Monday, 20 November 2017

VIDEO PREMIERE & REVIEW: Norilsk - "Le Passage des Glaciers"

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full length
Date Released: 24/11/2017
Label: Hypnotic Dirge Records

French canadian doom duo Norilsk return from a two-year layoff with a surprising new album, one that gives a reengaged sound to the pair's signature style.  Norilsk manages to be bold without being alienating, and that is indeed refreshing.

"Le Passage des Glaciers" CD//DD track listing

1. Midnight Sun
2. Le puits de l'oubli
3. Namolennye
4. La voie des morts
5. Ghosts of Loss (Passage pt. I)
6. Noirceur intérieure
7. L'érosion (Passage pt. II)
8. Ellesmere

The Review:

French Canadian doom duo Norilsk return from a two-year layoff with a surprising new album, one that gives a reengaged sound to the pair's signature style.

Norilsk's 2015 full length, "The Idea of North," was praiseworthy as a doom record. From its terse moments to unique departures, the album conjured up recollections of some of the better moments of groups like Last Sacrament and a more downtempo Temple of Void. In other words, Norilsk forged a steadfast doom metal path, with new wrinkles – a touch of moody ambience and experimental music most notably was part of the band's approach.

With "Le Passage des Glaciers" Norilsk plunges headlong into an atmospheric realm that is far bolder than past offerings. "Midnight Sun" begins seemingly where "The Idea of North" left off, until it doesn't. There's that familiar doom metal footprint to the cut that veers off into unusual territory. A spoken word bridge into a dirge-like guitar progression floats into "Le puits de l'oubli," which follows an identical road. Strong, classic doom arrangement makes the song outstanding, while Nicholas Miquelon’s low vocals set a depressive tone. There's a psychedelic riff that emerges about three minutes in, before giving way to rapturous doom. You hear these idiosyncratic elements throughout "Le Passage des Glaciers" to varying impact. There's the prog-rock introduction to "Namolennye" and the grubby blues riffage of "La voie des morts," which spins a hypnotic tempo. Norilsk manages to be bold without being alienating, and that is indeed refreshing.

Hardcore doom fans may like Norilsk's latest because it is molded with an eye to old-school doom records; seldom does the album go past a glacial pace, with even the stylistic flourishes never distracting the duo's strong suit. Songs such as "Ghosts of Loss (Passage pt. I)" and "Noirceur intérieure" prove to be deceptively good because they center the fundamentals: exceptional guitars, compact drumming and a reverberating vocal. Even as a selection like "L'érosion (Passage pt. II)" charts into post-rock territory, Norilsk keeps its core doom aesthetic as its compass. Again, such is a philosophy that is good because it is harder to pull off than the casual listener realizes, though musicians may well appreciate most how well "Le Passage des Glaciers" steps out while also seeming to be part of the greater canon.

As the release ends with the curiously quiet "Ellesmere," the listener has to appreciate the risks Norilsk took to get here. The band's subtle experiments deliver in ways you hear a few listens in, presenting a stunning return for the Canadian act.

"Le Passage des Glaciers" is available here and were also excited to premiere “Noirceur intérieure”. A hybrid between a lyric video and a music video, it features a storyline developed jointly between the band and Erik Labossiere of Wikked Twist Films, and uses both French lyrics subtitles and their English translation.

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Friday, 17 November 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Northless - "Last Bastion of Cowardice"

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 17/11/2017
Label: Gilead Media |
Halo of Flies

Northless’ chemistry has gotten better, and the compositions are much more rich and the effect is nothing less than absolutely crushing.  If you enjoy intelligent sludge, "Last Bastion of Cowardice" is for you.

