Wednesday, 14 September 2016

IRON WITCH : A HARROWED DAWN LP


Liverpool's Iron Witch have been a mainstay of the underground heavy scene for near 5 years I have been a huge fan for about 3 of those years I have wrote these guys up before on my other blog (You can check out my other post HERE ) and I now have the pleasure of Bringing you my thoughts on their debut LP "A Harrowed Dawn"

First some background, Having made some demo's for a debut album in 2014 original guitarists Dan & Sam decided to part company with the band Leaving the Core Trio of Will Adams - Drums, Chris Fane - Vocals & Rick Owen - Bass where this would be disastrous for most bands these guys are such firm believers in what they do a reshuffle was in order, vocalist Chris Fane moved to guitar and Dave Mould from Iron Witch side project Siege Mentality was drafted in to take over vocals and Mark Hughes from local heavyweight sludgers Crypt Lurker joined on 2nd guitar. Ladies and gentleman we have the new improved Iron Witch 2016!

Recorded by Chris Fielding at the awesome Skyhammer studios and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege the sound of this album is and not overstating things here, immense, What's immediately apparent is that these guys have cleaned up their sound drastically I had always loved what Iron Witch do, their North West England take on the filthy sound of the likes of Eyehategod , Buzzov.en etc was great, however despite loving their sound I found the actual songs sometimes hard to discern from one another, This is not the case here, Iron Witch have now formed a sound that is something that is very different from their original sound whilst still retaining their best elements and certainly on the album the sound is presented clean and bright yet still hard as nails and CRUSHINGLY heavy! I had the pleasure of seeing this new re-invigorated line up before the album came out and let me tell you, live, this new material was utterly destroying and of the 3 times I've seen them this was by far the best and Dave Mould is most definitely an imposing and capable frontman...


First off there is no actual "gaps" between the first 3 songs which is great because it flows like a 3 piece "movement" as well as working as individual songs, opener "Beauty & Rot" begins with some deceptively light picking and some gentle cymbal wash which creates a nice somber mood and as the guitars come in piece by piece it gives a real sense of dread but as soon as that first snare hit and all the instruments come in together it's what i like to call a "FUUUUUCK" moment anyone who doesn't want to just grip the nearest surface grit your teeth and start slow-motion-snapping-your-neck to this monstrous riff well you're definitely reading the wrong blog! Dave Mould providing exactly the kind of unholy roar to compliment the music perfectly, however after just smashing the heavy riff for the first part of the song the nice surprise was the perfectly executed lurch in tempo into the kinda mid paced dirty sludge riffing these guys are known for! These lurches in tempo seem to be a bit of a "motif" for the album and it works brilliantly without jarring the listener or detracting from the slower parts, in second track "Salvation through Nothing" which moves seamlessly from slow heavy riffing to a more mid paced crunch to a spiraling sludge riff that is almost dizzying in the way it spins round the pounding drums (by the way the drums sound AMAZING throughout  a real deep woody thunk to the snare and a real punch in the gut feel to the bass drum an important factor in this kinda music i think some bands tend to underplay). "Machinery through Violence" concludes this opening triptych of tunes beginning with some great effected guitar which gives a real classic Doom metal feel to the intro something that I for one am happy to see rearing it's head in Iron Witch's sound there's a bridge riff which is just heavy as fuck but it's over so quickly you barely got your nod on! However it's the building, dare i say it almost "melodic" guitar work moving in stark contrast to the pounding drums and howling vocals that create something truly astounding for a band this heavy! This all folds down into a brilliantly heavy ending giving you your first breathing space for 15 solid minutes!

So after having a few seconds to catch your breath "Under The Fire" Opens with riffing and drums that put me in mind of early Swans & Godflesh something that was a bit of a surprise to me, but the bleak discordance works well and gives way to a loping mid paced riff which is pure Celtic Frost and back and forth's with an utterly punishing sludge riff which descends into a nice lead break before the song deconstructs into fading feedback, deep bass and drums and this is definitely one of my favorites on the album! "Belly Full Of Rats" to my mind is the only true "Iron Witch business as usual" song on here whilst the band have progressed beyond measure from their original incarnation this song is pure Iron Witch albeit with a less sludgy and more doomy feel and a big progression on their past glories taking the sound to new levels of despair and then crushing it down to a sheer bloody minded oozing riffage!

Whilst if you're a fan of this band this album is chock full of surprises and new fresh ideas it's album closer "Solitude and Decay" that is the real shocker here making up nearly a third of the albums length at nearly 13 mins long it's here for me that a serious move forward in sound and idea is felt the most! I would not have expected a song this long from these guys, i assure you it's not out of lack of descriptive terms or laziness here whilst I may have gone a bit in depth on the other songs I feel i may be blowing some of the "Surprise" element to hearing an album for the first time especially for anyone who was already a fan of the original incarnation of the band and as this is kinda the pinnacle and the closer of the album i feel I wouldn't do it justice breaking it down and describing it to you I shall leave this one for those of you who purchase the album! Let me just say it's a masterful and powerful piece and just left me with my jaw on the ground and as an album closer it is pretty much perfection!

" A Harrowed Dawn" is most definitely one of my albums of the year for a band to pick themselves up from a blow like losing both your guitarists, reshuffle the line up and come back with an album as good as this is truly stunning, whilst early Iron Witch may have been a tiny bit derivative of their influences they have finally come into their own here this album whilst still retaining some of the original sound has moved these guys squarely into the same league as their contemporaries and the bands that influence them. If your a fan of heavy music then you NEED this album now forget anything you have heard or think you know about these guys this is one of the most crushing and vital debuts albums i have heard in a long time and is hopefully gonna draw these guys the audience they have worked so hard for and truly deserve!

Get the gorgeously packaged Vinyl & CD at Secret Law Records Site

http://www.secretlawrecords.com/

Stream and download the album via

Deezer Google play Amazon Spotify & Itunes


Iron Witch online

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/ironwitch1977/

Tumblr

http://ironwitch1977.tumblr.com/

Merch

http://ironwitch.bigcartel.com/

Back catlog on Bandcamp

https://ironwitch.bandcamp.com/

Iron Witch are doing a short tour with local heavy merchants The Bendal Interlude from personal experience of seeing both bands this is a gig you do not want to miss!!!!








KUROKUMA : ADVORSUS EP


Some of you may remember Sheffield's Kurokuma from my glowing review of their 2014 demo if not go HERE and read about the demo and clue yourself up about these guys as I'd like to do the review here and not repeat their history!These guys are back with a new 3 track EP named "Advorsus" and believe me it's a doozie!

 First off this EP has a HUGE sound courtesy of "Tich at the Mothership" I dunno who Tich is but he's done a stellar job for these guys because as well as keeping the sound heavy you miss none of the subtleties that make this band so original!

When I first hit play on "Advorsus" I was initially slightly disappointed sure it was mountainously heavy and great but I felt with this being their big debut EP I expected it would open more strongly but unlike other bands Kurokuma don't just burst out of the gate and maul you straight away they prefer to sneak up on you...then give you the aural mauling!

