Friday, October 30, 2009

Shrinebuilder - Shrinebuilder

If you don't know Shrinebuilder, shame on you. They are the very definition of supergroup. The lineup: Scott Kelly of Neurosis, Al Cisternos of OM (ex-Sleep), Dale Crover of the Melvins and Scott "Wino" Weinrich of Wino (ex- St. Vitus, Spirit Caravan, Hidden Hand, Place of Skulls, etc etc). The sound: Neurosis meets OM meets Melvins meets Wino. Doesn't get much simpler than that. You can hear elements of all the players other bands in just about every song on the album. I believe they all sing as well. It doesn't sound like 4 bands mashed together though. It's cohesive. It has flow. And it's (as SYL would put it) heavy as a really heavy thing. However, it's not oppressively heavy. i.e. Sunn O))), Sloth, etc. Ya know, stonerdoomgaze heavy.

I really hope this collaboration isn't a one-off thing. They work really well together. All parties are so prolific, it's a wonder they even had time to do this. But, if they did it once, there's no reason they can't do it again. In the meantime, I'll be building my shrine.

Doomriders - Darkness Come Alive

The first time I listened to Darkness Come Alive, I enjoyed it but I was in no big rush to hear it again. A couple weeks went by. At the end a veritable death metal marathon (Suffocation, Hail of Bullets, Despised Icon and Pestilence, with some Skeletonwitch thrown in for good measure) I was almost about to listen to Dying Fetus when I spotted Doomriders beside it on my iPod. I figured a break from brutality wouldn't hurt. Even this time I wasn't "into it". Granted, being played through and FM Transmitter on 15 year old car speakers is not going to do any band any favours. I switched to Blood Tsunami for a little scream therapy. When next I donned my iPod I put it back to Doomriders. Something had changed. Almost instantly I was locked in. It fitting because the track was "Come Alive". I felt like I had. Or at least been awakened to the awesomeness.

Groove, hooks, melody, and emotion all in the context of heavy. I could feel the galloping groove that makes you feel like your flying across a vast landscape. I was hooked by the Torche-esque power-pop elements. Some of the intricate guitar work reminded me of Baroness. The heavy comes into play with the tone and the pummeling drums. The vocals could be my favourite part. Amidst the southern crust/sludge/stoner musical backdrop, a hardcore bellow delivers the message. They're vocals that come from deep within. That are full-out. They can't be sung at any less than full volume. Just the way I like it. Even when they are a little cleaner, they're still powerful and loud. Like someone forgot to tell him that he has a mic. He's singing over the other instruments. Ah, glorious.

I had my Top 50 of 2009 almost figured out. Darkness Come Alive will probably bump somebody out. (Despised Icon's Day of Mourning might too) It's just a matter of who. I also haven't heard the new Slayer yet, but that one's a given.

Hey whatever happened to White Zombie's J. Yuenger?

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Revocation - Existence is Futile: I seriously don't understand what the big deal is with these guys. The singer is nothing special and too many times the guitar work reminded me of Joe Satriani or Steve Vai or someone like that. Nowhere near the status being exalted on them by the "media".

Converge - Axe to Fall: It's Converge. Nuff said. Well, I can say a bit more. This album is, in a word, powerful. Decidedly hardcore, energetically metal. It amazes me how people can compose music like this. I'll have to listen to it a few more times before I can start to place in my Top 50 of 2009 list. It'll be there, just where is the question.

Children - Hard Times Hanging at the End of the World: I am having a hard time. A hard time deciding how to describe Children. I can hear all sorts of genres. Punk speed, thrash riffs, hardcore vocals, and some crazy solos. Instead of sounding like a band that doesn't know what they are, they sound like a band that is able to put all their influences in the same pot and still come out with something delicious.

Burning Human - Resurrection Through Fire: Yet another reason that 2009 has been a great year for death metal. Fast, brutal, evil.

Short thoughts on recent listenings

Andreas Kisser - Hubris I & II: Boring. Pointless. Not bad per se, but just unnecessary. If it wasn't Andreas Kisser, I'd have dismissed it outright. II is lacking the bad singing of I and that's good. But it's not really great. If I wanted to listen to flamenco sounding guitar work, I'd listen to....

Rodrigo y Gabriela - 11:11: Okay, I'm a metal guy thru and thru. So why do I love RyG so much? No drums, no singing, very little electric guitar. Just 2 acoustics guitars and lots of energy. Perhaps what I like best is I can put it on with just about any company around and nobody says "How can you listen to this?"

GWAR - Lust in Space: Meh. Never been much of a fan of GWAR. Why start now? They do put on an interesting live show though.

Killswitch Engage - Killswitch Engage: I wasn't really into Daylight Dies, but this is better. Maybe I just needed to separate myself from KsE for a while. I guess it just didn't come off as sappy. It's a grower for sure.

Otep - Smash The Control Machine: WAY better than I expected. The last one was horrible. Well, maybe the last 2 or 3. Not to say this is great by any stretch. Still very much in the rap-metal vein on some tunes. At least one horribly so. And there is the obligatory almost spoken word "rant" we've come to expect from Ms. Shimaya. That chick can still shred some vocals though. When she screams "Make me come!" in "Numb & Dumb"...yeah.

