Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Cortege - Chasing Daylight EP

Labels: Desert Records

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 26 Feb 2021


1. Chasing Daylight (Part 1)

2. Chasing Daylight (Part 2)

After yesterday evening's excitement, I wanted to slow things down. This two-track EP comes courtesy of Cortege, a duo from Austin (Texas, USA) that describes their music as post-western ambient doom. Chasing Daylight was released in February via Desert Records (New Mexico, USA) and it follows on from various EPs and Singles dating back to 2016. Here, the duo made up of Mike Swarbrick (who plays bass IV, moog, mellotron and tubular bells) and Adrian Voorhies (drums) is joined by brass musician Michael St. Claire who expands the line-up. This is my introduction to Cortege, as I'm sure it will be for many of you. Let's experience them together.

This is very much another step into the unknown for me musically but when Bandcamp brings up The Owl and L’uomo Nero as similar recommendations, I guess pigeonholing is futile. ‘Chasing Daylight (Part 1)' starts with an extended intro sample that leads into calming instrumental music that definitely has it’s roots on western music. It feels almost improv at times but I’m not sure that’s the case, as it is very well structured and towards the latter half, Cortege’s sound becomes a lot more cinematic too. The added tones of the tubular bells, mellotron, moog and brass all contribute in such a great way to this as well.

‘Chasing Daylight (Part 2)’ follows on instantly with barely a pause. It’s soothing instrumental waves seem to wash over you and even though Cortege is billed and as an ambient doom band, their doom is very much tempered down and at times even avant-garde, if I can be so pretentious to say! Without the opening sample that graced the EP’s first song, this one immediately seems longer, which is actually the truth, as it span almost nine-minutes in total. Again though, it’s a lesson in minimalist yet progressive music. At times barren like the desert but at other times warm and inviting. 

This EP is unlike anything I’ve heard so far this year. It’s not complicated by the addition of vocals and because of that, it’s easier to get lost in music-wise. Cortege are clearly skilled at what they do and deserve to be encapsulated in a longer release in the near future at the very least.

Chasing Daylight is available to purchase digitally or on CD below:-

Cortege - https://www.facebook.com/cortegeatx

Desert Records - https://www.facebook.com/desertrecordslabel

Monday, 12 April 2021

Our Future Is An Absolute Shadow/Komarov: Split 7" Release Premiere

Labels: Clever Eagle Records/Fresh Outbreak Records/Witch Elm Records/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 12 Apr 2021


1. Our Future Is An Absolute Shadow - The Most Important Lesson That I Learned In School Occurred When My Marketing Professor Broke Down and Wept In the Middle Of Class

2. Our Future Is An Absolute Shadow - The Landfill Equation (simple as fuck)

3. Komarov - A Poison In Print

4. Komarov - Live On In Filth

Today is launch day for this new awesome split release and I’m thrilled to be able to help share it with you! It features four dark, chaotic, heavy screamo songs; two come from UK band Komarov (featuring (ex)-members of Thisismenotthinkingofyou, Cady, Solanas and Yuri) and the other two are from US/Canadian band Our Future Is An Absolute Shadow (made up of (ex)-members from Old Soul, Cloud Rat, Apostles Of Eris, In Wolves Clothing and Swallows Nest).

The split is being released on 7” vinyl by Clever Eagle Records (USA), Fresh Outbreak Records (Italy), Witch Elm Records (UK) and Zegema Beach Records (CAN/USA). 340 copies have been pressed with 315 of those coming on random coloured vinyl with a further 25 exclusive Wax Mage copies coming directly from Zegema Beach Records. Also, as a sweetener for those ordering from ZBR, one random coloured copy will be swapped for a Wax Mage copy in the store, just for a bit of added fun and intrigue!

