Posts Tagged ‘Metal’

Gravetemple is a who’s who of extreme music creators, from experimentalist Oren Ambarchi, to black metal avant god Attila Csihar and drone icon Stephen O’Malley, and their ‘Impassable Fears’ bridges esoteric and spiritual worlds through unadulterated heaviness of sound. Svart Records will unleash this celebration of volume and density in June.

As ‘A Szarka’ begins to emanate from the speaker, a menace buils within fuzzy feedback and a ritual thudding. Polyrhythms rumble from underneath scowling feedback, while croaking vocals draw you into a hazy, mystic void between realms. Full of uncomfortable sounds, moments that sound like beasts of darkness and fear scratching on the walls of our world, ‘Impassable Fears’ is not only music, but an experience. Csihar describes it as a contemporary Shamanism, and with the ritualistic and mesmerising ‘World Out of Date’, you are sucked into a world that is not quite your own.

Haunting instrumental ‘Karma’s Claws’ provides a breather from the intensity, as does the creepy electronica of ‘Domino’ before the terrifying monolith of the title track drags you back into madness. By the time ‘Eternal Endless Void’ hums you to a disturbing sleep, you’ll be exhausted, drained and thoroughly ready for another go. These creative gods have brought us yet more wisdom us mortals cannot yet fatom. Gravetemple are mysteriously and inexplicable essential.

https://www.svartrecords.com/artist/gravetemple/

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For those who don’t know Abaddon, you are missing out on one of India’s newest and most impressive bands. You can read my review of their debut EP ‘Son of Hell here: https://thoseonceloyal.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/review-abaddon-son-of-hell/

I spoke to rhythm guitarist Naag Bharath at length about ‘Son of Hell’, who they take influence from and how they fit in with the emerging Indian metal scene. We ended up in a long conversation about bands we both like and recommendations for us both to check out. He’s a cool guy, and even disappeared halfway through to go and support a local band who I’ve since been told to check out. A true metal supporter!

Abaddon - Logo

So how long have Abaddon been in existence?

NB: For a little over 3 years, we just finished 3 years last December.

What was the idea behind the band, was it just to play music or is there a message to be sent?

NB: At the roots it’s basically our love for the music and how it has helped us and connected to us that led us to form the band, so that we can keep playing the music we love. It also became a way for us to put out all our thoughts and frustrations with all the shit going on around.So it’s both, to play metal and send across our message with it too.

India seems to be churning out these high quality bands with a lot of anger at the moment. Are there a lot of problems there?

NB: Of course, there are a lot of problems here. Religious hypocrites, sleazy politicians, governments looting away our money, stupid laws limiting recreation etc. I guess all these are not very different from the problems in other places, its just what we as humans have become. Metal personally helps give the extra aggression needed to go on everyday, because the modern “Bollywood” music here just doesn’t do the job!

Metal is still really underground in India isn’t it? Are there any big bands, even hard rock, or is it all very much hidden from society?

NB: Yeah, its still underground here, although there have been bands here from the late 80s/early 90s and maybe even earlier. There are many big metal bands here, a lot of them even having played outside India. And there are other non-metal bands which are pretty popular too, it’s mostly Rock, fusion and that kind of stuff which can get some popularity. And there are some rock bands who are actually really good at what they do and are pretty popular too.

Your brand of thrash is obviously a more underground sound. Who are your main influences?

NB: We are mainly influenced by Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer, Judas Priest, Megadeth, Overkill, Kreator, Motorhead, Black Sabbath, Sodom, Testament etc

Yeah, there’s definitely an early Iron Maiden sound about your stuff. What was the recording like for Son of Hell?

NB: The recording was done in one full day, around 8 to 9 hours. It was the first time we ever got into a studio and actually recorded anything, so it was a good experience. It was also frustrating at times when one of us fucked up in between and we had to start recording all the way from the top again, as this was basically a live recording. But we did have fun recording this.

Naag went off at this point to see Threidony, a local thrash band, and we picked it up again the next day:

Hey man. How was the gig?

