Kongh – “Sole Creation”

Kongh – “Sole Creation” (Agonia Records)

Hillbilly sludge metal from the deep forests of Sweden! Like a possessed King Kong going about his business, this Växjö crew wield meaty hooks in their dark, reverbed riffs and a rhythm to boot. David Johansson’s rasping vocals brilliantly contrast with stoner harmonies which add a helter skelter groove on songs like ‘Sole Creation’, ‘Tamed Brute’ and ‘The Portals’ – in fact, there are only 4 tracks but with each one clocking in around the 10 minute mark, they’re mightily powerful doses of heaviness indeed! Well known in underground circles, even co-headlining the Kuma Doom Fest in Chicago, Kongh fit right in with the likes of Weedeater, YOB, Black Sun etc as purveyors of serious brain damaging music guaranteed to frazzle you right outta your skull. Continue reading

Mourning Beloveth – “Formless”

Mourning Beloveth – “Formless” (Grau Records)

Dark, beloved death from Ireland. Less well known than Primordial, Mourning Beloveth none the less have their place in Irish metal history as long standing purveyors of doom death in the Emerald Isle. Slow, melancholic and awesomely heavy, Mourning Beloveth use a mixture of growling and clean vocals and likewise, heavy doom laden riffs drenched in tons of reverb graced with melancholic guitar melodies. With an average time of 12 minutes each, songs like ‘Nothing Has A Centre’, ‘Theories Of Old Bones’ and ‘Ethics On The Precipe’ are epic, almost poetic pieces characterized as much for the stillness of death in their tranquil passages as for their sombre tones. It all points to a very articulate band indeed who both musically and lyrically don’t shy away from one’s inner nightmares but rather embrace our fragile mortality for what it is…pure Shakespeare. Continue reading

Odessa – “Carry The Weight”

Odessa – “Carry The Weight” (Ghost Music)

Brummie bruisers, Odessa have been kicking it around Europe for the last 2 years with their brand of aggro-core! Rich Lardner has one of these guttural growls that could give a boar the shits and the heavy, stop-start chugging riffs are nothing short of neck shattering on songs like ‘All I Have’, ‘Divide And Conquer’ and ‘Blind’. Even more so are the rhythms, especially the double bass drum arrangement that reminded me a lot Machine Head, and little wonder given they worked with messrs Bond & Ford who did exactly that with Robb Flynn’s crew! However, what really impresses about Odessa is also their pensive use of melody both in guitar passages as well as in emo harmonies which add a brief respite before the next onslaught of aggression – an excellent use of contrast if I might say so! With some electro tinges and samples completing the mix, it’s easy to see why Odessa have such a pull across the European Union nations given both their wide appeal but moreover they’re ability to hold their own against other metal, hardcore and even heavy thrash bands. Continue reading

Wildside Riot – “No Second Take”

Wildside Riot – “No Second Take” (Cargo Records)

Fronted by the outrageous Godfather of Glam – the one and only Rocky Shades (ex Wrathchild) – Wildside Riot are the next dirt n sleaze installment in this vivacious front man’s career! Taking his life’s learnings Rocky lays it all out on songs like ‘Glitter Tramps’, ‘Fukk Em’ and ‘There Is A Bullet For Each Of You’ (undoubtedly dedicated to his former band mates lol) that are a mixture of trash rock, rock n roll and even (Dave Lee) Roth rock: shake it baby vandal vocals, dirty rock guitar and riotous rhythm. I gotta hand it to this guy that he hasn’t retired yet but still wants to party and that’s the love of life this guy has – not worrying about the rock n roll hall of fame, but wreckin anything and everything before coming back for more! Continue reading

Funeral – Norge Doom Legends – Interview!

Norway’s Funeral are almost legends in their own right having been formed over 2 decades ago and being widely credited as pioneers of the funeral doom genre – Shan Siva chats to drummer (and sole survivor) Anders Eek!

1. Hail to Funeral – how did you spend your New Year (hopefully not in a graveyard lol)?

Anders: Hail Battlehelm! I spent it with friends and family, eating good food and consuming some great liquor, as every year ha ha Continue reading

Cult Of Luna – “Vertikal”

Cult Of Luna – “Vertikal” (Indie Recordings)