"The Last Bastion of Cowardice" CD//DD//DLP track listing

1. The Origin Of Flames
2. Godsend
3. The Devil In Exile
4. Slave To A Scorched Earth
5. Their Blood Was Always Mine
6. Never Turn Your Back On The Dead
7. Extinction Verse
8. Last Bastion of Cowardice
9. Our Place In The Dirt
10. Rotting Days

The Review:

The National Alliance on Mental Illness notes that one in five adults in the United States experiences mental illness in a given year, while one in 25 will experience a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. We've seen these issues played out again and again on the national stage, often in the form of violence. However, tragedies are only the hint at a much more widespread problem.

Now 10 years into its career, Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Northless has continually captured hopelessness in its blackened, noisy sludge. Their 2011 album "Clandestine Abuse," 2013's "World Keeps Sinking" and the 2016 EP "Cold Migration" gave fans intense, personal and heavy music. Their new album, "Last Bastion of Cowardice," delves headlong into a much darker place, telling the story of a person who discovers the futility of violence.

In his day job as a social worker, guitarist/vocalist Erik Stenglein mentioned in recent interviews the scope of mental illness he sees on a daily basis. Human suffering an institutional lack of empathy and neglect for people's most basic needs are all far more significant than you might imagine. His experience, combined with today's headlines, offer a poignant backdrop to what is, even stripped down of concept, a savage return for Northless.

Fans of Northless' work will take in its first one-third of the album with a lot of satisfaction. Drummer John Gleisner and bassist Jerry Hauppa concoct a sinister foundation for those first three songs. "The Origin of Flames" opens festivities with a tremendous noise rock/post-punk influence that enhances the sludge base of the quartet. "Godsend" slows the rhythm down as Stenglein's mammoth vocals take center stage. This cut also lets you appreciate Nicholas Elert's guitar riffs and his overall contribution to the band. As you reach "The Devil In Exile," which brings back in a bit more of the post-punk and even hardcore edge to the band, longtime listeners will appreciate the maturation process for Northless. The group's chemistry has gotten better, and the compositions are still more rich. Oh yeah, and the effect is nothing less than absolutely crushing.

Furthermore "Last Bastion of Cowardice" is effective because it weaves stories that are at once topical and still not crack-you-over-the-head political. No shots at bands who can make political music; 2017 has seen many exemplary songs that are socially conscious. Northless just happens to be the strongest at creating a mood and presenting songwriting that everyone can relate to in many a fashion. Without spoiling more of the story, Stenglein and company are faithful to telling their story through the tracks. "Their Blood Was Always Mine" is tightly wound lyrically. If you enjoy intelligent sludge, "Last Bastion of Cowardice" is for you.

"The Last Bastion of Cowardice" is available here and here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Thursday, 16 November 2017

INTERVIEW: "If Carlsberg did dynamic power doom duos, Monte Luna would probably be the best in the world"

By: Aaron Pickford

As I am sure some avid followers of THE SLUDGELORD can attest too, it is our mission to present the very best heavy music the underground scene has to offer and recently I commissioned Andrei Moose from our Russian chapter to painstakingly sift through the very best albums released via bandcamp and compile the best into a chart.   For me and I am sure many of you agree, if you’re not at least attempting to release your music via this musical platform then you’re fucking up and you ain’t in the game.

Now hitting the no 1 spot back in October, were a band previously unknown to me, but holy shit does THE SLUDGELORD most sincerely approve? Hailing from Austin, Texas Monte Luna deliver towering molten riffs, bucketloads of groove and hypnotic vocals, in fact this two piece are so fucking awesome, their self titled debut album  is one of the most captivating and downright fucking monstrous records I have heard this year.  Clocking in a hefty 71 minutes, “Monte Luna” never suffers from lag, never repeats itself and just as Alice peered through the looking glass, you have no idea just what a fantastical journey is ahead of you when you press play.

Now despite releasing the album back in September, “Monte Luna’s” official album release is this Saturday November 18th, so with the band prepping for this show, I managed to hook with band members James Clarke (Guitar, Bass, Vocal) and Phil Hook (Drums, FX, Synth) to get the low down about the roots of the band, the recording of the new album and amongst other things how they managed to score one Chris Fielding, he of Conan to master their debut record.  So check it out below.  

