Monday, April 14, 2014

Drawers "Drawers"

France isn't exactly the first place you'd think of when you think about metal, rock or sludge.  However there are always a few that are willing to kick against the pricks.   There's no way French sludge/stoner rock band named Drawers could comfortably fit into the mainstream in any county.  The band released their second album which is self-titled earlier this year.

The band are heavily influenced by a few bands from the South part of the United States.  It's difficult to not think of Phil Anselmo whenever the vocals kick in and the reference is more to the slower songs on Far Beyond Driven than any other Pantera.  Thankfully the allusion doesn't mean that Drawers sound like a modern metal claiming to be hardcore outfit due to riffs kicking around in the world of sludge.

Drawers are at their best when they slow down in "Take Stock" as it isn't nearly as reminiscent of other bands.   "Bleak" also takes the slow route and the band comes off better for it as the band are clearly aware that a 10 ton truck driving slowly garners more attention than the same vehicle at ramming speed.  Overall though sadly Drawers aren't much of attention grabber so they get knocked down a peg or two and that is largely due to the plethora of Pantera wannabes in the hardcore and Metalcore arena in the last few years.

Check the album out on the bandcamp link below and feel free to leave your opinion in the comments.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Visions of the Night - Guerrillas within their Midst

Visions of the Night are a Canadian based military themed metal band who alternate between death and black metal.  It would be easy to consider the brainchild of Peter Wolvesblood as a one-man band but that's not completely true as they play live as a full band and even the camouflage they wear on stage doesn't hide that fact.

The title track is fast death metal that slows down at time with an added heaviness due to slow loud guitar riffs that shine through. "War is Religion" starts with a military beat before dementedly twisting into rapid-fire death metal which opts for blast-beats as enemy attacking cannons.  The black metal comes though strong  in "Lost in the Red Snow", this song moves from blast-beat pummeling to waiting to pounce and back again with a military beat that shows its brutal head from time to time.  Visions of the Night use this dynamic in a number of their songs and it works.  The samples fit the mood of the album and the band's theme.

The fact that Visions of the Night haven't gone for the either/or between death metal and black metal may confuse purists but for the more open-minded, it'll definitely be points in the "band's" favour.  Picking a best song on "Guerrillas in their Midst is tough but "War is Religion", "We Will Conquer" Visions of the Night deserve praise for offering something a little bit different to the run of the mill death and black metal out there.


Band homepage

Visions of the Night on facebook

Visions of the Night on bandcamp

Monday, March 17, 2014

Karnivore "In The Halls of the Wicked"


(Lake of Fire records)

 Karnivore are a three piece death metal band from Sweden who have suffered a number of line-up changes.  The biggest blow the band suffered was losing a guitarist to cancer.   The present band line up is Martin Holmqvist(vocals),  Jens Englund(guitars/bass), Mattias Johansson(drums).

The band clearly have a huge love of the letter substitution game, which is not only obvious from their chosen handle but that they chose to name their debut album "The Triumphant Khaoz".  However they decided to not play the double V game with their latest platter "In The Halls of The Wicked".  The album opens slowly and quietly with the sound of the wind mixed with synths in "The Underground" and this is soon blown away as Karnivore plunge head first into death metal territory with blast-beats and vocals that edge between audibly clear grunts that verge on singing and much rawer growls.  

   "Feast Upon the Living" originates with a quick and dirty raw death metal sound though later in the song there is a symphonic sound to the guitar, which gives the tune a much cleaner feel.   The thrash metal influence becomes much clearer in "An Era of Decay" as the rhythm section speeds proceedings up somewhat although the vocals are deathly grunts.  "Psycho" alternates between blast-beats, grunts, thrash metal with somewhat clearer death metal style vocals.

Despite a few of the songs blurring together and overstaying their welcome due to their length, "In The Halls of The Wicked" is an enjoyable album.  However, it's hard to shake the feeling that the band is still growing as sometimes the cleaner sound doesn't really work and may end up alienating a number of death metal fans. 


