Friday, 20 April 2018

FOR THOSE ABOOT TO ROCK: Riffs of Canada with Hashteroid [Vancouver, British Columbia]

By: Mark Tremblay

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 20/04/2018
Label: Independent



Hashteroid’s self titled album is truly one of the most enjoyable experiences one can have from heavy music in 2018.

“Hashteroid” DD track listing:

1). Freak Power
2). Black Tide
3). Stan the Wolfman
4). Green Caramel
5). Godspeed Below
6). Cool Ghost
7). ...Return to Hash Planet

The Review:

From the outset, Hashteroid’s self titled record seems like an average stoner metal experience. From the album’s artwork aesthetic, to the band’s implied interests in psychedelics, the listener gears themselves for another exercise in Sleep worship. Once the music starts however, all of these pre-conceived notions are gone. From the sheer speed, guitar solos, and focus on song melody, “Hashteroid” is an experience impossible to pin down to one genre. “Hashteroid” is an album that is forward thinking, but packs enough nostalgia to speak to die hard Mötorhead fans. If you’re looking for a truly unique experience in heavy music, look no further than “Hashteroid”, it is abundantly filled with riffs of all kinds. From the thundering rock and roll of “Freak Power” and “Godspeed Below”, to the doomier “Stan the Wolfman” and “Cool Ghost”, there is something for everyone. Each track transitions between multiple riffs, constantly keeping the listener on its toes.

None of this would be work, however, if it weren’t for great song writing by the band as a whole. The band has a great understanding of how to utilize pace, and how to properly incorporate guitar effects. Songs like “Godspeed Below” are elevated with the bands ability to incorporate small subtleties throughout.  Hashteroid’s debut record breathes new life into heavy music, while at the same time striking the right amount of nostalgia listeners love from retro metal. Hashteroid’s self titled album is truly one of the most enjoyable experiences one can have from heavy music in 2018.


“Hashteroid” is available here



Band info: bandcamp || facebook

ALBUM REVIEW: The Crown, "Cobra Speed Venom"

By: Daniel Jackson

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 16/03/2018
Label: Metal Blade Records




After years of struggling to compete with their own legacy, The Crown are sounding inspired and in excellent form again on ‘Cobra Speed Venom’. The barely-contained frenetic energy of the band’s best work are here, and the riffs are, on the whole, more engaging than anything the band has come up with in the last 15 years.


‘Cobra Speed Venom’ CD//LP//DD track listing:

1. Destroyed By Madness
2. Iron Crown
3. In the Name of Death
4. We Avenge!
5. Cobra Speed Venom
6. World War Machine
7. Necrohammer
8. Rise In Blood
9. Where My Grave Shall Stand
10. The Sign of the Scythe
11. Nemesis Diamond (bonus track)
12. The Great Dying (bonus track)

The Review:

The path that has led The Crown to their new album ‘Cobra Speed Venom’ hasn’t been an easy one. After disbanding in 2004 following touring difficulties and frustrations following the previous year’s ‘Possessed 13’, the band’s members found themselves in an uphill battle to come up with an engaging sound in the years that followed. Several new bands, a renaming, and then return albums in 2010 and 2015 saw success to varying degrees, but nothing that quite captured the magic of the band at its peak. ‘Doomsday King’ and ‘Death Is Not Dead’ were solid albums in and of themselves, but they understandably fell short of the tremendous standards set by the albums the band released from 1998 to 2002.

After years of struggling to compete with their own legacy, The Crown are sounding inspired and in excellent form again on ‘Cobra Speed Venom’. The barely-contained frenetic energy of the band’s best work are here, and the riffs are, on the whole, more engaging than anything the band has come up with in the last 15 years.

The album’s first single, “Iron Crown”, is the kind of quintessential stormer that was the band’s hallmark during their best years. The death metal on tap here has a lot of the same speed metal sensibility that fueled albums like ‘Hell is Here’ or ‘Crowned In Terror’. That sensibility is even more pronounced on “In The Name of Death”, and it’s a great joy to hear The Crown using that aspect of their sound so well after so many years. And that’s not even mentioning the tremendous guitar solo work as well. Those fiery solos have always been a part of what made The Crown so great, but it’s all the more meaningful when they’re the icing on the cake for songs that are this good.

