Sunday, 17 June 2018

Live Review: Ufomammut/White Hills/Mariana - Neurolux - Boise, ID 01/06/2018

I've tried to write the odd live review in the past on here, but because I was always too fond of getting into the bands (and the beer), I never took live reviewing that seriously. Thankfully, my friend Mikey over in the US does take it more seriously than me, so without further a do, here's a write-up of the Boise, ID leg of the Ufomammut/White Hills tour. I tried to find a flyer to add to this post but came up blank (if anybody knows of one, please let me know and I'll update the review).


When I came down to Boise, the NEUROLUX was a venue I wanted to visit. I’ve heard some cool things about that venue. So I was stoked to hear that UFOMAMMUT was coming to Boise during my visit. Along with White Hills and locals Mariana. I knew my first visit to the NEUROLUX was gonna be a awesome night.

Local band, Mariana, got things set up for this killer night. These blokes are a instrumental post-metal band, that can really create a atmosphere. I found myself getting lost into their music, and being in a totally new World. White Hills came up next. This is a 2-piece band from the New York area that plays post-punk, with some elements of industrial and swirl of noise. Their set was amazing and brooding. The singer/guitarist looked a bit like Alice Cooper, and has that commanding presence, that it just demands your attention. And the drummer (who also does vocals and synth) sounded amazing.  The way she pounded on the skins, it took control of you. And when her vocals comes in, it brings a new element. Then finally, Ufomammut takes the stage. This Italian band has been making a huge buzz in the underground scene. Their latest album, 8, has been a album that fans have been really high on. So with that being said, it was such a pleasure to see them live. Their set was a great combination of both new and early stuff. For anyone that is a long time fan, will certainly be satisfied.  The visuals were amazing. They really fit with the music. It had a bit of a apocalyptic acid trip.  It was something that you can really appreciate it, and wonder why they are signed to Neurot.  Hearing the music live was also crushing. Ufomammut just got on stage and just owned it.  The crowd was into it. Some were head banging. Others were just standing there, letting everything sink in. And right when we thought it was over, they come back out to play a couple of songs, and sent the crowd happy.

It was a really fun night with three amazing bands.  Each one had a role and they did it very well. To finally see Ufomammut was really great. Hearing people talk about their live set, made me want to catch them live. But I was really excited to see the visual, as I’m a dude who is really big on that.  Everything I heard about them, they lived up to it. And they really appreciate the people who made the trip to see them perform. White Hills was a huge surprise to me. Didn’t know a band like take would go on tour with Ufomammut. But they were a awesome addition. Their stage presence was very mesmerising. They had their own thing, and to me that’s what kept the show going fun and diverse. And it was great to catch a local band in Mariana. For a while I’ve been having my ears on the ground, when it come to the Boise scene. Every band that I’ve heard come from their has not yet disappoint. The NEUROLUX was at a awesome spot. Just across from the Alaska Center, where Radio Boise is at. And next store is The Record Exchange. One of the best record shop in town. The crowd was great. The staff was awesome. And the music was loud. It was a amazing night in Downtown Boise.

Mikey also documented the show in both still and moving forms. You can check out some of his photos and videos of each band below:-

Mariana







White Hills







Ufomammut







If you liked this live review, there will be another coming from Mikey very soon. Cheers man!

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Cruentator - Ain't War Hell?


Labels: Xtreem Music
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 10 Jan 2018

Tracklist:

1. Merciless Extermination
2. Tyrants Of The Wasteland
3. Barbaric Violence
4. Evil Is Prowling Around
5. The Nightstalker
6. Marching Into A Minefield
7. The Shining Hate
8. Cluster Terror

The sudden urge to check out new thrash metal has been calling me all day, so what better way to scratch that itch than with Italian quintet Cruentator and their debut album "Ain't War Hell?". It was released in January via Xtreem Music and is the band's debut record. Cruentator formed out of brutal death metal band Bowel Stew in 2015 and their influences include the likes of Demolition Hammer, Kreator & Sodom to name a few. It sounds like this is going to be a lot of fun!

