Sunday, 14 October 2018

Autumnwind - Endless Fear


Labels: Symbol Of Domination Productions/More Hate Productions
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 20 May 2018

Tracklist:

1. The Panic Attack
2. The Hallucination
3. Lost And Alone
4. Forever Insomnia
5. Endless Fear

The weather conditions here are terrible today and I don't much feel like going out. Instead, I've decided to surround myself with music and try to be productive on here. For this first review I wanted to write about a project from a far-flung nation, that's going against the general populous in what is still a war-torn country. Autumnwind fit that bill perfectly, being an instrumental ambient/black metal band from Syria. This is Autumnwind's third album and it was released in May via Belarusian label Symbol Of Domination Productions and Russia co-conspirators More Hate Productions. 

It’s always interesting to hear music produced by individuals from countries like Syria, as often the hardship they face comes through in the music. On “Endless Fear” though, Autumnwind projects a feeling of hope and positivity though the use of ambient keys and uplifting black metal featuring subtle riffs and a drum machine. The Panic Attack opens the album in a calm way and is structured really well. The lack of vocals doesn’t affect it either. There’s a cosmic feel to The Hallucination and the melodies that comes through provide a glimpse into the Middle-Eastern roots of the band. It’s more heavily synth-led, which helps to add more atmosphere to it’s mid-paced tempo. Haunting is a word I’d use to describe this song and it sums up the emotions of those behind the band.

The lengthy compositions on “Endless Fear” are meant to be listened to with no distractions or stoppages and as such are oddly relaxing, with Lost And Alone being the longest piece on the album. The ambient instrumentation led by pan pipe effects make it quite hypnotic and the minimal use of dissonant guitars also helps. Forever Insomnia is filled with strings that add a slightly more jarring edge to Autumnwind’s sound, though that’s maybe just me being a bit unfair. The song itself is more urgent and of a slightly higher tempo, with more prominent guitar melodies. Ending with the beautifully calming title-track is a masterstroke as it’s quiet instrumentation washes over you with no threat of heaviness to break the mood. The ominous bell closes it out and leaves only silence. This album may not be extreme (musically) but it is when consider the band’s roots and the work that has been put in to release it. Excellent in it’s own way and worthy of further support.

You can stream "Endless Fear" below:



It's available to purchase digitally and on cd from Symbol Of Domination Productions above and you can can also purchase it from More Hate Productions here - http://www.morehate.com/release

Symbol Of Domination Productions - https://www.facebook.com/SymbolOfDominationProd/

Friday, 12 October 2018

Fauna Timbre - Altering Echoes EP


Labels: Red Orchard Records
Formats: CD/Digital
Release Date: 31 Oct 2018

Tracklist:

1. Heart Murmurs
2. Violent Waves
3. Turn The Sun
4. Umbra
5. Memory Leak

As another Friday evening rolls around it's time to start thinking about becoming more consistently productive (from a writing point of view anyway), which is why I'm committing to writing at least 3-4 times (and hopefully more) from now. I need to for my own sanity and for the love if it. Tonight I'm focusing on new Norwegian doom band Fauna Timbre. The band started in 2016 as a duo, but are due to release their debut EP at the end of this month, as a trio. 

Fauna Timbre’s take on doom rock is cleaner than most. The opening song Heart Murmurs is melodic and mournful, but it never becomes truly heavy. The vocals feature that ever so slight hint of autotune, while the instrumentation is sensitively delivered so it doesn’t take too much of limelight from them. The layered and progressive nature of Faun Timbre is really endearing as the slow march of Violent Waves takes over. They’ve been compared to the mighty Katatonia and I suppose that’s an adequate comparison given the clean nature of their sound. They are very good at what they do on here and they do add more crunching riffs to the song, but that level of name dropping only adds to the expectation. The abrupt end to Violent Waves is clearly inspired by the title itself. 

