Friday, 20 January 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Kreator - "Gods of Violence"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 27/01/2017
Label: Nuclear Blast

There are so many great riffs, solos, hooks and vocals over the course of the record that there is absolutely nothing to complain about here. Kreator have produced another very worthy entry into their impressive back catalogue. Fans of their later work will love what is on offer here as it is a continuation of their most recent and very impressive albums.  This is a hooky, vicious, well produced thrash record which is every bit as good as anything which has come out of America in recent times. Recommended.

“Gods of Violence” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Apocalypticon (1:06)
2. World War Now (4:28)
3. Satan Is Real (4:38)
4. Totalitarian Terror (4:45)
5. Gods of Violence (5:51)
6. Army Of Storms (5:09)
7. Hail to the Hordes (4:02)
8. Lion with Eagle Wings (5:22)
9. Fallen Brother (4:37)
10. Side By Side (4:19)
11. Death Becomes My Light (7:26)

The Review:

Kreator, as oft noted by me, are my favourite of the Teutonic Thrash Grosse Drei (oder Vier?!).. and I like the others a great deal too! It is with some excitement, then, that I pressed play to listen to the latest offering from these giants of the genre. If you have been following Kreator's renaissance period (that is to say, after the 1990's) then you will know that gone is the uncontrolled violence of “Pleasure to Kill and “Terrible Certainty and in its place is a controlled aggression and, whisper it softly, elements of melody.

After the suitably apocalyptic intro, “World War Now opens in a thrashing fury, tempered by the aforementioned elements and even a section involving acoustic guitars prior to a shredding solo. Essentially, then, this is a direct successor to “Phantom Antichrist and “Hordes of Chaos on first impressions. The production is state of the art, the band sound fired up and relentlessly vicious.

Satan Is Real is something of a hooky “single” (if such things were relevant these days) but is still very heavy indeed, just without the out and out speed that is often associated with the band. After this strong start, the record does not let up; the title track is anthemic, “Totalitarian Terror is thrashy in the extreme, “Army of Storms is one of those mid paced rockers that sounds faster than it actually is- nice lead work on this one- until it reaches thrash pace, that is. With that the record is over the half way point. There are eleven tracks here, of fairly uniform length (barring the closer) and the whole album demonstrates that Kreator are nothing less than masters of their chosen craft.

In all honesty, there is nothing weak here; you get prime latter day era Kreator. Tracks such as “Hail to the Hordes(a nod to the fans) and “Lion With Eagle Wings are as anthemic as they are punchy and well arranged. Kreator have essentially traded grit for polish in their advancing years and it is a smart move on the band's part. They have retained their credibility and retained their heaviness and elements of their aggressive approach without becoming a parody of their younger selves (no mean feat) and they remain the very best of the German thrash bands, in my view. Even though I have mentioned polish, hooks and melody here the band are never less than very heavy indeed. “Fallen Brother” may have a big chorus, but Mille delivers it in gratingly harsh style- no harmonies here.

“Side By Side” delivers the rather inclusive message that Kreator are known for, again in anthemic style, while the closing “Death Becomes My Light” reaches epic heights over the course of its close to seven and a half minutes. There are so many great riffs, solos, hooks and vocals over the course of the record that there is absolutely nothing to complain about here. Kreator have produced another very worthy entry into their impressive back catalogue. Fans of their later work will love what is on offer here as it is a continuation of their most recent and very impressive albums.  This is a hooky, vicious, well produced thrash record which is every bit as good as anything which has come out of America in recent times. Recommended.

“Gods of Violence” is available now

Band info: official || facebook

TERRIFIER ALBUM PREMIERE: Canadian Thrash Titans debut 'Weapons of Thrash Destruction’ & front man Chase Thibodeau picks his Top 5 Thrash Albums

The terrifically titled Terrifier brings their thrash metal apocalypse straight outta Vancouver BC. As the Metal God himself Rob Halford memorably sang: ‘fast and furious/we ride the universe’, that very much sums up Terrifier’s dedication to the glory of thrash!