Cruentator’s thrash is definitely as furious as their bio suggests. Opening song Merciless Extermination is fast, with a volume to match, though the guitars are slightly buried underneath the drums and the vocals initially. They do have chops though and an eye for a solid thrash solo. They absolutely pummel on Tyrants Of The Wasteland. There’s no bowing down to outside influences, as their Italian musical flair shines through via a barrage of intensity and musicality. Probably the most aptly titled song on “Ain’t War Hell? is it’s third track Barbaric Violence. It describes the band’s sound perfectly and while it will never be as heavy or as bestial as black-thrash, it isn’t trying to be. Cruentator is happy to lay waste with something more teutonic and at times, melodic. They also manage to pump a lot of music into their songs, in spite of them only averaging about four-and-a-half minutes a piece (roughly, as my maths is crap). Evil Is Prowling Around drags you towards the album’s midway point in ridiculous fashion. 

It’s latter half isn’t any more laid back as The Nightstalker flings itself at you with guitar work that sounds like a Howitzer gun with Mille Petrozza at the helm. It’s ace is what I’m trying to say! Keeping up the war theme, Marching Into A Minefield takes their teutonic thrash influences even further with a song that’s inspired by war itself. The riff that opens penultimate track The Shining Hate is simple yet gloriously catchy and it sums up the pleasure you get from listening to Cruentator. They’ve clearly been devoted disciples to thrash metal over the years and while they may not be reinventing the wheel with their debut album, that doesn’t matter one jot. It’s a proper thrash metal album done extremely well, especially considering it’s their first. Closing number Cluster Terror is a great way to end the album, as it’s filled with the urgency to match it’s shorter playing time. It’s with that punchiness that Cruentator finish etching their way into your brain. As I mentioned earlier in this paragraph, this is a really well put together album from a band that are enjoying their music. Thrash is fun and Cruentator don’t need to be anything else. 

You can stream "Ain't War Hell?" and purchase it digitally below:-




CD copies can be purchased from Xtreem Music here - http://www.xtreemmusic.com/shop/

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Fistula/Hemdale - Split 7"


Labels: Patac Records
Formats: Vinyl
Release Date: 08 Jun 2018

Tracklist:

1. Fistula - Whore Cancer
2. Hemdale - Miley

Here's the latest split 7" to make up Fistula's 20th anniversary series, that's already featured splits with Come To Grief and 16. This time Ohio's death/grind institution Hemdale join them. Hemdale's song is an ode to Miley Cyrus, which gives you a clue about their sense of humour, while Fistula's is about a previous acquaintance who bit off more than they could chew. Fistula will be coming over to the UK in October/November with Grime and to continue the celebrations, there will be a few more releases before the year is out.

Fistula’s Whore Cancer features a sample from the video that inspired the song and it gives it a palpable sense of anger and pity. The song is filled with groove-laden riffs, bile-filled vocal rasps and a deep and dirty low-end/rhythm section. The guitars are mighty here and as far as sludge goes, this is top quality. 20 years in the game has obviously treated Fistula very well indeed.

Hemdale’s side is filled with murky, intense grind. Everything about this song screams old-school grinding madness and there’s no pretence or electronic wizardry going on. Hemdale switches tempos and rages in both fast and slower modes, while the vocals are delivered in such a vicious way that you forget your actually listening to a human being. The samples used throughout just make it all the more bizarre.

You’ll find it difficult to keep the crazed grin off your face as this split comes to an end. If you thought that having a sludge band and a grind band on the same split wouldn’t work, you’d be wrong. Both Fistula and Hemdale have been bands for a similar amount of time, so this feels like a milestone in a way. Great stuff.

Fistula is currently out touring so Patac Records is closed; however, you can still order this split via the label's webstore and all orders will be posted once everything is open again - https://www.patacrecords.com

Friday, 8 June 2018

Sense Offender - I


Labels: Self-released
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 16 May 2018

Tracklist:

1. The Sound Of Braille
2. Prophet-Less
3. Starving Pigs
4. Anointed With Seizures
5. Weigh My Pieces

Northern England's ability to produce ridiculously heavy and caustic bands over the years, has provided us with plenty of filth-ridden metallic noise. Sense Offender is another name to add to the ever growing list. This new band features members who were affiliated with the likes of Crossburner, Cholera etc. "I" is Sense Offender's debut EP and it's currently available digitally, with a label release in the works and they're due to play some UK shows with the mighty Hexis in August.

