Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Jungbluth - Part Ache

Named after a German communist and resistance fighter Karl Jungbluth that was executed by Nazi forces in 1945, this is Jungbluth; the newest band from members of German crust band Alpinist, who sadly went on hiatus last year much to the dismay of many. But every cloud has a silver lining, right? After a storming self-titled tape of visceral melody-tinged hardcore with a penchant for sonic drama, Jungbluth has released their first full-length Part Ache.

Meshing the emotional pleas of Alpinist with screamo-like vocals and the urgency of crust, Part Ache is a half hour record of vibrant hardcore that is not to be missed. In many ways, they’ve picked up the baton where Alpinist left it but Jungbluth have taken on a presence of their own.

We’re introduced to Part Ache by the epic sounds and feelings of ‘Crevasse’, an instrumental that is rife with riffs and pulsating basslines. As far as setting a tone for things to come, Jungbluth have pulled it off perfectly.

That said, for all the band’s fevered and relentless flurries, they are certainly not afraid of hooks as the lead riff will ‘These Rare Moments’ will testify, being ebullient and almost bouncy as it collides with caustic shrieks and unifying gang vocals.

Meanwhile, ‘No One But Myself’ erupts with devastating drumming to counteract the buoyant melodies and segues to a crunchy slog that acts as a breather before another storm of aggression comes hammering in. Jungbluth’s relentlessness is truly staggering on this album, particularly with the vocals where heavy barks occasionally pop in to take over the reins from acidic screams to add a little dynamic to vocal commotion.

Karl Jungbluth was just one man in a group of young Germans that were determined to resist the spread of Nazism. His determinism and politics is a clear inspiration on the music of Jungbluth and the seeps from every pore of this record. It’s unruly and forceful. The politically charged emotion is totally palpable and the aggression unforgiving; a definite triumph for Jungbluth.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Introducing Toronto's Homolka

So, I’ve only got a few more days left in Toronto, having spent most of the summer here. During that time, I saw some bands that I really like that I never thought I’d have ever get a chance to see (Godstopper, Hammerhands). Sadly, I didn’t catch Column of Heaven as they didn’t play any shows while I’ve been here. At the same time, I made some great discoveries in Toronto’s scene, namely grinders Homolka.

The band played with Rotten Sound back in May and ripped through a short but caustic set of ugly grind that recalls the dirty and crusty riffs of very early Nasum along with a dosage of Retaliation influence, so needless to say the mix works wonders. Their split tape with the UK’s Human Cull was released last year and their side is a mere six minutes of bludgeoning that’s well worth investing in and in fact you can stream the tracks below.

Luckily for me, the band is playing a show this Friday so I’ll have the chance to catch them once more before I leave (Facebook event page). There are a bunch of other bands playing that I’m not familiar with but if it’s anything like the others shows I’ve been to in Toronto this summer, then I’ll be making some more cool discoveries.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New reviews: Man's Gin, Morne, Mouth of the Architect, Scale the Summit, Crown of Cerberus

There are a lot of reviews to get through so please get clicking the links to the respective sites now. Cheers.

Man’s Gin – Rebellion Hymns 
Erik Wunder of Cobalt helms Man’s Gin, a foray into dark folk and Americana. Rebellion Hymns is the band’s second album, a notable improvement on an already impressive foundation, so much so that we have an album of the year contender on our hands. Read HERE 

Morne – Shadows
Crushing sludge and abject misery but an eerie sense of melody and a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel; this is the world of Morne and their new LP Shadows, the follow-up to the acclaimed Asylum. Read the full review HERE 

Mouth of the Architect – Dawning
Mouth of the Architect have been through a lot but never quite carved out the momentous album that they needed. Dawning may not exactly be that album yet but it’s a definite step in the right direction. Read the review on Metal Ireland HERE 

Scale the Summit – The Migration
The Migration is Scale the Summit’s fourth record and may be their best yet, which is really saying something after 2011’s staggering album, The Collective. Find out how by reading the review HERE 

Crown of Cerberus – With Arms Extended To Heavens 
M. Chami, also of Koufar and Disgust, has left power electronics to the side for his latest project, the utterly beautiful and enthralling Crown of Cerberus and a meandering but engrossing ambient album in With Arms Extended to the Heavens. Read HERE on CVLT Nation.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Quickfire reviews: Okus and Hatred Surge

Okus – Okus
Underground Movement’s latest release is the debut album from ‘new’ Irish crust band Okus. While the band is new, these are familiar faces including members of Sodb, The Dagda and Fuckhammer. The four-piece immediately drew some attention late last year and early this year with some demo tracks online but this self-titled record is a whole other beast.