NB: The gig was awesome man! Good sound, good music and the place was packed!

Excellent. So there must be a good following for metal in India. Are there a lot of gig opportunities?

NB: Yeah, there is a good following all around but most of it is from the big cities and metros. It would be very rare to find a metalhead in a small town because there might not be much exposure. There are a fair amount of gigs that keep happening, things are actually getting better by the day. But there are also dry spells sometimes

It’s obviously a very fertile scene. Every time I hear of a new band, I’m straight in there. There’s a passion for metal in India that I love. Have you got more material in the pipeline? What’s next for Abaddon?

NB: Definitely! And all the local bands here who’ve been around from a long time, when the scene wasn’t as fertile as it is now, have played a very important role. We have no new material yet, although we are working on writing new stuff.

Is it more of the same or is your sound evolving in anyway?

NB: Too early to say right now because we haven’t jammed or worked on it yet. But it could evolve a bit and we look forward to something more improvised and better than what we have done.

Abaddon - Photo

How has the reaction been to Son of Hell? I’ve been spinning it a lot recently.

NB: We’ve had a pretty good reaction so far. We’ve heard some good things about it and gotten some constructive feedback too! Really nice to know you liked our music. What did you like best about it and what did you not like about it?

I think it’s got a really honest feel about it, an old school vibe. I mean my review was glowing like, but I mean it. I think the opener is strong, and I also really enjoy Bullet Eye.

NB: Considering our influences and ideas, we’ve worked on getting an old school vibe on it. Thank you for the feedback!

And there you have it. Our conversation then delved into bands from India that I should listen to, and bands that I know that Naag should listen to etc. The band are great, and deserve your support. ‘Son of Hell’ is available here: http://tometal.com/store/cds/abaddon-india-son-of-hell-cd/

 

I was prompted to write this by a great article on the Somber Lane Blog, written by my good friend Teo from Chiral. Along with his partner in riffs, Rizzo, they put out some great reviews and articles, and are clearly two guys who know their shit and are passionate about what they write about. They’ve put up a piece today about the receiving of physical promos, which I’ll put a link to at the end. I agree with a lot of what they have to say, and I feel like the Killchain should clarify its position on them too.

First off, if you want to send physical promos, they are more than welcome. We also understand that you can’t afford to send out physical promos to every person you want a review or article from. That’s why we have a policy never to request them unless offered. A physical one may jump up the review list due to the fact that a band or label has committed resources to getting our opinions, and we appreciate that in the humblest manner. But we would never expect you to put yourselves out of pocket just for a review. I have read a lot of negativity on social media about how people who want physical promos only are freeloading etc etc, and I wouldn’t want anyone to think that of us here. Trust me, the money I’ve sunk into my record collection, gig tickets and merch, I’m anything but!

The Killchain receives about 5-10 promos a day from various labels, bands and PR companies, and as much as we’d love to cover everything promptly, it is simply not possible. The fact is, I like to write about music that inspires me, and therefore if a record doesn’t, I don’t write about it. That’s also why most reviews at the Killchain are positive, because I don’t have time to write about music that sucks. Heavy metal has been my life for a long time, and writing about it is one of my life’s joys, so it is important to me to spread the word about music that kicks ass.

So, in closing, if you want to send me a physical promo, a stream or a download link, everything is listened to and appreciated, even if I don’t put fingers to keyboard about it. It is humbling to think that people who write the music I love are interested in what I think about it. That’s why the Killchain exists, and that’s why I love supporting the bands who contact me. It is why metal will never die

Read Teo’s article here: https://somberlanemusic.wordpress.com/2016/01/22/physical-promos-policy/

Sombras cover art

Chilean metallers Mano Humana formed in 2012, and aim to write music free of traditional genre tropes, which still fits with a violent and aggressive style. Hopefully this translates into something riff heavy and awesome!