Sense Offender could not have chosen a more apt moniker, as EP opener The Sound Of Braille begins with some piercing noise that will rattle your bones and turn them to dust. What follows is just as crazy with roared vocals surrounded by glitchy electronics and guitar feedback. Their grinding, heavy hardcore makes a proper impact on Prophet-Less. It’s technical and extreme in every sense of the word, with an unrelenting pace that's later replaced by off-kilter, down-tempo riffing. Starving Pigs plays on the band’s sense of urgency with some of the meatiest riffs this side of the likes of Trap Them and Cult Leader. 

There are also hints of Skinsuit when listening to Anointed With Seizures thanks to the experimentation and song-writing that are present, while the melody that’s on offer is foreboding and creates an atmosphere that would sit well on an (early) Dark Tranquility album. EP closer Weigh My Pieces is an example in controlled chaos with an emphasis once again on progressive hardcore with black metal and sludge-like overtones. “I” features five unrelenting songs that come and go in a blur. The less is more approach definitely works in this corner of hardcore and Sense Offender nails it. 

You can both stream and purchase "I" digitally below:-



You can keep up to date with physical release and future recording news below:-

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Crève - S/T EP


Labels: Left Hand Records/SMYT Records/Vorax Records/Hecatombe Records/ZAS Autoproduzioni Records
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 05 Jun 2018

Tracklist:

1. Crève La Fin
2. Crève De Foi
3. Crève De Comptoir
4. Crève Les Yeux
5. Adam Et Crève 
6. Crève Charogne
7. Attrape-Crève 
8. Harsh Ou Crève 
9. Crève-Coeur
10. Crève Tout Court

I've been receiving a lot more contact directly from bands recently and for the rest of this week I'm trying to focus on some of those bands. I was intrigued when I received a promo from French hardcore/pv band Crève, because it turns out that I've featured past music by one of Crève's members before, but I can't remember who. If you're reading this Reu, please give me clue! Anyway, Crève is a new band that originally formed as a duo but is now a trio. They're from Pau in the Pyrénées and this is their self-titled debut EP.

France has been producing some savage hardcore/pv bands in recent times. Just look back to how good Moshpig were when they toured the UK with Immortal Bird last year (if you were there of course!). Crève is another reason to get behind our closest cousins on the mainland. Opener Crève La Fin is angular, noisy, fast and groovy all in one go. There’s a rawness to their sound that seems to magnify their energy levels on this recording. Crève De Foi is heady mix of punk and hardcore that spills out into something much more metallic and chaotic. The pit-inducing frenzy caused by Crève De Comptoir may be short but it’s too the point.

Crève is bound to be compared to bands like Water Torture and Lugubrious Children but they have their own sound and it’s very obvious on Crève Les Yeux. The feedback, the drumming and the off-kilter song structures help to keep things noisy, yet there’s still a real element of control in the band’s performance. That control is on show again during Adam Et Crève, which appears at first to be mid-paced when held up against the EP’s previous tracks. That is an illusion though. The stop/start bursts on Crève Charogne split it into two parts, with the second one being a blur of refs and rabid screams. 

There’s a lot of punk influence flowing through Attrape-Crève and as the band accelerates in tempo, they also stop on a dime, making it sound like it’s one song made up of four shorter, more furious ones Harsh Ou Crève is as it suggests, hash. It’s the first time that the band drops into harsh, bass-heavy noisy territory a la Full of Hell or Necro Deathmort, but it’s well worth it. They retreat back into more familiar hardcore/grind territory with the obliterating Crève-Coeur, which tries to prepare you for EP closer Crève Tout Court. The final song is as sludgy as Crève gets on here. It’s slower pace and thicker sound is much needed and it caps of a release filled with intensity and power. C’est bon!