Opener "Lust" is a serious hellride of a song the main riff is a kinda cyclic thing that builds and changes subtly throughout so as you barely notice it rising but trust me it does, right up to the halfway point into a punishing squall before being punctuated brilliantly by cowbell this gives way to a pounding but kinda unusual drum beat where the riff changes very subtly into this weird rhythm and riff that for some reason reminds me of music for demented evil circus clowns!!! Now this may sound a bit strange but trust me as with their previous work and their tastes for the unusual this works perfectly!  This leads in to a fantastic epic break that reminds me of a break like modern crust bands such as Tragedy might use before continuing into the cyclic riffing and building on that epic break again to a nice faded ending! Whilst i mainly touch on the musical themes of the song I want to also mention that the bass in this song is phenomenal it sounds ferocious and is popping and roaring all the way through, providing an immense bottom end but also more than that it's like rhythm guitar actually being used to add a depth and texture to the music at the same time and is used with devastating effect! Top that with vocals that seemed to have gone even harsher since the demo and this will destroy your mind both on a level of sheer heaviness and just what the fuck are these guys doing!!! and all this is just in the first song!

Second Track "Dark Triad" clocks in at a near 8 mins opening with darbuka rhythms and Eastern flavored guitar picking the intro draws you in but when the darbuka drops out after a minute or so these guys hit you with a discordant riff which doesn't prepare you for the "drop" because when the bass kicks in it feels almost too early, though I think that is intentional and is a stroke of genius as when the guitars crash down like an avalanche it's just devastating, whilst you think they may have hit you with the best the layers of guitar just keep getting piled on to the point where it's almost claustrophobic in it's bleak and towering sound whilst managing to mutate into a bastardized sludgy head nodder of a riff, which is no mean feat! the trade off on the growled and anguished vocals add to this almost disparate and destructive sound the dynamic is upped by the drums underpinning an almost psychedelic lead break which is just insane and utterly compelling before returning to the sheer avalanche of heaviness before it all collapses slowly and beautifully to a glorious end and altogether just left me stunned!

Third and final track "Kali" is the most conventional of the three and i use the word conventional in reference to these guys very loosely it's a brooding number heavy and sludgy but with great use of dynamics and even has some "chugging" parts to the riff which is where I get "conventional" from but trust me this isn't some kinda lazy mosh-athon riding the "E" for heavy effect the main riff breaks into swirling bridges of psychedelic noise and anguished howls which are really powerful! also the lead break is just amazing just wailing under the crushing main riff with noises I haven't heard since the closing out solos on "Raining Blood" this track just pulses with menace and comes on like a flood of tar just dark and completely inescapable! when the song ended i literally went what the fuck? is that it over? i coulda listened to them hammer that riff for a good 5 mins more!! But i guess that's the key always leave them wanting more!

Kurokuma are one of the most unique bands in the underground scene right now whilst many bands play supremely heavy music and the NXNW area is rife with masters of the monolithic riff and that's no bad thing, it's why i do this blog, but Kurokuma are among a small handful of bands that come along now and again who exist within a scene and take it in completely new and fresh directions, often when bands add different elements to their sound it can get messy and occasionally just does not work however these guys who are, in places as stark and heavy as anything you care to mention can utilize elements like darbuka and psychedelic lead breaks along with riffs  and structures that are unusual yet still heavy and get your head nodding!! This to me is the sound of a unit who play well and play well together to create a sound that is unlike anything else on the heavy scene right now it's as twisted as it is groovy it feels oppressive and yet elates and this is something that is not come by without hard work and investment in your sound To take you on such a mad journey through a mere 3 tracks says to me these guys have barely yet reaching their full potential Odin help me and all of you when they go in to the studio for a full length! I for one cannot wait!

Buy The Cassette or Download at bandcamp

Here : https://medusacrushrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/advorsus

or Here : https://kurokumauk.bandcamp.com/album/advorsus

Facebook Page : https://www.facebook.com/kurokumauk/?fref=ts

Also Kurokama are about to do their first tour of the UK with the mighty Under (Read about Under HERE) I'll be at the Liverpool show I'd advise you clear your diary and get your ass out to see these guys or curse yourself later...



Thursday, 4 August 2016

Osiah - Terror Firma (Review by Brett Baker)


Since their inception in the 2012, Sunderland's Osiah have quickly become synonymous with creating a strain of technical deathcore like no other. Known for their disgustingly down-tuned guitars, punishing rhythmic precision and Gatling gun percussion, their debut album was always going to be highly anticipated. Terror Firma was released on June 24th via Siege Music, an independent label based in the UK and US, and blew all expectation out of the water. Seeing the bands already potent blend of slam infested savagery taken one step further. The record itself is a concept album of sorts depicting a world in pandemic, ruthlessly being destroyed by an “immortalising disease”. One with a purpose to destroy all concepts of religion, society and the economy. Ultimately causing the collapse of civilisation and thus forth bringing an end to mankind as we know it. The lyrics recount each evolutionary stage of the disease, from initial contraction and pandemic chaos, to the alteration of human genetics leaving some to combine with the virus. Forming a symbiotic relationship between parasite and host. A very fitting image given the way Ricky Lee Roper constructs his vocals. At times it is as if he becomes a vessel of demonic parasitic evil. Spewing forth sounds that are all together inhuman. Whilst the majority lurks around the bottom end of the spectrum, Ropers use of high inhales and exhales are second to none. Resulting in a style not too removed far from the lows of Alex Teyen spliced with the shrieking squeals and gargles of Steve Maoris.

However, the concept doesn't end in the lyrical department. Everything about this record screams disease and decimation. One thing that stands out straight away is the amount of powerful low end the band produce. On tracks such as The Harvesting and Planetary Infection you can almost hear society imploding and cities collapsing in on themselves. Combine that power with the bands unique way of constructing blistering breakdowns, and you're left with something that'll shake your bones to the core. An impeccable command of rhythm enables Osiah to create riffs that just keep hitting harder and harder. Whether that be suffocating downtempo sections such as those found on Humanimals, Conceived Through Ignorance and HV; or flesh hacking slams, slicing like a butchers cleaver on Brokden and Subterranean Refuge. All infested with short splurges of panic induced shred frenzies.

The level of depth possessed by this record is unbelievable. Every single track is drenched in layer upon layer, resulting in ominous soundscapes seething with misery. Warped guitars, synthesisers and samples create disorientating textures that sound like a disease seeping into the bloodstream, shutting down the nervous system and perplexing the senses. These are occasionally used to transition from one song into the next, connecting the album together as a flowing entity, giving it an overall soundtrack-esque conceptual finish. So if you're after a dose of sinister apocalyptic deathcore, there's no need to look any further than Terror Firma. Osiah have every base covered with such an impressive debut album. Follow the link below to grab your own copy of Terror Firma from Seige Music. Alternatively, you can stream the album via YouTube. This is not a band you should be sleeping on, as this release is already making big waves across the extreme metal community. Make sure you keep an eye on what the lads are up to via their social media and head out to a show near you. Having already destroyed the likes of Techfest this summer, they possess a live show that is not to be missed.

FacebookHERE

Physical CDHERE

StreamHERE

Saturday, 2 July 2016

DOOMLINES II

Ladies and Gentleman your attendance is mandatory...



