Recent Posts in metal - Page 2
February 24, 2015
by Andrew Sacher
California's Sabertooth Zombie may have hardcore roots, but new single "Crazy Endings" is sludgy stoner rock with riffs recalling '70s proto-metal, Cream-esque wah pedaling, and an air of swampy psychedelia. The track's from their upcoming EP, Human Performance IV, due March 3 via Twelve Gauge Records (pre-order). It was recorded and mixed by Sam Pura, who's also worked with Self Defense Family, Basement and others. The new track premieres in this post and can be streamed below.
Philly doom band Crypt Sermon released their debut album, Out of the Garden, today (2/24) via Dark Descent Records. Joseph Schafer did a lengthy profile on them over at Invisible Oranges, and here's an excerpt about the new record:
Even though the Year of the Ram has barely begun, Out of the Garden has secured its place as an Album of the Year contender.The band told us how their melodic, Candlemass/Solitude Aeturnus-inspired style of doom was a reaction against "that whole stoner/sludge thing." And how none of them had played in a doom metal band, most interestingly, including singer Brooks Wilson:
Crypt Sermon will not be saving any souls, but they might save something just as intangible: doom metal itself.
That doom metal needs saving is not obvious at first brush. The first of metal's myriad subgenres, doom metal has always carried crossover appeal and staying power first because it's the style of metal most indebted to blues and second because, even if only through Black Sabbath, doom gets some play on classic rock radio in middle America. 2014 proved particularly kind to doom: Yob made Rolling Stone's top 50 albums list (not metal albums, mind you), and Pallbearer mopped up industry accolades, for starters. What they have in common, is an emphasis on atmosphere, tone and sound design, sometimes at the expense of riffs, and riffs, as envisioned by Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, are the core of doom--of metal--as a genre. Further, considering how easily the smallest amount of mainstream exposure turned great bands like Mastodon and Isis into the flashpoint for swarms of insufferable copycats, its easy to envision the next few years as a morass of tuneless plodding junk being sold as "doom."
"I've certainly spent most of my life singing in some manner," Wilson said. "But most of the time, I'd just be singing like folk and country music, but I've also been in screaming punk and hardcore bands and even metal bands for some time now, so that wasn't unfamiliar to me either, but I've never really tried or given much effort toward rock singing. It just wasn't on my agenda until I just one day turned to Steve and I was like, 'I can do that.'"And fortunately, Crypt Sermon have in fact written a great song. Seven of them actually, all of which make up the new album and can be streamed (via Stereogum) below...
It may seem glib, but even in a record composed of such compelling instrumental performances, Wilson's vocals are the main selling point. in a key divergence from the epic doom records that inspired Crypt Sermon, Wilson sounds off like he's got a pair, to quote Full Metal Jacket. He gets the most he can out of his relatively gruff midrange, rather than straining for high notes he can't comfortably reach--that is to say, unlike many metal singers, Wilson has an actual sense of pitch, not just a good-for-metal sense of pitch. More importantly, he delivers his own lyrics with a great deal of conviction. To crib a term more suited for vintage rock and R&B, Wilson sings with soul, or at least with a sense of conviction.
So Crypt Sermon recorded their debut album armed with a jackhammer drummer, two world-class shredders, and a firehorse singer who can innovate a haunting song out of a folk classic in, by his own admission, seconds. That alone is not enough to change the doom game. The bands that Crypt Sermon is positioning itself in opposition to sport great vocalists and musicianship as well, but what sets Jansson, Wilson and company apart is a sense of deference to doom's origins, because as the oldest kind of metal, doom is also the subgenre that shares the most chromosomes with rock music, and that's by design.
...Even on their first album, Crypt Sermon is aiming for the history books. "Songwriting is absolutely key. It's the most important thing to me in any music, especially meta. I think there's a lot of doom--it lacks that," he said. "All of my favorite albums, all the classic records you grew up listening to, you still hear people talking about them. You still go back and listen to them because they have longevity because the songs are just so well-written and done. It's so important to focus on crafting and writing a great song."
