Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cathedral - The Village, 27/4/10

Brum metal legends Cathedral stormed Dublin's The Village last Tuesday. Get the full lowdown HERE.

*Photo by Daniel Hurley

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thrones - Late For Dinner [Single]

This dude Joe Preston is better known under the pseudonym of the barraging doom metal one man project Thrones. It’s a project with which he has sporadically released a few efforts under including a hand full of EPs split records and compilations but only one full length, 1996’s Alraune. Preston has been a man known to get around within metal’s doom, sludge and drone circles though, collaborating or being involved with the likes of Sunn O))), Earth and High On Fire.

Late For Dinner is a mere single, delivering only two tracks and is the first slab of new material from Thrones since the White Rabbit EP in 2000, and the newest release after Day Late, Dollar Short compilation of 2005. However despite this being the freshest wedge of filthy squalid doom in five to ten years Late For Dinner may not want to be what is read on Preston’s epitaph.

Nonetheless, it’s by no means a bad effort. First track and the only with vocals, 'Wage War' is heaving with devastating heaviness that feels like it can’t be contained within speakers. Meanwhile the corrosive vocals have a stampeding quality throughout making the track’s five minutes gruelling.

Similarly, the instrumental, 'Trmph Lfe' keeps the tremulous riffing going only slowing things down more. The mountain valley-like riffs grow and grow and at times, almost become excruciatingly unhurried and are affixed with typical doom metal lethargy.

In its two rudimentary tracks Late For Dinner might make a nice addition to a sprawling doom collection but alone it’s anything but necessary or essential.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Anathema track

Anathema have released a new track, a final cut, from their ridiculously anticipated new album We’re Here Because We’re Here. You can listen to ‘Thin Air’ below.

As ever it’s gorgeously multi-layered and even more atmospheric, like predecessor A Natural Disaster. In a typical, but still somehow completely fresh way ‘Thin Air’ scales to that all important crescendo. Vincent Cavanagh’s vocals are utterly faultless, exhibiting heart wrenching and breathtaking surges from beginning to end. We’re Here Because We’re Here may just blow all expectations to oblivion.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

New Cynic track

Label, Season of Mist has released one track from the forthcoming Cynic EP Re-Traced, ‘King’, a re-interpretation of ‘King Of Those Who Know’.

It’s a slower, more sombre rendition of the track, that doesn’t quite scale the same heights as the original. But the guitar work from Paul Masvidal and Tymon Kruidenier is hypnotic and gorgeously meandering, drawing still on much of that same theme that seemed to run through Traced In Air. Masvidal’s vocals maintain that same swooning, ethereal edge too and his statement of this EP flattering with shoegaze is vividly audible.

Re-Traced is released May 17th.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Levi/Werstler: new project featuring Sean Reinert

As Cynic ready the release of new EP Re-traced, drummer Sean Reinert has popped up on the radar again with Dååth guitarists Eyal Levi and Emil Werstler. The instrumental project led by the guitar tandem falls simply under the name Levi/Werstler. A new track, ‘Plague House’ can be heard HERE.

The decidedly edgy guitar work of Dååth is still intact on ‘Plague House’, with riffs that shift in and out of soaring leads that nod unabashedly in parts to Petrucci. But Levi and Werstler’s performance here marks a few slight differences from the day job as the fret bothering is the project’s focal point. Meanwhile, Reinert’s drumming is as unique and frantic as ever. The album entitled Avalanche Of Worms is released at the end of the month.

Barren Earth - Curse Of The Red River

Finland’s Barren Earth are an interesting prospect to say the least, featuring Swallow The Sun vocalist Mikko Kotamäki along with former and current members of Moonsorrow and Amorphis. Stylistically, they inhabit the same vein as more recent Swallow The Sun, and that grander sophistication they’ve assumed. But the early doom influences are still rearing their heads. However Curse Of The Red River has much more in common with neighbouring Sweden’s melodic death metal, when it was in its infancy and genuinely groundbreaking.

Curse Of The Red River trades much crushing heaviness with foreboding and lush riffs. It has no give in its barrage but is never once fearful of its own melody, as the invigorating choruses of 'Our Twilight' and 'Forlorn Waves'’ earth shattering riffs would reveal.

