Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Album of the Month May 2024: Ufomammut - 'Hidden'



Italy's mighty Ufomammut have the distinguished honour of being Album of the Month for May 2024 here at Kingdom of Noise with 'Hidden'. The "psychedelic sludge" trio celebrate their 25th year by releasing their 10th album. Not a bad pace if you ask me. Pacing is a large part of the appeal of Ufomammut too. The band has always mastered their pacing. Mostly a lumbering gait kinda thing. As doom does. Ufomammut dial up the repetition more than most locking the listener into whatever otherworldly headspace they're creating. Drones, synths, and FX round out the full effect. Ufomammut albums are a trip, man, and 'Hidden' feels of no diminished quality this deep into the band's career. Ufomammut are remarkably consistent in that regard.



There's just something about them that clicks with me. So it makes sense that 'Hidden' does too. It's heavy as fuck for starters. The transisions are near perfect. When they move between parts it doesn't feel forced or clunky even if it's abrupt. Even without the snyth effect, the industrial undertone persists. All the synths and FX do is take it to another level. It's what takes all their albums to the next level. It's so integral to their sound. I mean, it's right there in the name Ufomammut. UFO and mammut (Italian for mammoth). The power of a huge, earthshaking animal infused with otherworldy influence. Charged darkness comes to mind. An atmosphere alive and sunless and ancient.

'Hidden' is a muscular and nuanced album. It deserves your attention. The more undivided that attention is, the better. Hide yourself in the layered sonic intensity and let it overwhelm you.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Album of the Month - April 2024: High on Fire - 'Cometh the Storm'



I am pretty much phoning this month in. From long distance. You don't need me to tell you that High on Fire's 'Cometh the Storm' is the best album released in April of 2024. There were other great albums released but holy fucking shitballs, does this fucking RIP!!!



I will admit that I had some small concerns about Coady Willis (Big Business, Melvins) taking over the drum throne. I mean, Des is a fucking legend, right? Those concerns were quickly put to bed. Mr. Willis just slid right in there like he always belonged. I love it!

As for the album it's just what you want from a High on Fire record. The riffs just keep on coming. It's just repeated sonic beatings. Especially "The Beating". Matt Pike lets rip some wicked vocals too. I like when it sounds like he's just yelling. And those solos? Fuck. You know who else is a legend? Jeff Matz. Goddamn I wish I could play like him. Goals. I saw an instagram post asking what song was your favourite. The responses covered almost every song on the album. I was not surprised because they're all worthy.

Yeah, I'm running out of talk time here and I don't have anymore change for the booth. There isn't much to say other than HIGH ON MOTHERFUCKING FIRE!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Album of the Month - March 2024: Uncle Woe - 'Oblivion and Further Disaster'



Ya know, I can't even remember how I came across Uncle Woe exactly but since hearing 'Pennyfold Haberdashery and Abbatoir Deluxe' a couple years ago I have made Uncle Woe music a part of my life. A place to go for refuge. A sound I can wrap around myself and become seaparte from the outside world. This month's outstanding release, 'Oblivion and Further Disaster' adds another layer of protection. A thick, insulating layer. Thick in tone, thick in emotional heft, thick in vocal expression.

I suppose those are the attributes one looks for when searching the doom forests for a balm for your soul but finding the unique combination that just clicks is becoming increasingly rare. Uncle Woe, and 'Oblivion' in particular doesn't so much click as slide gently into place. As loud as the tube amps get, and they get loud, as heartwrenching as the wails become, as forcefully as the drums impact, there's a soft quality that's hard to define but it definitely isn't as harsh and potentially brittle as a click would suggest. The connection is intuitive, sub-atomic, and seemless.

Throughout 'Oblivion' I often find myself almost frozen. The massive doom riffs, slow and patient, hold me in place. Not through oppression so much as thickening the space around me. The vocals, disorienting, calling from the mists beyond the pines, make my bones vibrate. It's about the frequency. The frequency of life. Uncle Woe is tuned into my frequency, or the other way around. I mean, it's miserable music much of the time. It's not happy. I'm generally a happy person. I practice being happy. But I've yet to acheive spontaneous and everlasting happiness. Suffering and delusion still hold sway over parts of my mind. That's where Uncle Woe comes in. Matching frequency, acting as a channel for expression even if it's just between my ears.