Doomlines is what brought Holy Spider Promotions into existence last year - we threw it together at the last minute and it stuck. But this year we've had more time to plan and put the lineup together, so come and celebrate Holy Spider's 1st birthday and get down to a hand-picked selection of the slowest/dirtiest/straight-up heaviest underground UK bands. It's part of Sheffield's city-wide Tramlines music festival, and this year it will be held at the Yorkshireman Rock Bar.

† 10 bands from 2-11pm on the Saturday of Tramlines
† Wristbanded event so come and go as many times as you like - £6 OTD
† Under 18s allowed during the day if accompanied by an adult
† Plenty of merch and ale to spend your money on too

11PARANOIAS
Possibly the most stoned-out band you will ever hear. Their music is the very definition of a bad trip. Featuring Adam Richardson of Ramesses.

Boss Keloid
Wigan's kings of sludge who just released the monstrous, Herb Your Enthusiasm on Black Bow Records.

Kurokuma
This will be the Steel City sludge trio's only show over the weekend so come and get an aural mauling; "shudderingly heavy"...

Archelon
Sheffield doom/post-metal heroes. Huge riffs, battle drums, songs about swords, beards galore.

Iced Out
A 50/50 mix of cryptic sludge and straight ahead hardcore makes for an absolutely crushing sound in the hands of these guys from Durham. Glad to have them back after their Holy Spider show in August last year.

Under
One of the most creative bands we've come across yet, seriously! They're like the best bits of Melvins, Swans and Mr. Bungle all in one. Stockport's finest.

WORT
Formed after the breakup of Poison Dwarf and based in Huddersfield, this sludge trio write songs about cosmic annihilation. They put out a split with Nomad last year and we caught them when they played with Samothrace in Manchester recently. Impressive stuff.

Shrykull
Grim grind/black/doom/everything 2-piece from Nottingham.

Ba'al
A new band who've emerged from the burgeoning Sheffield doom scene. These guys are yet to play their first show but what we've heard is brooding, droning, dark, post-metal/doom goodness...

Arae
First show for another brand new doom/drone duo out of Sheffield. Featuring George from Kurokuma on drums.

Contact Joe of Holy Spider Promotions at joeashef@gmail.com for more info and guestlist. The doom documentary guys (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/uk-doom-and-sludge-metal-documentary--2#/) will also be there filming and grabbing interviews.

Monday, 27 June 2016

UNDER


Under are quite a new band from the Stockport , Manchester area and are quite a bit different from even the varied styles that have been on the blog so far..
Their debut EP "First Attempt" is quite an unusual listen tho at first feels very familiar... Let's deal with the elephant in the room first.... so what's immediately apparent is these guys obviously LOVE Melvins as soon as the first song "Trading Tokens" started first thing i could think of was Melvins that stop start format the haunting Buzzo-esque vocals however whilst this is an apparent feel throughout these guys are definitely doing something different with the format and musically are hard to pin down the song structures are fairly twisted and very off kilter not too far removed from the madder timings and structure of the recent Boss Keloid album NOT that they sound like them at all they were the only other band i could think of that were that crazy!

The Melvins comparison may be selling these guys a little short here, there's a lot to this band the songs have so many parts to them it's hard to single one out for praise best way I can describe them is think of the heavier end early AmRep bands like Jesus Lizard and Helmet take away the noisier parts and add a healthy dose of chunky metal guitar and you'll get the picture. There's a lot of work been put into crafting the songs on this 3 track EP  The 7 minute "Suicide By Cop" has some great chiming guitar and ethereal vocal melodies that build and build into a nice heavy but differently heavy conclusion these guys go less for the head smash it's more gently massage your brain with riffs!!!

These guys are (without sounding like a prick here) quite a "cerebral" band it's not something you can turn on and not pay attention to nor is it something that you can immediately get into from first listen it is quite a challenging sound and one i think maybe some people might find hard to get into it's quite awkward sounding but repeated listening will bring rewards. I can imagine that these guys could easily have written plenty of big fat riffs and pounded you into the ground like a fence post but instead they have spent obvious time crafting a challenging and original sound that separates them from other bands in the scene whilst as i said there are some derivatives (The Melvins influence) they have taken that sound and done something completely their own with it the same as 90% of the bands I listen to have with Sabbath so it's no big deal really.I hope these guys get to reaching more people they have a forthcoming second EP which i for one can't wait to hear Go give them a like on facebook for more news on that.

Here's some links you can buy a download of their "First Attempt" EP on bandcamp and go like them on facebook to keep up to date with current news. So go check em out give your ears and your brain a treat definitely a band to watch....

"First Attempt" EP - Bandcamp

Facebook page - HERE

CANCEROUS WOMB - IT CAME TO THIS EP (REVIEW BY BRETT BAKER)


Since their release of Born of a Cancerous Womb in 2014, the band have quite obviously been flexing their creative muscles. Due to be released this July, It Came To This contains all the grinding death metal sensibilities you'd expect from Cancerous Womb. But there appears to be a few added extras thrown into the mix. It seems that over the past two years the Scot super-posse, featuring members of Crepitation and Narayana, have adopted a no-holds-barred attitude towards their sound. If there was ever a box to stick a band in, this lot definitely aren't in it. In fact, they're a a hundred feet away in the opposite direction, armed with four tracks of utter sonic mayhem. Locked, loaded and ready to blow the thing to pieces. If you're the kind of fan who likes their listening material strictly genre specific, then this probably won't be a release for you. It is impossible to put your finger on where the record will turn to next. Old school death metal grooves bend into angular, disjointed, attacks of angular noise. Side to side hardcore stompers give birth to raw grind frenzies in the blink of an eye. All in all resulting in a tightly packed ticking time bomb of manic listening.

Opening track "The Shrieking Of Idiots" is the most reminiscent of the bands early works. With insane amounts of groove, grim tremolo sections and frantic guitar work. Proving that the grindcore inspired approach to death metal, that won the four piece so many fans in the first place, is still alive and well. But, whoever said, “Start as you mean to go on.”, clearly forgot to mention it to these lads. The following track Formless is exactly as it's namesake suggests. A mind bending, ear melting, warped audio maelstrom. All tightly wrapped up into just under one minute. If you can imagine the sound of a fist fight between Miles Davis, Terrorizer and a tribe of rabid chimpanzees, you may be close. Isolation Frenzy takes it back to where The Shrieking Of Idols left off. Forming an amalgamation of raw grind abrasiveness and the occasional urgent, yet fluid, math-rock guitar runs. If the past three tracks are anything to go by, the band clearly have a few Napalm Death records in their collection. Just to make things clear though, a sickeningly heavy cover of When All Is Said And Done closes the EP. It's always risky business covering such a revered cult classic, but Cancerous Womb pull it off flawlessly. Retaining all it's original violent fervency but with their unique twist.

Whilst every riff, drum groove or vocal pattern may not stand out as instantly memorable, it doesn't seem to matter all that much. It's the way in which they are dynamically spliced together that draws the listener in. The unpredictable nature of each track is what makes this record come alive. Whilst there may be some feathers rustled amongst label obsessed pigeon-holing purists, one thing is for certain. It Came To This is cued to be one of the most talked about releases of the summer. Regardless of the fact that they've been active for almost a decade, the band continue to push their boundaries whilst growing from strength to strength. If your mouth isn't already watering at the thought of another Cancerous Womb full-length, a taste of this EP will definitely do the trick.