February 23, 2015
photos by Greg Cristman
Hull at their final show
"Did we finally sell out a show after eleven years?" asked guitarist Nick Palmirotto from the stage. "I'm gonna fucking cry."Beloved Brooklyn sludge band Hull has now officially called it quits, but went out with a bang at their sold-out final show at Coco 66 on Saturday (2/21). The review quoted above is full of praise, and we couldn't agree more. It's sad to see them go, but they were great as ever on Saturday, and so were all three openers: Elder, Wizard Rifle and Cleanteeth. More pictures of all the bands, and setlists, below...
Snow, slush, and wintry rain couldn't keep a throng of metalheads from packing the house at CoCo 66 Saturday night to bid farewell to Hull. The progressive sludge band has been a staple of the Brooklyn metal scene for the past eleven years but have decided to disband as life takes each member in new directions.
...The band played a deliberately unhurried, two-hour set, pausing between songs to thank individuals in the audience for being part of Hull's history. (During one break, someone in the audience grabbed a mic to say, "You guys have been up here thanking everyone, and I think everyone should thank you guys.") The set featured tunes from the full catalog, stretching back to the epic one-song Viking Funeral LP from 2007. Sound guru Sean Ray of Stray Audio was on deck, mixing and recording the gig in addition to lending extra equipment to the band to ensure optimal sound, and the results were appreciable. About midway through, the third founding guitarist Drew Mack, who left the band in 2012, stepped onstage to revive the triple-ax attack of the original lineup. [Village Voice]
by Klaus Kinski
photo: Helmet at Bowery Ballroom, night 1 (more by Mathieau Bredeau)
New York City alt-metal behemoths Helmet wrapped up their run of three NYC shows on their ongoing tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of their seminal third album "Betty". We already posted pictures of night 1, and here's our review of night 2 -- Saturday (2/21) at Bowery Ballroom -- an unbelievable two and a half hours of bowel-loosening heviosity that had the packed, sold-out crowd in a pushy-shovey, high-fivey, singin' along frenzy.
Singer-guitarist Page Hamilton is the only original member of this band who has had a number of personnel changes since their inception in NYC in 1989. There are legions of insufferable Helmet line-up purists who will no doubt take to the comments section any second now to remind the world that, without drummer John Stanier, the current iteration of Helmet is impure. As much as I agree that Stanier is a solid drummer, to poo-poo this band and this tour because there is no Stanier is a little unfair. Current Helmet drummer Kyle Stevenson absolutely crushed it Saturday night. Not only is he a fantastic drummer, but he completely understands the music of Helmet and knows how to do it right. He was simply incredible. Guitarist Dan Beeman and bassist Dave Case completed a rhythm section that was tighter and more crushing than Helmet has sounded in years; you could shake a house off of its foundation with Case's bass tone.
Mercifully, there were no openers for this show and the band got right to it at 9:15pm on the nose with a spotless performance of the album "Betty" in full. In my opinion, Saturday night's performance of "Betty" sounded better than the album ever did. It was so much heavier, more violent and more scorching. I always liked "Betty," but ever since I first heard it in 1994 I always thought it was a little anemic. The skeleton for heaviness was always there, but I always felt that the potential for heaviness never fully gestated. Saturday night, though, tracks like "Wilma's Rainbow," "Biscuits for Smut," "Rollo," and "Speechless" simply ground my eardrums to a watery pulp. There was a physical component to the loudness and heaviness that you could feel in the pit of your stomach, and it never relented.
