Thursday 29 December 2016

Swamp Witch - The Slithering Bog


1. Strange Cults
2. Marsh Of Delusion
3. Slither Into The Circle
4. Bayou Tomb
5. Dead Root
6. Lost Symbols

Metal bands have an uncanny knack of making their genre (or sub-genre) choice obvious from their name alone. I could have guessed that Oakland/Cali quintet Swamp Witch were a doom/sludge band even before I heard their music, but that's kind of the point. While it's mainly the music that paints the picture, image (no not sweeping fringes, but art or a theme) is also important to a listener. Swamp Witch began lumbering out of the undergrowth in 2009 with a digital live album called "090909". An EP called "Gnosis" followed in 2011 on tape and LP (via Gay Scientist Recordings and Anti-Matter Records respectively), prior to a four year period of silence before this EP, which was originally released digitally by the band in conjunction with Transylvanian Tapes (whom also released a tape). Now emerging US label Tribunal Of The Axe has jumped on board with an LP release. It's been out a little while and as always, I'm still catching up.

The Christmas period here in the UK has been remarkably mild but now it’s freezing. The warmth of good music helps though and the fuzz-laden/bass-heavy grooves of Swamp Witch even more so. This record’s opening song Strange Cults is full of occult melody and bleak growls. This end of the doom/sludge spectrum has really shone (if that’s the right word) in recent years, thanks to the darkening worldview and bands like Primitive Man and Meth Drinker (RIP) punching through the bullshit, dragging other towards the light. Middle/Far-Eastern melody comes through at the beginning of Marsh Of Delusion. What follows it though are towering riffs and tempos that threaten to stop or even throw themselves into reverse such is their slowness. Thankfully Swamp Witch has the wherewithal to keep their songs the right side of the ten+ minute mark, so it’s all a bit easier to digest. The addition of upbeat rhythms and much needed ambient guitar towards the end is a relief too. The lack of breathing space before Slither Into The Circle has to be applauded, as it maintains the momentum of “The Slithering Bog” with a blast of heaviness that is over all too quickly. Bayou Tomb follows in a similar vein and helps prove that Swamp Witch is equally adept at writing punchier songs as they are at writing claustrophobia-inducing ones. The noise that accompanies the doom perfectly sums up what it’s like to be buried alive, helping Bayou Tomb to be strangely life-affirming if you’ve made it this far. I have to admit that Dead Root sent me into a bit of a daze. It’s droning, down-tuned instrumentation dragging me deeper before the relative safety of some beautifully hypnotic dank and distant melody. Album closer Lost Symbols embodies the emotion felt during “The Slithering Bog”. Knowing there are individuals in the world that can craft something so heavy yet so transcendent is mind-blowing, but somehow Swamp Witch is able to reignite lost feelings through their music. Hold those dear close to you and wait for the inevitable end. This will guide you safely to the other side.

You can stream "The Slithering Bog" here:-

Tape copies from Transylvanian Tapes have sold out, but you can pick it up digitally from them here -

LPs can be bought from Tribunal Of The Axe here -

Swamp Witch Facebook -
Transylvanian Tapes Facebook -
Tribunal Of The Axe Facebook -

Tuesday 27 December 2016

In Obscurity Revealed - Grim Fumes of Revelation 7"


1. Storms Conjured
2. Varcolaci

Apologies once again for the prolonged silence, I've been spending time with family and trying to work out where to take this thing next. I'm planning for the new year, but until then I've got a few things to write about. Mexican death metal quartet In Obscurity Revealed are the subject of this evening's review. Following the release of their demo "Spell Of The Seeker" last year, they've joined in infernal partnership with Blood Harvest Records and have released their debut 7". They've appeared alongside the mighty Grave Miasma and Bolzer on their homeland this past June, so that should give you some idea as to the quality they possess. 

In Obscurity Revealed presents a hellishly metallic backdrop on EP opener Storms Conjured. It spews forth in the form of classy old-school death metal that hits all the right spots. It’s loud and precise. Varcolaci is equally as ripping. The kick and snare blasts don’t miss a beat while the rasping screams compliment the guitars and bass well. This is brief but really infectious. It highlights a very different approach, one which favours a clearer sound to that of their peers. In Obscurity Revealed are a cut above many of the South  and Central American acts and will only get better.