Early Swedish crust, particularly that of Wolfbrigade, is the chief inspiration behind this one, which is no bad thing but it’s a heavy populated pool however Okus have the bit between their teeth and that’s evident after the slow trudging intro of 'Blood and Oil' gives way to familiar pacey riffs and drums.

Tracks like 'Light Obscene' are searing slabs of crusty hardcore while 'Jackyl' commences in brooding fashion. The self-titled is pretty raw and unforgiving. More please.

Hatred Surge – Human Overdose 
Next up is the return of Texas’ finest powerviolence export Hatred Surge with their new LP, Human Overdose, which is the band laying their cards on the table for all to see. It’s a fast and belligerent slab of hardcore once again, clocking in at a terse 21 minutes.

Things open with a more menacing number in the intro ‘Figurehead’ though and the paced ‘Inhalation of Dimethyltryptamine’. This acts as a cautious introduction that eventually gathers in velocity to bring us to the wrath of ‘Hierarchy’.

‘Inoculation’ is a standout from this LP that will leave a few scars behind, it’s utterly savage and is Hatred Surge at some of their best. Meanwhile, ‘Suicide Mission’ is a devastating hail of juddering drums and blazing guitars that really capture the essence of this record – no nonsense bludgeoning.

Much like the outcome of the Heartless 7” a few weeks ago, it’s predictable and doesn’t stray from the beaten path. It’s Hatred Surge being Hatred Surge, which is no bad thing.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

New Irish tracks: Parhelia & Zhora

This past week two Irish bands posted new songs from forthcoming albums that are worth chatting about. Firstly, Parhelia have emerged from inactivity with their first release in years, posting a new track ‘Capricorn One’ and there won’t be much waiting around either as the album, The Precipice of Change, is supposedly coming out in the next week or so. The Dublin instrumental post rock band has been sorely missed, particularly since 2009’s stellar Shifting Sands.

Moving on to heavier stuff, Tipperary’s Zhora are prepping their first full-length, Almaz, after releasing a very promising EP last year. ‘Voynich’ is the first taster of this album and it’s quite the gauntlet they have laid down. The band will definitely appeal to anyone with a penchant for Mastodon’s heaviness but with a flair of BM guitars to plucked out from the malaise as well as judicial amounts of poignant melody. Check out the track below. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

New Pelican track

With the exception of early 2012’s Ataraxia/Taraxis EP, it’s been nearly four years since Chicagoan instrumental outfit Pelican released a record, that being their full-length What We All Come To Need. The band is now getting ready to release a new album, Forever Becoming, on October 15th, through Southern Lord and has released a new song ‘Immutable Dusk’, which is streaming on Pitchfork.

‘Immutable Dusk’ is the band keeping to tradition for the most part but with a couple of new ideas poking through. The opening riff is glaringly ‘Pelican’ with its dense and trudging tone and while the band are no stranger to peaks-and-valleys structures, the trough of ‘Immutable Dusk’ sees Pelican delve into even more dreamier terrain, which really makes this track interesting. The lead riff harnesses the heaviness of earlier material like Australasia with the shimmering melody of What We All… and City of Echoes to skilful effect.

Listen for yourselves below and check out the artwork while you’re at it.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

On Pain of Death album gets cassette release

Last year, Irish doom metallers On Pain of Death finally unleashed their long awaited debut album, Year Naught Doom, after years and years of stops and starts. The album was limited to an online release with the promise of a physical coming soon. While news on the vinyl from Handshake Inc. still waits, Dry Cough Records in Manchester have released the album on cassette, as per the wave of many underground bands of late putting out releases on cassette.

The pressing is limited to 100 copies and is available now and contains a “sneaky bonus” on the B-Side. It’s anyone’s guess! You can stream the album below and check out the label’s Big Cartel to pick up a copy.

Kayo Dot post first taster of Hubardo

In case you missed it, Kayo Dot will be releasing a new expansive double album called Hubardo later this year, which they are crowdfunding through pre-orders before the recording began. Toby Driver has just posted a new song from the album – ‘And He Built Him a Boat’.

Featuring guest vocals from none other than Jessika Kenney, this new song sees the avant-garde band trek into heavier realms. While last album Gamma Knife toyed with black metal-like vocals, the instrumentation was a little dreamier than the band’s earliest material. On ‘And He Built Him a Boat’, creeping discordant guitars give way to hymn-like passages where Kenney and Driver entwine their vocals beautifully, perfect the light/heavy balance just right.

As per usual it’s a magnetic listen that takes several listens to really hit home but ultimately you’re still left feeling somewhat empty, knowing that this seven minute song is just one segment of a grander double album and what Hubardo has in store is anyone’s guess.