After "Betty", Helmet performed a 10-song second set of greatest hits that included "(High) Visibility," "Role Model," "FBLA II," "Unsung" and more. It was a really solid selection of tunes that spanned their entire career and it really kept the apeshit momentum of the show going strong. This second set was followed by a three song encore featuring "Sinatra," "Repetition," which was an audience request, and finally "In The Meantime." I don't get out to shows as much as I used to, but this Helmet show was hands down one of the most satisfying show-going experiences in recent memory. Helmet's level of performance is better than ever and NYC was so lucky to have three opportunities to see these masters of heaviness. If you missed this show because you're hung-up on the current line-up, I pity you. Aside from the hot fart smells that seemed almost inescapable no matter where I was standing, this was Helmet in peak form.
Night 1 pics here. Night 2 setlist and a video below...
photo: Repulsion @ Warsaw, 2012 (more by Greg Cristman)
The band was ahead of its time -- they were pushing thrash and punk into limits that would become the blueprints for grindcore music. Of course, there wasn't "grindcore" when Repulsion were first around. They were just playing metal much faster, nastier, and louder than their peers. The bands they've influenced are too numerous to list -- hell, Black Breath took their name from a Repulsion song. When Horrified, their first and most revered demo, was finally released in 1989 through Carcass' Necrosis Records, the band had already broken up. Since reuniting in the early aughts, with Marissa Martinez and Col Jones of Cretin joining original members Scott Carlson and Matt Olivo, they've played some well-received reunion gigs. Repulsion was even recently used in a study on music in the workplace! Sometimes, the second act of your life can be the best. And with a record as classic as Horrified? Repulsion deserves it. - [BV, 2012]Michigan grindcore greats Repulsion, who last played NYC in 2012 for Power of the Riff, will be back for a show at Saint Vitus on April 26. Tickets are on sale now. It's their only announced date at the moment.
by Andrew Sacher
LA's Black Sheep Wall released their third album and followup to 2012's No Matter Where It Ends, this past January. Like that album, it came out on Season of Mist (also home to Kylesa, Floor and many others), and before you even listen, there's a few things that are bound to catch your attention. First of all, the album's called I'm Going To Kill Myself, and as you can see in that ridiculous artwork above, the text is written in a speech bubble attributed to a friendly-looking purple fellow with his arm around his smiling green friend. It's a scene that looks straight out of a (slightly psychedelic) children's picture book. It's also only four songs long, with each track passing the 9-minute mark and the final track being a 33-minute song titled "Metallica." With a presentation like that it's hard not to listen, even just out of sheer curiosity. And fortunately, listening to this album proves to be very rewarding.
The album is also noticeably different than anything they've done before. After two albums of pure sludge metal, they began bringing in elements from outside of the genre on 2013's It Begins Again EP, and I'm Going To Kill Myself is the farthest they've come from their roots yet. Part of this is because vocalist Trae Mallone (who has departed the band twice before) amicably parted ways with them once again, and bassist Brandon Gillickbauer took over lead vocal duties for the new LP. (Trae half-jokingly got back at the band by releasing one of the new singles with his own vocals the same day theirs came out.) The album's most drastic change is the opening (and probably best) track, "The Wailing and the Gnashing And the Teeth," where Justin adopts the melodic hardcore style of bands like Modern Life Is War and The Hope Conspiracy, and shouts over the kind of progressive post-hardcore you'd sooner expect from a Circle Takes the Square album than a sludge metal band.
The doomier tempos come back on second track "Tetsuo: The Dead Man," though it's still a clear progression from their earlier work. And while third song "White Pig" more closely mirrors their first two albums, post-rock atmospheres and gothed-out clean vocals come in about halfway through to take it into new territory. Finally, it's the 33-minute closer "Metallica," a massive trek through dissonant sludge that ends with the album title shouted repeatedly.