Listen & Preorder the EP & More on BandcampHERE

FacebookHERE

WebsiteHERE

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

PEDANT


Pedant are a fairly new band from the Wigan/Bolton area I was only introduced to these a couple of days ago (Cheers Mike!!!) and whilst fitting in nicely with this blog these guys are peddling a different kind of noise than the other bands I've been writing up lately I've played their "I think you'll find it's spelled D​-​E​-​M​-​O" a couple of times and have really enjoyed it!

This quirky 3 piece have a great energetic sound and their bluesy thrashing is really kicking my arse they could have easily downtuned the guitar put it right in your face throughout and could have just fell in line with the likes of Mower and Barbarian Hermit (no bad thing obviously i love those bands) however they have chosen a different path.... firstly the sound is fairly bass driven whilst in a reversal of the usual way bands operate the guitar seems to provide backing for the great bass lines a lot of the time in the verses not that these guys can't hit the overdrive and smash it with a noisy guitar part when it's needed but it is good to hear Bass being played really well and not just providing a bottom end for the sound.The variety on display here in the music is something that will definitely have me coming back to this demo repeatedly, The opening track "Watchers" is a great bluesy, punky thrash which has little nods to the Minutemen (I think? maybe it's just the bass driven stop start thing??) whilst the bass line in the disjointed verse part has that classic 70's rock feel and blending those elements together in the one song is pretty cool Then 2nd track has a kind of Noise Rock meets guitar thrash and that 70's rock motif rears it's head again and is just great! However it's the way they blend all these different sounds with a great groove and a kinda off the wall approach to it that makes these guys stand out big time, the intro to "Giant Killer" would have Jimi smiling down from guitar god heaven with pride but it also has a fucking surprising monstrous groove to temper the Jimi blues which just leaves me with a huge grin on my face and my head nodding and when they hit that "1st-album-Sabbath-on-speed" groove at the end and up the anti with the fuzz pedal it's just mind blowing and that's just one song! "Typo Dave" (a song tile which i sure as shit appreciate any readers of the blog will know why) is a great meandering heavy blues jam with some killer riffing and insane vocals and closing with the quiet/loud jam of "The Hand" i was left happy as you like but definitely craving more and thinking these guys must be a total BLAST live!

I'm really glad I'm not too late to the party with these guys as trhe demo was only released in Dec last year and considering that the confident and accomplished playing on here is all the more impressive and along with some of the other stuff I have been writing about it further affirms that  it was worth my time starting this blog! This is an outstanding demo the musicianship is nails and the sound is sometimes disjointed and crazy whilst managing to still throw grooves and big riffs in at exactly the right places and holds enough surprises not to fade into background music territory and to work electric blues into the equation (which is of course where all great heavy music originates from) and some more off kilter touches is a stroke of sheer mad scientist brilliance! I could easily see these guys slotting into the heavier end of Alive Records roster (Home of Radio Moscow and Left Lane Cruiser to name just a couple) Or at least being on the same bill!

I strongly urge you to go get this demo immediately they are charging a measly £1 for 20 minutes of highly entertaining grooving and crazy tunes that are well written brilliantly played and above all fun to listen to! If something leaves me smiling during AND after I'm listening to it it's a fuckin prize winner and no doubt!


"I think you'll find it's spelled D​-​E​-​M​-​O"Bandcamp

Pedant FacebookHERE

SHEER ATTACK


Sheer Attack are a new band from Liverpool With a line up featuring local Psych monsters Mind Mountain's Bassist Marc Glaysher (Along with Russ on Vox, Broomo on Guitar and Dave on Drums) Marc has also put on some BLISTERING bands in Liverpool including Lecherous Gaze and Dirty Fences! Sheer Attack have been causing quite a stir in the NXNW with some apparently blistering live shows I went down to Liverpool to see them with The Flex, Denim & Leather & Bad Meds I got there 10 mins before the show started and Sheer Attack were opening and it was already sold out! No mean feat for a local band with no music out yet however I stayed in the bar where i could clearly hear them and I was really impressed!!

These guys are about to drop their debut EP and Marc was kind enough to give me a listen for this review and from the second i hit play I was immediately blown away for a band not yet a year into it these guys are on fuckin' fire this is all guns blazin' balls out hardcore rock 'n' roll! Taking a template that is filthy 80's Venice Beach hardcore adding a touch of Motorhead a pinch of Thin Lizzy and the raw chops of classic garage like The Stooges and MC5 and your just about there! you can tell instantly that they are driven by a love of dirty riffing and the case seems to be that these boys HAD to do this not just because they wanted to and there's no arguing with how shredding the music is!

With 4 songs clocking in at 10 minutes this is a perfect 7" EP the sound would fall nicely in line with the current so called "New Rock 'n'Roll" (fucking media terminology when did Rock 'N' Roll ever go away??!!)  and i could easily see these guys on a bill with The Shrine or Hot Lunch as equally as they would fit on a bill with BL'AST! or Suicidal Tendencies (in 1982) The playing is tight and the songs are memorable without losing their gnarly edge they are just brimming with energy and aggression but not in a macho muscle flexing way more of a middle finger, beer in hand skateboard in the other aggression! There's loads of great Mid-era Black Flag type guitar and bass runs and they manage to have a good bottom end without being "heavy" that's no surprise with Marc on bass tho if you know him you know! The vocals are just spot on having enough belligerence to match the energy of the music and enough melody to not just be shouting and the frenetic and awesome drumming holding the whole thing together!

I can't express my sheer glee at hearing this EP the world needs more music like this i can't even pick a favourite from it or single a particular one of the 4 for praise cos they are ALL great I love the gang vocals On "Black Lagoon" and that creepy SST sounding opening to "Public Service Offender" breaking into that running riff and it just KICKS off in the middle and makes me grind my teeth and want to get in the pit even if it would literally kill me now is just fucking great! These guys play well together and they are obviously well versed in Old School influences going back through the 70's/80's and beyond but bringing it crashing and smashing into the present i also know at least one of them skates and that's what this EP  reeks of grinding kerbs,drinking beer, graffitti ridden skateparks,venues with sticky floors ,battered amps and volume!

I am not even joking when i say i have lost count of how many times i have played this EP since yesterday I only stopped to listen to the Boss Keloid album so i could review it properly!!! You owe it to yourself to get out and check these guys out live and hopefully by the time of their upcoming shows they should have this EP on vinyl for sale I would get it if i were you it's just great!

These guys love to play live they have a show on March the 30th at Temple Of Boom Leeds opening for Poison Idea (Also playing are The Flex & Denim & Leather that will be a BLINDER More Info - HERE) and they play the Mayday Mayhem event again at the Temple Of Boom in Leeds (get more info - HERE) however they do play a few local (Liverpool Shows) and other areas round the NXNW so go give them a like on facebook and keep up to date with shows there and I'm sure the EP will be for sale there soon.

Sheer Attack FacebookHERE


BOSS KELOID : HERB YOUR ENTHUSIASM REVIEW


Boss Keloid should be familiar to pretty much everyone in the NXNW heavy scene and I can't think of anyone I know who has a bad word to say about these guys both in the studio and as a live act and the reputation is deserved. Their debut album "The Calming Influence Of Teeth" was a punishing run through underground metal melding influences from the unusual end of the sludgy spectrum inhabited by the likes of Melvins and what sounded to me like a good chunk of post metal ala' Kylesa and Mastodon into new heavy sounds that was as original as it was familiar  However whilst retaining their Trademark style their forthcoming second album is a different proposition altogether.....