South American metal tends to be on the side of rabid brutality and extremely raw. So it’s a pleasant experience to find an album that, while aggressive in execution, is quite well produced and clear. The modern thrashings of ‘Jueces’ has elements of early Meshuggah, with some almost djent signatures in places. It has a killer groove though, which continues through bangers like ‘Desintrospeccion’ and the chugging heaviness of ‘Demencia’

What I like about Mano Humana is they don’t just play solid if uninspired thrash, nor do they do a bad copy of Meshuggah riffs. What they bring is an honest amalgamation of both, with plenty of quirky guitar work, and some jagged time changes. It isn’t all relentless riffing though, with the introspective noodlings of ‘Grito En Silencio’ displaying an almost progressive edge, or the calming start of longest track ‘Arbol’. I really like the spacey riff that opens ‘Ataca y Ataca’, and the call and response sections is very Soulfly-esque. In fact, this song feels like their Brazilian counterparts, with a dense tribal drum and primal roar echoing Cavalera’s tribe.

I like Mano Humana. ‘Sombras’ feels like a breath of fresh air, with its amalgamation of thrash and a heavier sound. It is a little weird, but once it gets going, you’ll be hooked!

https://www.facebook.com/ManoHumanaBanda

https://manohumana.bandcamp.com/album/sombras

https://www.facebook.com/sickbangersmetaldistro

Indian power metal-cum-thrash metal heroes Rectified Spirit have ‘The Wasteland’ out on, you’ve guessed it, Transcending Obscurity India. I feel like I seem to work for Kunal with all these reviews sometimes, but I tell you, he has a knack for finding and supporting the best of the sub continent’s hidden gems. Rectified Spirit appear to be yet another.

‘The Art of War’ is a perfect representation, straight away, of what Rectified Spirit are capable of. Galloping riffs coupled with a seemlessly switching vocalist in Rainjong Lepcha, who can jump between a powerful roar and a soaring clean vocal without so much as a pause. ‘The Wasteland’ reminds me of Symphony X’s heaviest moments. The guitarwork is catchy, yet intricate enough to please us air guitar heroes. The choruses are huge, as are the riffs. ‘Fireborn’ is reminiscient of early Firewind crossed with latter Unearth, while the anthemic ‘Winter in Thine Eyes’ is one of the catchiest things I’ve heard in years.

‘The Green Goblin’ contains some of the band’s most furious moments, and it’s quite a contrast to the previous track, but not in a bad way. Rectified Spirit are like the Indian version of Kiuas circa ‘The Spirit of Ukko’, a power metal band that aren’t afraid to put a bit of bite behind their metal. It’s welcome, and continues to improve the record.  ‘The Afterthought’ is the obligatory power ballad, but even this is heavier than most, and the rampant ‘Once Below a Time’ is simply ace.

Closing with the epic title track, Rectified Spirit have got it SO right on this record. ‘The Wasteland’ is a record that reinvigorates your belief in metal. Yeah, metal can be about being BROOOOOTAL or dark and kvlt and Satanic. But it should also be about fist pumping riffs, banging your head and singing along. ‘The Wasteland’ creates songs that encourage all three. Fucking yes!

https://www.facebook.com/Rectified.Spirit.Official

http://tometal.com/

https://transcendingobscurityindia.bandcamp.com/album/the-waste-land-heavy-progressive-metal

A shame upon my metal character is the fact that until Tuesday night, I’d never seen Judas Priest live. There, I said it. But FUCK did I make up for it!?

First up though was Michael Schenker and his Temple of Rock. Now, being more of an extreme music fan, I wasn’t overly familiar with a lot of his material. Until the Temple cranked out ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane’ (written 8 years after Schenker left the Scorpions) and UFO classic ‘Rock Bottom’, to which I was then sold completely on the stunning fretwork the man is capable. Stalking that stage, guitar in hand and fingers moving faster than the bedsprings on a rabbit’s honeymoon, this was my first real taste of the Schenk, and it won’t be my last.

