Tuesday 31 October 2017

Sons Of Alpha Centauri Interview + Split 7" (w/Karma To Burn) Trilogy Box Set Review

(Sons Of Alpha Centauri 2010)

July 2017 saw the release of a special 7" trilogy that featured the collaborations between UK instrumental band Sons Of Alpha Centauri and US stoner/rock trio Karma To Burn. The story behind the trilogy goes back ten years to when members of both bands collaborated on a project called Alpha Cat, which saw them release the album "Last Day Of Summer" in 2009 via Underdogma Records. The box set (limited to just 200 copies) included all three 7"s as well as "Last Day Of Summer" pressed onto vinyl for the first time, specially created artwork and expanded booklet with liner notes from many of the people who've worked with both bands along the way. I little while ago I interviewed Sons Of Alpha Centauri about their collaboration and about the box set. I am pleased to bring you both the interview and a review of the release below...

How did Sons Of Alpha Centauri first form? Can you tell us a bit about your history?

Marlon King (Guitars) - Before SOAC, Nick and I were in a grunge band together called Pariah when we were both 15. It was a typical local band of the time, it had a different member line up each year. I was in the band for about 18 months before I ended up leaving to form an Indie band called Passola with friend Michael Osbourne (now drumming with Moose Blood). But it was in Pariah Nick and I performed our first rock gig and we become friends and started playing music together.

In 2001, we were both at University and the bands we were in started to fold. It was around then we started talking about starting a long-term musical venture. Took us a few years to get a collection of tracks together as Nick was based in Birmingham at the time and me in Canterbury, but by 2004 we had nearly 30 tracks and started to look for other band members so we could start playing live and that's where it all kicked off.

You’ve become known for your splits with fellow instrumental band Karma To Burn. How did that collaboration come about?

Nick Hannon (Bass) – I bought the first KTB album probably about 20 years ago now and they blew me away man! There was like 10 – 12 of us that used to knock around Sittingbourne listening to music and they became a mainstay on the stereo. We were lucky enough to see them in 2001 on the Almost Heathen tour probably a few months after SOAC formed. Me and Marlon met Will that night at a really inspirational point.  

Around 2006 I managed to get in contact with Will when he was in Treasure Cat and invited him over to record with SOAC. We formed a side project called ‘Alpha Cat’ and managed to write and record three new tracks. We did a whole record with him called ‘Last Day of Summer’ which included 4 tracks from SOAC and from Treasure Cat. As such once Karma got back together having supported Will and the guys when they were offline were has the idea of doing a 7” and a tour together and it just went from there. 

You’ve recently released a box set with KTB, which looks great! Can you tell us about that? How did you come up with idea and what does the box include?

Nick - So, the first vinyl came out on Kitchen Dweller Records and we were gonna do the second one on SpaceAge & Cheesecake Records. They had printed everything up and paid for the masters but Buzzville Records went pop so that was junk. However, Jürgen at H42 Records stepped in and he was on his first few releases and he took it on. He did an awesome job, so we did another and then for that one we also did it as the first DesertFest vinyl too. Since then, me and Jürgen have worked on the DesertFest series together.  

After quite a few shows and so many stories we thought about doing a repress with a booklet and then just thought why not put all the vinyl and the collaboration from Last Day of Summer all together with a big book? So we did that. H42 put a bottle opener, postcard, CD, poster, lighter in there too and just went full on. I spoke to Nathan (Limbaugh – original KTB drummer) and he hooked us up with loads of photos from back in the day. Alex von Wieding lead all the design and incorporated the KTB Goataneer, Alpha Cat and concept art. It took about 2 years to put it together and it near enough sold out pre-sale so was well worth it. Respect to everyone for their support and interest always. 

Aside from your collaborations, your self-titled album was released almost ten years ago now. Are there any plans to record a new album and/or tour?

Marlon - No tour booked in yet, but we are now working with H42 Records and Cobraside to release our new album in 2018. Whilst we have done several collaboration releases since our debut, this will officially be our second album. It's been a long time in the making but looking forward to getting it out there. 