Astra - The Weirding: The definition of retro. Transport me back 35 years and give me an endless supply of weed and Astra would be the soundtrack for that trip. It's pretty good but I'm stone cold straight right now so it's not doing much for me.

Resistant Culture - Welcome to Reality: Fuck yeah! Remember when Max was in Sepultura? This kicks ass!

Snail, Syrach and Weekend Nachos were alright but nothing special. Snail deserves another listen though.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

3 Inches of Blood w/ Arise and Ruin and guests @ Time to Laugh, Kingston, ON Oct. 18, 2009

3 Inches of Blood said they hadn't been to Kingston in 3 years. Arise and Ruin have been to Kingston 3 times THIS year. Whatever the frequency, Kingston (and I) were glad to have them both. The support acts were CFPT, We Are the Archers, and Fathom Ties. Here's the rundown:

CFPT: Beats me! I was still driving there.

We Are The Archers: For most of their set I was takin' a dump at the Pizza Pizza then smokin' a joint in a back alley. I think I caught the last song but I wasn't paying attention. At the end of their set, the singer says "We are We Are The Archers! (slight pause) That's the name of the band, We Are The Archers". It made me think of that P.O.D. song, "Youth of a Nation". Not the music, just the "We are, we are" part. Maybe it's time for a name change.

Fathom Ties: They seemed like a pretty confident bunch. But confidence will only take you so far (with me). I wasn't real impressed by them. They were very well rehearsed and looked like they believed in their music, but it just wasn't my thing. They did that whole synced guitar/headbang thing. Ya know, to a breakdown. They reminded me a lot of Incubus. The sappy-ass nu-metal one. Not the old school one that I've never actually heard. There were kids going apeshit though. Good for them. They'll come around eventually. At one time, I liked Incubus. Oh and when the singer was like "Let's hear it for ...." he said "3 Inches IN Blood." Ouch.

Arise and FUCKING RUIN!!!!!!!! These hardworkin' Guelphites never fail to put on a kick ass show. They are wicked tight. Vocalist Ryan Bauchman is a force. Dude is so full of energy! I love it. He's grabbin' people by the shirt and screamin' in their face. He's jumpin' off the monitors. He's screamin' and sweatin' and tearin' that place apart. The rest of the band aren't slouches either. For instance, I had to move over because I kept getting whipped by Sam's hair. Hell yeah. Come back again soon boys!

3 Inches of Blood: I have to admit, I set my hopes really high for this. Too high for anything to have lived up to it. The last show I was at was Clutch, so nothing could live up to that. With that being said, 3IOB did put on a great show. I think they needed a bigger stage though. Technically, they were spot on. I don't know if it was just where I was standing or what but I could only really hear the vocals and bass guitar. That wasn't really a bad thing. The bass is hard to pick up on the album, so being able to hear (and see) it live was kinda nice. I could hear the drums too. It was just the guitar that was kinda low in the mix. When I was reviewing Here Awaits Thy Doom, I mentioned how I missed Jamie Hooper's vocals and Justin Hagberg did a decent job but not great. He made up for it live. His screams were great. Very good interplay with the spot-on performance of Cam "He Who Is Most Aptly Named" Pipes. (I need to trademark that) They played a nice mix of tunes from the new album as well as some older stuff. The crowd reacted just as fervently no matter what they played. Many a lyric were sung, many a fist were pumped, many a head were banged, and when the 3 song encore finished with "The Goatrider's Horde", many an ear left ringing.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hail of Bullets - Warsaw Rising EP

Warsaw Rising picks up right where ...Of Frost and War left off. Buzzsaw riffage, pummelling drums and very distinctive tortured screaming vocals. And of course, it's about war. In short, fucking awesome death metal. Hail of Bullets is quickly becoming one of my favourite death metal acts. In addition to the new material, some live tracks are included. Excellently performed, great recording. I am guessing this was recorded from a show in their native Holland. All the between song banter is in Dutch. (I assume. I can't make heads or tails of it) If Warsaw Rising is meant to whet our appetites until another full length, I hope they make it quick, cuz I'm gettin' hungry!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Skeletonwitch - Breathing The Fire

I set my hopes really high for Breathing The Fire. Maybe too high. It's not that the album isn't good, it's just I expected to be incapacitated by awesomeness. I found that is was considerably better the second time around. Also, I have yet to hear it through good speakers or at elevated volume. That makes a difference. I found myself doing a lot of steering wheel drumming. The steering wheel guitar will come soon enough. It's hard not to considering how much BTF shreds. I am not sure if I will get to the scream along phase though. My black/death vocals are based a lot on volume to get the desired effect (Blood Tsunami-style) whereas the vocalist for Skeletonwitch can pull it off without the balls-out screaming. That's a good thing.

I'm about halfway through the new Immortal right now but when I'm done that I think I'll spin Breathing the Fire again. If it keeps getting better with each listen I should just leave it on repeat!