You can stream and download the EP below:-




CD copies can be purchased directly from the band here - https://crevepv.bigcartel.com

You can also stream and purchase the EP from the below labels:-

ZAS Autoproduzioni Records - https://www.facebook.com/ZAS.AUTOPRODUZIONI

Monday, 4 June 2018

Locktender - Friedrich


Labels: I.Corrupt.Records/Middle-Man Records/Zegema Beach Records/Deadwood Records/Utarid Tapes
Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 15 Jan 2018

Tracklist:

1. The Monk By The Sea
2. View Of A Harbour
3. Wreck In The Sea Of Ice
4. Seashore With Shipwreck By Midnight
5. The Chasseur In The Forest
6. Morning Fog In The Mountains
7. Winter Landscape
8. The Abbey In The Oakwood

Ohio's Locktender ended their four years of silence earlier this year, with the release of "Friedrich". It tells the story of a Monk who eventually killed himself through loss of faith, while drawing inspiration from the artwork of 19th-century German landscape artist Casper David Friedrich. Having been released on vinyl initially, it was released on tape in May. I've already been jamming the album prior to writing this review, which isn't something I usually do but I was sucked in.

This feels good. The escape from reality that’s provided by music is unparallelled and Locktender goes the extra mile to make their’s that bit more special. The Monk By The Sea is the melodic opener you want and while the crunching riffs/percussion/vocals remind you of the band’s hardcore leanings, there’s way more to it all. The introspective passages filled with guitar melodies and the clean singing that towers over the recording at times, are layers that just belong. View Of A Harbour is a short piece that definitely conjures up images of sitting staring out over a coastal vista, with no cluttered thoughts to worry about. It flows into Wreck In The Sea Of Ice, which is filled with palpable emotion and anger from the vocals, while once again the melodies play out over minimalist drumming, There’s still loud dissonant screamo present but it’s very cohesive as opposed to being stop/start. Locktender’s lengthy instrumental passages are a pleasure to behold, like the one that forms the first sections of Seashore With Shipwreck By Moonlight. It’s spacey, calming and reminds me a lot of the music contained on “Feathers” by Duct Hearts at one point and then early-00’s post-hardcore the next. It builds up throughout and eventually explodes into something akin to emo-violence/hardcore towards the end. it’s wonderful. 

The second half of “Friedrich” is a post-hardcore/metal feast thanks to The Chasseur In The Forest. The vocals definitely hit you from a more extreme place, while the shorter running time and layers of sound offer a lot of impact, which other albums miss within their mid-sections. They’re back to their cinematic best on Morning Fog In The Mountains, with the calm/chaotic dynamic working so well. “Friedrich” is an album best enjoyed in a full sitting and not in fits and starts. Even though the song-titles seems as though they were chosen at random, the songs themselves follow on with ease. Penultimate song Winter Landscape is the album’s longest and one of it’s most thought-provoking as well. The beautiful isolation that you feel during it’s mid-section is hard to ignore. It’s like staring up at the night sky, inspired by just how huge the universe is other than just focusing on your small part of it. It’s taking that step back that makes the difference. Following that was always gonna be difficult so Locktender goes in a completely different direction and fills The Abbey In The Oakwood with off-kilter hardcore and screamo that smashes the wonderment into smithereens and replaces it with distant anguish and subtle black metal-style morbidity. 

I’m annoyed that I didn’t give this more attention earlier on in the year. It’s utterly glorious and shows that the time Locktender spent silent hasn’t affected them musically. in fact, it’s probably allowed them to open up and explore further, which has made for an outstanding album. Nothing more need be said. 

You can stream "Friedrich" and get it as a name-your-price download below:-




Physical LP and tape copies can be purchased from the links below:-

Zegema Beach Records - http://www.zegemabeachrecords.com
Deadwood Records - https://www.deadwoodrecords.de

Saturday, 2 June 2018

10 Questions: Pohjamuta


In March I reviewed a tape release featuring three sludge/heavy bands from Finland. They were Rutsa, Cicutoxin and Pohjamuta. After the review I contacted Pohjamuta to ask if they'd like to participate in an interview and luckily they said yes. Guitarist/Vocalist Lauri kindly answered the questions on this one.