New drummer Henrik Axelsson fits in remarkably well, considering how deeply rooted Janne Saarenpää’s style had been to The Crown’s musical identity. It essentially makes for a seamless transition, which felt like an impossibility from the outside looking in, back when Saarenpää announced his departure from the band back in 2014.

‘Cobra Speed Venom’ isn’t a perfect return to form, as some of the album’s slower moments still tend to be missing something, but the bulk of the album sees the band firing on all cylinders. It makes for a satisfying redemption story for a band that has struggled to regain their footing. At their best, there’s nothing quite like The Crown. They have a unique musical personality, and it’s wonderful to see that finally shining through again. ‘Cobra Speed Venom’ is an album that would have made me happy as a follow up to ‘Crowned in Terror’ nearly 15 years ago. It makes me even happier now.

‘Cobra Speed Venom’ is available digitally here and on CD/LP copy here


Band info: Official Site || Facebook

VIDEO PREMIERE: Demon Head deliver the "The Resistance" on 420 Day!!!


Demon Head is pleased to unveil their new 7" “The Resistance”, this new release is an epilogue to the bands last album 'Thunder on the Fields’ and contains two stories that will enthral the listener. The first single “Rivers of Mars” is a haunting rock song that somehow blends the scene of a forest night with the discovery of water on the Red Planet - our closest, still unknown neighbouring world.
 
“The Resistance” is the timeless narrative of the struggles and nightmares of an underground, partisan movement in the face of totalitarian power. Demon Head have crafted the music as a sinister rock soundtrack to tell this tale: our homage to those who defy tyranny and today you can check out the video to accompany “The Resistance” below.  The 7inch drops today via The Sign Records and is available here


Band info: facebook

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Foehammer, "Second Sight"

By: Mark Ambrose


Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 06/04/2018
Label: Australopithecus Records


Like the mythos of Tolkien himself, “Second Sight” is a vast, apocalyptic, intimidating slab of genius and practically invites obsessives and neophytes alike to bask in the overwhelming worlds within.

“Second Sight” DD//LP track listing

1. Black Numenorean
2. Recurring Grave
3. Axis Mundi
4. The Seer
      
The Review:

Since the 1960s rebirth of “The Lord of the Rings” as the go-to fantasy epic of counterculture, the utopian, religious, horrific, and even whimsical elements of J.R.R. Tolkien’s opus have been peppered into practically every subgenre of pop and rock music.  Whether the weird folk pop single “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” (Leonard Nimoy’s only musical hit), the numerous references in Led Zeppelin’s catalog, the derivative fantasy prog epics of power metal, countless band names, or the Uruk-hai obsessions of black metallers, there’s something about the Tolkien’s “Legendarium” that invites musical adaptation, inspiration, and exploration.  On the flipside, it’s also inspired a lot of eye-rolling crap – insipid name checks, tedious inside jokes, or, most insidiously, the racially coded misreading of particularly deficient black metal types.  Mostly, musicians who take on Tolkien shrink in comparison to the monolithic power; Foehammer is not one of these casualties of hubris.  The doom metal power trio is one of the only modern units formidable enough to wrestle with the Nazgul and emerge victorious.

“Black Numenorean” is the only explicit “Tolkien namecheck” song on Foehammer’s debut full length, “Second Sight”, but the entirety of the record is viscerally, elementally brutal, like a reverberating pyroclastic blast from Mount Doom.  Tolkien’s “Black Numenoreans” are the original corrupted men, turned against the powers of good to support their own sinister ambitions, and Foehammer’s auditory rendering is the perfect metaphor of corruption and martial obsession.  Stomping, rolling blasts of guitar fuzz, slowly aching bass riffs, and crashing percussion are the perfect soul-demolishing soundtrack for nihilistic evil.  I could imagine Sauron himself bellowing in sinister triumph through Jay Cardinell’s trademark death growls.