You can stream and purchase "Grim Fumes Of Revelation" digitally and on 7" below:-

Blood Harvest Records webstore -

In Obscurity Revealed Facebook -
Blood Harvest Records Facebook -

Thursday 22 December 2016

Recollection: John (Sky:Lark!/Man Hands/Snob)

Here's the 3rd instalment of Recollection, featuring John from Sky:Lark!, Man Hands and Snob. It's been a while since the last one was posted. For anybody who's new to this feature, I've basically asked people in bands, labels etc to write about their ten favourite records and I post the completed responses here. Dead simple. 

Moving Targets - "Burning in Water"
Now THIS is my jam. Nothing makes me more envious/in awe like a proper SONG. With hooks and melodies and this LP is chock full of them. Three musicians and songwriters who feed off each other and make every bar of music special. Pretty sure the drummer never uses the same fill twice on the whole album. Perfection.

Spike in Vain - "Disease is Relative"
This one hit me out of the blue a few years back, flicking through a zine (the much missed Limited Readership) there was an interview with Spike in Vain and I HAD to get hold of this record. This is like "post-hardcore" but whilst hardcore was still happening.....proto emo???? Anyway its miles ahead of it's time and has so much going on but is totally coherent.

Battle of Wolf 359 - "The Death of Affect"
A proper life changer for me. Punk and hardcore became more than some music I'd heard about and became my friends and life. And this record was the soundtrack to it. Downtuned Heavy and Apocalyptic hardcore with Star Trek references galore.

Me and Goliath - "s/t" 10"
Goes hand in hand with the above. Watching this band absolute captivate a crowd who'd just had to suffer a post rock set was my introduction to them. This 10" perfectly captures them at their finest. The finest drum rolls in the game. 

Deftones - "Around the Fur"
Nu-metals finest hour. Thanks to various skateboarding games I was pretty into a couple of Deftones tracks by the time I started getting into music, but this is the first full album I bought by them - learning songs off this taught me about drop tunings which I've used ever since!

The B-52s - "s/t"
Listening to '52 Girls' makes me feel invincible, and I know it's given the same feeling to 1000s of freaks over the years. So much more than just 'Rock Lobster' (and I LOVE ROCK LOBSTER).

Good Throb - "Fuck Off"
My favourite thing about moving to London? Watching this band journey from hated "hipsters" playing in basements to no one, to become the most unbeatable force in UK punk - with whole crowds of people fist pumping along asking: "Did You Know The Queen Sucks Nazi Cock?"

Lack - "Blues Moderne:Danois Explosifs"
Their later albums are undeniably an influence on Skylark, when they became the worlds meanest sounding indie band. But every now and then when I've had a few shandy's I can't stop banging on about this, their first album, and end up moshing out by myself in my lounge before bedtime. The breakdown in "When even the most honest of emotions....." is one of the heaviest things I've ever heard.

La Quiete - "La Fine non e la Fine"
Screamo perfection. The sound of youths scrambling to play as fast as possible almost to the point of collapse but it's so together and the songs are so (here's me getting full emo, despite having been previously warned never to go full emo) FUCKING BEAUTIFUL.

Nachthexen - "s/t" 7"

The most recent entry to the list, and the bands debut record release. Witchy synth punk from Sheffield chronicling the frustrations of living in your own head, and also a world that's confusing and full of shitheads. 

Thanks to John for writing the above. You can find links to the noise he makes and the things he's involved in below:-

Sky:Lark! Bandcamp -
Sky:Lark! Facebook -
Man Hands Facebook -
Kinshot (RIP) Bandcamp -
Cane And Rinse (feature writing) -
Joey's Kitchen Vegan Catering -

Friday 16 December 2016

Infinite Earths - Into The Void


1. Act 1: Into The Void
2. Act 2: Amalgam Of Madness
3. Act 3: Chaotic Good
4. Act 4: The Whirling Door
5. Act 5: Grave New World

The glaring and trippy artwork that adorns (Floridian progressive metal band) Infinite Earth's latest EP/Album "Into The Void" is like looking at a bizarre self-portrait. It's unsettling but in a psychedelic sort of way. Anyway, this in the second release from the band and it was self-issued in early December. Prior to this Infinite Earths released their debut EP "Spiral From Spacetime" in February 2014. They share members with fellow US extreme metal band Mindscar and formed in 2012. 