Turn The Sun is the most expansive song on “Altering Echoes” and it’s at this point that Fauna Timbre’s sound begins to truly click. They’re dreamy composition style really comes through and whisks you off to a completely different place with almost no effort. The melody is back with Umbra, which is a minimal number to begin with. It’s a flowing ballad but it features bass lines that could easily be mistaken for harsh vocals at times. EP closer Memory Leak is the psychedelic piece that Fauna Timbre’s been threatening to deliver throughout and while that may not be exactly the sound they’re going for here, it works thanks to some great guitar/bass effects. It’s also the longest song on “Altering Echoes” and at times it becomes ambient, avant-garde and subtly jazz-like. Less doom-like then and more alternative, but it works extremely well as a whole and shows that this trio aren’t afraid to experiment. There’s lots of promise within these five songs. 

You can stream Heart Murmurs below:-


Pre-order "Altering Echoes" digitally here - https://faunatimbre.bandcamp.com/


Thursday, 11 October 2018

Brain Fragment - Fungus EP (Mikey Ortega)


Labels: Hellasaurus Records
Formats: CD/Digital/Tape (Coming Soon)
Release Date: 19 Sep 2018

Tracklist:

1. Trust
2. Too Late
3. On Your Own
4. Enough

It shouldn’t be surprise that hardcore punk and jazz are a great match. Both music genres were really big on the youth during the times. They’re both fast and chaotic. Their beats make your body want to move. And of course both music genres were looked down on by the status quo. When bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan and Candiria brought jazz influence to hardcore, it took extreme/underground music to a whole new level. It made every band want to push the limit. For a while, many bands doing the Jazz/Hardcore sound, pretty much tried to be DEP jr. But one band from the SGV/IE area some how gave Jazz/Hardcore a breath of fresh air and that is Brain Fragment. Originally, the band was a two-piece that consisted of Dave on bass and Luis on the skins. Their first album, LSD Is Good For You, was a juggernaut of a debut. Luis’ jazz/hardcore/grindcore drumming is like nothing else and Dave’s use of effects on his bass gave Brain Fragment their identity. Now when it came to stepping it up, what did they do? They got beautiful and talented Ash as their new lead singer. For a while, this new line-up has been kicking arse live, in the local SoCal scene and  they have gone on a West Coast tour with Rock N’ Roll Suicide. Finally the dudes and dudette of Brain Fragment have made time to hit the studio and record new music with Ash busting those pipes, to bring us Fungus.

If you’ve been to Brain Fragment’s live shows, you pretty much know what to expect. Now we can bring it home to piss off the neighbours or freak out that bus full of nuns, while cruising around. The first track, Trust just comes in charging out of the speakers. Dave goes full-throttle on the bass, as Luis comes in like a beast with his powerful blast beats and then we finally hear Ash come in with some jazzy vocals, with a mix of Soul/old-school R&B. Think early Aretha Franklin fronting Melt-Banana, but take it to supernova. Things get funky on Too Late. This is a track that makes you want to shake, rattle, and roll. It really has a great hook that just grabs you. On Your Own is a personal favourite and I always loved it when they play it live. It’s a song that brings me back to my high school days listening to 90’s punk. To me, this is a song that goes to show that Brain Fragment can evolve and write a killer tune.  It’s also one of Ash’s best vocal performance. If anything, Ash could be the female Mike Patton. Her range is like nothing I’ve ever heard before and to end “Fungus” is Enough.  Hearing this track makes me feel like I’m in a David Lynch film (like Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks).  Think of a beautiful nightmare. Things may look terrifying, but you don’t want to wake up. Dave’s bass sounds like a total acid trip. For some reason, you would think Luis has 10 arms and I think we can hear Ash do some guttural vocals, which you gotta give her some mad love for.