Guys, welcome to THE SLUDGELORD, the new album rules, but before we get to that. Can you give us an insight into how you started playing music, leading up to the formation of Monte Luna?

James: I started playing music when I was around 18. For years up to then I had always enjoyed singing but playing had intimidated me. I tried drums when I was 11 and it was just too loud for my parent’s house so it deterred me. Eventually I started playing guitar because I really liked singing along with my friends who played music. My first band I was in was this terrible band I made with some friends in the Navy. We played a few shows in Virginia Beach and we sucked. After I got out of the Navy I went back up north and started a band called Chronoscope. That is where I really started to make some cool noise. I was much more serious about playing guitar and singing. I did that for about 3 years until I got a job in Buda Texas building Aquaponics systems and green houses. I really wanted to find an area that is accepting and much more into heavier music than the area I was in. Austin drew me in and I never looked back. Ha ha

I actually met Phil via craigslist. I posted an add asking for a drummer who was into Neurosis, the Melvins, Shrinebuilder and the likes and he was the first to respond! Who would have thought!

Phil: I taught myself to play drums in the early 90’s and was in a bunch of different bands in the Indianapolis metal scene.  Around 2009 I moved to Austin, TX and started doing a lot of drummer for hire work, recording and touring for many bands and artists. A couple years ago I was feeling burnt out and stagnant artistically and knew I had to play heavy music again. So I creeped craigslist looking for some people to jam with, typed “Neurosis” on the search and the rest is history. Haha!

For folks unfamiliar with your band, are there any bands on the scene past and present that you would use as a reference point to describe your band, and who or what continues to inspire you and push you to try new things?

James: For me I have always admired the work ethic of the Melvins. I look to them on how a band should perform and run a business. I have also learned a lot of band business knowledge from our friends in Destroyer of light. Both the Melvins and Destroyer of Light put on phenomenal shows, and to me, it is all about keeping your audience engaged and hungry. As far as sound I really don’t have a specific point to reference. I like Matt Pikes tone but I didn’t really mold my tone to anyone. I just tried things until I felt it filled enough room. I’m influenced in general by bands like Eyehategod, Neurosis, The Melvins, The Beatles, Funkadelic, Black Sabbath and Rob Crow.

As far as who inspires us to try new things. I would say most of my peers in Austin and San Antonio. I love the bands we are playing with and coming up with and I could not be more thankful! Cursus for sure! And our friends in Spain, Ground.

Phil: My music influences are all over the place… I pull from Godflesh to Howlin Wolf to Sade. The whole creative process is what pushes me to try new things for sure. When I composed the instrumental segways at the end of “6000 Year March” and “Inverted Mountain”, I sampled multiple records on my turntables, added drones and synths.

What can you tell us about your new record “Monte Luna” and where do you feel it sits within the context of current metal scene?

James: The concept of the album revolves around a story I created based on this crazy universe that is loosely inspired by things such as H.P. Lovecraft, Bloodborne/Dark Souls, Kingdom Death Monster, Berserk, The Thing and Dungeons and Dragons (which I love by the way! I dungeon master! I’m a huge nerd).

 Let me just pull an excerpt from my lore here “Long ago in a distant time, unnatural pestilence consumed a world of peace. Father Arbitor has called upon the forces of the old ones to set this tranquil land a flame. After the burning of Elohim, a once great and powerful city, the people of the Nameless City are called upon as the only warriors brave enough to face Father Arbitor’s hellish army. Through their journey the warriors of the Nameless City will face perils the likes they have never seen. A 6000 year march across arid, decaying, plague lands. Climbing the impossible, the Inverted Mountain, reaching the Nightmare Frontier and facing the end. The orb of power glowing green with madness. What will end the cycle? Is the orb the true evil? Or does evil lie within?”. And yes the “Hound” EP does tie into the full length.

