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So I know this is kind of old news–Luc Lemay of Gorguts posted a montage of new Gorguts material two days ago, but since my life sadly includes activities other than lurking around metal news sites, hammering the refresh key and hoping for tasty tidbits to appear, I didn’t get around to listening until now.
Holy. Fucking. Shit.
It deserves mentioning that Gorguts are among my favorite metal bands, and that I consider their 1998 opus Obscura to be among the last great stylistic leaps forward in death metal history. So, needless to say I was just a wee bit excited to what Lemay and his new crew (Kevin Hufnagel and Colin Marston of Dysrhythmia, and John Longstreth of justabouteverybandever) have been up to.
Orchid vocalist Theo Mindell is a humble guy, particularly when it comes to his ‘Frisco quartet’s nasty knack for creating some of the gnarliest, most sincerely legit Sabbath worship heard since the days of Sleep’s Holy Mountain. “Mark and I are the straight men,” says Theo, “…and Nickel and Carter weave the 70′s black magic. The great bands of the 60′s and 70′s all had crushing rhythm sections and I think we’ve got one.”
West coast contemporaries aside, the band’s debut EP for The Church Within Records, Through The Devil’s Doorway, is a fist-pumping, anthemic rollercoaster ride to the riff-filled land—no milk and honey here, folks. Nope, Orchid sets their phasers to stun, shock and awe here on these four memorable tracks, resulting in a simple sonic smorgasbord of heaviness.
“I think it’s pretty evident in our approach we want to capture the spirit of music we love and grew up with more than reinvent the wheel,” admits Theo with regards to Orchid’s admitted lack of originality vs. surplus of awesomeness. “We make no bones about holding our influences close. It would be pretty silly to try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes on that issue. I think we’ve always written songs for this band from the perspective of being little kids who are so excited by the bands we love, that we want to be a part of what they created. That has always been my intention…nothing more or less. Is it original—probably not any more than a lot of things out there, y’know? Is it heartfelt? Absolutely. Do I feel like who Orchid are as people shines through in the interpretation of our songs? Absolutely—you’re either moved by our music the way I am, or you’re not. I know I can’t please everyone and it would be phony and stupid to try.” (more…)
Now be honest, aren’t you just a little bit curious what an album by a band named MONKEYPRIEST sounds like? At least take a look at their signature band shirt with the photo of a robed MONKEY derisively wagging a finger from his lectern (or pulpit) and denouncing in a vitriolic manner some form of sacrilege against the primate race or issuing a stern admonishment to his enemies, which makes sense considering that “Primate Supremacy” is scrawled across the bottom. I’ll freely admit; it got me interested enough to order the shirt from the band’s home base in Spain and agree to a review of the Defending the Tree EP.
As it turns out, the four-tracker is a damn solid representation of the kind of sludge metal made infamous by EYEHATEGOD and later bands like FISTULA, although Defending the Tree isn’t as scalding hot or abrasive as releases from either of those acts. Regardless, MONKEYPRIEST damn sure know how to ride a riff and a groove for all its worth without it becoming nauseatingly repetitive, while true to form the harsh ‘n hateful vocals sound as though they’re being shouted at the microphone from a far corner of the garage. In the world of sludge, much of the success of a disc stems from a band’s ability to harness just the right feeling, one which is never easy to define, yet one that MONKEYPRIEST come pretty close to nailing. A few choice riffs make all the difference in the world too. The sudden upsurge in tempo on “War for the Throne” that delivers like old school BLACK SABBATH and the section of “Doomsday” that moves from the comfort of a basic, circular riff into a nightmare speed romp is just what the doctored ordered for the EP’s final two tracks. (more…)
1-They were established to be the “Christian SLIPKNOT.”
2-Vocalist Ryan Clark has one of the best voices in metal today
3-Up until now, they’ve barely toured, opting to instead crank a record out every year..
4-DEMON HUNTER doesn’t make bad records.
Almost annoyingly so The World Is A Thorn is really no exception. If there’s a fault to be found with the Seattle band’s fifth album, it’s how little it breaks from the DEMON HUNTER “format” –despite the fact that guitarist Don Clark has exited the fray to focus on his Grammy nominated design company, Invisible Creature.
The production, once more courtesy of Solid State house producer, Aaron Sprinkle, is flawless. From the kick-off of “Descending Upon Us,” it’s riff upon riff, big vocal hooks, and the most uplifting lyrics this side of KILLSWITCH ENGAGE. True to form, DEMON HUNTER aren’t ever afraid to give you the one-per-record-guaranteed-Active-Rock-ready track, this time, “Driving Nails,” a track that would sit pretty comfortably next to fellow churchgoers SHINEDOWN. While they have yet to best “Heartstrings Come Undone” from Summer of Darkness, this is a damn fine bit of inspirational rock for the not-ready-for-Deicide-yet set.