Originally known as Skullhammer, Terrifier released their debut album ‘Destroyers of the Faith’ back in 2012 and the “Metal Or Death” EP in 2013, so this is no flash-in-the-pan thrash band!  
Incorporating jackhammer drums, bulldozing bass-lines, a twin-lead attack that leaves posers pulped in its wake, and vocals that can level mountains, Terrifier’s motto could well be ‘thrashing is our business…and business is good’ . Terrifier taken the blueprint from the old gods, Metallica, Slayer, and used that template to birth new sounds, indeed the old gods maybe eternal but must embrace the new flesh too!  Vocalist, bassist and founder member Chase Thibodeau explains Terrifier’s reason for being. ‘We formed this band because we love thrash and play what we think sounds cool…our music is fast, technical, heavy and melodic and shredding.’ Indeed, this is a band that truly puts the shred inside your head!

Chase sums up Terrifier’s new music: ‘We think people will enjoy this album and use our music to get pumped up for whatever life throws at them. It would be our honour to inspire others into thrash metal…the world needs more thrash!’  So with Terrifier’s new album ‘Weapons of Thrash Destruction’ is slated for release on January, 20 2017 via Test Your Metal Records you can exclusively stream the album here first below.  Not only that we invited Chase to give us the low down on his top 5 thrash albums, so for the second time in a week, we crack the dial to 11, because “11 is one Louder

Hey guys this is Chase from Terrifier and here's my top 5 thrash albums.

Metallica'sKill Em' All” was the first CD I ever owned. The first time I listened to it I wasn't sure that I liked it cause of the quality of the recording. I soon became obsessed with it and would listen to Metallica religiously throughout my teenage years. It has a real sharp mid range sound with blaring solos and the vocals sound so 80's! I always liked that fast upbeat sound. I think this is what really inspired me to play thrash. “Four horsemen”, “Metal Militia” and “Phantom Lord” are really bad ass songs from that CD.
“Show No Mercy” by Slayer was huge for me. I really think this is one of Slayers best albums. It's different than the rest and holds a special place in my influences. “Die by the sword”,Fight till' Death” and “Evil has no boundaries” are my picks.

“Reign in Blood” by Slayer has always got my adrenaline flying through the roof. I think we take influence from Slayers aggression, speed and attitude. Lyrically I'm very inspired by them. I don't think anyone writes lyrics like old school Slayer. “Altar of Sacrifice” and “Angel of Death” are killer!

Testament’sThe Legacy” is so bad ass!!! Chuck Billy's vocals really inspire me in this album. His mix of low, mid and high vocals on this one paved the way for my style. After hearing this I wanted to expand my vocal range and do more with voice. “Curse of the legions of death” and “The Haunting” are both killer songs off that one.

Megadeth'sPeace Sells…” was another CD I've always thought is one of the best thrash albums ever. Dave Mustaine and Chris Poland were a wicked duo on the guitars. “Wake up dead” and “Devils Island are two songs that stand out to me on that one

Band info:  facebook || bandcamp

BAND PROFILE: Crushing noisecore crew Canvas reform for one-off Ritual Festival appearance

By: Andy Price


Picture the scene… it is 1999, record stores still exist in a real way, everyone was very excited about the Y2K bug, and I was a gangly and uncoordinated youth working a shitty temp job in Nottingham. This was great because it meant I could go walk into the town at lunchtime, go to Selectadisc, my favourite record store, and spend the tiny amount of cash I was making on awesome music.

