Thursday, September 30, 2010

Drudkh - Handful Of Stars

Ukraine’s Drudkh have, over the course of seven previous albums, maintained some anonymity and mysticism in their atmospheric black metal. However eighth effort, Handful Of Stars is a stray away from their old beaten path, one that may surprise and in other regards not. After all, this is a band whom not a lot of people even know look like.

Either way this will be divisive one being the band’s second release under Season Of Mist the follow up to the somewhat lukewarm received Microcosmos and more importantly, it being just a different, unexpected record.

The dark, seething piano of introductory track 'Cold Landscapes' has the ever unnerving Drudkh vibe to begin. But from there the chest opens to reveal a record wholly different from past endeavours – 'Downfall Of The Epoch' will edify. Its chiming guitars give way to Thurios’ methodical growl. The same level of ferocity and venom won’t be found too much here and while that may aggravate some, the dabbling on Handful Of Stars is still nothing short of engaging.

Granted, Drudkh are no strangers to the winds of changes often standing defiantly in the way of its gust, like Songs Of Grief And Solitude, an entirely acoustic Ukrainian folk record. But this album is a “departure” completely to itself.

Now, it would be a stretch to call Handful Of Stars a heavy record when it has the likes of Blood In Our Wells as its counterparts. There’s an incongruous shoegaze flagrance at first and with more and more spins it feels as if the jigsaw pieces fall into place and becomes comfortable amongst the harsh vocals.

There’s a foreboding sense of melody here but still Handful… is dark in its own right. 'Towards The Light' is indicative of this with its harrowing opening guitar work. Overall thought it’s grand and spacious with a memorable resonating and sharp lead riff.

For now, Handful Of Stars seems otherworldly but with multiple listens it becomes more and more secure and the realisation sinks in that it is in fact a sterling record indeed.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Swans - My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky

The wildly lauded Swans are back, all under the leadership of the ever evocative Michael Gira. My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky is the first Swans album in fourteen years. Click HERE for the review.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

New Jesu track

With the re-release of Jesu’s Heart Ache approaching along with unreleased Dethroned EP, the latter’s title track has surfaced online.

‘Dethroned’ is blisteringly heavy and dense with a vibe that’s not a million miles away from latter day Godflesh. Justin Broadrick’s vocoder vocals assimilate beautifully with the crushing riffs and fevered drumming for the track’s blissful seven minutes.

Heart Ache / Dethroned is released in November on vinyl and for the first time, CD. Listen to the track below:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

New tracks round up

Steven Wilson – Home In Negative
The next few weeks are vital in the stories of Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson respectively. Porcupine Tree will play two monolithic shows in Radio City Music Hall and Royal Albert Hall, feats once thought unimaginable. Also, October will see the release of Wilson’s film Insurgentes, which has done the rounds at film festivals and had New York and London premiers so far. But until then, this Steven Wilson solo track ‘Home In Negative’ has surfaced online.

It’s a cut that never made its way on to the Insurgentes album. It’s stripped down acoustic and minimalist with the opening chords sounding reminiscent of Opeth’s ‘Poison In The Ivy’. All of which changes once Wilson unmistakably gentle croon swans in. You can listen to the track below.

My Chemical Romance – Na Na Na…
The much maligned/adored My Chemical Romance are to return in November after a lengthy absence with new record, Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys. It’s the follow up to their global conquering Black Parade album in 2006. This track is the first taster of the new material. By the way it’s called ‘Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)’. Yeah…

It’s forcefully wacky stuff with hooks all in tow. But it doesn’t feel like the band will ever match the primal melody of Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge. However they’re seemingly abandoned the inane, more bombastic-than-thou blabberings of The Black Parade.

Alter Bride – Isolation
This one’s actually been out a little while longer. The return of Alter Bridge this year is something to take heed of. They’ve signed to Roadrunner for the release of this new record AB: III and frontman Myles Kennedy has enjoyed much praise during his touring run on vocals for Slash. The Creed reunion which took place just a few months ago was a royal flop and as many would say – FAIL, and rightfully so. But it put one thing in perspective, Alter Bridge are one tight, quality band. Just listen to this new number ‘Isolation’. Previous record Blackbird was a wholly underrated endeavour and if AB: III tops it then we’ll have another top notch record this year.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dublin Doom Day, Fibber Magees 18/9/2010

You can read the full length review of the second annual Dublin Doom Day on the Terrorizer/Sick Sounds website HERE.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


The Grind That Annoys has been inactive for over a week. There is a reason for this and it will be rectified soon. So, apologies for no new posts being made. Please stick with us in the coming days. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Linkin Park - A Thousand Suns

Chances are that if you’re of a certain age you bought Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory when it was released and you loved every second of it. The youthful nu metal bounce, to that particular generation, was simply put - the shit. Chances are that that record still occupies a small space on your shelf at home or maybe even a spot on your I-pod. But my, my times do change.

Linkin Park have evolved in the decade that has passed since then. Of course, no one should really advocate the belief of “it ain’t broke don’t fix it” when it comes to music. Bands should be ever evolving, but unfortunately for Linkin Park that progression has been a disconcerting one. A Thousand Suns shifts to a more electronic/light industrial driven sound that’s drawn out and exhaustive.