This is a question that I try and ask most bands; what advice would you give to new bands who’re just starting out?

Marlon - You can either follow the sheep and try and be big or you can try and be unique and play in the shadows. Maybe it’s not quite that dramatic, but we have certainly found more enjoyment from playing in styles that are not necessarily as accessible to a wide audience but are more meaningful to us as individuals and anyone else that "get" that vibe. All in all though, it really does depend on what your influences are. We have lots between us and we have never locked down SOAC to a specific genre, only enough to form consistency within an album.

So my advice would be to play and write music you enjoy rather than music you think others will enjoy.

From your connection to DesertFest and from touring in the UK, what current bands could you recommend to fans of the instrumental/stoner genres?

Nick – There’s some great new UK bands out there man. Bossk, Desert Storm, Ten Foot Wizard, Boss Keloid, Enos, Bong Cauldron off the top of my nut. All well worth checking out for sure! 

That said, we don’t really knock about with many other bands to be honest – or at least not UK ones. We used to tour with Bossk back in like 2006 – 2008 but that was about it really! 

Below you can read my dissection of the 7" trilogy that forms the backbone of this special release...


1. Karma To Burn - Fourteen
2. Sons Of Alpha Centauri - 65
3. Karma To Burn - Fifty Five
4. Sons Of Alpha Centauri - 71
5. Karma To Burn - Six
6. Sons Of Alpha Centauri - 66
7. Alpha Cat - The Flying Dutchman
8. Alpha Cat - Fire
9. Alpha Cat - Last Day Of Summer

The first six songs of this release span the three splits that both band’s did together. Karma To Burn start things off with Fourteen. KTB is a band that I’ve heard and read a lot about in recent years, but have never crossed paths with. Their stoner-rock instrumental on this first song goes from a meandering bluesy tempo to a more full-on stomp that gets the heart racing. Sons Of Alpha Centauri and first song 65 sounds more goth-like, which is perfect for Halloween; however, that soon dissipates as the guitar takes over. It’s strangely haunting and at times droning in places, though they don’t stray too far from their rock blueprint and exhibit a slight political stance through the samples used. 

Fifty Five sees Karma To Burn heading in a direction that seems to be more occult, but that’s misleading as the use of electronics and funky bass prove. There’s actually a lot going on musically in these songs and KTB use their’s to exhibit a deft touch when it comes to multiple influences. Their melody is never truly extinguished by their heaviness either. It ends with a looping recoding of a voice mail message left for Sons Of Alpha Centauri by Will from KTB and a hip hop-like outro at the end, which sheds more light into the relationship of the two bands. SOAC follow with 71 and it’s a slow-burner of a song. There’s riffs aplenty on it and a lot more groove. Their sound seems to lean more towards the straightforward rock end of the spectrum, yet they have a knack of making it super catchy  and interesting as  the song drives on.

KTB’s last song from the 7” trilogy is Six and it builds with the kind of post-rock atmosphere that would make many a band happy. While there’s an experimental edge to both bands, KTB’s stands out more. Six is shorter than their previous offerings here but it’s precise and it sounds almost familiar somehow. SOAC’s last song is 66 and it’s an off-kilter rager with some of their own electronic touches thrown in for good measure, adding extra layers. At time it’s more pensive and brooding, which SOAC does pretty well. Over the years I’ve come to appreciate instrumental music  a whole lot more than I did when I started this blog and while neither KTB or SOAC are overly technical, they both play great music that’s got personality and warmth to it. 