I've matured to a point where the music I really connect with largely depends on how it makes me feel. Sometimes that involves shaking my hips like I'm looking for tips, head-and-shoulder groovin', or in the case of doom, the feeling moves inward. Mind and soul. Uncle Woe is good for my heart and soul. Perhaps 'Oblivion and Further Disaster' will be there for you too through your own oblivions and further disasters. Only one way to find out.



Full March 2024 Spotify Playlist (this Unlce Woe release is not on Spotify)

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Album of the Month - February 2024: Fearbirds - 'Aux Blood'

Last month I mentioned how Kevin Keegan and Devon Motz were guest vocalists on the Brugada album. In digging into the guests I was unfamiliar with, specifically Motz in this case, I stumbled upon Fearbirds and their debut album, 'Aux Blood'. As it turns out, both Motz and Keegan are in Fearbirds. I'm tellin' ya, man. Everybody knows each other out in that West Coast/Vancouver scene. So in Fearbirds we've got Motz (Brass) on vocals, Keegan (Dead Quiet, Barn Burner) on guitar (and vocals), Heron's Scott Bartlett on bass, and Taylor Freund (best known from Barn Burner) on drums. I'm a big Barn Burner fan so immediately I was in.



Upon hearing this goddamn ripper of an album I was definitely in. It's the kind of hardcore/metal hybrid that grabs your shirt right at your throat and doesn't let go. Totally in your face. Bruising. Hot breath in your ears. Constantly in motion, vibrating. Urging you, compelling you, forcing you to join in. 

Hardcore is kinda like that, I suppose. A lot of the bands out Vancouver way are kinda like that. Listening to this gave me a craving for some Baptists and some Bison. A triple dose of head-clobbering. I quickly returned to the present and planted my feet firmly for additional onslaughts of 'Aux Blood'. Is that what trickles out of my ear when I've got this cranked? It's imperative though. Max volume. The riffs demand it. The percussion and vocals demand it. 

Alright, I gotta say this even though I don't like making too many bad comparisons. Most likely what's made me connect to this album the most, member familiarity aside, is how much it reminds me of the band I Hate Sally. I've seen Barn Burner and I Hate Sally play the same stage so there's a connection there too. (Not at the same time but the guitarist from IHS put on shows BB played.) Fearbirds employ a similar feeling on a bunch of tracks. The shape of the songs, the elasticity of movement that lands a kidney shot over and over, and a sharp energy channeled right from the very earth. They gallop over the same ground at different times, on different missions. Hardcore muscle powering the killing edge of metal. 

Anyway. You get what I'm saying. I've dropped enough names already. Now drop what you're doing and check 'Aux Blood' out. 

February Spotify Playlist

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Album of the Month - January 2024: Brugada - 'To Slow Death and Fast Riffs'


 

"Better late than never" applies to this post in a couple ways. First, the post is a few weeks late. Second, the album is a few years late. But that's better than not at all! WAY better. Honestly, I wasn't sure 'To Slow Death and Fast Riffs' would ever see the light of day.

You see, Brugada was basically over before it even started. Well, let's back it up even more. Brugada members Rob Zawistowski and Adam Young were in a rad band called Asktrakhan and put out a handful of kick ass releases ending in 2018's amazing 'Without New Growth Process Is Bloodshed' in early 2018. Sadly that album never saw a physical release and the band split with Zawistowski and Young forming Brugada. They posted a couple small samples/live videos, just enough to get the feel of it. Similar enough in the progressive sludge sorta style but obviously a little more aggressive. Then nothing. For years. Until one day I get a message from Rob along the lines of "Hey, Matt. Guess what's finally coming out." I may have familiarized that a bit but whatever. I might not have known otherwise though! Here, start listening while you read the rest. (It's not on the regular streamers.)