It sets in motion the events as the hooded warriors kill father Arbitors faithful dog, thus starting the war leading up to the burning of Elohim. For those wondering, yes we sampled Bloodborne on 6,000 year march! I love that game!! Where does it sit? To be honest I don’t know, we aren’t really trying to be just one genre. We both love so much music we couldn’t say, but it’s certainly heavy meditative music. We want you to turn it up, smoke it up and feel the sound. Like you would live.

Does anything spring to mind when you think about the completion of your new record and how is the mood in the camp at present?

James: I think I’m just glad to be done with it and I am ready to move forward as a band. The concept of the album was a long and difficult process. We tried to capture as much live magic as possible on the recording because we feel that to experience us fully is to see us live. For the mood band wise I know I’m loving it. We just played some awesome shows in Indianapolis and I got to meet some of the guys in Coffinworm and Gates of Slumber so that was an awesome fan boy moment!!

We have received a lot of positive feedback for our album and we beyond humbled at the reception. I think that Austin has a phenomenal group of musicians that I am proud to call my brothers and sisters. We are all doing so much right now and trying to grow this into something for all of us. It just takes time, but it is a wonderful time to be playing heavy music in ATX and the surrounding area. The Lost Well is our home away from home and we are thankful for it.

Phil: We’ve always respected what each of us brings to the table as artists and humans and I don’t see that changing anytime soon….no matter what life shit happens.

What stands out as your overarching memory from the recording sessions?

James: I think what stands out most for me was how amazing the environment was. We recorded at Tommy Munter’s studio in San Antonio (Matador studios). He is a good friend of Phils and an excellent musician. We did 3 days in the studio and crushed it. I think the moment I knew we were doing something right was that within the first day, at like 6 p.m. the cops came and told us we had to turn down. I almost lost my shit! I couldn’t believe it was really happening, and it just happened to be the night of a crazy storm. My mind was racing and I was thinking well that’s that, were screwed. But the next day we woke up early, moved the bass cab into the bathroom and ripped that puppy a new one.

We recorded all the instrumentation in about a day and a half. Also, what really stood out was how receptive Chris Fielding was to mastering the album! And for him to say he loves the vocals made me swoon! Haha! I run a Matamp GT2 into a Worshiper 4x12 and ABY it with a GK 1001 RB into a Worshiper 2x15. I was happy to lay that down as we would live. Phil and I were able to be in the same room while recording so it allowed us to capture the energy we have. We did very little overdubbing.

Phil: The album opener, “Burning of Elohim” had a pretty cool moment in the studio. James and I tracked the album in the room together as we would for our live show and I have a pretty big drum configuration…Ludwig maples, 26 inch kick, 14, 16, 18 toms and a 14x8 steel snare. On the opening tom pattern I’m just beating the living shit out of my floor toms and the air pushing off the drums carried into James guitar pick-ups and created this cool guitar part. We didn’t even realize what happened until playback and James was like, “what the hell guitar part is that”? Of course we kept that magic on the album!

With you new record in the bag, how is your schedule shaping up over the next 12 months?

James: We are planning a 2 week, potentially 3 week tour in April/may (East Coast) and a smaller run with some friends overseas (They want to come here though, we will be in EU asap!) We are going to book a week for the studio this time and that should be right after we come off our 2 week tour. We want the album to really crush, keep some elements of what makes us Monte Luna but always evolve the sound forward and have fun with it! If we aren’t having fun we aren’t a band. We played a great show with Omotai and it felt great to be back home! We hadn’t played TX since June. Our album release shows are coming up on Saturday and we are doing a few dates in December with our friends in Forming the Void!

This year is going to wrap up nicely into a hectic but fun new year. Lets get to Europe sooner rather than later shall we?

Finally, do you have any last words?

James: I’d just like to say that we aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel here. More so, trying to invent an interdimensional space ship.

Phil: I’m going to borrow a quote from my friend Karl Simon (Wretch, Gates of Slumber)…the music’s not too slow, you’re listening too fast. 