“Fungus” is definitely a huge step up. It’s really great to hear Brain Fragment progress and still keep their identity. With Ash on vocals, it really gives Dave and Luis time to focus more on their instruments and they really fuck’n own it. To me, this is what experimental music should be about.  It’s taking that risk. Not just play around with different genres, but fuck around with different sounds. Be messy. Be smooth.  Be chaotic. Be disciplined. Be ugly. Be beautiful. Be a fuck’n artist. Each member brought something to the table, which makes Brain Fragment a well-oiled machine.  Words can’t describe how much I love this band and with the “Fungus” ep, it made my heart grow twice it’s size. This ep is why I love music and why I’m a music fan, especially the experimental type. Luis shows that he’s well rounded. His drumming skills are out of this World. He can go from Buddy Rich to Mick Harris in just seconds. Dave's bass is what makes Brain Fragment come alive. The way he brings all these different styles and makes it cohesive is just remarkable and of course Ashley, who was that missing piece of the puzzle to take Brain Fragment to that new level. When I heard her vocals playing along with Dave and Luis, it just sounded astonishingly fucked up. In some ways, it kind of felt like hearing No Doubt or Paramore for the first time. Not that Ash sounds like Gwen Stefani or Hayley Williams (even though I feel like she will soon be in their level), but that she’s a vocalist that sounds like no one else and is totally in a league of her own. For sure, the “Fungus” ep is something that the music scene needs to challenge itself. To not make current music bland. If Brain Fragment keeps up the momentum, I say they’re two albums away from making that classic, which everyone will hold up in high regard. If you want to restore your faith in new music, then please pick up the “Fungus” ep. It will totally open up your mind to a whole different World, that you didn’t think was possible. Be weird. Be proud of it. Embrace it.

I rate this “Five Hitlers Punched In The Face”

You can stream and download "Fungus" below:-



Brain Fragment - https://www.facebook.com/BrainFragmentband/ / http://brainfragmentband.com/

Thanks to Mikey for writing this review. It's great to have him and his infectious love for music on board again. Go and check out Brain Fragment!

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Ravage Ritual - XVIII


Labels: Unquiet Records/Powertrip Records
Formats/CD/Digital
Release Date: 08 Oct 2018

Tracklist:

1. Introduction
2. I
3. II

In August I posted on social media asking for people's recommendations on what I should review. I don't normally do this but I thought it would be a great way to increase the interaction with people who take the time to read my blog. Now, because I'm a slow ares, I'm only getting round to writing these reviews up now and I'm starting with the newest EP from Finnish heavy hardcore band Ravage Ritual. "XVIII" was only released officially yesterday and has been made available digitally and on cd from Unquiet Record and Powertrip Records (with a 7" due soon), as well as via the band themselves. 

Ravage Ritual is a Finnish band very much inspired by H8000 hardcore and the Holy Terror-sound. The Introduction proves this with heavy guitar and drumming that creates a mid-paced mosh-a-long. I is a straight-up continuation of the Introduction, filled with great riffs and guitar effects. When the full backline and vocals kick in it’s pure metallic mayhem. Ravage Ritual goes hard and are as life affirming as an angry hardcore band can get, especially given their penchant for early the metalcore sound.

That early-metalcore sound is even more obvious on II thanks to the awesome thrash tempos and screaming guitar-work. The double-bass will rip you a new one while the screams are delivered with true power and belligerence. This is savage yet rhythmic and as it closes out with a wall of jarring feedback and noise, you’ll still be headbanging uncontrollably. Just when you thought heavy music was being overrun by progression and slow riffs, along comes Ravage Ritual to prove otherwise. Hardcore for the win. 

You can stream and purchase "XVIII" on cd and mp3 formats below:-



Saturday, 6 October 2018

Snag/Swallows Nest - Split Tape


Labels: Zegema Beach Records
Formats: Tape/Digital
Release Date: 23 Apr 2018

Tracklist:

1. Snag - Violence
2. Swallows Nest - Dark Hamz
3. Swallows Nest - Apathy As An Infinite Manifestation

Yay, I've got some more exciting US/NZ Skramz for you! This is the split tape between Milwaukee (USA's) Snag and Dunedin (NZ's) Swallows Next. It was release earlier this year by the ever faithful and reliable Zegema Beach Records. Snag has so far released a self-titled EP and a split with Social Caterpillar, while the only other release to come from Swallows Nest (as far as I can tell) has been their split with Crowning (also review on the blog).