Who is in the band and where are you from?

We are a three-piece-band (Lauri / guitar & voc, Otto / drums, Tuomas / bass & voc) formed in Jyväskylä, in the middle of Finland.

What is the history of Pohjamuta? When and how did you form?

None of us originates from Jyväskylä. At the time of the formation of Pohjamuta, we were studying there and somehow we connected and thought it was time to form a raw sludge band with hardcore punk influences because we all were in love with that kind of stuff. It was January 2012 when we started playing together.

Have any of you played in previous bands and are you any other bands currently?

Yes, we all played in a hardcore punk band called Ydinmätä together before the formation of Pohjamuta. Beside of Pohjamuta we all have some projects. Our guitarist Lauri has some noise projects for example, noisecore band Kolumbia to name one.

Who write’s the lyrics/music? Is it collective? 

It's collective pretty much. Sometimes one brings a prepared song to the rehearsal and sometimes we build up songs by jamming together. Same with the lyrics pretty much.

What subjects do you cover in your lyrics?

Pohjamuta means the mud in the bottom of the sea/lake. We have a political approach to that term and in our songs we raise up the concerns of the people who live in the bottom of the society, like alcoholism, drug addiction, violence etc. Lyrics of Uhrimiekka deal with arbitrary right-wing extremism and its’ urge to instigate fear & xenophopia.

Are there any bands that have influenced you?

Some of us are more influenced by metal bands (especially death metal) but I personally have grown with hardcore punk and that's how I found sludge at some point. Along with the iconic big US sludge pioneers, we all are heavily influenced by Finnish sludge bands, like Hebosagil, Stumm, Loinen, Frogskin, Usko and Viisikko. Also hardcore punk and black metal mean a lot to us.

What are your favourite albums/EPs at the moment?

My personal favourites at the time are:
Nightslug - Dismal Fucker LP
Everything from Moloch (Moloch/Thou LP and Moloch/Disrotted 7" to name a few..) and from Disrotted too,
Medicine Noose 7" 
and I just can't hype too much our own Finnish Slave Hands - World Rid of All Living LP

What is your favourite gig/tour story?

Hmm maybe our trip to Estonia to name one. We were playing two gigs, in Tallinn and in Tarto, and the whole trip was like straight out the movie Spinal Tap. Our car was almost dying since the very beginning of the trip and our drummer was almost dying from the hangover. The first venue was a local biker bar and we weren’t sure what to expect and what would happen, but eventually everything turned out fine. We even almost got kicked out of our hostel room in the middle of the night (actually for no reason, but we think that’s because the Finns don’t have a very good reputation in Estonia). The gigs were nice and the best moment was when we were driving peacefully through Estonian countryside enjoying some calming 80’s radio tunes like Madonna.

What is your local heavy/punk scene like and who should we check out (band-wise)?

My favourite Finnish sludge bands are Cicutoxin (Jyväskylä), Taser (Lahti) and Slave Hands (Helsinki).

What are your favourite tipples?

We are primitive rural guys, so it's gotta be traditional Finnish booze, Koskenkorva, served warm straight outta your pocket.

You can stream Pohjamuta's song from that split and the music from their previous releases below:-


All of their music is available to download from their bandcamp page as well.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Sect Pig - Crooked Backs


Labels: Nuclear War Now! Productions
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 15 May 2018

Tracklist:

1. Crooked Backs

This is the newest EP from the mysterious experimental black metal band Sect Pig. It features one lengthy track and follows on from their 2013 debut EP "Slave Destroyed" and their 2015 EP "Self Reversed. It's once again been released by Nuclear War Now! Productions. It promises a hallucinatory journey into the nether-reaches of black metal and extreme noise. 

The stark sample that begins “Crooked Backs” on the promo sent refers to the sterilisation of a young female and it doesn’t get any happier, as Sect Pig unleashes a disturbing take on extreme music, encompassing strange vocal contortions, electronic samples and discordant black metal, which itself uses melody to create unnerving feelings. It’s extremely hard to convey adequately what is going on here without using adjective that haven’t been overused before but needless to say, this is a tough listen. That said, it’s not without it’s (slightly) easier moments, where Sect Pig uses post-punk and death-rock, adding to the melody and overall textures within the music. 