Almost too simply let the listener know that this isn’t DEMON HUNTER’s strongest suit, the album’s best track, “Tie This Around Your Neck” comes storming back in like a lost MACHINE HEAD track with plenty of violence and force. (more…)
Check out Los Angeles’s Holy Grail(Prosthetic Records) in the studio with Ex-Nine Inch Nail’s guitar/bass player Danny Lohner producing … I seen these guys on a couple shows with 3 Inches of Blood way back in January and got there 7′ that has a Accept cover of ‘Fast As A Shark’ & Judas Priest‘Exciter’ - Worth checking out if you like Dio or The Scorpions! It’s not too over the top and won’t give you a earache!
“It’ll be like Lamb of God sounding part’s … and sound like Paul Di’Anno singing over it” singer James Luna
CHURCH OF MISERY Live At Roadburn 2009 (Roadburn Records)
Recorded in April 2009 at the Roadburn Festival, Church Of Misery’s eight song setlist is comprised of both their serious stoner riff encyclopedia and faster, classic laden grooves. These dudes definitely know how to master a cohesive set list and keep it charged.
There is only one problem – the quality of the recording. It’s actually devastating to compare Church Of Misery’s studio albums to the production on this release. It isn’t that they are lacking their technical capabilities during the performance, but without production control for a live recording, it comes off as amateur. The levels are highly disproportionate to what their dynamics usually are. The snare is so fucking loud in the mix it is almost unbearable; the burden of it in every single song is really hard to bear. The drums are the strongest assault on the album, and you need to actively focus on the bass lines if you want to hear them under all the cymbal crashing and incessant gun pop snare. I dig Junji’s drumming and impeccable timing. Don’t blame him for the levels. Vocals are the next prevailing sound, and with their executioner-worthy riffs it’s a shame to lose those dominating lines.
I feel a general indicator of a band’s raw talent is often determined in their live sets. Only then do you know whether they rely on over-production to generate their songs more than the general love of playing together and doing it well. Unfortunately, not being present and witnessing it through a second source, it is difficult whether to say which was the case. I’m leaning towards the latter because of previously acquired knowledge, and it’s difficult to judge a live recording versus a live show when the production is sketchy. And perhaps production isn’t entirely to blame, as catching proper levels is difficult in a live venue with unfamiliar acoustic variations. They manage to keep their power together but I expect that most is lost in translation. (more…)
Seattle metal punks BLACK BREATH seem like a decidedly offbeat signing for Southern Lord and may have been more logically placed on, say, Deathwish Inc. But that’s a surface view. They may not sound like your average BORIS, or SUNN 0))) or EAGLE TWIN, but Southern Lord always seems to have a few curveballs in their arsenal, and while their roster is heavily washed in doom and drone, it’s nice to have an offering that tastes completely different.
And BLACK BREATH are nothing at all like what SL faithful are used to sampling. Rooted more in hardcore and true, gutty punk, with some furious flourishes of NWOBHM, Heavy Breathing was destined to come out of Kurt Ballou’s God City Studios and might even help attract those kids who are spending their weekends at DIY matinees to Southern Lord’s catalog for something a little more sinister. Maybe we’re looking at cross-pollination. Or maybe this is all reading too far into everything.
The 10-track Heavy Breathing remains steeped in what BLACK BREATH unleashed on the world with the debut EP “Razor to Oblivion,” but adds more purpose, vitriol, and even Scandinavian death morsels onto an album that’s charging right out of the gates on “Black Spit (Spit on the Cross),” when frontman Neil McAdams snarls, “Reject Christ, spit on the cross.” Sure, sure, these sentiments are old hat in the punk/hardcore/metal worlds, but there’s something about the delivery here that feels fresh and meaningful, like arms are being taken up anew. It actually feels dangerous.
“Virus” catches a fiery riff that bleeds like very old Metallica (you know, when Cliff Burton was alive and aliens hadn’t yet carved out residences in James Hetfield’s and Kirk Hammett’s bodies … Lars, of course, remained untouched…); the title track trades paces between calculated stomp and gallop; and “Unholy Virgin,” despite an introductory melody that sounds like that unfortunate ’90s song “Black Velvet,” is the track that could break these guys, as McAdams yowls over a quaking skeletal bassline that eventually has elements slowly built atop it, making it into an unstoppable, deliriously catchy beast. (more…)