The band only have two California dates coming up at the moment, but hopefully they'll make it over to the East Coast soon too. Meanwhile, stream the new album below...
by Andrew Sacher
We last heard from Sub Pop grunge vets TAD frontman Tad Doyle when Lumbar -- his supergroup with YOB's Mike Scheidt and Himsa's Aaron Edge -- released their 2013 debut album The First and Last Days of Unwelcome, and he returned last week with the debut full length from his other recently-formed group, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth. This one also includes Aaron Edge on drums, as well as Peggy Tully on bass, and as Stereogum points out, it's Tad's first full length from a group he solely fronts since Hog Molly's 2000 LP, Kung-Fu Cocktail Grip (which was remastered last year).
The album came out on Neurosis's Neurot Recordings (also home to his pals YOB), and perhaps unsurprising given his relationship with Mike Scheidt, it sounds like modern sludge metal. It's a really convincing take on the genre too, which is pretty amazing because -- without naming names here -- not everyone from the Seattle grunge era sounds this relevant in 2015. Listen to an Rdio stream of the full album below.
Speaking of dudes named Tad, The Hold Steady guitarist Tad Kubler is playing some solo shows this week, opening for... Rick Springfield. The tour hit NYC over the weekend (anyone go?) but has three more shows, all of which are nearby. All dates below.
February 22, 2015
Oscar-nominated filmmaker Bruce Sinofsky, whose series on the "West Memphis Three" cast doubt on the murder convictions of three Arkansas teenagers, catalyzing a movement that led to their release, died Saturday, longtime collaborator Joe Berlinger said. [CNN]---
Metallica recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of their groundbreaking documentary Some Kind of Monster and sadly, not long after, they are now mourning the death of one of the movie's directors -- Bruce Sinofsky. [LoudWire]---
Bruce Sinofsky, the Montclair-based filmmaker, died at home on Saturday from complications of diabates. He was 58.Rest in Peace Bruce.
He was a very good filmmaker. He was also, much more importantly, a good guy, one I interviewed a number of times over the last 20 years or so, and - although I can't pretend to close friendship - one I am still very sad to lose.
Sinofsky, who was born in Boston, studied filmmaking at NYU, then got a job working for the revered documentarians Albert and David Maysles. [NJ.com}
Watch/listen to some interviews with Bruce, below...
February 19, 2015
photo: The Body at The Acheron in 2013 (more by Fred Pessaro)
The sixth biennial experimental/metal/electronic Apex Fest goes down this year at Ridgewood, Queens venue Trans-Pecos from June 5-7. It features live music on day 1 from Jarl and more TBA; day 2 from Gnaw Their Tongues, Trepaneringspiritualen, Menace Ruine, IRM, Burial Hex, Sutekh Hexen and Barren Harvest; and day 3 from Sophia, Svartsinn, Karjalan, Northaunt, Havan, Funerary Call and a set from The Body with special guest collaborators. There's also various short films, visual works and DJ sets. Tickets for the festival and more info HERE.
No word yet who those collaborators are, but the fest is a few weeks after The Body wrap up a tour with Full of Hell (who they're planning a collaborative album with), and they also put out a collaborative album with Thou earlier this year.
Tickets are on sale now for The Body's show with Full of Hell at Saint Vitus on May 16, and those bands play a matinee at ABC No Rio that day too (ticket info TBA).
Updated The Body dates are listed below...
by Andrew Sacher
If you like heavy music and go to shows in the Northeast a lot, there's a pretty good chance you've seen Philly stoner rockers Ruby the Hatchet. In the past year, they've visited NYC to open for Floor, Witch, Danava, and more. And if you like those bands, Ruby the Hatchet will probably be up your alley too. New single "Heavy Blanket" (which also happens to be the name of Witch drummer J Mascis's other band) from their upcoming album, Valley of the Snake, is chock full of retro riffage suggesting a lifelong obsession with Cream, Zeppelin and Sabbath. And singer Jillian Taylor has the powerful, howling vocals you need to really deliver on this kind of stuff. The song premieres in this post, and you can check it out below.
They've got an Asbury Park show on Saturday (2/21) and will play SXSW in March. No other dates announced at the moment.