You can stream/download the full release below:-

Komarov - https://www.facebook.com/komarovband/

Remember to support the labels that are closest to where you're from, by ordering from the links below:-

Clever Eagle Records (USA) - https://clevereaglerecords.limitedrun.com/

Fresh Outbreak Records (ITA/EUR) - https://freshoutbreak.bandcamp.com/merch

Witch Elm Records (UK) - https://witchelmrecords.bigcartel.com/

Zegema Beach Records (CAN/USA) - USA Store - https://zbrusa.com/products/ofiaas-komarov

CAN Store - http://www.zegemabeachrecords.com/zegema-beach-releases/ofiaaskomarov

Also, if that's not enough for you, No Funeral Records have also put up 15 tape copies (that will have probably sold out by the time you read this) - https://store.nofuneral.ca/product/our-future-is-an-absolute-shadow-komarov-split-cassettecew

Clever Eagle Records - https://www.facebook.com/clevereaglerecords

Fresh Outbreak Records - https://www.facebook.com/freshoutbreakrecords

Witch Elm Records - https://www.facebook.com/WITCH-ELM-records

Zegema Beach Records - https://www.facebook.com/zegemabeachrecords

No Funeral Records - https://store.nofuneral.ca/product/our-future-is-an-absolute-shadow-komarov-split-cassette

Check out the sweet pics of both the random and Wax Mage variants below (Note: the pics state the random copies are out of 300, but I’m assured there will be 315):-

Sunday, 11 April 2021

A Culture Of Killing - The Feast Of Vultures, The Cry Of A Dove

Labels: Drunken Sailor Records/Tape Or Die

Formats: Vinyl/Tape/Digital

Release Date: 18 Mar 2019


1. Bridges

2. A Cry For Help

3. Promised World

4. Victims

5. Order

6. The Toast Of Despair

7. Problem

8. All Will Be Fine

9. Futuro?

It's been a couple of months since I reviewed the self-titled LP from Italian anarcho/post-punks A Culture Of Killing. While sifting through an ever growing review schedule, I noticed that I hadn't written about the band's second album The Feast Of Vultures, The Cry Of A Dove. It was originally released on tape via Tape Or Die in early 2019, before it was given a vinyl release by UK punk label Drunken Sailor Records in 2020, becoming the second record from A Culture Of Killing to be released on wax by them in the same year. 

Anarcho punk has always been slightly on the periphery for me but A Culture Of Killing’s take on the sub-genre is very much one of melody and harmony, especially on album opener ‘Bridges”. The dual male/female vocals aren’t something I recall from the the self-titled album. That album seemed darker. The instrumentation here is still crisp and tuneful, while the percussion is sensitively delivered.

‘A Cry For Help’ begins with a sample about the torture of animals and what follows is very much inspired, musically at least, by The Clash and while it may at times sound bleak, it isn’t. It sends a clear message.

There’s an oddly chilled out vibe on ‘Promised World’, which isn’t completely unexpected. In terms of structure and tempo, it’s a mid-paced song that makes use of riffing and time-signatures that bring to mind dub/ska at times (to these ears anyway).

They’re back to their full-flowing best on ‘Victims’. The influences that A Culture Of Killing wear on their sleeves help them to produce gloriously old-school punk, which is precise, clear and engaging, despite it’s gloomy and sometimes anarchic undertones. I can see this record being enjoyed by a wide variety of music fans, even if they’re not familiar with the current punk underground. 

Instrumentally, everything is so tight. It’s strange to hear an Italian band of this ilk, as I (sometimes wrongly) associate the country with progressive and more operatic music. A Culture Of Killing proves that there’s much more to their homeland’s music scene on ‘Order’ and I fear that they’re now going to lead me down another rabbit hole. If you’re more familiar than I am with the Italian punk community, please send some more listening suggestions my way!

While ‘Order’ guides you into the album’s second half in a strangely positive way, ‘The Toast Of Despair’ isn’t as forgiving. It’s not because it’s particularly heavy or anything, it’s far from reaching that dynamic. There’s just a mournful feel to the song that’s hard to ignore. More like a dower folk song, it certainly changes the mood somewhat. Next up is ‘Problem’, which is the album’s shortest song. The Feast of Vultures, The Cry Of A Dove benefits from being very consistent, so much so that no songs on it sound like filler or like they’re out of place.