'Slow Death' opens with "Bangar 18" and doesn't waste any time spreading their tools out. Hard-driving riffs, passionate roars, tight, spidery excursions around the fretboard, and the percussive complexity to match. The poetry of violence. That's kind of the feeling I get from the whole album in a way. There's a violence to it but it's not blind. It's pensive and self-aware. The lyrics are included on Bandcamp (but not on the J-card of the cassette available from Tone Zone Records) so you can see what I mean.

How can I expand on this? Let's go with feeling. It FEELS hard. Sharp. One second a series of quick punches. The next, slicing. And often enough it breathes, taking in air for the next push. Highs, lows, quick transitions. Vocally as well we've got a whole spectrum of tones and volume reflecting the lyrics. That's where the real poetry is. I've always liked that about the works these guys have done.

On Bandcamp the band have the line "Fast and fun. Mean, and sassy". I can't argue with that. I can't argue with "progressive sludge" either despite that term's association with bands like Mastodon and Baroness. I mean, heavyiness with a sort of thrashy, hardcore edge mated to melody and technicality with a healthy dose of rage sounds about right to me. In Brugada's case maybe a little more rage. Fun rage. A quick burning rage that exhausted all its fuel since this album is all we'll get from them. That's ok because it's awesome!

I'm not sure what else to say. I loved Asktrakhan, I love Brugada. I just love this style. Wicked riffs, cool vocals, bangin' drums, and the technicality is woven into the fabric keeping the songs tight and to the point. If that wasn't enough there are some guest vocalists. Jeff Radomsky of Neck of the Woods on "A Nod to Process" (total banger), Twitchy Claire Carreras (Vancouver scene vet) on "Return to Bangar" (total banger), Kevin Keegan (Dead Quiet, Barn Burner) on "Skin and Blood" (total banger), and Devond Motz (Brass) on "Spaceman" (total banger).

It's just a total banger.

Yeah. 'To Slow Death and Fast Riffs' kicks ass. It rips. It rages. You need to hear it. And here's the video for "Bossfight".

Brugada - Bossfight (Official Music Video) from Robert Zawistowski on Vimeo.



January Spotify Playlist

Sunday, January 28, 2024

2023: My Favourites

Man, the evolution continues. Or is it a de-evolution? Not society. That's totally fucked. I mean my music listening habits. Long gone are the days of knowing every sub-genre. Or trying to anyway. I really, really feel most at home when I'm enjoying stoner rock and metal, doom, stoner doom, sludge, psych, heavy psych, more and more prog, shit like that. I think I listened to one black metal album all year? ('Blackbraid II') Thrash? Probably just Slayer (more or less) thanks to the Talkin' Slayer podcast by D.X. Ferris. As for death metal well, most of that input was in the live setting. Anyhoo.

Once I got down to it putting together this year's list wasn't so hard. I value my time to the point of not wasting any of it if the tunes don't resonate. That made that long list shorter and the cuts easier to make. There are no consequences. Go with your gut. Music is transcendence. Music is prayer. Music is salvation.

Following last year's format here are the 40(ish) releases that gave me the most feelings in 2023.

Favourites of 2023 Spotify Playlist Song Version

Favourites of 2023 Spotify Full Version

FULLY ENLIGHTENED BEINGS (pure beings devoid of faults)

Hippie Death Cult - 'Helichrysm' (Heavy Psych Sounds)
Baroness - 'Stone' (Abraxas Hymns)
REZN and Vinnum Sabbathi - 'Silent Future' (Blues Funeral Recordings)
Royal Thunder - 'Rebuilding the Mountain' (Spinefarm Records)
Melt - 'Replica of Man' (self-released)
Acid King - 'Beyond Vision' (Blues Funeral Recordings)
Dozer - 'Drifting in the Endless Void' (Blues Funeral Recordings)
Blood Ceremony - 'The Old Ways Remain' (Rise Above Records)
Mutoid Man - 'Mutants' (Sargent House)
Psychic Trash - 'Psychic Trash' (Riding Easy Records)