But fuck it, I was here for Priest and Priest only. Striding onto the stage, the Metal Gods were on staggering form. Metal classic after metal classic flowed from the speakers, from ‘Metal Gods’, through ‘Breaking the Law’ and lost gem ‘Desert Plains’. They played a few new ones from ‘Redeemer of Souls’, which fit in well with Priest classics. Sadly, nothing from ‘Angel of Retribution’, and they missed out ‘The Ripper’ which is my own favourite Priest song, but you can’t really argue with a setlist this strong. ‘Hellbent for Leather’, You’ve Got Another Thing Coming’, ‘Electric Eye’ ‘Screaming for Vengeance’, ‘Turbo Lover’ and even ‘The Rage’ make an appearance, and Rob Halford had a different outfit for every song. From heavy metal silver dressing gown, to classic leathers on his motorbike, we were treated to the full greatest hits performance

Closing with the devastating ‘Painkiller’ (dedicated to the late Philthy Phil Taylor) and singalong classic ‘Living After Midnight’, Judas Priest show that, even without half of the greatest guitar duo in metal, they are a stunning live prospect. Halford can still hit every high note, and his voice seems to have improved with age. If you don’t see them on this tour, you’ll be missing one of metal’s most important bands do it better than everyone else.

Originally published here: http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/reviews/album-reviews/h/high-on-fire-luminiferous-cd-lp-dd-2015/

If you follow this site, or indeed any metal site, you’ll know who High on Fire are. But for those who are uninitiated, let me explain who High on Fire are. They are not just Matt Pike and cohorts. They aren’t just a band with former members of a legendary band. High on Fire have evolved past that. High on Fire are one of metal’s great personification of the RIFF. Their new album, ‘Luminiferous’, is yet another testament to their embodiment of heavy metal’s most primal weapon.

I want to take a second to mention the artwork of ‘Luminiferous’ first. Normally I look at metal artwork and either think ‘yeah that’s pretty sweet’ or ‘that’s a cliché’. Not with this record. ‘Luminiferous’ stands as the demon guardian in the art, a roiling sea around him while behind lies the temple. That is the temple of metal, where High on Fire sit as gatekeepers to the realm of the RIFF. It is as perfect a summation of a band as you could hope to find.

‘The Black Plot’ begins with that familiar rumble, that tectonic weight, that earthy roar and that instantly infectious guitar style. Matt Pike is a true guitar hero, but not of the widdly type. He wields his axe as a weapon of music, cutting swathes through mediocre cut and paste doom bands who will never measure up. Within minutes, the listener is given clarity and insight into what metal represents. High on Fire obliterate the mediocrity and stride triumphantly into the arena, slamming down their riffs and screaming ‘Are you not entertained?’ Be it the grinding stomp of ‘Carcosa’ or the primal roar that reverberates throughout ‘The Sunless Years’, High on Fire fight for metal’s core beliefs. A belief in great riffs, great music and passion.

The freight train-esque ‘Slave the Hive’ is a pulsing, propulsive monster of a track, ‘The Falconist’ a more ponderous and melodic offering. High on Fire don’t always play the full throttle riff game. ‘The Falconist’ may be as close to a ballad as you’d ever get from the band, but it possesses this killer bluesy swagger that’s so addictive. ‘The Dark Side of the Compass’ rips that classic High on Fire tribal thunder to start, then unleashes an apocalyptic chug that demands your head begin to nod. The calming, almost psychedelic start to ‘The Cave’ brings back those quintessential memories of Sleep’s most drugged out moments, and it also has a bit of a Crowbar vibe about it too, channelling a bit of Southern groove throughout.

Be it the fury of the title track or the slow burn titan ‘The Lethal Chamber’, High on Fire have yet again hoisted themselves back to the pinnacle of Riff Mountain. Their music is a cathartic release, an exercise in heaviness and pure fucking metal. It is refreshing in this age of constant sub categorising, that there are bands out there that are nothing but metal. High on Fire are one of those bands, and ‘Luminiferous’ is one of 2015’s greatest records.