Meanwhile, tracks like 'Flicker' whip up tornado storms of riffage only to shift harmoniously to downcast, acoustic sections. Then 'The Leer' is heaving with swift hook laden melodies, replete with a smoothing chorus. 'Ere All Perish' punishes with avalanching fret work and further guttural vocal spewing from Mikko Kotamäki.

Kotamäki’s vocals are simply stunning on this release. His growth as a vocalist has been breathtaking throughout his career, that pinnacle was edified by last year’s Swallow The Sun effort New Moon and here it’s only accentuated.

Production wise, the record is polished just right, maintaining that enthralling dark edge with shimmering clean cut guitar work.

The record sticks to its breathtaking guns throughout, particularly so when it culminates on the inexorably building and awe inspiring crescendo of 'Deserted Morrows'.

Barren Earth have struck down a hefty gauntlet with this record, especially considering its ‘side project’ status. With this much exhilarating music stacked in nine tracks, the future looks set to be an exciting one. There’s not one superfluous track on Curse Of The Red River, it’s chock full of sharp and poignant moments, all without cessation.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cancer Bats - Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones

Call it being blind or rather deaf, hell call it ignorance. But when Cancer Bats popped up in 2006 with Birthing The Giant, the potential was there but it didn’t seem to have anything particularly attention grabbing about it. But two years on and with Hail Destroyer they grabbed your balls with an iron tight grip and demanded your attention, and eventual love.
On this third effort the Canadian machine has shed nearly all their hardcore mannerisms and embraced a more dare we say, metal sound, as well as filthy southern grooves. Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones is a succinct and furious record, with only one track exceeding the four minute mark. It makes for each song being a thunderous, energetic and relentless one.

Cancer Bats will never, it would seem anyway, become a band to indulge in overt technicality. But here each player delivers a more pronounced performance. Guitarist Scott Middleton peels off countless inescapably memorable riffs, which he hinted at with previous efforts. Just listen to the urgency of tracks like 'Trust No One' and 'Snake Mountain' for proof.

In addition, vocalist Liam Cormier has entered a league of his own with this album, spitting his raspy vocals with ease. Again, his abilities have only grown and grown with time.

On record, Cancer Bats are a solid entity but it’s in the live setting that they come truly to life and become an unruly force to be reckoned with. These songs will have an even stronger verve breathed into them, like the hammering start of 'Drive This Stake' as it beckons a call to arms that will be fully realised when these road hogs bring it to the stage.

Cancer Bats are a transparent band, wearing their hearts and intentions on their sleeves. With that, Bear, Mayor Scraps & Bones is an honest record that should yield a myriad of conquests.


Friday, April 16, 2010

New Kingdom Of Sorrow track

Kirk Windstein and Jamey Jasta’s pummelling side project Kingdom Of Sorrow are set to return on June 8th with new record, Behind The Blackest Tears. Here is a new track released from it, ‘God’s Law In The Devil’s Land’.

The riffs are a battering mixture of southern grit and hints of shimmering modern metal edge. Windstein is the star of the vocals here, but Jasta delivers his stunner of a performance too, drawing on those new styles explored on the latest Hatebreed album. The self titled debut record in 2008 was a solid, heavy as tits message of what Kingdom Of Sorrow are all about and this new offering seems set to continue on that path.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Peter Steele passes away

The online maze of rumours that circulated this morning was overwhelming. But now it is with great sadness that we confirm that Type O Negative frontman Peter Steele has passed away, he was 48. Steele was found in his New York home, and heart failure is believed to have been the cause; however that has not been confirmed.

Peter Steele was one of the most recognisable voices in metal, with Type O Negative's brand of goth tinged, doom influenced cacophony yielding universally lauded albums like Bloody Kisses and October Rust.

Condolences go out to Steele's family, friends and bandmates. RIP

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Dillinger Escape Plan - Option Paralysis

Since their 1999 debut Calculating Infinity, The Dillinger Escape Plan have risen from being outcast mathcore nerds to elated boundary jostlers in their inimitable and effervescent field. They’ve done this in an oddly non prolific fashion with Option Paralysis being only their fourth record.