GODS OF THE FORM AND FORMLESS REALMS (aeons of refined bliss)

Miss Mellow - 'Miss Mellow' (self-released)
Frankie & the Witch Fingers - 'Data Doom' (The Reverberation Appreciation Society/Greenway Records)
Giant Lungs - 'Giant Lungs' (Transporta Records)
Iron Buddha - 'Raze/Repose' (self-released)
Goat - 'Medicine' and 'Levitation Sessions' (Rocket Recordings and The Reverberation Appreciation Society)
Mizmor - 'Prosaic' (Profound Lore Records)
Choose the Juice - 'Meteoria' (self/Artemis Kaiser)
Dopelord - 'Songs for Satan' (Blues Funeral Recordings)
Night Verses - 'Every Sound Has a Color in the Valley of Night: Part 1' (Equal Vision Records)
Astral Hand - 'Lords of Data' (Romanus Records)

DESIRE REALM GODS (enjoyment and satisfaction of desires)

Bongzilla - 'Dab City' (Heavy Psych Sounds Records)
Dead Feathers - 'Full Circle' (Ripple Music)
Dead Quiet - 'IV' (Artoffact Records)
Snakes Don't Belong in Alaska - 'Sounds of a Forming Planet' (Catacomb Family Records)
Swamp Ritual - 'Vol. III' (self-released)
Domkraft - 'Sonic Moons' (Magnetic Eye Records)
Sâver - 'From Ember and Rust (Pelagic Records)
Danko Jones - 'Electric Sounds' (Sonic Unyon Records)
Green Yeti - 'Necropolitan' (self-released)
Gozu - 'Remedy' (Metal Blade Records)

PRECIOUS HUMAN LIVES

Crown Lands - 'Fearless' (Universal)
Black Rainbows - 'Superskull' (Heavy Psych Sounds Records)
Auralayer - 'Thousand Petals' (King Volume Records)
Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats - 'Slaughter on First Avenue' (Rise Above Records)
Restless Spirit - 'Afterimage' (Magnetic Eye Records)
Howling Giant - 'Glass Future' (Magnetic Eye Records)
Sonic Demon - 'Veterans of the Psychic War' (Majestic Mountain Records)
Warp - 'Bound by Gravity' (Nasoni Records)
Moon Coven - 'Sun King' (Ripple Music)
REZN - 'Solace' (self-released)

FAVOURITE EPs OF 2023 (some of the above were technically EPs too but whatever)

The Budos Band - 'Frontier's Edge' (Diamond West Records)
Stöner - 'Boogie to Baja' (Heavy Psych Sounds Records)
Olde Grale - 'Blood of Fools' (Salt of the Earth Records)
Uncle Woe - 'Well' (Owlripper Records)
Ufomammut - 'Crookhead' (Supernatural Cat)

Friday, January 5, 2024

Nebular Nine: December 2023

Full disclosure. I'm tired of this format. This will be the last collage/what I listened to most post.
I'm not sure what's next, if anything, but this post at least will be kind of half-assed.
These don't usually show up here but I'm always listening to the Weedian compilations. December featured at least the Trips to Tennessee and Pennsylvania. Arizona too, I believe. 
I missed out of the Giant Lungs album when it first came out. But I'm sure loving it now! Tone and riffs and appealing vocals. Let's doom!
Speaking of doom. Uncle Woe gave us a new EP called 'Well' and well, it's pretty awesome. There's something about them that just resonates. Heavy, a little psych/post/prog and stuff. Interesting structures and all that. My vinyl is gonna be great when it gets here. 
I already know my Slower CD will be great when it arrives too. It's a January release though. I very rarely check out promos before release but I went ahead with this. I mean, Slayer but slower? Fuck yeah!
I'm going to have to check out the Mars Red Sky album again. I can't remember. December was weird.
Ok, bottom row we have three releases from Goat. I listened to the whole discography. 'Levitation Sessions' kicked things off and I went backwards from there. These three just had the most tracks. 
Van tunes: Talkin' Slayer Podcast


My Favourites of 2023 coming up next.