“Recurring Grave” may not be distinctly Tolkeinesque, but it continues the strain of trudging orc sludge, winding up to agonizing, palm muted buildups.  Joe Cox’s guitar tone is spot on – a gradual build of feedback and subtly bluesy riffs that you’ll find yourself humming for days afterward.  The ethereal fingerpicking intro of “Axis Mundi” may have you thinking you’ve stumbled into Rivendell, but Foehammer quickly descends back into total darkness.  The rhythmic one two punch of Cardinell’s bass and Vang’s titanic drum hits is pure filthy doom joy, while Cox gets to ramp up his playing for a full on shredding solo.

The closing sixteen-minute epic, “The Seer”, is a perfect apotheosis of “Second Sight”’s expansive tone, doom riffing, and occasional guitar freakouts; Cardinell’s growl is truly menacing, Vang’s drums pummel and then retreat, and the fuzz is unrelenting.  Jay’s bass, allowed a minute to churn alone, has the perfect mix of crackle and clarity.  The nearly instrumental second half is a transcendent final dirge that will break your neck from glacial but memorable hooks and riffs, before a final screeching fadeout that will beg you to fire up this LP all over again.  Like the mythos of Tolkien himself, “Second Sight” is a vast, apocalyptic, intimidating slab of genius and practically invites obsessives and neophytes alike to bask in the overwhelming worlds within.

“Second Sight” is available here



Band info: bandcamp || facebook

ALBUM PREMIERE: "Filthy Flowers Of Doom" by Italian heavyweights TONS


“Filthy Flowers of Doom" is Tons' second full length album. Five tracks of in your face sludge/doom metal riffs, tight drumming and a demonic voice all characterize the latest effort from Turin’s finest. Low-league occultism and weed devotion are the basis of this crushing album that will drag you into a sulphurous and sabbathian void. “Filthy Flowers of Doom” is recorded by Danilo “Deepest Sea” Battocchio, while mastering is helmed by Brad Boatright (Sleep, NAILS, Obituary) at Audiosiege (USA).Today you can check out the album in full before its official release on 20th April, let doom flow. Preorder here


Band info: facebook

Sunday, 15 April 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Winterfylleth, "The Hallowing of Heirdom"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 06/04/2018
Label: Candlelight Records |
Spinefarm Records



“Winterfylleth have created a superb album here- one of atmosphere, melancholy and mystery. Indeed, much like the landscapes that inspired it, there is beauty to be found here in abundance if you are willing to give it a try.”


“The Hallowing of Heirdom” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. The Shepherd
2. Frithgeard
3. Æcerbot
4. Halgemonath
5. Elder Mother
6. Embers
7. A Gleeman’s Volt
8. Latch to a Grave
9. The Nymph
10. On-Cýdig
11. Resting Tarn
12. The Hallowing of Heirdom


The Review:

Winterfylleth have always done things a little differently- no faux-satanic posing for them. No corpsepaint. No spikes and bullet belts. However, they remain a black metal band. On this record, though, they depart from the sonic tropes of black metal entirely and have instead turned in a gothic folk album. If you picked up their career spanning compendium a few years back and heard their version of “John Barleycorn Must Die”, then you have a pretty good reference point for what is contained here.

Twelve tracks of acoustic guitar, violin, percussion and vocals that range from choral to droning- no screams or growls necessary. Winterfylleth have always been a band enthralled with nature and landscape. “The Shepherd”, inspired by the Marlowe poem, and the title track are clear odes to the land, while the title of “Resting Tarn” makes explicit overtures to the land and the people of it, but elsewhere the influence of  nature and folklore is just as strong.

The melodic “Æcerbot”, the melancholic and moody “Halgemonath”, the elegant “Edler Mother”- they all make use of violin and textured acoustic guitars and set a mood of contemplation and wistfulness. At well over 50mins in length the album does not feel like a short listen. Indeed, how much of the album you can listen to in one go may be determined by your love (or lack thereof) of the sounds described here. It is certainly not for everybody, but those who are fans of dark folk will find a lot to like here. “Latch To A Grave” is as dark as anything you will find on most orthodox black metal records, while “The Nymph” is a good deal prettier, with its female voice-over and light atmospherics. The production and recording is also excellent- headed up by the evergreen Chris Fielding of Skyhammer Studio.