The final three songs of this release are from the collaboration Alpha Cat, with which members of both bands recorded the album “Last Day Of Summer” in 2009. The first of the trio, The Flying Dutchman is tuned low and has an air of Motorhead about it and possibly what sounds like a Harmonica. It certainly adds more jazz to the occasion. Fire is altogether slower and harks back to the bands of the collaborators. It grabs the best bits from both KTB and SOAC and turns up the volume. The title-track form the aforementioned collab is one final slab of rock, taken down a path via various other genres. Those other genres may not be easily noticeable amongst the music, but they’re there and Alpha Cat does a great job of weaving them in. In fact, instead of me trying to pigeonhole all three bands on here, just listen for yourselves. This release is definitely worthy of your ears. 

Below is a visual representation of the box set to tempt you:-

UK residents can grab the remaining five box sets from Sons Of Alpha Centauri here - https://sonsofalphacentauri.bandcamp.com/album/sons-of-alpha-centauri-karma-to-burn-trilogy-boxset

I believe it is sold out from Karma To Burn and other vendors (but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).

Saturday 28 October 2017

TV Crime - Clocking In/Clocking Out 7"


1. Clocking In
2. Clocking Out

Got a night of beer/record consuming ahead of me tonight with a mate so wanted to get something written up before it's too late. That something is Nottingham punk-by-way-of-every-other-genre band TV Crime and their latest 7" "Clocking In/Clocking Out". It's only their second release to date and came out in July via Drunken Sailor Records. This'll probably make me want to re-subscribe to Maximum Rock 'n' Roll!

This is a dead simple double a-side 7”. Clocking In is a rocking garage-punk song, with 70s inspired melodies and a hint of greasiness. The song is really up-tempo and crisp sounding with clean vocals. Clocking Out is even more catchy and well-written. Gloriously nostalgic with guitar work to match. TV Crime ain’t following any modern musical fads or anything, they’re just playing punk rock with hooks for days. 

The 7” is over all too quickly but as it’s so infectious, you’ll be repeating it over and over again. No sign yet of a full-length from TV Crime, but I hope they don’t wait too long as there’s only so long people can contain themselves for. 

Stream and buy it digitally here:-

TV Crime - https://www.facebook.com/TELEVISIONCRIME/

Grab the 7" here from Drunken Sailor Records - http://www.drunkensailorrecords.co.uk/

Drunken Sailor Records - https://www.facebook.com/DrunkenSailorRecords/

Wednesday 25 October 2017

Laster - Ons Vrije Fatum


1. Ons Vrije Fatum
2. Binnenstebuiten
3. Bitterzoet
4. Helemaal Naar Huis
5. De Tijd Vodr
6. De Roes Na
7. Er Wordt Op Mij Gewacht

I'm a bit annoyed with myself for not writing last night; however, I'm making up for it now with this early-2017 full-length from Dutch post/black metal band Laster. "Ons Vrije Fatum" was released via Dunkelheit Produktionen in January and Laster followed it with a performance at April's Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, The Netherlands. This otherworldly trio has always been a captivating proposition but with atmospheric and avant-garde black metal growing in popularity, Laster might have found their true form.

Something tells me that this isn’t going to be an easy listen and despite the extreme tones on opener Ons Vrije Fatum, you can see where Laster are coming from when describing their music as “Obscure Dance Music”. They mix their black metal with melody, subtle samples and occasional gang vocals/clean singing. These textures and more make this record more varied that you might think. Their instrumentation later on in the song verges on cinematic. There’s plenty of musicality coursing through Binnenstebuiten. So much so in fact that it will appeal to more than just extreme metal fans. The dissonant guitars often gives way to melodic passages, while minimal percussion allows said melody to come to the fore, with elements of jazz and also strings playing their part too. There are multiple movements within the song, where Laster moves from the cinematic sound I mentioned to a bleaker and altogether more orthodox black metal one. It’s a subtle switch that takes time to become fully apparent. 