Monday, October 12, 2009

too busy

I've been busy. I've been listening to a lot but during the time where I would be writing reviews, I've been reading. I don't want to neglect you so I'm taking time out of reading Atlantis, Alien Visitation and Genetic Manipulation by Michael Tsarion to tell you a little but about some of this weekend's listenings.

Ancestors - Of Sound Mind: Has some interesting elements (Hammond organ) but not very engaging on first listen. I suspect a more concentrated listening session would yield better results. (read: stoned).

Asphyx - Death....The Brutal Way: Fuckin' right! I wouldn't have it any other. Is that the same vocalist as in Hail of Bullets?

Belphegor - Walpurgis Rites: Hexenwahn: I listened to the whole thing so it wasn't that bad but it didn't make a huge impression on me. Plus, that was like 2 days ago.

Bloody Panda - Summon: 2 words for ya - Scary shit. It's like the soundtrack to a horror movie filmed in a haunted insane asylum. But it's real. Terrifying, tortured and awesome. I'd like to do a full review on this one.

Chaosfear - Image of Disorder: Again, not a huge impression. It deserves another listen. Kind of traditional modern heavy metal. I wouldn't stick it in any particular sub-genre.

Dethklok - Deth Album II: Ya know, for a "fake" band, they're pretty rippin'. Or should I say, brootal.

Demonical. I can't remember the album title. But it's fucking awesome. An oppressive wall of buzzsaw guitars.

Devil's Blood - Come, Reap: Pretty cool. Retro sounding. Makes me miss Mammoth Volume even more.

I did start listening to the new Bergraven. Dude reminded me too much of Rammstein. Wasn't feelin' it. I listened to one track off the new Despised Icon album, Day of Mourning. Wasn't feelin' that either.And when last I was at my iPod, I was listening to Hymns of Blood and Thunder by The Gates of Slumber. It's good. Very Sabbathian. It's not blowing me away the way their last album did. I'm only a couple tracks in so maybe it takes some time to get going.

Finally, whenever I've been driving, I've been screaming along to (literally) Grand Feast for Vultures by Blood Tsunami. I fucking love the shit out of this album. I've probably listened to it more than any other one this year. I seriously expect it to fight for My Fave Album of '09 That's Not Clutch.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I'm in a shitty mood today and I've been having a hard time finding something to listen to. I listened to the second half of Horizoner by Bloodhorse. That was good. I love that album. Reminds me of early Kyuss. I didn't even make it through one track of Bury Your Dead's It's Nothing Personal. It sucks donkey balls. Then I listened to one track from The Chariot's Wars and Rumors of Wars. I'm not in the mood for christiancore today, eventhough I became friends with the bassist when he was in I Hate Sally. I gave Black Cascade by Wolves In The Throneroom another shot. I'm not big into black metal. Not bad. The songs weren't different enough though. I may try Moss - Tomb of the Blind Drugged. I think that's the name. I don't think that will do anything to improve my mood though. I'll find something.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Doom night

I've kinda been listening to all doom stuff tonight. I started with Batillus, then OM, and I just started Culted. Not sure what I have on my iPod should I finish Culted tonight. All 3 bands are awesome. I'll talk about OM.

I have always been a big fan of OM. Not only because I enjoy OM as they stand, but also due to the (until recently) pedigree of the members. Both Al Cisternos and Chris Hakius used to be in Sleep. So, duh, awesome. And Chris was also the drummer for a band called The Sabians, fronted by Sleep alumnus Justin Marler. I fucking LOVE that band. Too bad they only made 2 albums. Anyway, the album is God is Good. It's the first OM record without Hakius. I can't remember the name of the new drummer, but he's pretty good. I haven't had a chance to really listen to the lyrics yet. I'm guessing it's the as per usual deep shit. No fluff here. If you could say anything bad about OM it's that their previous work pretty sounds the same. Overdriven bass with a lot of cymbal and bass drumwork with chant like vocals. While the drums and vocal cadence remain more or less unchanged, their are some changes. The overall production, especially the bass seem a lot cleaner. And the vocals are higher in the mix. On top of that, there are more instruments! I can't recall there ever being more than bass and drums. (Correct me if I'm wrong, it's actually been a while since I've listened to their older stuff.) There are some Eastern strings (sitar?), some kind of flute, and something else that escapes my memory at 4am. Piano!! I knew I'd remember. It gave the album a very Eastern feel. Which is kind of odd, considering the album is called God is Good. God as in singular, which is really more of a Western point of view. I really want to delve into the lyrics more. I've been reading alot about alternate theories of human history, reinterpretation of the Bible and Eastern religion, so I'm kind of in that mindset right now. I think this one will get a lot more spins before it eventually winds up somewhere in my Top 40 of 2009. I'm totally going to meditate to this album. It's so chill. Some herbal accompaniment wouldn't hurt either.

Speaking of Al Cisternos, he's also in Shrinebuilder. I've heard one song from this doom supergroup so far.It rules. The album is going to destroy us all.

Hey, whatever happened to Kim Thayil?