Hubardo hasn’t got an exact release date yet but is expected to be “due this fall”. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

New Column of Heaven track

In the last few days we got a fresh offering from the inimitable Column of Heaven. You may be still reeling from the stellar Mission From God LP released last year, but the powerviolence band are following up with a number of 7” releases soon, most notably Holy Things Are For The Holy, coming out on Iron Lung Records.

The band is streaming ‘Flesh Prison’, fully mastered, having released a demo version some time ago. Apparently the 7” is ready to go and in the hands of the label. We eagerly await info on the release date while the band is working on a number of other releases including splits with Gas Chamber, which should be something else, and Suffering Luna as well as a new LP. Check out the track below.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

You Come Before You: 10 years on

This week, July 1st to be precise, marked the tenth anniversary of Poison The Well’s You Come Before You, arguably their best record but one that sent them into something of a tailspin. You Come Before You was the band’s major label debut, released by Atlantic Records, and yes, you guessed it; it’s their only major label release.

Where bands often tone down their ferocity for such an endeavour and even reel in their ambitions a little for the sake of getting those all-important singles and music video ready, Poison The Well didn’t quite do that.

This was the band that released The Opposite of December in 1999, a melodic metalcore record released long before Killswitch Engage even started writing Alive or Just Breathing. This was a band that had something special brewing inside. You Come Before You obviously had a bigger budget behind it and the production values speak to that but the dense heaviness and hardcore sensibilities, largely, remained and the caution to the wind attitude of the band was both to their detriment and benefit. Benefit? It’s a stellar record. Detriment? They were dropped by Atlantic. It just wasn’t squeaky clean enough.

But steady on, PTW didn’t release some Boris-sque descent into the avant-garde or something like that. This album had hooks and memorable choruses aplenty and Jeff Moreira delivers a phenomenal vocal performance. It’s like the ideas of The Opposite of December and Tear From The Red finally had the production space to unfurl… and throw in a few country music interludes for good measure.

Hindsight is such a beautiful thing. 2003, what a bizarre year. Nu Metal was just being peeled off its deathbed and metalcore was getting ready to explode but what ‘metal’ was on the major labels is cringe-worthy at best. Taproot (yes, remember them?) were on Atlantic at the time. Limp Bizkit were being forced down our throats still, plastered all over Kerrang TV and Scuzz. POD were doing a tune for the soundtrack for The Matrix Reloaded. Oh yeah, and St. Anger happened around this time too. Kind of embarrassing, wouldn’t you say? It’s funny nonetheless.

Poison The Well would disappear for a few years and re-emerge in 2007 with Versions, an impressive release in its own right, followed by the EP series, entitled I/III / II/III / III/III,  but sadly 2009’s The Tropic Rot was a poor affair and shortly afterwards the band would break-up. Nevertheless we have this opus to enjoy, released in unlikely surrounds. Happy 10th birthday.

(Funnily enough, for the band's only major label album, this is the only track from the record on YouTube)


2013 marks the 10th/15th/20th/25th/30th anniversary of a lot of albums. Sadly, there just simply will not be posts for all of them.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Fear Factory played Archetype live?

This video is starting to do the rounds and it’s pretty interesting. Currently Fear Factory is on an Australian tour where they are playing their seminal 1995 album Demanufacture album in its entirety but in their encore in Brisbane they broke out the title track of 2004’s Archetype.

In case you need a quick history lesson, guitarist Dino Cazares left the band after 2001’s Digimortal. It was something of an acrimonious split but Fear Factory would release two albums without Dino’s presence and signature playing; the overlooked Archetype and the abysmal Transgression. Was Archetype a fluke or was Transgression just a chink in the chain? We’ll never know as Dino would reunite with vocalist Burton C Bell for 2010’s reunion record Mechanize, which was stellar and 2012’s The Industrialist, which was a bit of a dud. Do you see a pattern developing here?

But since they returned, they’ve been riding the wave of nostalgia a little bit so it came as a surprise that they would actually play a song that Dino Cazares has nothing to do with, especially when he accused the band of ripping him off when they put it out in 2004 and includes the lyric “the infection has been removed”, a jibe at Dino’s departure.

Unfortunately, the performance isn’t up to scratch and Bell’s vocals seem shot on this particular song, bearing in mind that it’s a fan filmed YouTube clip but perhaps it hints to them playing the track more in the future or maybe others from Archetype like ‘Slave Labor’ or ‘Bonescraper’, just leave Transgression where it is, ok? Watch the video below.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Robin Staps, The Ocean interview

Recently I had a chance to interview The Ocean’s guitarist and founder Robin Staps, mainly on the topic of their new record Pelagial, touching on the album’s dense concepts and its personal meaning. I’m quite pleased with this one, you can check out the feature now on CVLT Nation by clicking HERE.