The End

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

"Forever a servant of the riff": In Conversation with Electric Wizard's Jus Oborn

By: Mark Ambrose

This Friday, November 17, Electric Wizard drops their ninth album, “Wizard Bloody Wizard”.  Their second release through the legendary Spinefarm Records, the album is also their first with Clayton Burgess on bass and Simon Poole on drums.  After honing their sound with an extensive international tour, the band recorded six tracks live to tape, creating one of their most accessible releases yet.  Founding member and doom metal icon Jus Oborn took a few minutes to talk to THE SLUDGELORD about this new chapter in the band, future film projects, and what to expect from the legendary doom crew in the coming year.

What was the writing and rehearsal process like for “Wizard Bloody Wizard”?

Pretty much the same as usual, really! It was a bit of a hassle because we were moving houses at the time.  A bit all over the place, rehearsing in different places.  But basically we work on the riffs, me and Liz, and just jam them out at rehearsals.

In putting it to tape, did you put any restrictions on yourselves – a certain number of takes?  It certainly sounds like a real throwback, not ProTooled but all in the same space.

It was all recorded live – first or second take to be honest, on all of it.  I recorded all of it myself on a sixteen-track tape.  You don’t really have options to do drop-ins and shit when you’re actually recording the whole band live.  You gotta get it right.  But I like that discipline.  I like the fact that you capture a performance on tape, you know?  What a band really sounds like.  And you gotta play as fucking good as you can!  You gotta really give it everything.  Because it comes out – it’s not like ProTools or whatever where you can chop things up afterwards. You go, “Well ok that was ok, we can fix that bit.”  Then you’re just making some kinda classical music or something *laughs*.

This is your first release with Clayton Burgess and Simon Poole on bass and drums and they bring some real swing and soul in their rhythm.  What’s their addition to the band been like?

It’s definitely given us a whole new foundation we hadn’t had before.  We were out on the road quite a lot in the last two or three years, so the lineup’s really solidified.  And you noticed Simon and Clayton have a chemistry.  We actually got them to rehearse together before we brought in the guitars to get them locked in together.  And that was cool, that worked out.  I think it’s something we’ve wanted for a long time – to have a bit of a stronger rhythm section so we can experiment and go a bit more over the top.  I always had the idea that the guitars in ‘Wizard were always very solid, very simple, very brutal, and then the drums and the bass would play around a lot more.  Just have a lot of counter rhythm, counter melody.  Just another dimension, you know?  And I think it’s really worked out on this record.  I’m pretty fucking pleased.

From the beginning, Electric Wizard has had a multimedia element, whether with the film references, the Drugula comic, the visual show.  Do you have any plans with other media or film collaboration?

Well we’ve always been tinkering around with doing film, and we’ve filmed various things over the years.  But it’s always a bit of a long process, a lot of the time.  It’s all kind of unfinished projects and half ideas.  I think this video for “See You in Hell” is the first real video we’ve ever done!  We got to experiment with a few ideas there, recreating the old 70s TV studio sort of feel.  But moving into film is something we’d like to do.  I’ve been looking into – there’s actually an old biker movie called “Angels”.  It’s a Danish biker movie by the people that did “The Sinful Dwarf”.  But it’s missing its soundtrack and missing all the dialogue, so I’ve had the idea of re-recording it.  Recording music and doing the dialogue again – I mean the plot’s pretty easy to follow! *laughter*

And as far as comics and stuff, I’ve been interested in doing comics for a long time.  I’ve been talking with some people.  A few people seem to like the Drugula idea, you know!  I think they’d like to see a comic like that. 

It seems there’s a lot of crossover appeal, from the beginning of metal, with horror and comics.

It’s just part of the culture, growing up with the dark and heavy metal stuff.

One of our readers, Eric, wanted to know what you’re listening to lately.  Specifically, any non-metal/non-doom stuff that stands out for you?

I mean I do tend to listen to a lot of heavy rock and metal *laughs*.  I’ve been listening to a lot of The Sweet, an English heavy rock band.  They were kind of a pop band at first and they started doing some heavier shit.  I think they’re a pretty big influence on a lot of people.