Cult of Luna are back…with a new album here in “Vertikal” (their first in five years) as well as touring! Formed in 2001 when their sound was more doom like to one these days best described as ‘post metal’ based on a range of sounds often contrasted by complex light and dark orchestrations that garner comparisons to the likes of Isis or The Ocean. It certainly fits the bill and even more so when I realized this album was based on Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis”, with its grey, monotone industrial landscape, as depicted vividly by the album cover as well as a sound that at times, resonated like a factory given the band were overdubbing cymbals by hitting metal objects! With this foundation, the harsh vocals, raw guitar and prominent bass add to the noise brilliantly contrasted by long ambient pieces often filled only with delicate percussion that makes for an almost surreal atmosphere. If that wasn’t enough the liberal use of electronics adds even more texture to enrich songs like ‘The Weapon’, ‘Mute Departure’ and ‘In Awe Of’ – which is an understatement given how deep this album is as it pushes the dimensions of music into an art form. Seeing the band play this material live must be like stepping into a brave new world and the band truly deserve recognition for this stupendous achievement. Cult of Luna are back!! Continue reading

Audrey Horne – “Youngblood”

Audrey Horne – “Youngblood” (Napalm Records)

Audrey Horne aren’t your typical band. Certainly not for their name as well as the fact that despite being from black metal central i.e. Bergen, they play stoner hard rock! Since we last heard from them a few years back with their self titled 3rd album they’ve gone even more melodic into a light groovy rock sound that owes more to 70s UFO, Golden Earring or Bad Company. Sure, there’s still elements of stoner in the Hammond organ and riffs, but they’re mainly on the periphery of the main rock sound that is full of smooth soul and certainly unaggressive on songs like ‘There Goes A Lady’, ‘Cards With The Devil’ and ‘Redemption Blues’. There’s also more of an American feel to “Youngblood” although the band seem to go for a more honest, upfront style with their material than something more mainstream. So if you want to hear warbling solos, far out grooves, 70s echoing sunshine vocals and a rockin’ rhythm resonating thru a wintery fjord, then the enigma known as Audrey Horne are definitely the jolly Vikings for you! Continue reading

The Resistance – “Rise From Treason”

The Resistance – “Rise From Treason” EP (earMusic)

Formed by no less than Jesper Stromblad of In Flames fame, together with former In Flames guitarist Glenn Ljungström, ex The Haunted vocalist Marco Aro and ex Grave drummer Chris Barkensjo, The Resistance combines the best of Sweden’s melodic, thrash and death talent into one volatile package! Harsh dirty guitars mixed in with flowing melodies, aggro core vocals and chopping drum work typically define the short, sharp shock of songs like ‘My Fire’, ‘Face To Face’ and ‘Slugger’ which have anger tattooed head to foot over ’em – not surprising given the personal backgrounds of some of the guys, although none of them seem to have lost their great legacies given their performances here. With a full blown album due this May, this EP will make that one of the most anticipated releases of the year already and we’re not even a month into 2013! Continue reading

Ulcer – “Grant Us Death”

Ulcer – “Grant Us Death” (Pulverised Records)

Fuck me, how heavy is that guitar – if Tony Iommi’s inner demon burst forth, it would probably look like – well, an ulcer lol! Steeped in down trodden misery comes Poland’s answer to Dismember, early Celtic Frost or Nihilist, and hail from Lublin – the same city that the Nazis used to plan the extermination of the Jews in Eastern Europe – nuff said! Guttural vocals, slime pit filthy distorted guitars, barren wasteland bass and drums that could herald a blitzkrieg shatter any semblance of hope on songs like ‘My Lord Has Horns’, ‘When The Horror Comes’ and – wait for it, ‘The Love Song’ heh heh – which is about as romantic as getting executed at dawn. Brilliantly conceived thru starvation and natural social deprivation, Ulcer even look like psycho junkies and brutal prison guards stalking their victims like slavering wolves looking to send them to a mass grave. Pray for death after this one. Continue reading

Man The Machetes – “Idiokrati”

Man The Machetes – “Idiokrati” (Indie Recordings)

Screeching punk core from the Arctic Circle! Vokillist Christopher Iversen screams so much it’s like he’s freezin’ his nutz off along with Canuk producer Eric Ratz – bet they both had some fun putting this wee gem together ha ha. Formed in a WWII bunker in their hometown of Trondheim in Norway, Man The Machetes are an intense mixture of punk noise, RATM, screamo and believe it or not, a hint of melody a la Billy Talent on songs like ‘Neo-Cowboy’, ‘Sluk Det Rått’ and ‘Sudan’! In a matter of just two years, they’ve gone from playing small clubs to festivals like Pstereo and Hove in their homeland, being awarded Ukas Urørt by the Norwegian radio broadcasters and warming up for bands like Gallows and Kvelertak. Still, the songs on “Idiokrati” make them perfect for the US or UK where their equally in your face live shows will no doubt be riotous acts! Continue reading