You’ll find it hard to feel anything other than uncomfortable when listening to those samples due to their subject matter; however, they fit the release perfectly where Sect Pig is concerned. At times I’m not sure whether this is an experiment that tests the tolerances of the listener or if it is avant-garde music at it’s highest echelon. “Crooked Backs” is both an uneasy and an enthralling listen. One which will appeal to those who have a sense of intrigue when it comes to uncomfortable subject matter. 

You can purchase CD copies of "Crooked Backs" from Nuclear War Now Productions below:- https://shop.nwnprod.com/products/sect-pig-crooked-backs-cd

Sect Pig Last.Fm page - https://www.last.fm/music/Sect+Pig
Nuclear War Now! Productions - https://www.facebook.com/nwnprod/

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Age Of Taurus - The Colony Slain


Labels: Rise Above Records
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 16 May 2018

Tracklist:

1. From The Hills To The Halls
2. Taken To The Tower
3. The Trial Of Blackwynn Chaise
4. In Dreams We Die
5. The Lost Garrison
6. Beyond The Wayward Path
7. For Treason We Rise
8. The Walls Have Ears
9. To Seal A Mountain
10. As Ice Into Blood
11. The Colony Slain

We're racing towards the end of another month and while our lives seem to be moving at an ever increasing pace, it's sometimes nice to be able to slow it down and take a moment to reflect. If there's one sub-genre of metal that helps you do that it's doom metal, but more importantly it's British doom metal. Age Of Taurus recently released their second full-length "The Colony Slain" via the much lauded Rise Above Records. This band is one steeped in UK trad/heavy metal with members that have played in some of the country's most seminal doom bands, so this record should not disappoint.

“The Colony Swain” begins with the rousing guitar-work of From The Hills To The Halls, which sets out to only increase the excitement as Age of Taurus progresses into the groove-laden Taken To The Tower. That guitar-work is a massive feature on this album and the vocals tell tales of fantasy, while sounding gloriously theatrical and classically British. This is an album where each song follows the last, creating a story. The spoken word passage that ends Taken To The Tower flows into The Trial Of Blackwynn Chaise, which relies more upon the band’s ability to write solid heavy metal songs. It has progression and drama in equal measure. The female vocals add a great sense of operatic majesty to proceedings as well

There’s subtle thrash flowing through In Dreams We Die and the bass crunch at the beginning fills the record with warmth. The vocal delivery and melodies turn it into something really catchy, with an equally inspiring solo towards the end. Age Of Taurus heads back down the doom path on The Lost Garrison. This particular path isn’t gloomy and self-deprecating though as the band does their utmost to keep the music punchy and engaging. Their tones on Beyond The Westward Path have more in common with their Swedish cousins such as Grand Magus. They are more mesmeric here but they never lose their hard rocking sensibilities. Talking of hard rocking, the riffs at the beginning of For Treason We Rise are just that and they carry a lot of momentum throughout the song, even when Age Of Taurus slow things down. This is the record’s longest song and it definitely feels like a journey, but in a good way. 

I’d probably be doing this album a disservice by talking about it as a concept album, but it has that feel to it as The Walls Have Ears plays. it stems once again from the storytelling that’s employed throughout by the lyrics and clever continuation that Age Of Taurus weaves into it. At this point it’s impossible to ignore the sheer quality of this record, as To Seal A Mountain slowly marches forward with a bass-heavy stomp. There’s time for a penultimate instrumental in the form of As Ice Into Blood before it’s left to the title-track to close “The Colony Slain” in style, which lovely vocals melodies and more free-flowing guitars. Age Of Taurus has done a great job with this record and when you’re craving something that’s heavy but not harsh, featuring real musicality and British charm, you’ll reach for “The Colony Slain”.

Physical cd and LP copies (including die-hard variants) can be purchased from Rise Above Records here:- https://riseaboverecords.com/product/the-colony-slain/