Bitterzoet is really catchy, with it’s upbeat tempo and rock-influenced guitar work. It’s way more fun than you’d expect from something that has it’s roots in extremity but that’s probably one of the reasons for the band’s Roadburn Festival appearance earlier in the year. It’s one of the most open-minded music festivals and takes place in the most open-minded country in Europe, so go figure. Like their countrymen Terzij De Horde, they’re not afraid to let their emotion show and Helemaal Naar Huis has a palpable sense about it. The screams are delivered in a way that makes them sound way more human than any “trve kvlt” shriek could. It’s also an incredibly progressive song but not in a head scratching way, which is good. The Saxophone is really soothing during the song’s second-half and really adds to the excitement that jumps out through the recording, which itself is great by the way. 

Laster sees fit to break things up with a short instrumental piece by the name of De Tijd Vodr. It works because of the atmosphere that’s woven between both the traditional and modern instrumental layers and the dissonance of the guitars, once again. De Roes Na begins with a sense of peacefulness but it’s brief, as the song quickly turns into one of the more black-metal heavy songs on “Ons Vrije Fatum”. There’s still a lot going on though and boundaries that need to remain broken. During their vocal harmonies, they remind me a bit of Baroness. There’s one more chance for you get your avant-garde freakiness on with closing song Er Wordt Op Mij Gewacht. Moments of strange serenity are interspersed with uber-fast drumming and tremolo picking that goes some way to reminding you of where you are, musically at least. This record makes you reassess the way you view black metal and it’s done in a brilliant way. There’s fluidity to it. You should listen to it in one sitting to really appreciate it. It's incredible. 

You can stream the entire record via Laster's bandcamp page below, where it's available to purchase digitally or on tape, cd or double black vinyl:-

Laster - https://www.facebook.com/lasterspraak/

All formats are also available from Dunkelheit Produktionen here - http://www.dunkelheit-produktionen.de/presta/en/12-dunkelheit-releases?page=2

Dunkelheit Produktionen - https://www.facebook.com/dunkelheitprod/

Monday 23 October 2017

Deviator - Might Ov Ancient


1. Cold Of Winter In The Heart 
2. Enchanted Circle
3. Thy Immortal Majesty
4. The Inner Self
5. Across The Gates Of Oblivion

Waking up and leaving the warmth of my flat to go to work in the dark this morning was a very sobering experience. I'm tired beyond belief, but more mentally so. My mood is matched somewhat by the dark cover art that adorns "Might Ov Ancient", which is the latest full-length effort from Ukrainian black metal duo Deviator. It was originally released towards the end of last year both digitally and on tape (via Werewolf Promotion) before getting a cd release (via Kundalini Records) in August on this year. The album contains the three songs that appeared on the 2015 EP "Thy Immortal Majesty" and also a re-recording from the early 2008 demo "Estrangement".

Might Ov Ancient sees Deviator pursuing a musical style that’s a lot more haunting than previous works. Album opener Cold Of Eternal Winter In The Heart contains semi-whispered (at least more restrained) black metal vocals and a slower tempo, while the guitar provides melody and synths provide majesty and a certain level of drama. Enchanted Circle is more familiar sounding, yet it still retains a brooding atmosphere. A lot more melodic and ambient for sure with no single element overpowering the others. 

The opening instrumental passage on Thy Immortal Majesty builds and then fades. Nothing remarkable about that you might think but it does highlight how effective the production/mastering is on this seemingly DIY release. The volume of the record is such that you really don’t have to turn it up too high to enjoy it, which is often a symptom of lo-fi/budget releases. Deviator seems to recognise this and has avoided that trap here. The main body of the song, consisting of more brutal black/thrash is not half bad either, interspersed as it is with more ambient textures. 

According to Metal Archives The Inner Self is a re-recording of the song that first appeared on the 2008 demo “Estrangement”, though I can’t see that song listed as being on the release. If someone could correct me here, it would be much appreciated. The song itself is an ambient piece with rousing strings and keys. Closing song Across The Gates Of Oblivion begins with the lowly sound of the wind before a bizarrely upbeat combination of keyboard/guitar that sounds as though it was lifted from an 80s pop song. It’s not long though before any notions of joy and happiness are withered away. That’s the thing about this release. It’s not truly depressive or caustic as it has plenty of melody and ambience and what the duo in Deviator has managed to do here is very admirable indeed. 