Karnivore on facebook

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Home "Bound To Gravity"

As a longtime supporter of the underground it's always great whenever a band takes the time to email me rather than just go through a label or a publicist. I'll admit I appreciate hearing from labels and publicists too if they actually have taken the time to look through the blog and realize whether or not the music they are currently pushing fits with the blog.  The amount of rap and country music that comes my way astounds me as it just doesn't fit with the context on the blog.  Anyway enough about the blog and back to the recent email(it was actually received in late February), I really wanted to talk about.  It came from Austria from a guy named Amadeus who said his band Home were Austrian Sludge/Stoner/Post-whatsoever and that because it was release day of their album "Bound to Gravity", the trio were going to get drunk.

On listening to the first track it became apparent that post-whatsoever really means post hardcore as there is a bit of both Quicksand and Fugazi in both the music and the vocals.  The sludge label makes sense for the track "Next To Last", though the song opens with stripped bare metallic riffing, the vocals recall the likes of Killdozer and Clawhammer.  There's no prettying things up here.

I'm willing to bet that "Not Even Me" is a live favourite and unites hardcore and metal kids only to battle it together in the pit before the abrasively raw sludge applies sandpaper to their wounds.  Often the direction where Home go with their rhythms takes the listener by surprise and the unpredictability adds to their charm. The lengthy "Dead City" slowly pulsates with a Black Sabbath heart although Home take a more experimental turn with speeding up the rhythm and lightly applied sandpaper raw vocals.

The initial description of the band by Amadeus still rings true to my ears as this is likely to appeal equally to fans of Eyehategod style sludge, rawer post-hardcore and amphetamine reptile fans.  Check out "Bound to Gravity" on their bandcamp site linked below.


Bound To Gravity on bandcamp

Home on facebook

Saturday, March 8, 2014

C.O.A.G. "Sociopath"

  It'd be easy to put Bulgarian one-man project Coalition of Abnormal Grinders into the too hard basket as it's not absolutely clear where the project fits. What exactly is it?   Grindcore?  Punk? Hardcore?   An actual coalition?  So many questions for such a short release.

The first comparison these well-worn ears made was to Japan's Mad Capsule Markets due to the celebration of noise in sheer chaoticness and the vocal style although C.O.AG. have much less in the way of melody and hark back to the rawer hardcore that was coming out in the eighties.   The riff to track II is has a surf feel as a Dead Kennedys style guitar is given the grinding treatment.  Track V is the aforementioned DK's crossed meeting a black metal band on a motorway and grinding it out as fast as humanly possible. 

  All ten original tracks have been given Roman numerals and all are strictly business falling under the two minute mark.  The cover of Hatebreed's "Defeatist" is the only track given a name and also the longest.  This release is well worth checking out.


Listen to this release.

C.O.A.G on Facebook

Friday, March 7, 2014

Brood of Hatred "Skinless Agony"

 Some things just fit together.  Fish and Chips.  Pizza and Cheese.  Death metal and brutality go together like wine and cheese.  However Death metal and a moody atmosphere are as much of an ill-fitting couple as chalk and cheese.  Post-metal and mean and moody is much easier to buy in.

Tunisian band walk the line between death metal, post-metal and post-rock.  The most obvious comparison that the band are likely to get is to recent Ulcerate.  The death metal is often present with growls and blastbeats but the band are digging up ground that isn't familiar territory for a lot of metal heads.  If the vocals were done away with Brood of Hatred would be considered a post-metal band.  At times, Sonic Youth come to mind more than any metal bands as the instruments are more important than vocals and when a human sound comes into play it's more to enhance the mood although it is characteristically death metal.  The samples used in the quietly "The Singularity is Near"  and "Obsession and are well chosen as they compliment the music with academic musings on death and religion.  "Predestined Suicide" has more layers than an onion.  Strip away one part, and there's more on the inside.  It's near impossible to listen to a single instrument on its own without your attention being grabbed by the band's turn of directions.

The initial track "Deconstruction" starts off quietly and haunting before becoming a brutal assault that later walks the not well-trodden path between brutality and atmospheric.  This band knows how to gets a listeners attention right away and a listener needs to be hit straight away.

On the band Facebook page and bandcamp Brood of Hatred describe their music as some haunting atmospheres guiding you through progressive journeys and some unconventional writing inspired by a strange state of mind.  The band are on the money as that description nails the sounds contained on this album.  It's also assuring that what was once a one-man band has been fleshed out into a full band.


Brood of Hatred on Facebook

Brood of Hatred on bandcamp