"Herb Your Enthusiasm" (great title) is pretty astounding from the off the first thing that's apparent is whilst still properly heavy the production this time around is MUCH smoother and slicker and gives the album a HUGE sound not to take anything away from the debut but where it was decidedly compressed sounding and quite harsh and chaotic this is a big progression from that, where that album was an intense pummeling and it was almost like they had tried to cram every riff in the heavy catalogue into each hermetically sealed song here whilst the songs are still complex and interesting the pace has slowed and this has given the music more room to breathe and maneuver! What else is shocking is the progression in the vocals Alex's voice is utterly soaring throughout I already knew he was a more than capable vocalist but here it's amazing whilst normally singing this clean would put me off his voice is unusual it has a hint of Buzz Osborne to it but beyond that he has a style all his own and I've never heard Buzz reach the vocal heights Alex does, he manages to convey both despair,angst and elation and often together in one verse and during "Axis Of Green" (one of many high points of this album) manages to hold a note from 2 mins 30 to the 3 minute mark which blew my mind I haven't heard anything like that in heavy music for years, if at all!!!!

Clocking in at just under an hour "Herb Your Enthusiasm" is certainly an epic journey in the best sense of the word what's great about this album is the tempering of the huge walls of riffage with off kilter verses and flourishes that are almost too much to take in all at once as though they have taken 2 or 3 shorter songs and made them into one but meld them harmoniously together with tight playing and clever structuring! Don't get me wrong this is in no way one of those bloated overly complex albums for the snooty musos this is a sound that everyone can get into without pushing their glasses up their nose and having a smug grin to themselves! However there are huge riffs by the bucketload take the main riff from "Cone" for example the band teasing you with a crawling bassline and vocals for a full minute before laying the hammer down with a bastard riff that just leaks dread from your speakers!

There's an obvious weed motif to this album in the album title obviously and songs like "Axis Of Green" and "Highatus" but where most bands flying their flag high for the smoke these guys haven't made a "nod out" album in the vein of Sleep they've made an album that will sound amazing when you're baked like the albums of old before Stoner or Sludge or whatever came along albums that soothe but keep you focused by not riding the same motif for 10 minutes! however it will prevent you from being completely swallowed by the sofa! Moments like the Eastern guitar at the end section of "Axis of Green" flowing in and out with a heavier rendition of the same riff is stunning and just melts my head! The maturity in both the songcraft and playing on this album is astounding whilst a band this talented could have easily made a fan pleasing "...Teeth" II here they have chosen to sculpt their complex songs more carefully and dynamically whilst still being monstrously heavy which is no mean feat even with the abundance of talent on display here I mean opening with the near 8 minute "Lung Mountain" a song which crushes as much as it soothes with the band moving from monolithic riffage to the more sedate effortlessly without jarring the listener or being too clever about it, along with it's companion piece "Lung Valley" which treads a similar path but has a guitar sound to the heavy riff which just makes me grit my teeth and go arrrggghhh so goood! Album closer "Hot Priest" has an almost jazz sounding opening which builds into another one of those towering riffs that these guys seem to have pockets full of and breaks down into wah wah guitar which even though it's a staple of this kinda music these guys even manage to make THAT sound their own as if no one else had ever used heavy wah wah since 1970!!!! That's the thing with these guys as well they seem to move as one unit there's no guitar noodling at the expense of the drums or vocal histrionics at the expense of guitar everything has it's equal share among the others these guys are a fluid unit that flow from part to part of each song like a well oiled piston!

I have read a couple of reviews of this album this morning both of which were SHORT and whilst positive I don't think you can do this album justice in a short review it's an hour long and has fresh ideas in abundance and even my verbal rambling doesn't do it justice I wanted to get this review out quickly so even though i have been through the album twice this morning as well as once when i received it I still feel like i haven't fully absorbed it which is great because this is an album that is gonna continue giving surprises for quite some time and repeated listens will be rewarding, this is an unbelievably accomplished album both musically and in it's production and is a vast progression from their first and i can definitely see this album breaking them to a wider audience and I can see the more open minded metal fans from all genres loving this album and judging from the work i can hear they have put into it it's wholly deserved.

I have been hearing a lot of fresh and well played music and great ideas from the various bands I have been listening to from the NXNW but nothing like this it's shocking in it's originality straying far from the normal templates for this kind of music whilst not getting completely lost from being so far out or not delivering the monumental riffs! This should please their already loyal fan base whilst drawing many more new people into the BK fold I for one liked the first album I wasn't hugely into it but i did like it however this album has definitely got me big time there's no doubt about it! If these guys aren't massive after an album this good I'm retiring from my blogwaffle!

"Herb Your Enthusiasm" is out on  April 16th on Black Bow Records a teaser video of "Lung Mountain" is to be released today check out their facebook page for that and here's all the links you need.....

Boss Keloid

FacebookHERE

BandcampHERE

MerchHERE

TwitterHERE

Black Bow Records

FacebookHERE

WebsiteHERE

BandcampHERE

Lastly I'd like to thank Paul and the lads for letting my shady little blog have the album for review! CHEERS

Sunday, 13 March 2016

BURNING FLAG ALBUM REVIEW & STREAM


(L-R Jonesy, Matt, MD & Mark)

(Originally Posted on Under The Surface May 2015)

Burning Flag are a band I have been following since pretty much the beginning some of you more astute readers may remember the glowing review I gave their 3 track EP last year (If not See my post HERE ) Well Burning Flag have been recording their debut album over the last few months with Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studios when they just received the final mastering done by Brad Boatright of oft mentioned Audiosiege studio (both of whom have done a great job because this album sounds HUGE!) and they decided that they would like me to have the exclusive first "media" review and preview so before i even start i want to give a heartfelt thanks to them for being good enough to give my shady little blog the exclusive on this and you readers should be thanking them as well because you get to hear 3 tracks, my personal picks from the album exclusive right here on UTS!!!!

(CD Cover)

I will begin by saying this has been one of the most anticipated albums of the year for me and DAMN it was worth the wait.... Burning Flag have shown a lot of progression here even considering they are a relatively "new" band and this being their debut it's definitely proof that if you want your album to sound good you have to work at it and these guys have definitely done that! Always practicing and gigging (with the likes of Agnostic Front, Extinction Of Mankind ,GBH and Subhumans to name but a few) and once you get a listen to the 3 tracks I have picked out of the 9 from the album you will see that this hard work has definitely paid off....

...Opening with the sounds of riot and a really realistic sound of crackling fire (what I can only assume to be a torched flag at least that's the picture i see in my mind) MD screams "BURNING FLAGS ON BATTLEGROUNDS" And the adrenalin immediately begins to pump!  "Burning Flag" is a great opener, a mid - fast paced number that immediately pulls you into the album and what is instantly impressive is the guitar tone it is thick and supremely heavy without falling into that "so-downtuned-it's-killing-the- riffs" territory which along with the bass gives the album the serious bottom end required and the trade off male/female vocals throughout give this song a really intense feel, like these guys just grabbed you by the scruff of the neck and dragged you in for the whole ride!