Winterfylleth have created a superb album here- one of atmosphere, melancholy and mystery. Indeed, much like the landscapes that inspired it, there is beauty to be found here in abundance if you are willing to give it a try.


“The Hallowing of Heirdom” is available here



Band info: bandcamp || facebook

ALBUM REVIEW: Eagle Twin, "The Thundering Heard"

By: John Reppion

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 30/03/2018
Label: Southern Lord Recordings



“The Thundering Heard” is a dense and rich record; full of aural and textual interest. It’s a record that makes you think, makes you imagine.  It is a visceral, heavy, epic Riff Monster of a record with horns of flame and hooves of stone.


“The Thundering Heard” CD//LP//DD track listing:

1). Quanah Un Rama 
2). Elk Wolfv Hymn
3). Heavy Hoof
4). Antlers of Lightning  

The Review:

Longhorn running ‘cross the dead salt sea / Mountains rising up like beasts with horns like trees / Antlers reaching high, like a forest… On fire!”

The Thundering Herd (Songs of Hoof and Horn)" is Eagle Twin's third full-length album, following on from 2012's "The Feather Tipped the Serpent's Scale" and 2009's "The Unkindness of Crows". Like its predecessors “The Thundering Heard " deftly blends crushing, yet hypnotic riffs and beats, with American literary Folk Horror. Which is pretty impressive for a two-piece, really.

“Quanah Un Rama” (a fittingly bicornuous title based on Hellboy's Enochian name "Anung un Rama”, and Quanah Parker, Comanche war leader of the "Antelope" people…possibly) opens with a harmonic drone from vocalist/guitarist Gentry Densely’s throat. At once bestial and like some primal religious vocalisation, this inhuman sound underpins much of the record. Then a Big Fat Riff kicks in. And it is Massive. Truly earth moving. The guitar sounds (right across the record) are just… wow. More Om than Sleep, but with all the groove and swagger of the latter. The track jams on and on moving from part to part, texture to texture, but the same narrative remains throughout; every progression is a natural and necessary, and another chapter of the same story. When Densely chants “Come now / Thunder / Come now / Thunder cloud” over Tyler Smith's tribal tom-work, it sounds like a genuine summoning. You will believe that the sky above the studio was black that day.

“Elk Wolfv Hymn” swells in dreamily, yet ominously. We huddle close to the wilderness campfire for another folk-tale of stags and vultures and trees, of mountains and antlers and wolves. And in that same magical way Earth managed with “The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skul”l, there’s something so incredibly American about the actual sound of the music itself. The wild, untamed, real America where bears and mountain lions and alligators think nothing of cracking and crunching the bones of humans to get to the marrow within. And crow keeps watch all the while.

“The Heavy Hoof clips / The Heavy Hoof clops / And the Heavy Hoof stamps on your grave”. Another massive riff. Another tom thumping groove. Another absolute belter of a tune, which seems to threaten to evolve into the heaviest version of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” you could possibly imagine at one point. But that doesn't happen.

“Antlers of Lightening” begins as pure Sabbath Doom: lumbering, tritone laden heaviness with proclamations of the terror to come in the form of the lightning antlered one. Again through, as the music evolves, the guitar becomes more frenetic, and everything builds and builds and builds, we get an idea of the emerging narrative. We hear the destruction wrought by the electo-horned deity, and the fate of those who dared to try to stop it. About ten minutes in it seems for one moment like we're going to get an actual “Children of the Grave” style chug-a-chug-a-chug-chug breakout riff. Instead things slow back down and jam out until we reach the bitter-sweet outro of the album. A gentle but melacholic ending, like a cold dawn breaking.

The Thundering Heard” is a dense and rich record; full of aural and textual interest. It’s a record that makes you think, makes you imagine. It very much brought Algernon Blackwood’s Weird Fiction tales The Wendigo and The Willows to my mind; tales of the wilderness and the things which walked there long before man ever did. All that said, “The Thundering Heard" is not some deep-thinking, post-something, soundtrack to an unmade movie. It’s a visceral, heavy, epic Riff Monster with horns of flame and hooves of stone. 


“The Thunder Heard” is available here



Band info: bandcamp || facebook