Wednesday, June 29, 2016

(Semi) Weekly Temptations: June 22, 2016

Let's face it. There's no way I'm getting this done every week. But at least it's something. Here's some of what has rattled my chains in the last week.

Nails - You Will Never Be One Of Us (Released June 17, 2016 on Nuclear Blast)

Well, frontman Todd Jones has been taking some heat this past little while as a reaction to his own hot headedness. I won't go into specifics but it's not like we didn't expect Jones to blow his top at least once during this album cycle. Maybe it wasn't even Jones. Who knows on social media? Moving on, this newest "full length" keeps driving the way Nails fans expect. I like it. It's good but I don't think it's the AOTY candidate some are touting is as. But really, if you want super aggro, tear your arm off and beat yourself in the head with it hardcore, Nails will help.

Obsidian Kingdom - A Year With No Summer (Released March 11, 2016 on Season of Mist)

I'm sort of surprised this is still hanging around on my phone. But it's got that little something that halts tapping delete. Lots of melody and plenty of hooks. The "progressive rock" tag doesn't really do them justice as that makes the album sound weak. Which it's not. The power is emotional and it's all wrapped up in good songs that make tapping repeat all too easy.

Electric Citizen - Higher Time (Released May 13, 2016 on RidingEasy Records)

If one thing is going to catch (and keep) my attention it's groove. EC spreads the groove nice and thick on Higher Time. It's one of those albums I can dig whenever and wherever. The saturation of killer riffs is total. It's got that dirty tone of the old school and an abundance of hooks. And vocalist Laura Dolan comes in as the clincher. Smooth, soulful, just a bit of grit and a perfect complement to the heavy rock power. Any time spent with this will take you higher without question.

Grand Magus - Sword Songs (Released May 13, 2016 on Nuclear Blast)

Dude. I shouldn't have to tell you about Grand Magus. The Swedes have been dishing out the battle hymns for long enough now. But that doesn't mean they don't still make albums worth listening to. Sword Songs is simply the latest is a long line of epic albums steeped in themes that traditional metal was born from. And in this case that means Vikings. Leather and steel. Sharp and tough. Horns up!

The Judge - The Judge (Released July 22, 2016 on Ripple Music)

More groove! I went on a bit of a kick where all I wanted to listen to was stuff that reminded me of the old days when stoner rock was LIFE. Bluesy and rockin', The Judge give me the ole heavy eyes. It's another album that makes me not feel so bad about being born too late. Sure, being there in the '70s would have been great but with albums like this around to capture that feeling you get the best of both worlds. (Note: That's the cover of their EP above. Not this LP. But it's right below. Silly internet.)

Foghound - The World Unseen (Released July 8, 2016 on Ripple Music)

Are you feeling the theme of this week yet? Seriously heavy on the hard rock/stoner bands. Foghound keep that going. They definitely bring the riffs. And the swagger. They've got a real southern sound that betrays their Illinois locale. They make me want to drink beer and throw my back out. A sore neck is almost a given. "Serpentine" is a definite highlight. Get fucked and get down.

Gozu - Revival (Released June 10, 2016 on Ripple Music)

Let me tell you! This album is one of the best I've heard this year! It hits those sweet spots that get my motor running. Hard driving riffs, killer tone, and dynamic vocals. Depending on the song, you can pick up the sounds of other bands that run in the same circles but it never feels like they're ripping them off. It's a diverse effort full of rockin' and rollin' fun. These dudes are definitely in it to win it! I just can't get enough of these Boston boys! FFO: Goatsnake, QOTSA, Fu Manchu, etc.

Bat - Wings of Chains (Released June 10, 2016 on Hells Headbangers)

First things first. Ryan Waste (Municipal Waste), Nick Poulos (Volture) and Felix Griffin (ex-D.R.I.) combine their powers on this raging speed metal beast. The pedigree is unquestionable and the trio does not let you down. Filthy, dirty and loose, it's a rager that combines the snarl of punk rock with the power of metal. What else did you expect? Well, expect plenty of air guitar and banging heads.

Slow Season - Westing (Released July 1, 2016 on RidingEasy Records)

Alright, alright, alright! This is the kind of hazy, laid back stoner rock I'll dig all day, man. By far the most psychedelic of this group of bands, they take the listener on a blissful trip full of fuzz and retro sensibility. They nail the vintage feel through both sound and production. You can really escape your worries with Westing. Just tap into the plane they're on and ride it all out in hypnotic splendour. Like many of the bands above, but more so than any, Slow Season bring the aura of the old days up to the present but wouldn't it be cool if this was some lost gem? Nah, this way we can get new music from them for years to come! And I for one, want them to continue guiding my trips.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Weekly Temptations: May 30, 2016

Ok, so there's no way I'm going to get this done every week but I have a plan. I don't know quite how to execute it yet, but I have one. In the meantime, now that I fixed my scrobbling issue (sort of) you can see what the last few days had in store.