So, back in ’99, I was finding my way in extreme music. Like a blind man at an orgy, I was carefully feeling my way. I’d done the Nu-metal thing (I’m not ashamed. Well, I’m a bit ashamed), and had pushed into more extreme waters, albeit mostly still pretty mainstream ones. Fear Factory, Machine Head et al were lighting my candle, but not quite fulfilling me. I’d formed a friendship with one of the owners of the store and then one fateful Wednesday lunchtime he beckoned me over and placed a CD in my hand saying ‘Andy, you’ll like this. Trust me. Give it a listen and if you like it, you can pay me then. If not, no harm, no foul’. That album was the self-titled early retrospective by Canvas. I put the CD on for the walk back to work but never made it back; I got half way there, turned around and went and paid the man. The album was a revelation, a desperate, urgent, strangled scream from the underground; a mangled noise of instruments that made no sense and yet also made perfect sense. It was absolutely beautiful in its twisted rage.

I never looked back; I picked up the two splits that followed, even the 7”, despite not having a record player. I bought the follow up album, the masterpiece ‘Lost in Rock’ on the day of its release, and revelled in it. Canvas opened my eyes to the underground; both in terms of metal and hardcore. They are the gateway that got me to Converge, Botch, The Dillinger Escape Plan and significantly my eyes were opened to the UK underground, and bands like John Holmes, Medulla Nocte, Iron Monkey and Hard to Swallow… I devoured all of this music mercilessly; it influenced me massively and still does. I can honestly say that without that first Canvas record, I may never have found the music that I know and love today. 

This is one of the reasons why Canvas were important; they started out in that hardcore scene and bridged the gap between metal and hardcore, and kind of opened up everything, especially when they started picking up real media coverage. They were important because they led hardcore kids to metal and vice versa; they are important now because their recordings are seminal. They feel as fresh, exhilarating and powerful as ever, with a level of invention that is still staggering, especially on ‘Lost in Rock’. In hindsight that record started shaping my love for diverse and technical music like Meshuggah; just listen to the groove and dizzying rhythms of the opening track and you’ll see what I mean. If the band had been able to hold it together a little longer, that record would have been huge, and might have helped them break out of the scene they found themselves in. As it was it seemed to sink a little, almost without trace, which is criminal. It’s a labyrinthine and almost uncomfortable listen, but thoroughly compelling and a constant well-spring of inspiration.

It was not long after Canvas split up that I started playing music, and looking back even my earliest bands reflect the influence that Canvas exerted on me, albeit filtered through the prism of the other musicians I worked with, and my own lack of ability. Experimentation, a lack of compromise in sound and wilful abuse of time-signatures were a good example of this; that has never left me and is still very much part of the sound that I bring to Conjurer.

To say that I’m excited that Canvas have come back together for Ritual Festival in Leeds is a massive understatement. Canvas are in the shortlist of bands that I really have never stopped listening to since I bought their records. Some bands fall in and out of favour as tastes change, but that never happened to Canvas. I only caught the band live once, at a show in London at the Water Rats for the “Lost in Rock” release show but it’s a show that still lives in my memory in terms of the sheer chaos of their live aspect. In hindsight, the setlist was perfect although I didn’t know much of the new material that well. The crowd were up for movement and the band were on fire. It’s in the list in my head of formative gig experiences that influences the way that I play live, along with shows by The Dillinger Escape Plan and The Chariot; the energy and, for the want of a better word, the sheer fearlessness of their performance was exhilarating, and I’ve always used that as a template for what I want to bring to the stage.

I’m excited to see how 15 years has tempered the band and their performance; we’re all older and creakier, but the level of experience on that stage now is fantastic. I’m used to the records now too; I expect the live experience to be heavier and darker. That we get to share a stage with them is mind-blowing to me, I’m so excited to be playing the same bill as them. I’d love to see them do more shows, although I’d completely understand if they want to keep it as a one-off. I think that there’s a whole generation of music fans that should hear these songs; especially given that so much of the hardcore / post-hardcore scenes have converged onto some of the same ground that Canvas stamped down back in the day. I hear traces of the Canvas sound in other bands that are around today; chaotic rhythms, progression and naked experimentation has become far more normal. While we’re making a wish list though, I’d like some merchandise and if we’re really shooting for the stars, a pressing of some kind of discography on vinyl. Chaps, if you’re reading this, make it happen please!