Next up is the testament to feelings of rage that is "Crash And Burn"  (Which you can get an exclusive listen to below) opening with a dramatic driving riff and some great drum work from Matt this song continues to spiral upward until breaking down to just gentle tom drum and Md chanting "I Know I'm Real At least I've That" over and over like a mantra and makes you feel like you are listening to someone looking in a mirror and desperately trying to convince themselves of their own existence and sanity before the riff thunders back driving you upward and just coming to a full halt leaving you feeling battered and bruised in the way only music as great as this can.

It's moments like these that showcase the fact that whilst intense and heavy Burning Flag are bringing something entirely fresh to Punk/Hardcore/Noise/Metal/Whatever. The blend of different influences on display here is refreshing whilst there are flourishes of the familiar throughout, like for example the way the riff changes subtly about halfway through third track "Nightmares" taking it from a barreling heavy hardcore riff to something that reminds me of GBH in their early 80's (though way heavier) but if you weren't paying attention it's gone and back to the barreling main riff and bridge before breaking down into a neck snapping heavy ending that reminds me of the best of sludgy grooves whilst MD just roars over it!

It can't be stated enough that this album is a really compelling listen there's high speed intensity from the likes of "Broken" which over its just shy of 2 minutes throws you in the pit and just slams you to the floor whilst this, I'm sure, is a route Burning Flag could have easily taken churning out a dozen variations on a theme, it is their reluctance to do this that separates them from the pack. Take "Parasites" (One of my personal favorites and again you can get an exclusive first listen below) with it's tribal pounding drums which (seriously) remind me of Adam and the Ants (on Steroids) that is of course until the understated yet menacing riff kicks in and MD's almost spoken rhythmic style here gives this song a real sassy groove that is until you hear what she is saying...

"Some People Make You Feel Heavy, Few, Make You Fly, Some People Try To Pull You Under, They Need To Die"

then it takes on a whole different vibe! It's a song that while builds brilliantly into a supremely heavy peak it makes me wanna get up and bounce more than it does wreck shit! Then there's the "stop start verse riff in "A Code To Live By" that takes the template set by the great early stuff of bands like Helmet and Godflesh and just dirties it up making for a real nasty sound! Or the bridge riff of "Early Graves" that tempers it's heavy verse riff with a "melodic" run that actually puts a smile on my face! No bad thing for an album chock full of punishing riffs!

However it's last song the dramatic and longest on the album "Wretched" clocking in at over 5 minutes that really showcases the maturity of the songwriting on this album opening with a strum of chiming guitars that put me in mind of early PiL or early Wire the song opens out into a supremely heavy and slow riff which repeats throughout the main part of the song it just pins you to your seat it's such a serious sound, this builds to a fast part that breaks out with some real dischordant industrial Voivod type riffage before moving into one of those great barreling riffs that to me, are becoming a BF trademark, before crashing to a shuddering halt and closing the album out with some eerie noise and what sounds to me like a cell door slamming shut! I hope they plan to play this live because i for one can't wait to here this crushing tune at ear hurting volume! I'm reading between the lines here but opening the album with the sounds of rioting and closing with the sound of a cell door slamming well I think it's pretty clever.

It can't be said enough how well everyone plays their parts on this album from the absolutely amazing vocals from MD who has really used her voice to encompass more than just mere "shouting" here, going from almost talking to screaming to, in fact, damn near "singing" to the stellar riffage and back up vocals from Jonesy on Guitar underpinned by the engine room of Mark & Matt on Bass And Drums respectively, providing a solid and intense backbone to this great sound. Whilst normally with "heavy" music it's either the speed, the vocals or the guitar that commands attention here, everything has been given a voice and as much as the production has played a part in that I also think it's the fact that these guys are a solid unit and play well together.

This is an absolutely amazing 5 star, 2 thumbs up 10/10 album here the variety in pace and style keeps the album from becoming A.N. Other "Heavy" release and also keeps your attention focused because it's such a powerful sound it's really hard to drag yourself away from it once you hit play you're in till the end!  I personally have not found myself becoming overly familiar or wanting to reach for the skip button even once throughout my MANY repeated listens of this album, I have also found that I keep hearing things that I hadn't noticed before as well it was only after repeated listening that i had noticed some of the touches I have mentioned in this write up making this an album that will stay with you rather than something you will listen to a couple of times and forget about and again this is because BF have made each song memorable it's not just something that washes over you I have found myself even humming the riff from "Parasites" a couple of times!!!! Also it has to be said that these guys deserve respect for their commitment to the underground scene otherwise you wouldn't be reading about this album first here on this blog!

In closing I want to say that I predict that when this album comes out that Burning Flag are gonna be a name on any if not every fan of "heavy" music with even the slightest of good taste and it comes as no surprise but was definitely good news to me that these guys had a succesful spot on the Boardie Takeover event at Download festival last year  Because a band as good as these need to break out a little (or a lot) and be heard by more people other than just say a small gathering of Punks and Hardcore fans because i can say for definite whilst not Pigeonholing them in any way that the modern metal crowd are gonna eat this album up!

Below is the three tracks I picked for you on my first listens to this album as my favorites however on reflection and repeated listening I could not pick a favorite now as there is no filler on this album every song is great but these are as good as any to give you an idea of what to expect and one listen to these 3 and i can guarantee you'll be straight to google using the keywords "burning" "flag" "album" and "pre-order" yeah it really is THAT good!

Here's your tracks.....

Crash & Burn - Soundcloud

Parasites - Soundcloud

Wretched - Soundcloud

Burning Flag's Self Titled debut album will be self released by the band on their own Broken Records imprint this summer it is coming out on CD and limited vinyl.

(cover for the limited vinyl release)

Below are links to their homepage and facebook page go check these out and like their facebook page for more up to the minute news on gigs and the release of the album.

Homepage - HERE

Facebook - HERE

Also you can still get a digital (and Possibly) physical copy of their AMAZING 3 track debut EP at bandcamp....

Burning Flag EP - Bandcamp

KUROKUMA


Kurokuma are a band from Sheffield whose Japanese name translates to Black Bear (according to google anyway!) which is fairly apt  because their 2 track demo is the very aural definition of being mauled by a bear!!! I only got onto these guys a couple of days ago though this demo has been out for well over a year! I only got onto it after starting this blog and Joe from the band contacted me which prompted me to check them out and I'm gutted I'm only getting to this now!

Whilst only being 2 tracks and 12 minutes of music there's plenty packed into these 2 songs! first track "18.2 Tons" certainly lives up to it's name! Opening with a howl of feedback and straight into a riff that would floor the hardiest of riffmongers at 100 paces! the verse is full of discordant riffs that just tingle the spine then moving effortlessly back to the main riff with some, I think phased (?) guitar layered over it which just works brilliantly the thing i like about the main heavy riff is along with the pounding drums it doesn't just make you nod your head, it's a proper happy grimace, rock throw your whole body back and forth kinda riff! Also towards the end the main riff slows to a crawl and the phased guitar returns with some MANIC lead work add to this the utterly anguished howling and roaring vocal work,something I'm not usually a big fan of however it works perfectly here, then Going out on squalls of that phased guitar work this song just destroys!