You can stream three songs from the release below:-

Physical cd and tape copies are available and you would be best contacting Deviator directly via Facebook here - https://www.facebook.com/mightovancient/

Saturday 21 October 2017

Geist - Disrepair


1. Painkillers
2. Dear World...
3. Services Rendered
4. Eyeless Needle
5. Fiction Souls
6. Inkblot Lives

A year on since their first committal to vinyl, North-East England's Geist have been immortalised in 12-inches of glorious wax. This time it's a single-sided slab with a nice etched b-side. 2017 has been a good year for the band with the release following their successful UK tour with US black/heavy band Sunlight's Bane. The UK's heavy hardcore/grind movement has always been strong but Geist has been holding the extreme torch aloft for a long time now, elevating the impact made by their former bands. Staring into the black eyes that adorn the record's cover art should give you a sense of the emotion that fuels their musical intent.

Whenever I’ve seen Geist live they’ve always been intense. That intensity is bottled and dispensed here on record opener Painkillers, Ian’s vocals are relentlessly angry, while the band behind presents a mix between modern pv/grind and a throwback to the heavy hardcore that’s died away in recent years. The feeling is no happier on second song Dear World…, with Geist continuing their metallic assault, with guitars and feedback accompanying the palpable sense of dread that their music portrays. 

Geist doesn’t hang about, fitting no less than six songs onto one side of vinyl is pretty good going. Services Rendered contains a different approach from the band with a slower paced track full of metallic, brooding melody. The screeching feedback that heralds the start of Eyeless Needle pretty much sets it’s stall out early. What follows is intense but also creative. 

If you’re someone who sees the worst in everything, this would not be recommended listening but for those of you who’re more well balanced, you’ll enjoy it. Geist’s no-nonsense songwriting on Fiction Souls and indeed Inkblot Lives shows that song length has absolutely nothing to do with song impact. By now Geist is a band that feels and sounds like veterans amongst the UK ranks. They’re written a record in “Disrepair” that aptly describes their feeling towards modern life but also provides something constructive and mature to hold on to. Great work from a band who’re consistently on point.

You can stream and purchase "Disrepair" digitally from Geist below:-

They have vinyl copies available here - http://geistuk.bigcartel.com

Geist - https://www.facebook.com/ukgeist/

"Disrepair" was release by a cooperative of six DIY labels. Their links are below:-

Vetala Productions - https://www.facebook.com/vetalaproductions/
Black Omen Recordings - https://www.facebook.com/BlackOmegaRecordings/
Wooaaargh - https://www.facebook.com/WOOAAARGH/
Prospect Records - https://www.facebook.com/prospectrecords/
Inverted Grim-Mill Recordings - https://www.facebook.com/invertedgrimmillrecordings/
Rip Roaring Shit Storm Records - https://www.facebook.com/Rip-Roaring-Shit-Storm-Records

Friday 20 October 2017

Insulters - Metal Still Means Danger


1. Age Of Terror
2. Highway Of Death
3. Icons & Symbols
4. Bang Your Fucking Skull
5. Forged In Hell's Fire
6. Bastard Soldiers
7. Burn With The Witch
8. Here Falls The Hammer
9. Metal Still Means Danger

The title of this 2017 full-length from Spanish black/thrash band Insulters may divide some. There'll be those who say that metal is no longer as dangerous as in it's early days and there will be some who disagree, especially if they've grown up with more modern bands and blurred genres. Either way, the argument shouldn't stop you from enjoying this. Insulters formed in 2008 and have to date released a couple of demos, splits and comp and a full-length prior to "Metal Still Means Danger", all while keeping the Catalonian extreme metal flame burning in bands such as Krossfyre (Hells Headbangers) and Graveyard (War Anthem Records) to name few. "Metal Still Means Danger" was released on giant cd digipack via Unholy Prophecies and Equinox Discos in January. 