Infinite Earths walk the line between atypical operatic progressive metal and more extreme black metal on opener Act 1: Into The Void. The clean vocals that open the album merely throw you off the scent though, as they are replaced by harsh roars and heavier instrumentation. The chopping and changing of time-signature and the technical instrumentation shows off the skills of all involved in Infinite Earths during Act 2: Amalgam Of Madness, getting more infectious as it goes. The quieter passages of acoustic guitar lead to melodic lead-work and clean singing, which isn’t the strongest but still sounds good. Rob Weisenbarger’s drumming is one of the standout elements on “Into The Void”, especially during Act 3: Chaotic Good. it keeps the song together, which at times doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. I’m not gonna be overly critical because it takes a lot of skill to play music like this (and I have very little of my own), but there is the occasion when this record seems a bit disjointed. The sudden pause before Act 4: The Whirling Door is an example of that; however, the song itself is filled with clever vocal harmonies and jazz. Crunching guitars underpin Act 5: Grave New World. Extremity and virtuosity are familiar bedfellows in metal and they both certainly come together here. At nearly ten-minutes in length it’s not a quick-fix but it is rewarding, showing what Infinite Earths are capable of. “Into The Void” is definitely worth investing the time in and it’s very well played. It does feel as though Infinite Earths are still finding their perfect sound, but that’s not far away on this evidence. 

You can stream and download "Into The Void" via bandcamp below:-

Infinite Earths Facebook -

Monday 12 December 2016

Lorraine - Gimbal Lock b/w Pitch/Roll/Yaw 7"


1. Gimbal Lock
2. Pitch/Roll/Yaw

It seems as though the closer I'm getting to xmas, the less time I have to write. I'm off for a week on the 21st so that should balance things out, hopefully. Once again, thanks to Daniel from Time As A Color for sending me a copy. Lorraine is another new band to me, hailing from Vienna in Austria. This quartet have been jamming since 2011 and have created what they call "jazzchorus driven post-punk". This is their latest 7" and follows an LP, an earlier 7" and a four-way split EP. It was released by no less than 8 labels, in cooperation.

Everything that Daniel (Time As A Color) has sent me has been really enjoyable and this is no exception. It’s got a bizarre pop-sensibility to it at the start of opener Gimbal Lock. The guitar melody reminds me more of electro-synth pop than post-punk to begin with. Those opening bars give way to distorted guitars, vocals that flit between raw garage-punk and clean, and skillful percussion. Pitch/Roll/Yaw follows in the same vein but is a whole lot more punk than post (in my opinion). The drum beat is effortlessly danceable and with the melody still coursing through, Lorraine would be as comfortable playing in an 80s discotheque as they would at a punk show. This is just my interpretation of this 7”. I love it and I know a lot of other people who would as well. Now what are the chances of them playing little old Harrogate!

You can stream the 7" and grab it as a name-your-price download here:-

You can get physical copies from the labels involved (who still have it in stock) below:-

Time As A Color -
My Name Is Jonas -
Laserlife Records -
Stereo Dasein -
Krimskramz -

Lorraine Facebook -
Time As A Color Facebook -
My Name In Jonas Facebook -
Art For Blind Records Facebook -
Dingleberry Records and Distribution Facebook -
Laserlife Records Facebook -
Stereo Dasein Facebook -
Desertion Records Facebook -
Krimskramz Facebook -

Thursday 8 December 2016

Scour - The Grey EP


1. Dispatched
2. Clot
3. Crooked
4. Codes
5. Tactics
6. Tear Gas

When a band such as Scour appears with members of prominent US bands, it's easy to try and pigeonhole them. This is not the time for that though. Formed in 2015 by John Jarvis (Fulgora, Pig Destroyer and more) on bass, Jesse Schobel (Strong Intention) on drums, Chase Fraser (Continuum ex-Animosity, ex-Decrepit Birth, others) on guitar alongside Derek Engemann (Cattle Decapitation and ex-Neuraxis, amongst others), as well as vocalist Philip H. Anselmo (I don't need to mention his past and current endeavours), Scour released their debut EP in July of this year via Housecore Records. Given the collective experience of the quintet, an EP brimming with quickfire black metal certainly shouldn't come as a surprise.

Black metal that follows the path laid down by the Scandinavian first wave, but redefined by a US quintet with pretty solid CV’s should see you right. Opener Dispatched contains obligatory high shrieks and deep bellows, guitars that contain that characteristic USBM tone and drums that keep the urgency up front at all times. Progressive this ain’t and it bares more resemblance to grind thanks to it’s tempo, providing a no holds barred attack on Clot.  This is precision black metal and Scour as a cohesive unit make sure you don’t forget it. Crooked takes the Satanic influence and turns up the hatred in a simple but effective way, with no synths or chants, just straight-up blasphemy. The melodies that the guitars produce may not be initially obvious but they bury themselves in your head, especially during Codes. There’s ambience present to though, as Tactics demonstrates. It’s ambient noise presenting a mere breath of relief that only prolongs what is about to come. Menacing and totally engrossing, the power of Tear Gas rips you apart. It’s the first and only time that the screaming lead guitar is aloud to run loose, showing that Scour are more than just a straightforward black metal band. In truth, this is over far too quickly but it’s memorable and that is worth it’s weight in gold. 