Non-metal I just picked up this album by Jean-Claude Vannier – an album called “Insolitudes”.  A guy who collaborated with Serge Gainsbourg on the “Melody Nelson” album (1971’s “Histoire de Melody Nelson”).  It’s a pretty cool album, man!  It’s really dark, weird, kind of jazz, classical soundtrack music.  It’s pretty far out, pretty psychedelic, to be honest.  Good to smoke to.  Fuckin blew my mind *laughs*.

But yeah I’d recommend The Sweet F.A. (aka Sweet Fanny Adams) to anyone.  It’s some pretty fuckin epic, awesome guitar work on it.

Are there any reissues of some of the classic, out of print Electric Wizard stuff in the works?  Specifically, “Chrononaut” and “Supercoven” have become pretty sparse.

We’ve actually been approached by some labels recently.  Southern Lord have asked us about it again, because they put out the rerelease of “Supercoven” the first time round.  I’d like to see them come back out, especially as “Supercoven” is one of my favorite Electric Wizard albums.

OK here’s an urban legend to either debunk or confirm: one of our readers, Dan, asked if the volume of an Electric Wizard show really made you go deaf once?

Yeah pretty much! *laughter* Yeah I burst an eardrum.  Yeah it’s not cool.  I mean I hurt my eardrums for many years and it got pretty bad.

What are you planning as far as shows in the near future?

With the new record, it’s time to get out on the road.  We have a few festivals lined up – Inferno in Norway is gonna be cool with Satyricon and Obituary.  It’ll be pretty fucking heavy!  And we’re back in the US with the New Year.  It’s fuckin awesome to go over there.  Seems like everyone is still into heavy music, man.

Thanks for sitting down with THE SLUDGELORD, Jus!


Band info: facebook

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

INTERVIEW: Dylan Garrett Smith at Shadow Woods Metal Fest, September 14/17, 2017

By: Mark Ambrose

From September 14-17, hundreds of metal fans descended on White Hall, Maryland for a weekend of camping, music, and generic mayhem at the third annual Shadow Woods Metal Fest.  THE SLUDGELORD was on the scene and managed to snag a few interviews with performers, artists, and the people behind this unique, amazing musical event.  As part of our coverage, we conducted an e-mail interview with artist Dylan Garrett Smith, who designed the official Shadow Woods Metal Fest logo and has worked with dozens of bands in the metal scene – from genre superstars to underground darlings.

Could you introduce yourself and offer a quick bio?  What media do you work in?

My name is Dylan Garrett Smith and I’m an artist/illustrator/designer living in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania.  For my illustrations, I primarily use ashes, chalk-lead, and ink on black cotton-rag paper, but I have also used (and continue to occasionally use) the ashes of a burnt church as a drawing material or mixed into my ink when I’m screen printing posters.  I attended the first year of Shadow Woods and had an absolute blast – I met a lot of people, I discovered a lot of bands I hadn’t heard of, and saw some bands that I already really liked, so last year, I decided to go back as a vendor and sell my prints, patches, and pins.  After last year, Mary contacted me and asked if I was interested in doing the poster and shirt design for this year – I said, “Hell yeah!” and got to work!

Could you highlight some of the musicians/bands who you've created artwork for and what that process is like?

I’ve created art for Mastodon, Baroness, Sodom, All Pigs Must Die, Early Graves, The Funeral Pyre, Wildspeaker, High Priest, Of Feather and Bone, Old Wounds, and literally dozens of others.   Whenever I create anything for bands, whether they’re as big as Baroness or a band putting merch together for their first tour, I always sit down with their records and take them in; listen to the songs, read the lyrics, and get a feel for what they’re about.  From there, I start sketching – and most of the time, no one will see the first or second sketches because I’m just putting information down and figuring things out.  But once I have a sketch that shows a more solid idea of the concept that I’m working with, I’ll send it over to them to check out and if they like where it’s going, I begin working up the final image.