2nd track "Ursus Thibetanus" (Again according to google this translates to "bear with a black coat living in central and eastern Asia" i think there's a theme here) is a bit of a different beast altogether Opening with another killer heavy riff and more uptempo than "18.2 Tons" it has a kind of groove that's not typical of this sort of music but still has you nodding your head and the main verse is peppered with some great harmonic guitar that is no doubt a nod to Godflesh at their most twisted but the big surprise with this song is when it breaks down into what i can only describe as a kinda Latin influenced drumming which leads into some guitar work that is quite psychedelic however when i say psychedelic think black nightmares not blissful dreams! the song then breaks down again with an almost dub-like section before slaying you with a return to more familiar riff laden territory and those anguished vocals back to the fore creating an atmosphere of sheer desperation! Upping the dynamic with some Double bass drumming and more of that nightmare psych guitar over the heavy riff is just a brilliant touch! However my one criticism is it ends far too suddenly and the cymbal wash/guitar thrash ending is to my mind sub par to what they have created with a song this good! If i had been at the desk i would have encouraged a long fade out instead,however it's only a VERY minor niggle and if i scored music like other reviewers it wouldn't lose them any points!

There's that old showbiz adagae "Always leave 'em Wanting more" and it definitely applies here! It has to be said to my ears these guys are obviously above average musicians the drums are amazing the bass is more than just back up to the guitar and there's some really good runs and flourishes along with the various styles of guitar going on here from the pummeling riffs to the more spaced out crazy stuff and discordant touches is the sound of a band well practiced and who definitely know their way around their instruments and considering this demo was released in Nov 2014 I shudder to think what their next recordings are gonna be like with over a year of practice and gigging under their belts!

Whilst the "18.2 Tons" is an absolute aural mauling and doesn't lack fresh ideas, it's the second track "Ursus Thibetanus" that shows this band using really progressive and original sounds within the framework of their chosen genre managing to keep their sound heavy and intense but utilizing elements outside their sphere of influence to create something truly astounding!

Below I have linked you to their Bandcamp where you can download the demo for free I would get on that right now because whilst on first listen these guys may seem like just A.N. other heavy sludgy band paying some attention to the music will reveal the different layers of sound and you will realise you are onto something pretty damn original! you can also check their facebook page out at the link below as well so go there and hit them up with a like.


DemoBandcamp

FacebookHERE


Saturday, 12 March 2016

BARBARIAN HERMIT

(Photo by Rachel Bywater, Website - HERE)

Barbarian Hermit are another band from the utterly phenomenal "heavy" scene that is going off up here in the North/North West. Hailing from Manchester these guys have been causing a serious stir with their apparently phenomenal live performances (I have not yet had the pleasure but SOON I hope) Although their name has been doing the rounds for well over a year and were one of the bands that I was told to check out for my original North/North West Heavy report (See that HERE )  But as was the case with some other bands i have written up recently at that time they had no recordings available they have however just unleashed their debut demo upon the world and it is a BEAST of a recording and well worth the wait!

At 6 tracks and just shy of 40 minutes this demo is almost a debut album which is great because sometimes it's frustrating when you waited ages to hear a band and their demo is 10 mins long! Barbarian Hermit play an addictive and memorable blend of sludgy riffage tempered with a good sense of melody and some serious bottom end and the vocals are quite tuneful but with a gruff enough edge to stop the singing from being completely clean! The thing I like about this band is their ability to draw you in with good head nodding groove but also knowing exactly when to hit you with a BIG dirty riff but without sacrificing the groove for sheer bloody minded heaviness ,they also punctuate many of the songs with great melodic guitar runs that reek of PROPER doom metal and put me in mind of Pentagram,Trouble, Count Raven and of course early Sabbath! That's the thing about these guys that I like a lot while their sound isn't 100% retro or anything there's a lot of great old school touches to their tunes, the original "doom" bands of the 80's had little to look back on for influence then which meant they were taking influence from traditional metal and melding it into new slower,super heavy and twisted shapes and creating something new and at that time it was something fresh and exciting and I get exactly that kind of vibe from what these guys are playing with the melodic flourishes tempering the heaviness.These guys have managed to take that retro sound and blend it with more contemporary styles by adding the kind of grooves that bands like Down and Corrosion of Conformity strive for! Don't get me wrong these guys are HEAVY the opening riff to "Burn The Fire" is a fucking MONSTROUS one and they have more than enough of these in their armory to satisfy the most dismissive of heavy riff heads but again it's the great vocals and the melodic and groovy touches in nthe music that puts these guys head and shoulders above the pack of bands that trade on heavy riffs as their entire sound, and a track like the 9 minute "Bea" is a real epic journey with plenty of twists and turns and has enough great riffs for a whole separate demo! and the more uptempo "Alma" is like the ghost of Philthy Phil of Motörhead  jamming with Crowbar!!!

This demo is a killer non stop ride from end to end it's a sheer pleasure to listen to, ALL the songs are great there's not one on there that lets this demo down and are above everything else i have said they're memorable and if my mentioning of "melody" has put some of you heavy heads off checking these guys out go listen to closing track "Widowmaker" with a riff and pace that just OOOOOZES from the speakers like treacle on laudanum! I have been doing a lot of posts on this kind of music recently and it's getting harder and harder to find the descriptive terms and i find that i am repeating myself a little I'm no writer i do this blog to share great music and my enthusiasm for great music so you can ignore the review above if you like and just hear this.... Barbarian Hermit are just simply fucking BRILLIANT and well deserving of the buzz they have been creating over the last year or more! They are giving this demo away free/pay what you want to download on bandcamp miss it at your own peril and then sob your heart out when all your cooler mates are decked out in 'Hermit merch and you missed the fucking boat!

Here's your links to the demo and their facebook page go check them out right fucking now and give them a like on facebook, trust me you'll be well glad you did! I Have also linked you to their merch page where you can pick up their demo on CD or a patch but shirts are, for the moment, sold out but i would think with all the gigging they will be back on sale soon?

P.S. apologies to the guys in BH for taking so long to get round to this review despite them very kindly giving me this demo pre-release! Hope this makes up for it?

Barbarian Hermit Demo - Bandcamp

Facebook Page - HERE

Merch - HERE


SICK TAPESTRY


Sick Tapestry are a new band from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire formed from the ashes of Heavy Psych/Metal band Formes who's "Dysphoria Pt.1" from last year was definitely a challenging listen (no bad thing! you can see for yourself download the Formes album free or buy the CD for £2 on the No Fun Intended Bandcamp page HERE also home of Corinth who have recently graced these pages) They had started to cause quite a stir and played at the Liverpool Psych Fest in 2014, however Formes split late last year and Jordan Mcnamara (Drums/Vocals) and Rob Hemingway(Guitar/Bass/Vocals) formed Sick Tapestry with James Render (Lead Vocals & Synth) completing the line up.

