on drinking, music and gigs, I would go to gigs based on one band but in the process of this I would learn about other bands and so the cycle continued. A mate of mine played me Static-X, Black and White from Machine. This opened my ears to something with much heavier vocals plus mental hair? I was in. Then game the news of the now ill fated Tattoo The Planet. Now I knew Static-X on the bill but who where Raging Speedhorn, Biohazard i knew one track, Last Man Standing from a Metal Hammer cd but the co headliners, Pantera and Slayer. I knew by name but that was all. Boy did that change fast.
I borrowed some CDs, Reinventing the Steel and Diabolis in Musica. Coupled with a new found love for Sepultura ( I bought Nation cause it sounded metal, Roots cause I was told it was ace) suddenly a new world opened up before me.
Through a meeting of minds and passion to share music bands were brought into my life, some have never left, some visit on occasion some it was a one time deal.
But with each album there’s something new, a new way to listen, compare, channel a focus.
Of those albums and all from self discovery I would say these stand the test of time for me;
Limp Bizkit – Significant Other
Korn – Issues
Pantera – Vulger Display of Power
Slayer – God Hates Us All
Septulura – Roots
Machine Head – Burn My Eyes
Capricorns – Ruder Forms Survive
Cult of Luna – Salvation
Breach – Venom
Darkthrone – A Blaze In A Northern Sky
Down II: A Bustle In Your Hedgerow
TOOL – Lateralus
I know some of those albums are often lauded classics of a genre but its so true. The are top for a reason, they change the way metal can be taken on board.
If I take other genre melting albums which still stand up for me I would say;
Nasum – Helvete and Shift ( always listened to together)
Anaal Nathrakh – When Fire Rains Down From The Sky, Mankind Will Reap What It Sows
Superjoint Ritual – Use Once And Destroy
Neurosis – A Sun That Never Sets
Sunn o))) -The Grimm Robe Demos
Soilent Green – Sewn Mouth Secrets
There are many others that could make the list and no doubt I will refer to them in future but this isn’t about listing everything I like, its about taking that moment to appreciate those albums which never stop giving you something to savour. Finding those albums are what makes the search always worth it.

Albums that are the aural equivalent of herpes. That’s today’s discussion. I should clear that up actually, because it sounds a bit dodgy. Basically it’s about bands (and records particularly) that keep coming back to the top of the listening pile. They won’t go away. We’ve decided here at the Killchain that this year’s most herpes-esque albums have been Killer be Killed and new Mastodon. I know personally I start most days with a quick blast of ‘High Road’ and Wings of Feather and Wax’; they are both simply two of the best songs of the year. They are catchy but heavy as shit. Quoth the Geary:

Sounds Like Herpes.

I know what you are thinking. But no. Its not a time to reflect upon questionable choices made once upon a beer. It is in fact to think about those albums which keep giving you a little something each time you return to the well. This has been inspired by two albums released this year which has been regulars in my headphones, car and anywhere else i can play them. Firstly Killer Be Killed and then the mighty Mastodon ( both given superb reviews here) Below will be some of those albums, in addition to the above, for me. I should note that there is no time stamp here, just glorious riffage.
Killer Be Killed – Killer Be Killed
Mastodon – Once More’Round The Sun
Wilson – Full Blast Fuckery
Capricorns – Ruder Forms Survive
Cult Of Luna – Salvation
Down II – A Bustle in Your Hedgerow
Bolt Thrower – Those Once Loyal
Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones
Clutch- Earth Rocker
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Let Love In
This is of course in no way exhaustive, and personally I’ve got to add in Cannibal Corpse’s ‘Kill’, Nile’s ‘Annihilation of the Wicked’ and Iced Earth’s ‘Horror Show’ but Geary makes an excellent point. No matter how good an album is, if you come back to it constantly even years later (Down II is how fucking old? Really? It’s STILL brilliant) then that is the true test.