Insulters mix black/thrash and punk together on opener Age Of Terror. There’s raging Moterhead-esque guitar work, powerful drumming and dank growls throughout. with no let-up in pace. Their sound and approach early on is pretty consistent as no sooner has Age Of Terror finished, when Highway Of Death picks up the same tempo and mood. Insulters throw in some classy lead work this time that gives you more of a hint to their allegiance. the energy ratchets up even more on Icons & Symbols, as does the reverb and black metal atmosphere. So far “Metal Still Means Danger” is unrelenting and it’s momentum is strong. The aptly titled Bang Your Fucking Skull describes exactly what Insulters expect you to do at their live shows. There’s nowhere to hide when the band hit’s their stride during the song either. From here on in the songs get longer, beginning with the more thrashy and progressive Forged In Hell’s Fire. It’s more of the same music wise but as I said, there are some thrasher elements in the drumming and the riffs for sure. The mid section is a lot more mid-paced, allowing the guitar solo room to take the lead albeit briefly. They up the tempo again on Bastard Soldiers and they’re able to weave some nice textures into the music, especially when things seem to go into half time during the mid-section. It’s this subtle variation that keeps the album engaging. It’s hard to decide whether Insulters are better at black metal or thrash metal, as they both mould so well together on Burn With The Witch. The blasts sound so much more precise and the vocals more ravaged and evil, as the impressive wall of guitar carries on unabated. This is the album’s standout track for me. Penultimate song Here Falls The Hammer is another opportunity for Insulters to show-off their no nonsense songwriting and extremity. They leave the title-track until the end and go all out balls-to-the-wall. I was slightly worried that with the title “Metal Still Means Dangers, the record might be cliched and jokey but it’s anything but. Insulters inject enough extremity and hatred into it to keep you hooked and headbanging. Their rip-roaring delivery never fades and they end on a true high. 

You can stream, download and buy "Metal Still Means Danger" on cd from Unholy Prophecies below:-

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Heavy Traffic/The Mad Doctors - Split 7"


1. Heavy Traffic - Daylight Ripoff
2. The Mad Doctors - Yuengling Malmsteen

Last night's review left me with a yearning for some sludge/stoner/fuzz. It's probably due to the fact that my brain if pretty much worn out already this week. Here's a new split 7" featuring Heavy Traffic and The Mad Doctors, both from Brooklyn, NY. I chose this because neither band has featured here before and because I liked the cover art. Heavy Traffic seems to have been releasing their own brand of psychedelic doom since 2014, releasing five digital full-lengths within two years. Their sixth full-length "Plastic Surgery" was released in December 2016 and was the first to appear in physical form, on both tape and vinyl. The Mad Doctors formed in 2013 and have released a steady stream of noise themselves, with one EP, two LPs and two splits to their name prior to this one. They joined forces for this one earlier this year with the official release taking place last month via Twin Earth Records and King Pizza Records. 

This is a little bit different. Heavy Traffic are pretty much exactly as they described they would be on Daylight Ripoff. Psychedelic doom, traditional metal and noisy punk converging in various forms to create something that takes the retro sound of old and injects it with extra weirdness. The instrumentation is noisy and the vocals are spaced-out and clean. It’s ends abruptly but it’s way cool. 

The Mad Doctors are equally as bizarre on Yuengling Malmsteen, taking a surf-rock blueprint and warping it out of shape with equal amounts of punk and noise. The clean guitar works really well and they play at a more upbeat tempo. It’s hard to come up with any obvious comparisons, just as it is with Heavy Traffic. Both bands sound pretty original to me.

This is just a split from two bands that are having fun writing the music they want to and we’re lucky that they’ve invited us along for the ride. I just hope that the “hipster” set in New York doesn’t cotton onto them and end up diluting their music. 