Withered - Grief Relic (May 27, 2016 on Season of Mist)

The return of WITHERED!!!! Their "tortured blackened doom" has added more death to the mix here. They've also added Colin Marston on bass and his presence is definitely felt. Far from a instant gratification type album you've really got to crack this one open.

Eleanora - Allure (May 7, 2016 on Consouling Sounds)

I'm used to having Consouling release albums with an ambient side. Eleanora however obliterate ambience. Their allure comes from a savage, sludgy, hardcore place that builds up primal urges in the listener. Disgustingly good.

Cough - They Still Pray (June 3, 2016 on Relapse)

You know you're getting heavy-ass shit with Cough. It was produced and recorded by Jus Oborn of Electric Wizard with Windhand's Garrett Morris.  I can hear that. Massive slogging doom. There's no medicine for this and prayers don't work.

Begrime Exemious - The Enslavement Conquest (March 4, 2016 on Dark Descent)

Vicious, searing, crusty, blackened, thrashing death. Canada has a tonne of great bands but Begrime Exemious are one of the best. They continue to pummel brains and terrorize eardrums on this latest release. I really should order physical copy of this. Perfect for raging out in the garage when I need to blow off some steam.

Phobocosm - Bringer of Doubt (May 13, 2016 on Dark Descent)

Another deathly Canadian product! The difference here is Phobocosm are fucking weird. Eternally dark and twisted, they make you feel uncomfortable all the time. It's terrifying and technical death that lurks close to the floor to drag you into nightmares.

Red Wizard - Cosmosis (April 8, 2016 on Ripple Music/STB Records)

Ripple Music and STB Records are two of the kickin'-est labels going. And Red Wizard are pretty kickin'. Fuzzy grooves and dirty bellows abound amidst no frills stoner rock. Bands like this (and their labels) bring back memories of the good ole Man's Ruin days. Cosmic!

Voidnaga - Demo MMXVI (March 11, 2016 on Iron Bonehead)

Malicious Malaysian death/black metal! This one-man project exudes darkness and the stench of foul beings. Crawling doom atmosphere, varied tempos, soul-swallowing vocals. If this is just a demo, the world is in serious trouble.

Deformatory - Malediction (February 5, 2016 on CDN Records)

The third of four Canadian entries. Ottawa's Deformatory brutalize with speed and dexterity while keeping the wankery to a minimum. They're not inventing any new tricks but that's not an issue when you can channel bands like Suffocation to devastating effect.

Mortillery - Shapeshifter (May 27, 2016 on Napalm)

Blistering thrash from Edmonton pulling from the wild and crazy heyday of speed metal and injecting bitchin' vocals into the guitar fury! It reminds me of the neo-thrash savagery of bands such as Warbringer and Havok, even topping those bigger names. MORTILLERY FUCKING RIP!!!!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Mothra - Decision Process

It's known to happen that I will listen to instrumental bands. Less so now than when I was big into Karma to Burn but Decision Process, the debut LP five years in the making from Aukland's Mothra has made me remember some things. First, who needs vocals when the music is so expressive. And second, it's quite relaxing to not have someone yelling at you sometimes.

Influences listed include Neurosis, Tool and Meshuggah and you can hear those bands in Mothra's progressive post-metal. They're not as downright have as any of those bands (ok, maybe Tool) but when they put the hammer down you feel a similar effect. Mothra bring that epic scale to the picture and the rhythm section makes sure the thunder is felt and heard.

It's in that rhythm section where the Tool influence is most apparent. The bass playing is great; locking into cyclical grooves and blazing a trail for the guitars to follow. It's not straightforward however. Wide open grooves meet ethereal melodies littered with atmosphere, layers and progressive song writing.

Mothra deftly avoid the pitfalls of the style (and long runtimes) by continually pushing forward making minor and major changes to the themes to keep the listener interested. Trust me on this. I've been listening to it for three days and there's been no desire to move away from the musicianship or enduring songs.

Highlights include "Splinters" (see video below), "Elements of Sleep" (with cello and violin adding to the beauty), and "Burnt Impression". No matter where you go on Decision Process you're met with the same fulfilling music dynamically saturating the space in three dimensions. For fans of Neurosis/Isis, Tool, Pelican and other crafters of fine post/prog metal (even latter day Mastodon and Helmet at times) the decision is easy: Check this out now. Like their namesake, it will blow you away.

Released February 12, 2016

Hear Decision Process on Bandcamp:

Mothra Official Site

Mothra on Facebook