Previous two efforts Miss Machine and Ire Works both exhibited the band’s grave evolution of the schizophrenic carnage that is their music. Option Paralysis continues that steam train evolution but simultaneously doesn’t mark any drastic departure from their maniacal manner. So, if you never like The Dillinger Escape Plan before then Option Paralysis won’t convert anyone. It more or less preaches to the converted.

Opener 'Farewell Mona Lisa' is very much indicative of the record as a whole, avalanching riffs and corrosive vocals from Greg Puciato give way to clean melodic chorus. Puciato has made a career out of sounding like he’s gargling scalpels but he’s always been capable of pushing himself to the clean singing boundaries, and this is accentuated on this record. Examples of that are on 'Gold Teeth On A Bum' which tugs on that melodic element thoroughly, being a little more easily paced (by Dillinger standards) and clean vocal driven.

Past records have had momentary melodic breaks in them almost posing as a brief lapse to catch your breath, like that seen on 'Black Bubblegum' (from Ire Works). That mould isn’t broken.

Also, from shows and gaining contacts with Nine Inch Nails, DEP enlisted the services of 64 year old pianist Mike Garner (who’s has worked with Bowie). He lends an air of sophistication to the general insanity throughout Option Paralysis. 'Widower' is hugely emblematic of this, melding seamlessly with Puciato’s raspy vocals, building to some massive melodies. In parts, some of the piano wouldn’t sound out of place in a darkened, cooler than thou jazz club. But also, harrowing landscapes are created by Garson on 'I Wouldn’t If You Didn’t' after the hurried madness.

Option Paralysis is a continuation of The Dillinger Escape Plan’s frenzied and hectic manifesto. Ben Weinman and Jeff Tuttle’s riffs are still like that of a lunatic’s thoughts and new drummer, Billy Rymer blasts, batters and hammers his way treacherously through this belter of a record.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Previously unreleased Dimebag track

In this month’s issue of Metal Hammer you’ll find an exclusive release of an unearthed Dimebag track. The track entitled ‘Dime’s Blackout Society’ is about his long time friend Zakk Wylde. Also, the track has been re-mastered by Slayer’s Dave Lombardo.

The track has Dime lending his voice to proceedings, and sounds recognisable as ever from that of his interviews back in the day. But this track is Dime singing about getting drunk with Zakk; it’s a fun track that was probably recorded over a few whiskeys on a Sunday afternoon.
Listen below:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New Pale Sketcher (Justin Broadrick) track

The ever toiling Justin K.Broadrick has revealed the first snippet of music from his new project Pale Sketcher. The work is based entirely on the electronic elements of Jesu, simply expanding on it with all the material being sans guitar.

The track is ‘Plans That Fade (Faded Dub)’ which rings somewhat familiar reverberations – in other words you know it’s Broadrick and really does sound like Jesu minus guitars and drums. It’s foreboding electronica with JKB delivering an almost howl-like vocal running wraithlike underneath the swishing noises

‘Plans That Fade (Faded Dub)’ is being released on the Ghostly By Night compilation later this month. However the debut Pale Sketcher album has been slated for an August release.

Listen to the track below and click
HERE to visit Justin Broadrick’s blog for a free download.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Alcest - Écailles De Lune

If falling into a dream like trance, in a dense forest, surrounded by a milky fog needed an ambient soundtrack, Écailles De Lune would be it. It may only be the second record from France’s Alcest, the project led by the man simply known as Neige, but it wields an uncanny air of wisdom.

From underground beginnings as a raw black metal act, Alcest would morph into a wholly separate entity by the time debut Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde arrived in 2007.

It was a diverse melting pot with influences like that of My Blood Valentine and a few nods to the extreme yore that made it one of the exciting experimental metal records for the time. After some split releases and Neige indulging in some vague extremities again with Amesoeurs, only for the band to split after their debut, Alcest has risen again to embark on a new labour that has birthed the fruit – Écailles De Lune, a lush, verdant milieu of musical landscapes.