This split only features one song from Snag but Violence is a joy to listen too. It’s a (pardon me) violent screamo song filled with jangly, off-kilter instrumentation and a mix of harsh screams and what I think are spoken-work samples (though they could be delivered by the band themselves). It’s stark and emotive, especially during the mid-section and that atmosphere carries on throughout the rest of the song. 

Swallows Nest follow on with two shorter songs; Dark Hamz is brooding and slightly bleak, but when the dual-vocals and orchestral guitar-work takes over that atmosphere is somewhat forgotten. There’s real urgency here as you’d expect. Apathy As An Infinite Manifestation starts how Dark Hamz finished and it’s immediacy is obvious, while the band’s delivery is pummelling. 

Three brief songs that give great accounts of both bands. You could do far worse than check out both Snag and Swallows Nest, starting here.

You can stream and purchase the split (both on tape and digitally) here:-

Friday, 5 October 2018

Technical Damage - The Introspect


Labels: Self-Released
Formats: Digital
Release Date: 15 Sep 2018

Tracklist:

1. I: Everything Is Forever
2. Reflections
3. Reshape
4. Crystal Angels
5. II: Awakenings
6. Eviscerate
7. The Introspect

The weeks are flying by faster than ever, which is fine with me as it means that I get to Friday night quicker and I get to curl up with my favourite beverage and some awesome music, which tonight is delivered by Canadian death metal band Technical Damage. The band formed towards the end of 2016 with the release of their debut EP " Damaged Nation" and they've only recently released their debut full-length "The Introspect". When a metal band sites influences such as Killswitch Engage, Misery Signals and Opeth, it's usually a good sign so lets see...

Modern metal albums wouldn’t be complete without the obligatory atmosphere-building intro song and it’s present here in I: Everything Is Forever. Reflections is the first sign of Technical Damage’s progressive death metal and it doesn’t initially contain the level of melody that their intro promised. What it does deliver though is low brutal vocals and instrumentation that flits between modern death and post-hardcore. It’s clearly slick but the volume of recording seems a little low on early listen. The guitar work and solo’s are great though! Their music can at times be considered Djent (oh how I hate that term) but as Reshape shows, they are so much more than that. Technical Damage fits a lot into their songs and musically they are incredibly tight. The mathy elements towards the end take things in another direction as well. 

Things get heavier on Crystal Angels, which is definitely a more straight-up death metal song, albeit with a few breakdown-like riffs here and there. There’s some passionately delivered clean vocals that sit well alongside the melodic guitar and make the heavier sections sound heavier still. They break up the album with a rousing instrumental piece called II: Awakenings, which is quite folk-sounding. It leads into penultimate song Eviscerate. The Spanish guitar is a welcome addition that seems to fit the album perfectly and gives Technical Damage a very different sound and feel. It gives way to yet another blast of off-kilter death metal that’s more progressive than technical. The quieter acoustic-led passages are more European than North American. 

With the title-track placed at the end of the album, Technical Damage has one more shot at atmospheric drama and the intro to the song manages to achieve that drama. They follow it with more rhythmically intelligent metal that’s surprisingly easy on the ear. The reggae in the mid-section does nothing to change that either. Overall, this album is very well played and Technical Damage are sound at what they do. This will definitely appeal to those with a modern metal disposition and that’s no bad thing.

You can stream and purchase "The Introspect" digitally below (and from all of the usual outlets):-



Thursday, 4 October 2018

Monstrath - Demon Sold (Video Premiere)

Tonight I'm sharing the latest video from Brazilian technical death metal band Monstrath. It's been a while since I featured a video on here and I had intended to share it via my Youtube channel (which is very slowly becoming a thing) but I've decided to feature it here instead. The video is for the song Demon Sold, which appears on the band's debut album "The World  Serves To Evil", which will be released by Downfall Records on 19th October.


Montstrath began life in 2015 and with the release of their debut album fast approaching, they're looking to broaden their reputation overseas. Check them out if you enjoy this video and their take on death metal.

News on the release of Monstrath's debut album can be found via the links below:-

Downfall Records - http://www.downfallrecords.com