I’d be fascinated to hear new music from this line-up too, but I suspect that might be too much to ask for.  I’ve been sharing about my love of the music the band created since the announcement – I’ve had a lot of people ask questions about where to start with the band. Obviously the answer is ‘all of it’ – especially since the band have been good enough to put their back catalogue up for free download on their bandcamp. That said though, ‘Womb Plague’ from the split with Hard To Swallow is an excellent place to start, or ‘Black Shape of the Nexus’ – both versions of that are great but I love the intro of the version from ‘Lost in Rock’. ‘Unworthy of Perfection’ is great too, all grinding rhythms and brutal vocals. I give up on trying to narrow this down; just go and get the whole lot. Your MP3 player and your ears will thank you for it.

The funny thing is that at the time I didn’t really pay attention to individuals in the band – I was never really that interested in musicians at that time, that’s only come after I started playing music myself – and it’s been surprising to find that I’ve actively followed some of the bands that some of the members created after Canvas ended, including Humanfly, Kings and Amplifighters; I’ve spent time with John and Albert, and Paul across various shows and events. Someone actually had to point out that the Sutcliffe brothers were the same ones that drove my favourite underground band; I nearly fell off my proverbial chair. I have only mildly fan-boyed since. Well, probably a bit more than mildly, but I think I got away with it

In the summer of this year I got the logo for the band tattooed on my leg. Partly this stemmed from a conversation with Dan from OHHMS – he’s a big fan as well and got the same tattoo in the same session. We were playing a show together in Leeds and had gotten talking about Canvas, what the band meant and how much they had inspired us – it seemed a natural conclusion at the time. For me, the tattoo serves as a reminder of how I should strive to create with music, to plough a musical furrow that interests me, but also that I should not hold anything back. These are the lessons I’ve taken, and this is the reason that Canvas remain special and a massive inspiration to me.

No pressure lads.

The Canvas discography is up on bandcamp as pay what you want/free here and Ritual Festival tickets are still up for grabs here with the full line up of the festival included below. 

TRACK PREMIERE: Stinking Lizaveta's Journey to the Underworld chapter I "Witches and Pigs"

For over 20 years, Stinking Lizaveta have released multiple critically acclaimed albums and shared the stage with national headlining bands such as Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity, Fugazi, Weedeater and more. They have held the reins as rock pioneers and have built a worldwide cult following for their legendary and unrelenting sound.  With help from Stephen Berrigan and Paul Webb, Stinking Lizaveta have created their most innovative release to date Journey to the Underworld

Translation Loss Records will release the album on February 17th and features nine new songs, showcasing the bands dedication to their style of unrestrained instrumental fusion.  Combining doom, jazz, and punk, “Journey to the Underworld takes listeners on a powerful journey through uncharted space and time to venture into new musical frontiers.   Featuring stunning artwork by David Gunn, “Journey to the Underworld” will be available on compact disc, limited edition coloured vinyl and digital. Pre-order available now through Translation Loss Records here and Guitarist Yanni Papadopoulos shares his insight into the recording of the new album below

Journey To The Underworld was recorded at   "Nosferatus' Lair" Studio down on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana.  We wanted to record in New Orleans because of the demonic musical energy one feels down there.  Steve Berrigan, who is Housecore's in house engineer, was on tour with Mountain of Wizard.  We have been friends with Paul Webb, of MOW, for 20 some years. I told Steve we wanted to do a New Orleans album.  He was familiar with our band since we had played Check Point Charlie's on Halloween for ten years straight, so he offered to record us.  We could't refuse, it was a vision come true!