In what ways does music influence your creative process? Do you have "go to" bands or albums when working?

Absolutely – some of my favorite records to listen to in my studio are “Torn Beyond Reason” by Woods of Desolation, “Burning for the Ancient” and “…and the lamps expire” by Addaura, and “The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull” by Earth.  These records are some of my favorites of all time and perfect for me to listen to while working because I’m able to reach this calm state of relaxation (which is otherwise extremely rare for me) where I’m not actively thinking about anything – I can just work.

Are there any artists, visual or otherwise, who distinctly influenced your style, medium, or process?

There are literally dozens of artists whose work has been influential to me not only finding my own voice as a creative, but that continue to inspire me still.  Paul Romano, Pushead, Jeremy Hush, Seldon Hunt, Florian Bertmer, all of the incredible artists working with The Vacvvm – and a ton of others, but I also think that rather than a single artist, the most influential thing in every aspect of my life and my creative growth has been growing up in punk.  My work ethic, problem-solving skills, aesthetic, political views, lifestyle, outlook, and everything else came from growing up in the DIY punk scene.

There have been several blogs and articles calling attention to appropriated or "repurposed" artwork, generally taken without credit to the original artist, specifically in the world of "music artwork". Could you speak a little about the current attention to this issue and your feelings on artistic credit in general?

It’s always a bummer when I see an artist not getting the credit that they deserve – whether that’s from a band using art without permission, another artist claiming someone’s work as their own, or a publication posting about a new album without mentioning who designed it.  Do your own work, praise the people that are doing cool things, and credit your artists.  Always.

Who was your "must see" act going into Shadow Woods? Who was a pleasant new discovery for you?

Going into the third year of Shadow Woods, the bands I absolutely needed to see were Panopticon, Woe, Withered, and Black Table.  All of them exceeded my expectations – they were phenomenal.  But a few bands that I had never checked out that I really enjoyed were Night Raids, Erlkonig, Voarm, Infera Bruo, and Worthless.  Overall, Human Bodies was the most exciting discovery for me – I’ve been listening to them nonstop since being home.  And if you’ve never seen Heavy Temple, make it a priority!

Finally, where can fans view and purchase your work? Feel free to promote any musical/film/literary/etc. projects you're involved in as well.

My work is available on my site, as well as various shops, galleries, bands, and brands around the country (and a few others).  The best way to stay up-to-date on my creative endeavors is to follow me on Instagram at @dylanxvx.  Thank you for taking the time to check out my work!

FOR THOSE ABOOT TO ROCK: Riffs of Canada with Speaker (Toronto, Ontario)

By: Mark Tremblay

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 10//11/2017
Label: Independent

Toronto’s best kept secret come into their own on this release, showcasing the 'core noise they have mastered, as well as incorporating new sounds into their wheel-house.

“Murder and Create” DD track listing:

1). Plaster
2). Bleach
3). Catch 22
4). Conscious Sleep
5). Cocoon
6). Eve

The Review:

Toronto’s best kept secret in metal and hardcore start to come into their own with the release of their new EP “Murder and Create”. The EP showcases the refined metalcore that Speaker has mastered, as well as new sounds that they are incorporating into their wheel-house.

The first half of the EP showcases a master class in metallic hardcore. Songs like Plaster”,” Bleach”, and “Catch 22” flex a unique versatility in frenetic energy and dissonant guitars. The stop and turn nature of these tracks maximizes the weight of the riffs, and keeps the listener on their feet. The second half of the EP is where we hear the band reach into new territory. “Conscious Sleep” and “Eve” see the band going for more of a Gaza/Cult Leader approach; trading in their hardcore roots for a more atmospheric and doom-laden approach to heavy music.

While not everything lands perfectly on this record, it is great to see Speaker flex their creative muscles, and venture out into new territory. It will be great to see what happens next for the band.

“Murder and Create” is available here

Band info: Facebook || bandcamp