Stretching across two parts, the title track holds up a mirror to Alcest with part one waltzing through supplely clean vocals, only for the second part to revisit blast beats, harsh vocals and buzz saw guitars. Across its combined 18-plus minutes, it weaves with ease, the inimitable downcast aura that seemingly only Neige can sculpt.

Écailles De Lune, with its near perfect production, also visits the erstwhile sounds fearlessly throughout like the void of clean vocals, 'Percées de Lumière' and on the flip side, 'Solar Song'. The latter of which has Neige’s voice at its most ethereal, coiling around staggering guitars, creating an utterly entrancing vibe.

This record is gorgeously layered and ever unravelling, it’s about atmosphere and it doesn’t get much more hauntingly so on the album closer, 'Sur l'Océan Couleur de fer' which is like that of a harrowing but beautiful nautical dusk.

It’s emblematic of the record as a whole. It’s an otherworldly wander through that dense forest in a somnambulist state witnessing only the serene, and hypnotic, opaque vistas and timbres. It’s doubtlessly one of the most engrossing, melancholic, somewhat neurotic records of the year.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Cathedral - The Guessing Game

Cathedral are veterans, doom pioneers, you don’t need reminding of that. But over 20 years since their inception and five years since their last album, The Garden Of Unearthly Delights, Cathedral have dropped one of their most adventurous records to date. This is The Guessing Game, a double album jaunt of psychedelic, ambitious and progressive work.

The first disc sees the band revelling in some heavy, bombastic riffing on 'Funeral Of Dreams' and particularly so on 'Painting In The Dark'. But the intro track, 'The Immaculate Misconception' has an oddly fitting title in that any conception you had of Cathedral’s sound prior to this has been now been dispelled and ultimately altered.

As well as that there’s some explicit dabbling in the lighter shades of their pallet. But the varying tracks shift harmoniously through moods, creating an enthralling array of styles. This is made greatly evident by the second disc throwing a few spanners in the works and getting heavier and grittier. That shift is made oh so palpable by last track of part one - 'Cats, Incense, Candles & Wine'. It amiably tramples through nursery rhyme-like tones turning to a light hearted trod.

Even with this massively psychedelic exuberance resonating throughout The Guessing Game, there are some profound remnants of Cathedral’s squalid edge lurking throughout, like the droning intro to 'La Noche Del Buque Maldito' which morphs into bouncy riffs and carnival-eque eccentricities.

Vocally, the intrepid Lee Dorrian is his usually valiant self, thundering tremulously through each track with an ease that is only accumulated from twenty-plus years in the field.

But The Guessing Game’s most interesting element is how it utilises a multiplicity of instruments outside of the box – Moog Taurus, mellotron, Auto Harp to ramble off a few. In fact the instrumental title track even has some inescapable nods to King Crimson and Yes.

But returning to that vivacious nature, with a feel good vibe to close is 'Journey Into Jade', a overt retrospect of the band’s lifetime, replete with both highs and lows and a view to the future.

The Guessing Game isn’t a dark album by any means, but certainly not a light or faint one either. It’s, simply put, as mad as a child with ADD after guzzling a few cans of Monster. It’s peculiar and flamboyant, however still majestically voluminous and a record that won’t (and this is a promise) reveal itself to you in the first spin.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Brigantia release free demo, The Chronic Argonauts

Brigantia, Tipperary’s finest doom export, have released their demo The Chronic Argonauts for free download, yes free download for all you lovely people. Click HERE to get in on the doom. The band are also to be part of Dublin Doom Day this September alongside Mourning Beloveth, Griftegard and plenty more.

The Chronic Argonauts is one of the most striking Irish demos for a while now, and it makes this heady impression in a mere three tracks. Plus, the production quality only strengthens the delivery, being near pristine but still leaving the necessary fetidness that any doom release yearns.

‘Time Machine Of Doom’ is one big massive Sabbath love in and a track that shamelessly drives a hook into you head. Meanwhile ‘Prisoner’ has some monolithic and engrossing riffs accentuated by crushing vocals. And to end ‘The Eyes Of Lugosi’ treads wondrously along the moods throughout the demo, drawing too on some inescapable blues influences.