So band history out of the way let's move on to Sick Tapestry's forthcoming debut EP "Self Diagnosis" (out for download on 19th march through the No Fun Intended bandcamp) there's 3 tracks all around the 7 minute mark and what immediately struck me after the building discordant intro was how huge the drums on this EP sound, they are nice and clear and loud but have a "woody" quality which reminds me a little of the kind of sound Albini gets from drums! Whats apparent straight away is that whilst still retaining elements of experimentation from Formes, Sick Tapestry are a little more straightforward in their structure going for strong contrasts in sound from quiet to loud and clean singing to brutal howls effortlessly, when i say straightforward don't be fooled the loud parts of first song "Where" are utterly crushing especially when set against the quite creepy riff that forms the main verse of the song, then towards the end when the double bass drumming kicks in over the heavy riff it's like Armageddon setting you up for the closing part which slows the riff to a crawl and you're looking straight down a portal to hell!!! Just as the song ends and is ringing out with squalls of guitar you are straight into second track "Day [Light]" before you even had a chance to absorb what's just happened to your ears! This song is a bit more uptempo and brings the clean vocals to the fore a bit more opening with quite a psychedelic riff and some great rolling toms the song opens into what I would say is an almost straightforward "metal" structure which reminds me of a less complex and FAR heavier Tool, not that it's lacking in chunky riffing there's plenty of that throughout but it is used in quite a dynamic sense to push the song forward between the more sedate verses and the neat shuffling drums on the quieter part and kinda sneaks up on you! This gives way to a noisy psychedelic swirl which bridges nicely into what I can only describe as a "Classic Sabbath" type groove punctuated with some great noisy splash cymbal which accents the groove perfectly before one more crushing riff is pulled out of the bag before the song seems to stop quite abruptly before ending! A mere breath of synth wash takes you into last track "This Place", of the three tracks I have to say that this is maybe the weakest of them it has a decent mellow intro which gives way to a big riff gruff/clean vox bridge then back to the quiet main passage however the second time it goes up to the heavy part it is extended and lifted by some pounding double bass and get's really noisy which i liked however the clean vocals on this song just feel like maybe James (lead vocalist) is just pushing himself a little too far melodically with the vocals and towards the end there's some brief blast beat drumming which I felt was a bit unnecessary to the song it does however have a pretty cool take on the "bombastic ending" and the sudden stop on a dime end is really effective however against the high standard of the first 2 songs I just felt this one whilst NOT terrible just wasn't quite as good as the first two.

Considering these guys are quite young fellas and 2 of them are now onto their second band and have a full album with their first band behind them all in just over a year to release an EP of this high quality is no mean feat I found the melodic clean singing a bit hard to take at first and it took me a few listens to "get it" so to speak but it does add a unique touch to have such a melodic voice over such heavy music it does also provide a good contrast to the gruff vocals from Jordan and though i have been critical about one of the songs,all in all this is a great EP and they have taken their influences and channeled them into a sound that is interesting,diverse and certainly fresh! I think once these guys get some gigging under their belt that their next recording will surpass the already high standard set by this one!

The EP is not out until the 19th but you can preview opening track "Where" at the "Echoes And Dust" website (who once again get the drop on UTS with an exclusive maybe i should get some fancier graphics and a soundcloud page?) Anyways you can listen to it there and as you have read above it's a beast of a track!! And as i said before it will be available through the No Fun Intended bandcamp. I've also linked you to Sick Tapestry facebook page go show these guys some love.....

THE EP IS NOW AVAILABE TO DOWNLOAD ON BANDCAMP FREE/PAY WHAT YOU WANT...GO GET IT!!!!


Track Preview/Stream - HERE

No Fun Intended Bandcamp - HERE

Sick Tapestry Facebook - HERE

For locals these guys will be playing an EP release show at Beerhouses-The Old Turk in Dewsbury alongside Nomasta and AlasBlackArches see the Sick Tapestry Facebook page linked above for more details and get yourself down there!!!

EP Cover

MOWER


Mower are a band whose name I'd heard a few times and were one of the bands that should have been in my North/North West Heavy Report (see that HERE ) however at that time they had no recordings available to report on. I was lucky enough to catch them opening for Pentagram in November and I had no idea what to expect from them and they did not disappoint and opening for the sheer legend that is Pentagram is no small deal especially for a new band with nothing but T-shirts to sell, regardless these guys were more than up to the task if they were nervous it certainly wasn't apparent from watching them and they pulled off a blinding set that must have left the touring support band Order Of Israfel feeling some serious discomfort! They have just recently finished their debut EP and Jared (Vocals) was kind enough to pass me a copy for the blog.

So These guys are a 3 piece band but not in the traditional power trio sense these guys have no bass player whilst for a band playing Heavy music I would normally see this as a drawback in this case their guitarist has the bottom end easily covered with a crushing guitar sound and pedals!!! So the EP, clocking in at just shy of 30 minutes it's more of a mini album than an EP and it  is a blinding listen the first thing that struck me when I hit play was the opening riff to first song "Tundra#64" immediately grabbed my attention and pulled me in because it just reeks of classic 70's rock it just has such a sleazy feel it had my head nodding straight away and immediately said to me that these guys have done their homework! It has to be said full marks to guitarist "Fuzzstortion" because with no bass to back him up he has a big gap to fill and his guitar sound is immense throughout it's equal parts sludgy & stoner tempered with an early Celtic Frost fuzz edge to it which whilst keeping it heavy is a refreshing change to the super down tuned style a lot of bands employ whilst i don't mind that style the thing that a lot of bands don't have a handle on that Mower DO is you can droptune till your strings are hanging off but if you haven't mastered the art of the riff then you're just treading water but these guys certainly have it nailed!

What I love about this EP is the fact that so much of it feels familiar without directly ripping bands off, I hear shades of things like Iron Monkey, Pentagram,Raging Speedhorn, Sabbath etc but at the same time they have something that is all their own and they throw in plenty of grooves and changes in tempo to keep your interest, the other great thing is Jared's vocals which move from bluesy howl to throaty growl seamlessly there's also almost singing in some parts see the breakdowns of "Big Doris" and "Ursula" for evidence of this it adds a good contrast and works really well.There are only 4 songs on the EP ranging from the 2 minutes to 8 and 9 minutes in length but each song has plenty of twists and turns and keeps your interest throughout one minute your nodding your head to a fat groove the next thing these guys are crushing you with pounding drums, mountainous riffs and howling vocals. Another thing that I love about this EP is the songs are memorable whilst many bands release fine quality EP's one song and riff sometimes blurs into the next but in Mower's case i find that the songs firmly stick in my head and have seen myself humming some of the riffs and vocal lines almost unwittingly and in some cases the riffs just pile up to the point where I just go ARGGGGHHH and want to smash my head into the wall all in the most blindingly brilliant way!

I can't say enough good things about this EP It's amazing, these guys are quite young and this being their debut it's a really confident and accomplished release for such a new band it's got catchy and crushing riffs by the truckload that along with the great drumming and Jared's varied vocal style once you hit play like me you are in for the whole ride!

The EP is set to be released in a fancy 4 panel Digipak in time for their show at Manchester Music Collective on the 30th of this month (Jan 2016) and should be available for download around the same time, in the meantime you can stream it at the bandcamp link below.

I predict big things for these guys with their utterly addictive blend of heaviness, grooves and the high profile Pentagram support i can see a lot of people getting to hear about this band so get in now while the goings good I've linked you to their EP and their facebook page go show these guys some support they are most definitely deserving of it! 

EP Preview Stream - Bandcamp

Facebook - HERE


Mower live supporting Pentagram 15/11/15