The 80’s pop is strong on ‘All Will Be Fine’, which could well be a case of reverse psychology if you overthink it! If you ignore that sentiment and let it guide you, it’s really just a minimalist punk song that’s meant to be appreciated and enjoyed. Album closer ‘Futuro?’ follows in very much the same way, but with the dual vocals providing extra depth for one last time. The control and sensitivity that A Culture Of Killing maintains throughout is the reason that this record is so effortless to listen to. There aren’t many albums you can say that about these days I think. 

You can stream and download the album directly from A Culture Of Killing below:-

You can still buy vinyl copies from Drunken Sailor Records below:-


Tape copies from Tape Or Die are sold out.

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

Tape Of Die - https://www.facebook.com/TapeOrDie

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Ken Burns - Ken Burns 7"

Labels: Don't Live Like Me Records/(We Built The World And) Miss The Stars Records/Zegema Beach Records

Formats: Vinyl/Digital

Release Date: 01 Dec 2015


1. Saudade

2. The Death Of An Aspiring Icon Pt. II

3. Hemma

I was sat down the other day pondering things and I suddenly released that I'm well behind on a certain little review series. It's futile to think that I'm ever going to catch up, but stranger things have happened. That being said though, while I'm slowly losing my marbles (due to a combination of lockdown, climate, routine and such like), it only seems right to delve into some more awesome post-hardcore/emoviolence/screamo/call it whatever you want. This is the self-titled 7" EP from Massachusetts (USA) band Ken Burns. It was released on two vinyl variants (50 on clear w/blue and yellow splatter and 250 on black) in late 2015 by Don't Live Like Me Records, (We Built The World And) Miss The Stars Records and of course, Zegema Beach Records.

I double checked my ‘previously reviewed’ list and this EP definitely wasn’t on there, so that’s a relief (I’ve only ever double-dipped once before without realising it until it was too late!). With that minor bit of embarrassment aside, I’m instantly overwhelmed by how good opening song ‘Saudade’ is. It’s a mix of jangly, melodic emo guitar work, ripping percussion and violent yet emotive screams. Ken Burns seemingly knew how to craft great songs during their short period as a living band (I’m pretty sure they’re resting now). This song is equal parts dramatic post-hardcore grandeur and heart-on-your-sleeve, violent sensitivity, if that makes sense.

From the ashes of the lengthy opener comes the instrumental beauty of ‘The Death Of An Aspiring Icon Pt. II’ and an urgency that overrides that beauty until it overflows when the vocals kick in. Crushing yet intelligent hardcore lays side by side with introspective passages of melody and harmony (the latter being in the sense of self as opposed to the musical sense). EP closer ‘Hemma’ underlines just how good Ken Burns was during the band’s short life, especially when they transition their aggressive post-hardcore into a slower, musical second-half, complete with spoken word samples. Having previously released a tape EP a couple of years before this one, it wasn’t until 2020 when all of the band’s songs were gathered together by Larry Records in the form of an LP discography release. 

As a standalone release though, this 7” ticks all of the boxes in terms of genuinely heartfelt musicianship. It’s short in length but that only makes the yearning for more grow ever stronger. So many bands seem to have come and gone with all but a couple of releases, but I guess that’s the nature of the genre that Ken Burns called home. It’s better to remember something at it was when it was alive, than be haunted by it after death. 

You can stream and download all three songs (name-your-price) below:-

You can still pick up vinyl copies from the link below:-

(We Built The World And) Miss The Stars Records - https://missthestars.com/en/

Don't Live Like Me Records - https://www.facebook.com/dontlivelikeme

(We Built The World And) Miss The Stars Records - https://www.facebook.com/missthestarsrecords

Zegema Beach Records - https://www.facebook.com/zegemabeachrecords

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

All Aboard To The Hellbound Whiskey Train: An Interview with Richard Schierer of SCHIERER (by Mikey Ortega)