In October 2015 we flew to NOLA.  Paul met us at the airport and drove us across the 30 mile causeway to the North Shore.  Nosferatus Lair” is Phil Anselmo's studio, and we are indebted to him for sponsoring us.  We started recording that night and Paul Webb stayed with us for the next five days to help us realize our vision.  As I had hoped, the character of the land infused our music.  We could feel the coming of All Souls Day, not to mention Phil's house was filled with classic horror memorabilia.

When it came time to title the album it seemed appropriate to reference Odysseus'  journey to the underworld from Homer's Odyssey.  At the bottom of the Mississippi you get an underworld feel, like the spirits are all alive and ready to commune with you.  Maybe it's Voodoo, or just the deep musical culture.

You can stream the opening track from the album “Witches and Pigs” below

“Journey to the Underworld” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Witches and Pigs
2. Chorus of Shades
3. Sharp Stick in the Eye
4. Six Fangs
5. Blood, Milk and Honey
6. Journey to the Underworld
7. Love Song For Jusu
8. A Stranger's Welcome
9. Allegro

Band info: facebook

Thursday, 19 January 2017

"11 is one Louder": Rising blackened doom dealers Grime Ravine debut "Shrine of Misery" & choose their Top 5 blackened doom albums

On an otherwise unremarkable July evening in 2015, 3 people from Portsmouth decided to meet up with 2 people from Crawley. Past and present members of underground UK bands who were drawn together by a musical appreciation of the slow and heavy. Ale was consumed, obscure bands were discussed and eventually plans were formed to drag their hungover selves to a practice room at the incredibly-doom-ridden time of 10am on a Sunday.

Since that monumental day Grim Ravine released a debut self titled EP in 2015 and will now release “The Light is From Below” on Feb 17th via Black Bow Records.  This new EP contains 4 tracks of suffocating, atmospheric and thoroughly vile sludge metal that is highly recommended for fans of Rwake and Eyehategod. As the band remarks "We are proud to present our latest offering, The Light is from Below. This recording incorporates doom worship, fuzz and misery to create sounds from the abyss."

Suffice to say Grim Ravine are one of the finest purveyors of extreme blackened doom to emerge from the UK and we at The Sludgelord invited guitarist Martin Shouler to share his thoughts on his top 5 blackened doom records, as well as debuting a brand new song from their soon to be released EP, in the form of “Shrine of Misery” and be sure to turn the dial up to 11. 


Indian - "From All Purity"

If you're going to do a final album, this is how to do it. A huge filthy beast of an album with one of my favourite vocalists in the genre. Adding the noise element to their sound (probably because they weren't harsh enough on earlier releases??) shows that they were willing to expand their sound, who knows where they would have gone after this...

Wolvserpent -  "Aporia:Kāla:Ananta"

The first half is a beautifully eerie orchestral soundscape which then gives way to a huge wall of distorted guitars and harrowing vocals. Much like taking a long pleasant country walk up a hill, only to fall down a cliff on the other side, break both your legs and be eaten alive by animals. Great stuff.

Culted -  "Below The Thunders of the Upper Deep"

The harsh vocals over droning, doom riffs and general atmosphere make this a very bleak listen. Add in some drone and this is both haunting and very, very heavy. With a vocalist that's never met the rest of the band in person it's surprising how well this album works.

Hell - "II"

Could have chosen any of the trilogy albums for this but "II" was my first introduction to Hell and as good a place as any to start. Moving between dense blackened doom and clean guitars with ease this album is thoroughly unpleasant in the best possible way. A band that truly live up to their name.

Sea Witch - "The Blackened Sea"

Instrumental blackened doom that goes for a dark ambiance rather than all out menace. Crushing riffs and hypnotic guitar rhythms aplenty. A great example of the title and artwork matching the sounds within.  Never judge a book by its cover, but you can judge Sea Witch by theirs. 