You can stream the split and grab download/vinyl copies from both bands below:-

Heavy Traffic - https://www.facebook.com/heaviesttraffic/
The Mad Doctors - https://www.facebook.com/TheMadDoctors/

You can also grab 7"s from the labels below:-

Twin Earth Records - http://twinearthrecords.storenvy.com
King Pizza Records - http://kingpizzarecords.storenvy.com

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Desert Smoker - Void Of Smoke


1. Intro/Void Of Smoke
2. Bleeding Trees
3. Goddess
4. Fading Society
6. Outro/A Tribute To Carlin

Well, it seems as though I managed to dodge Ophelia! Hope the rest of you were just as lucky (we're not used to big storms in the UK). My attention this evening turns to new London-based band Desert Smoker. Billed as a sludge/doom metal band, Desert Smoker seems to have only recently surfaced yet has released a six song full-length in very quick time indeed. Featuring main songwriter/musician Chazz Fenrir who provides vocals/guitar/bass on the album (no word on who or what provides the percussion), 'Void Of Smoke" appears at first glance to be an angry and disturbing body of work.

“Void Of Smoke” begins with the Intro/title-track combo, which comes in the form of an instrumental. It’s solely made up of guitar/bass riffs and definitely leans toward sludge/doom. There’s a quiet melody that comes through from the bass, audible over the atonal guitar riffs and feedback. There’s low-slung groove on Bleeding Trees; however, that groove is shaken out of you by Chazz’s black metal-like shrieks. It sounds like Desert Smoker has employed a drum machine for percussion on the record, but it does the album no harm at all. One thing’s for sure, there’s more than a whiff of depressive/suicidal black metal influence on here. This album is very much presented in a DIY light and it’s lo-fi sound will be an acquired taste to some, but it makes it sound more organic especially on Goddess. It’s always hard producing an album on a shoestring budget (the album was produced by Shea Janne Mackay), so props to Chazz for having the conviction to put this work out and to Shea for the vision and production. Fading Society features distant chiming bells ad haunting synths, which is where the doom element begins to come in on the record. The low-tuning of the guitar increases the sense of dread flowing through the song, while near ten-minute playing time helps too! Penultimate song SKVM creeps up on you and the further you get into the album, the more it grows. It’s not an easy listen but it’s rewarding if you have both the patience and virtue to give it a proper chance. The minimalist structure of SKVM is especially grim (in a good way). The ringing feedback that heralds in the closing duo of Outro/A Tribute To Carlin is as jarring as you’d expect. It turns to be an actual tribute to George Carlin and features a suitably harrowing sample. It ends the same way it begun, but this time with the feedback slowly fading. As I said before, “Void Of Smoke” is very much an album for the adventurous, but that’s meant as a compliment to Desert Smoker. Hopefully the band will grow and write more music. It takes time for new bands to mature but Desert Smoker is definitely heading in the right direction. 

You can stream "Void Of Smoke" below, where it's also available as a name-your-price-download:-

Desert Smoker - https://www.facebook.com/desertsmoker/

Sunday 15 October 2017

Under Assault - Possessed By Steel 7"


1. Possessed By Steel

2. Necrobutcher

The release train has started rolling at Witches Brew again! This 7" from Paraguay's Under Assault is their debut release for the label and is meant to plug the gap between now and when their next full-length sees the light of day. The South American thrash metal quartet started life in 2011, putting out two demos in the years that followed. Two splits with Evil Force and Sent To Destroy followed in 2015 before their debut full-length "Underground Metal Till Death" was unleashed last year. They now have the chance to be heard by a wider audience.

This is pure old-school denim and leather, studs and spikes worship. The opening title-track rips with dual-guitar harmonies, reverb-filled semi clean vocals and constantly blasting drums. It’s a style that South American bands do very well and Under Assault’s own take on it is no different. It’s no wonder they supported Onslaught in their home city earlier this year. The gloriously named Necrobutcher highlights their underground affection even more. It’s a rip-roaring song where Under Assault fits in solo after solo wherever they can. The recording and production is super tight on this 7” and Under Assault is clearly a very talented band. They’re once again putting South American thrash on the map and the maniacs will love them.