Back in 2015, my one-man band, Diclonius, played a show in Anaheim, called “One Man Metal Fest”. At this show, I met some fellow one-man bands in Swartwound, xDEAD-HABIBx, Through These Gates and Dying Messiah. It was through this show that I became good friends with Richard Schierer, who at the time, performed under Dying Messiah. I’ve always admired Richard’s musicianship. The dude can shred and can make some sick death metal. Every time I catch him playing at The Doll Hut, dude puts on a better show than the last. Years later, Richard would put Dying Messiah to rest and formed a new project called SCHIERER. Unlike Dying Messiah, SCHIERER is a throwback to 80’s hard rock. It’s music that you can enjoy and party on. Great hooks, killer solos and cheesy song titles, that will give you a good nostalgia kick. I had the pleasure of chatting with Richard Schierer, where we talked about forming SCHIERER, the recording process and what 2021 holds for SCHIERER


Mikey: So, the transition from doing Dying Messiah to Schierer - how has that been? Was doing 80's hard rock something you've been brewing for a while?


Richard Schierer: It's been a natural transition. Dying Messiah ran its course and ended on a high note. Schierer became the main focus after a year of developing the project so I had a good idea of what direction musically I wanted this to be. The songs that I write are heavily influenced by music of the 70's & 80's, hard rock and pop metal – in particular. I think it's something that just happened before I could even really articulate any real objective other than seeing if I could write music in that style, but, once I got started it became too much fun, it would be a shame not to pursue it further.


Mikey: Is there a part of you that’s glad that metalheads these days are more open to other music, where back in the days, you would’ve gotten shit for “mellowing out”?


Schierer: Of course, I am glad and I'm thankful to have gotten great support from people in the more extreme music genres. The metal community has always had opened minds as well as elitism and I'm aware that not everyone that supports Dying Messiah are into the music I'm making now but it doesn't bother me. It wouldn't make any sense to me to try to do something heavier than my previous bands.


Mikey: You had a punk cover band called Dying Spasm - by any chance, did that had an influence in wanting to do Schierer next?


Schierer: Absolutely it was a big part of it and I had played various Schierer ideas with both members at different times. I started that band with Russell Watts, drummer of Cerebral Spasm and later Dominic Piper joined on bass. My 1st band was a punk cover band in 1996 so this was kinda coming full circle. After playing our last show in April 2019 Schierer became my main focus and while putting a band together Dominic sat in on bass before relocating to Japan. Russell passed away 6 months later on Halloween due to cancer. I miss him dearly he was a huge inspiration and one of my biggest supporters and an awesome friend. I think I would not have even had the courage to sing have I not had gotten experience from singing those punk rock classic songs and playing music with them definitely opened the door to do what I'm doing now.


Mikey: For someone like me, who was involved in the local music scene and attended Metal Mondays at The Doll Hut, what kind of impact did Russ have - especially for musicians like us?


Schierer: He gave an opportunity for a lot of us to play shows and meet people on a regular basis and was opened to booking bands from a lot of different sub genres. His work ethic and commitment was impressive and inspiring, seeing him do all this while still playing drums in 3 different bands. Metal MondayS were usually small intimate shows and I played many of them last minute when bands would drop, I was always glad to help when he asked.


Mikey: When it came to recording the first Schierer album, did you already have the music and lyrics down or were there some that needed some work?


Schierer: I spent a few months in the fall of 2018 just coming up with all the musical arrangements before tracking everything, I started the recording process in January 2019 and this took a couple months. Then I started writing lyrics and figuring out the vocal phrasing. I had to rerecord a few songs along the way and rewrite some lyrics. There were some songs that did need a lot of work. Because I was still learning how to do all this, I made many mistakes early on, some were hard to fix without recording the entire song over so some of that was left in. I also rerecorded one song from the 10 song demo that I recorded in the summer of 2018. It was mixed and mastered in December 2019 & It was officially released on bandcamp.com in February 2020.


Mikey: I do have to say your vocals aren't that bad. There's definitely a lot of heart when I hear it.  Any singer that you tried to channel?


Schierer: Thanks man, I appreciate that. I put a lot of myself into it more than trying to sound like anyone, but there are a lot of singers I take what I can from and there's too many to name but some that come to mind are Steve Marriott, Noddy Holder, David Coverdale, Phil Mogg, Joe Lynn Turner, Don Dokken, Jack Blades, Joe Elliott, Michael Jackson, Chris Cornell, there's some tiny elements of all these and probably more than I can think of at the moment. I worked hard to get the best performances I can get out of me for the albums.