Band info: facebook || bandcamp

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

6 NEW BANDS: Nikos Mixas' 666 Pack Review for January 2017

The 666 Pack Review

It’s 2017, and in turn The Sludgelord’s first 666 Pack Review of the year!  Each and every month we handpick 6 review submissions and critique them by only using 6 words, then we rate them on a scale from 1 to 666!  Check out our awesome rating scale below: 

1 – Shitty way to start the New Year…make a resolution to get better at your craft…
2 – You’re good enough to play at President Trump’s inauguration.
3 – On a scale of Five Finger Death Punch to Neurosis, you’re a Weedeater. 
4 – Not too shabby, your band would turn heads at Guitar Center at least! 
5 – You’re so hot, you’re thawing out Norway’s black metal scene.
666 - The Sludgelord very much approves and will tattoo the band’s logo on his ass.  Just kidding….
It’s the start of a new year and there is plenty of optimism abound.  The Sludgelord will listen to several dozen of bands throughout the year but only some will be of his liking.  The Sludgelord is a picky listener…and doesn’t care what you think of his opinions….
Into the Sun - Through Darkened Skies” (EP) – London, UK    Rating: 4
Definitely some Kyuss worship happening here…

bandcamp || facebook

Her Highness/Worthless (Split EP)Budapest, Hungary   Rating: 2
Even paprika tastes better than this.

Worthless: bandcamp || facebook || Her Highness: bandcamp || facebook

Urskog - “Urksog” - Stockholm, Sweden   Rating: 1

Worst Swedish band I’ve ever heard

Anxiety - Demo” – Boston, MA   Rating: 5

Makes me want to revisit Dystopia

Buzzzard - Cold Blood” - Carbondale, IL   Rating: 4
Desert sounds coming from the heartland

Oxblood Forge - “Oxblood Forge” – Boston, MA   Rating: 3

Reminds me of post-glam grunge.

ALBUM REVIEW: Toke - "Orange"

By: Grim Trashcan

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 01/01/2017
Label: Independent

Toke seamlessly blends the precise amount of head crushing, belly thumping riffs with greasy, bluesy lead breaks and melody. This band has struck a balance between tried and true classic archetypes within this genre and has pushed the envelope in so many forms of noticeable nuance.

“Orange” CS//DD//LP track listing:

1. Within The Sinister Void
2. Weight Of The World
3. Blackened
4. Weak Life (Feat. T-Roy of Sourvein)
5. Legalize Sin
6. Four Hours For Hours

The Review:
There just has to be something about living in the South that makes you understand swing, groove, timing or "feel". Some folks are born with natural rhythm and it seems like second nature, a mere afterthought. Others train themselves meticulously to metronomes and calculated foot tapping. Toke; hailing from North Carolina fall seismically in the first camp. 

When I hear "North Carolina" my immediate thought is Weedeater, and when I hear the band name "Toke" my immediate thought is "well, I'll be damned". That thought is heard in my head with a southern drawl. A lazy, laid-back southern lilt of inflection that coaxes one into a natural state of ease, ready to hear more from that friendly Southern inner voice. That's when the opening riff from "Orange" fires up and its glowing heat draws you further in. Solidified by natural and solid drumming this experience just keeps on warming up. Definitely more of a guitar-oriented affair in comparison to something akin to Weedeater, where bass is the star at the frequency buffet, Toke seamlessly blends the precise amount of head crushing, belly thumping riffs with greasy, bluesy lead breaks and melody. The vocalists timbre and range can only be described as an old rotary phone echoing through the silence somewhere in the desolate woods.

This band has struck a balance between tried and true classic archetypes within this genre and has pushed the envelope in so many forms of noticeable nuance. The seemingly calculated choices when it came to where the drums sat in the mix, the bass owned and held upright the fluid frame of the masterful guitar work over which mid-ranged, musical raspy howls cried out were overall the feature of this release. Songwriting is so solid; I'd send it out to sea without fear of capsizing. This album more than floats, it navigates. 

Orange” is available here

Band info: Facebook || Bandcamp