Stream, download and buy the 7" below:-

Under Assault - https://www.facebook.com/Under-Assault
Witches Brew - https://www.facebook.com/witchesbrewthrashes/

Thursday 12 October 2017

Burn Down Eden - Ruins of Oblivion


1. Serpent's Deception
2. Omnivorous
3. Whirlwind Purification
4. Kronosphere
5. Artificial Exitus
6. Sons Of Isengrim
7. Pandemonic Overture
8. I, Dooms Visage
9. Nebula
10. Cosmogyral Miscarriage

I've decided that this evening should be about the music that shaped my late teens. It was the time I was discovering metalcore/melodic death metal bands like Killswitch Engage and Dark Tranquillity, as well as many more. Those bands still play a big part in my life and I've always been up for discovering new bands that are following in their footsteps. Dresden's Burn Down Eden is the band of choice then and their 2016 full-length "Ruins Of Oblivion", which has been release on both cd and vinyl via Sliptrick Records and 7hard Records respectively. They released their first EP "Memoirs Of Human Error" in 2015 and have appeared at the warm-up show for With Full Force festival earlier this year.

Burn Down Eden don’t pull any punches with their furious death metal. Serpent’s Deception is frenetic from the off. The drums never slow down, the bass keeps the rhythm section beefy while the duelling guitars provide loads of melody and harmonies. The vocals are a mix of deep bellows and higher-pitched rasps that suit the music well. I wasn’t expecting a start like that! The band does seem to favour the lead work on “Ruins Of Oblivion” and that is evident in the production, which is clear and clean. That doesn’t affect Omnivorous though, which is filled with both technicality and powerful blasts. 

They were spot on when they named Whirlwind Purification, as it goes by in a tornado of catchy and succinct melo-death. I actually think that using the term melodic death metal as a description for Burn Down Eden’s music is a bit of a disservice, as there’s a great deal of heaviness to it. Just listen to Kronosphere if you’re not convinced! There’s something comforting about this record. It’s not pretentious and Burn Down Eden aren’t trying too hard to be something they’re not. They just thrash like their lives depend on it on Artificial Exitus. There are hints of Trivium before they did away with the jaw-dropping metal of “Ascendency” (still my favourite album by the band). Artificial Exitus is the standout so far for me. 

They’re a bit more straight-down-the-wire on Sons Of Isengrim, but the solo puts pay to that with a nice semi-improv feel and old-school tone. Talking of old-school, Pandemonic Overture takes Burn Down Eden further back towards their heroes and reminds you that no matter how modern a band may be in sound and production values, they still have the same bloodline. Pandemonic Overture is one of the heaviest songs on “Ruins Of Oblivion” and it’s charm is undeniable. People spend too much time in their own bubble, just listening to the same bands they grew up with. These guys prove that venturing into unknown and indeed underground territory is more fun, in musical terms at least. I, Dooms Visage isn’t the slow, meandering song you might have expected. Instead, it retains the band’s excellent song-writing. 

They find time to add in a little instrumental interlude called Nebula as the penultimate track. This may have been done many times before but it’s still a welcome change of direction, albeit for a brief moment as it fades straight into album closer Cosmogyral Miscarriage. It sounds like a gore-grind/brutal death metal song title and it has the tempo to be either, but Burn Down Eden has other ideas. They use it as an excuse to fill your ears with one final slab of expertly performed death metal. The musicality and precision on show here is that of a band well beyond their years. It’s hard to write an infectious record in a climate with so much musical competition but Burn Down Eden manages just that. You won’t regret taking a chance on this. 

You can stream "Ruins Of Oblivion" and purchase a download from the band below:-

Merch including cd and vinyl copies can be picked up here - http://burndowneden.bigcartel.com

Burn Down Eden - https://www.facebook.com/burndowneden
Sliptrick Records - https://www.facebook.com/sliptrickrecords
7hard Records - https://www.facebook.com/7hard.Records