First single/video 'The Catalyst' is largely indicative of A Thousand Suns as a whole. It has a slight grandiosity to it; almost a call to arms like passages but therein lays the problem. 'The Catalyst' sounds like it should be the intro track to an album of a much deeper plot, emotional meaning and instead, it feels like the intended height of A Thousand Suns and the centrepiece of the record… it’s the second last song, the fourteenth.

The clang and reverberation of a guitar is yearned for throughout the record as electronics and synths dominate the album, which is entirely industrial tinged as mentioned earlier. Guitar riffs are still here of course, and are at times used ever so tastefully like the climax of 'Burning In The Skies', however they’re far from being the focal point.

Predecessor Minutes To Midnight, had somewhat (somewhat) of that old bounce to it with the likes of 'Given Up', however it was much more "mature", as some people will put it. Here, the former is fully dispelled and the latter heavily accentuated. It is indeed a very serious album, thematically. The lyrical concepts are overtly political, and provide, as clichéd as it sounds, a social commentary.

Mike Shinoda’s rapping is still a presence on A Thousand Suns too, as heard on 'When They Come For Me', to hone in on one example. Again, it’s deeply stern but it just becomes tedious after a few verses. Plus, the ridiculous lyrics portrayed in such a histrionic environment only damages the course of the record. Meanwhile, following track 'Robot Boy' sounds partially like an East 17 b-side. The only jagged intensity can be found on 'Blackout' with Chester Bennington returning to his scream, laid in front of a luridly synthesized backdrop. His beat laden side project Dead By Sunrise has certainly infiltrated the ‘Park camp overall in this album.

The only real standout moment of the record is semi ballad, 'Iridescent' and to refer to it as ‘standout’ is quite a stretch it must be said. Despite its explicit U2 worship it’s the track of the least fault.

Frankly, there’s just nothing on A Thousand Suns that grabs you by the balls­, the figurative balls of course. It’s a fleeting record, which passes off as being tired and a little uninterested.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Stone Sour - Audio Secrecy

Click HERE to read the review of Stone Sour's new, third, album the rather impressive Audio Secrecy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Home Star Runner / Crawdaddy controversy

Just in case you’re not up to speed on the disheartening and shocking events that took place at Crawdaddy and Home Star Runner’s last show on Saturday.... Click HERE to read the rest of this post on We Don't Stop Here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Lot Like Birds - Plan B

Diversity and eccentricity are difficult to accomplish without sound forced or contrived but California’s A Lot Like Birds do it with aplomb. Click HERE to read the review of Plan B.

Mike Portnoy leaves Dream Theater

Yes, it is true. Never in a million years did anyone, let alone the diehard Dream Theater fan base, see this one coming. Mike Portnoy, the revered, inimitable leader and founder member of the progressive metal kings, Dream Theater has left the band. Since their formation in 1985 Portnoy cradled the band as if it were his baby, being a chief songwriter/lyricist, handling most press duties and touring schedules as well as running the Ytsejam label. Now, he has left. Read his statement HERE.

In 2010, Portnoy’s most notoriety came with his affiliation with Avenged Sevenfold, joining to record drums on Nightmare, following the death of The Rev. He also agreed to tour with the band until the year was out. Dream Theater completed a US tour this summer supporting Iron Maiden and Portnoy, also played the first High Voltage festival in London with Transatlantic (his prog supergroup with Neal Morse). Needless to say Mike Portnoy has always been a busy guy.

But Dream Theater always came first and foremost. However, that has seemingly changed. As outlined in the statement, agreeing on a ‘hiatus’ with the 4 remaining members proved fruitless and hence, he has parted ways with the band he has been one with for 25 years, after 10 studio albums and countless live releases.

Portnoy is, simply put, the best drummer in the world. Clichéd statement? Bold? You’re damn right it is. So, when you possess a mantle such as that where do you go next? The first thought is that he will become a permanent fixture in Avenged Sevenfold. The next is that Transatlantic appearances will become more common, and perhaps some of his many projects from the past will materialise again and new ones with it. It seems though that the former is far more likely.

What’s next for Dream Theater however? Frankly, it’s mind numbingly difficult to imagine Dream Theater without the ever towering presence of Portnoy’s drumming. Whatever happens, one thing is for sure, today is indeed a very sad day.

Friday, September 3, 2010

New Enslaved track

A new track from Norwegian progressive black metal act Enslaved’s forthcoming new album Axioma Ethica Odini has been released online. Entitled ‘Ethica Odini’, it is the opener for the record and across its grand eight minutes it’s rather alluring to what the album has in store. The black metal brutality of their younger selves very much remains. But of course thanks, in particular, to blinding records like Isa and Ruun they’ve embraced a gorgeously experimental and progressive manner.

There’s a rich and textured melody running throughout, in an enthralling harmony with the visceral moments. This is however augmented by the captivating clean vocals.

Axioma Ethica Odini is released on September 27th, listen to the track below.