Mikey: I also wanted to point out - as much as I love the 70's/80's throwback sound, I also dig the song titles and lyrics. When reading them, I would think they came from the 80's. Are some of these songs come from personal experience or stories - maybe both?


Schierer: I usually start writing lyrics with a song title in mind. This lends itself really well to having hooks and choruses thought out before the verses, but I almost always write around the title. Subject matter is mostly cheesy love songs and many are written about someone in particular while others are stories about real life and fictional scenarios or a combination of both. There's nothing deep and thought provoking going on in my lyrics its very tongue and cheek and even emo at times. I put a lot of thought into the lyrics and how they sing over the music phrasing wise. Some lyrics come quicker than others, but I must say vocals and lyrics are equally as much work as tracking all the instruments if not harder work.


Mikey: Yeah, those lyrics do capture that 80's cheese. I remember in high school; my friends and I wrote songs like that - hoping we would get chicks.  Haha.


So, moving on to Schierer II - now did you had any songs left over that didn't make the first album or was the 2nd album done from scratch?


Schierer: I wrote all the newer song ideas for the 2nd album while finishing the 1st album. I had one song that was left over from the 1st album that got rewritten as Isabella Jezebel as well as Drink Away My Blues that was taken from the demo. Hellbound Whiskey Train was written around a bass riff that I came up with 20 years ago. Everything else was written specifically to be on the follow up album. I usually would record a couple handfuls of songs ideas as instrumental demos and use the best ones to write songs for the album cuts. There's also a bunch of leftovers that will never become a complete song.


Mikey: To finally play some of these songs live must have been something. How much does it mean to you to do Schierer live?


Schierer: It was awesome getting to play a few shows before everything shut down. I really appreciate the footage you were able to capture at the Dead Habib CD Release show in 2019. That was the only show that I played all original material. All the other shows I played some cover songs because I wasn't confident with a full original set. Those were solo performances but now Schierer is a duo with John Michael Garrison now on bass guitar and lead and backing vocals so now we got the big choruses going on which gives that Bombastic sound that I have been chasing all along. It would be great to get back out there performing again we are ready to rock.


Mikey: One of my next question was you adding a member to Schierer. When you were uploading videos online, I noticed you got yourself a bass player. What’s your history with John and when did you know he was a good fit?


Schierer: I met John at my job and we bonded over music and traded cd's of our bands. Then we jammed out on guitars at work, shortly after that I invited him to try out and thought he could learn some of my songs and he offered to play bass. It just worked out and now we have 13 songs down. John was originally a singer and had a band with his brother called Steady Onward Band (SOB) and was the frontman for another Reggae band from the So Cal area and has a great deal of experience as a performer opening for larger acts like Kid Rock and LA Guns. It’s awesome to not only have a solid bass player but he is a hell of a singer/songwriter and we write well together. We just finished collaborating on an epic power metal song where he sings lead and wrote the lyrics, and it came out amazing. We are currently seeking out a drummer and possibly a keyboard player that would be interested in sitting in on some jam sessions to find like-minded musicians to expand the band.


Mikey: Oh, shit! Is the Power Metal track gonna be in the next album or is it gonna be a stand-alone? And those 13 songs you guys have written, have you begun recording anything?


Schierer: At the moment- a 3rd album is not fully realized yet, but it has album material potential. We have recorded one song that John wrote as a tribute to his brother and bandmate Chris Garrison who passed away, its called For What It's Worth and its on YouTube. We have put a lot of focus in just playing together and getting the songs tightened up. We have plans to get more into producing recordings its been 4 months of becoming a solid unit and being stage ready if necessary which was my main goal unfortunately live music is at a standstill but at the same time we have been enjoying the process of playing and singing in the moment.


Mikey: Since things may seem to get back to normal by the fall, are you hoping to have a full line-up by then? And if it's just you and John, would you two be performing with a backing track?