Stream and download "The Grey" EP here:-

Grab vinyl copies here -

Scour Facebook -
Housecore Records Facebook -

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Hissing - S/T 7"


1. Cairn
2. Husk

I just want to slip away to the comfort of sleep, but I'm not yet tired. I guess finding solace in heavy music will have to do for now. This self-titled 7" was released in June via Southern Lord Recordings. Oddly enough, Hissing also calls Seattle (Washington) home so that's two in two nights now. This is their second self-titled EP (if Metal Archives is to be believed), with the first being released in 2015 via the band and Disorder Recordings. There was also a demo sandwiched in between them earlier this year. Hissing plays ungodly black/death. Live show-wise they've supported Black Breath and Theories amongst others in recent months, so they're doing something right.

This is gloriously old-school. Opener Cairn is a feast of black metal atmosphere and deathly screams, fast/slow guitar and percussion that sounds like it’s right in front of you. There’s a slight crustiness to it, which is comforting and after the initial chaos everything settles into a sludgy march. Perfect for those cold winter nights walking alone. The opening riffs of Husk spell out something menacing yet oddly melodic, before Hissing lets rip with more chaotic death metal. They’re at their best when they disregard what’s gone before and go all out, with off-kilter time signatures and swathes of noise. This is not easy listening but with an album on the way in 2017, it’s two tracks are enough for the initiation. Prepare for a rotten year ahead!

Stream and purchase Hissing's S/T EP digitally or on 7" vinyl below:-

Hissing Facebook -
Southern Lord Recordings Facebook -

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Into The Storm - Where The Merfalo Roam


1. Truck Van Trailer
2. Ghostmaker
3. Seduced And Disappointed
4. I Gotta Get The Bees Outta My Teeth
5. Wellwisher
6. Maturin
7. Maths
8. Fell Of A Horse
9. Jobbernaught
10. Where The Merfalo Roam

Apologies for the radio silence over the last week. My job is taking it out of me and now I've got flu or something. I can't think of a better way to stop it taking hold than taking time to check out Into The Storm, who as it turns covered CKY's 96 Quite Bitter Beings prior to the release of their second album in November. I don't know a great deal about the band, although they released their first full-length in 2010, following it up with two EPs in 2011 and 2013 respectively. "Where The Merfalo Roam" was released via Alive And Breathing Records. 

Into The Storm plays heavy, noisy metal tinged with sludge, which definitely takes more from the Savannah scene than it does from Seattle. Truck Van Trailer is pretty high octane and reverb on the vocals help them to match the soundstage created by the guitars and drums. Kinda like Crowbar being forced to mate with Torche. The wicked melody created by the lead guitar provide plenty of atmosphere on Ghostmaker that fights through it’s mid-paced drawl, before Into The Storm hits with off-kilter riffs that will curb stomp you harder than a chav from Birmingham that’s into beatdown! Things get more depraved and experimental with the slow burning Seduced and Disappointed. They pick up the pace with I Gotta Get The Bees Outta My Teeth, which is basically pile-driving rock with added sledgehammers. They pull out a huge number midway through the album with the six+ minute Wellwisher. It’s awesome when a band writes a longer song and then just rages through it, instead of getting too proggy or flowery. There’s no need for gimmicks here. Alexis Tahiri’s trumpet playing on Maturin adds a whole new layer to Into The Storm’s sound and seems to lift it to another place. Semi-improv intros are the best and it gives way to more heaviness. It’s this song where the screams also take on a new character all of their own, backed up by more monumental riffs and cymbal crashes. This half of the record has a more definite hardcore approach as Maths follows in the same footsteps as Maturin did, despite it’s more obvious introspective sections. Fell Off A Horse is more of a grinding frenzy at a little over a minute, while the bizarrely titled Jobbernaught is a…juggernaught (sorry). They end with the title-track and again it’s a big-un. A precise mix of everything that’s made this album great, with added violin from both Kim Pack and Sarah Pendleton. Brant, James, Matthew and Oliver have made more noise than a quartet really ought to and with it they’ve made an album worth strapping yourself in for. 

Stream "Where The Merfalo Roam" and grab it digitally or on cd/vinyl from Into The Storm's bandcamp page below:-

Into The Storm Facebook -
Alive And Breathing Records Facebook -