Schierer: We are getting heavily prepared to play shows, constantly expanding our setlist and are more than ready to perform as is, which at the moment is a duo 2 voices, a guitar and bass but have been wanting to expand the band and start working with other musicians first and foremost we would really like to find a suitable drummer. We are more than willing to work with backing tracks until then which at the moment is a drum program arrangement mixed together with some keyboard parts. I know we can also sound really full and fat as a power trio with the right drummer without relying on any background accompaniment.


Mikey: And lastly - looking back at your musical journey, how do you feel and is there anything you like to say about it?


Schierer: As far as musical journeys go its been a fun learning experience for me. I have played many styles and genres of music over the years and have been fortunate enough to find an outlet for all my creative ideas whether it be in collaboration or on my own. Getting to meet all sorts of interesting and talented people along the way has been great too. I really appreciate you giving me this opportunity to tell the world about Schierer music, and thank you for taking enough interest in my music to reach out for an interview and hopefully we can get more people listening and rocking out with us in the future.

Thank you again Mikey and everyone at This Noise Is Ours and all that take the time to read this.

SCHIERER II is available now on Bandcamp and be sure to follow SCHIERER on Facebook to keep up with music and (hopefully) shows.

Schierer Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Schierermetalmusic

Monday, 5 April 2021

Wendigo - Heresy

Labels: NitroAtmosfericum Records

Formats: CD

Release Date: 10 Feb 2021

1. To Evil Enemies

2. Revelation

3. On The Blade Of Destiny!

4. The Pit Of Your Nightmares

5. Descended...

I'm still suffering from sporadic writer's block, so please forgive me if things are still a little slow for a few days. I'm testing the notion that I might almost be over it with a review of another release I received earlier this year, as part of a package from Russian label NitroAtmosfericum Records and longtime blog supporter SiN. SiN is otherwise known for the ambient black metal band Astarium, but here he reappear's in Wendigo, a band that veers off in a more grunge/punk/alternative direction. Heresy is the band's second release and it was put onto cd back in February. Also I need to mention that everything on here is in Russian, so I've had to use Google Translate for the song titles. I hope they're correct, but please let me know if not.

As with Astarium, much of Wendigo’s music is captured using synths and midi instruments but it’s very skilfully done. EP opener ‘To Evil Enemies’ is very up-tempo and catchy, with the odd bit of heaviness thrown in as well. Sometimes, the recording does seem to break up/skip in places and I can’t quite figure it out if that’s a defect with this cd or with the release overall. Thankfully, it’s minimal though and doesn’t effect your enjoyment too much.

‘Revelation’ is a lot more menacing in it’s tone and even the clean vocals add to that feeling. This is definitely one to file under alternative, as in truth it will only appeal to those who like truly alternative music and those not afraid to take a punt every now and then. I’ve got a lot of respect for the work that SiN has done over the years, as he’s doing something I would never have the guts to do so I can’t sit here and criticise it.

I do like how Wendigo keeps this music very true to it’s Russian homeland, not taking on more familiar Western influences. ‘On The Blade Of Destiny!’ is another up-tempo song that features cleverly programmed drums with pretty organic sounding bass and guitar work too. The vocals once again are clean, sometimes almost delivered as spoken-word. More extreme vocal patterns do emerge at times, but they are few and far between. In fact, I don’t recall the self-titled EP having this kind of crossover of styles.

There’s more of a minimalistic approach to penultimate song ‘’The Pit Of Your Nightmares’, which given it’s title, is definitely darker. It’s has a post-punk/industrial feel and despite it’s longer playing time, it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome at all. EP closer ‘Descended…’ continues in the way it’s predecessor finished. It seems to go by in a flash too.

Heresy is pretty varied overall. Wendigo doesn’t stick to one formula, choosing to mix faster songs with slow ones, upbeat music with gloomier tones. With alternative music being so broad in style and delivery, this is definitely worth a listen. It looks like Wendigo will be a very productive band going forwards.

This release isn't streaming online. I think it's about time NitroAtmosfericum Records created their own Bandcamp page so that more people can hear releases like this, but that's just my opinion.

Physical CD copies can be purchased here - http://www.nitroatmosfericum.ru/eng/

NitroAtmosfericum Records - https://www.facebook.com/nitroatmosfericum