Monday, 20 October 2014

Cavalera Conspiracy - Pandemonium (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 03/11/2014
Label: Napalm Records

‘Pandemonium’ CD/DD/LP track listing:

01. Babylonian Pandemonium
02. Banzai Kamakazi
03. Scum
04. I, Barbarian
05. Carmunhao
06. Apex Predator
07. Insurrection
08. Not Losing The Edge
09. Father Of Hate
10. The Crucible
11. Deus Ex Machina
12. Porra

Bio:

The Cavalera brothers Max and Iggor delude nobody when it comes to determination and stubbornness. In the 1990s the Brazilians brought up some of the most uncompromising Metal records of music history with SEPULTURA and show with CAVALERA CONSPIRACY that fatigue is a foreign word for them. Their latest record Pandemonium is no exception: Frontman Max Cavalera rushes with bellow of rage into the fray, lets his brother drum coarsest grooves and puts his finger into the open wound. Does anyone want to know how timeless Death / Thrash Metal sounds? There are a dozen prime examples on Pandemonium! It is always sheer boldness that determines CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, whether rigorous as the opener 'Babylonian' Pandemonium, brutal as in 'Bonzai Kamikazee`, merciless as in 'Barbarian' or aggressive as in’ Father Of Hate’!

The Band:

Max Cavalera | Vocals, Guitars
Iggor Cavalera | Drums, Percussion
Marc Rizzo | Lead Guitar
Nate Newton | Bass

Review:

I suspect that most of you reading this are likely well aware of the story and the history behind Cavalera Conspiracy. There's the often-expressed discontent with Soulfly’s direction after Max Cavalera’s exit from Sepultura. Then, there's Sepultura’s output without Max, and since 2006, without either Cavalera brother. Those circumstances are what they are. You have your opinion on the matter, I have mine, and those parties actually involved have their views too. With only a handful of songs here and there and the Nailbomb project as the exception, anything the Cavalera brothers have been involved with since ‘Chaos A.D.’ has been met with a lukewarm response from me at best; the same goes for Sepultura in its current state.

2007’s ‘Inflikted’ and 2011’s ‘Blunt Force Trauma’ both elicited that same marginal response from me for being only partially committed to the return to form that many have so often clamoured for. ‘Pandemonium’ isn’t an exact return to form either. Instead it creates an interesting blend of some of the better elements they’ve been working with over the last 20 years. If the only possibility you are willing to entertain is ‘Beneath the Remains’ or ‘Arise’: The Sequel; you’re not going to get it with this album.

Sure, there’s plenty of deathly thrash to go around and its presented here in it’s most convincing form since 1991. The riffs are more varied and imaginative than on any of the recent Soulfly/Sepultura/Cavalera albums, and people in that nostalgic state of mind should find this to be the Cavalera album that has gotten closest to what they’re after. What’s really happening is that they’ve found a way to have their cake and eat it too. ‘Pandemonium’ filters the past through a number of different textures into something that doesn’t sound completely stuck in 1987-1993.

Let’s take the first two songs ‘Babylonian Pandemonium’ and ‘Bonzai Kamikazee’ for an example. They’re both very thrash-beat-centric, With ‘Babylonian Pandemonium’ being borderline death metal in particular. Max Cavalera’s vocals are nearly unrecognizable due to either pitch-shifting, being heavily processed or some combination thereof. While that sounds like a knock against them; I don’t intend it to be. It’s actually really effective, and it gives the performance something of a demonic feel to it. It sounds inhuman by design and it works really well. It’s a song that rages the moment it kicks in.

‘Bonzai Kamikazee’, on the other hand, scratches that ‘Arise’ itch in a very satisfying way, even echoing certain riffs from that album’s title track along with ‘Dead Embryonic Cells’. Despite a brief breakdown that might send some dread racing through the nervous system of “golden era” die-hards; it’s over quickly, and it’s followed up with the sort of mid-paced riff that should render an internal sigh of relief before you succumb to the urge to give up on yet another Cavalera-related album.

I’m having a bit of fun with some of the more staunch and serious amongst old Sepultura fans because I’m usually one of them. I like ‘Chaos A.D.’ a bit more than some, but generally-speaking that’s as far as I go. For much of the last fifteen-plus years, the pressure fans and critics have placed on the Cavalera brothers to revisit old ground and reclaim old glory has been intense to say the least. I don’t think they’ll ever come to a point where they give in and put out a purely classic sounding ‘87 to ‘91 style album again, and maybe they shouldn’t. They’re not who they were back in those days. It would likely sound as phoned-in as ‘World Painted Blood’ did for Slayer. I don’t think anyone wants that. Instead, we have a band with a lot of energy and quality ideas, putting out something that references the past while keeping their boots on the ground here, in the present, playing with new elements that work to the album's benefit. That’s a damn good place for a thirty year career to end up.

Words by: Daniel Jackson

You can pick up a copy here




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Obituary - Inked In Blood (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 28/10/2014
Label: Relapse Records

Inked in Blood CD/DD/LP track listing:

01. Centuries Of Lies
02. Violent By Nature
03. Pain Inside
04. Visions In My Head
05. Back On Top
06. Violence
07. Inked In Blood
08. Deny You
09. Within A Dying Breed
10. Minds Of The World
11. Out Of Blood
12. Paralyzed With Fear

Bio:

Death metal legends OBITUARY make their Relapse debut with ‘Inked In Blood,’ their 9th full length LP.  Almost three decades in, ‘Inked In Blood’ stands out as one of the finest moments in OBITUARY’s already godlike discography.  The riffs, groove, snarl and rage are as fierce as ever, putting most all other contemporary death metal bands to shame.  OBITUARY are THE definitive death metal band, and ‘Inked In Blood’ is an instant classic amongst their already storied catalog.  OBITUARY are both the originators and the torch-bearers of the genre!   ‘Inked In Blood’ is the sound of true death metal kings reclaiming their throne!!! 

The Band:

John Tardy | Vocals (1984-current)
Trevor Peres | Guitar (1984-current)
Donald Tardy | Drums (1984-current)
Terry Butler | Bass (2010-current)
Kenny Andrews | Guitar (2012-current)

Review:

Obituary return, five years after their “Darkest Day” opus. Can they still cut it? Are there still heavy Celtic Frost stomping grooves? Will they have added blast beats? Will Ralph Santolla's six string mastery be missed? Here's my take:

First off, Obituary have always held a special place in my heart. Death metal without being particularly speedy, grooves are mixed into the mayhem and some really heavy sludge and doom influences can always be heard. Obituary are death metal, for sure, but they are also in a field of one in the genre. Those facts alone make another album worth celebrating. Regardless of how you feel about crowd funding, it can't be denied that those who invested got what they paid for. ‘Centuries Of Lies’ kick starts the album with a two minute burst of thrash pace and breakdowns. Good stuff and nice to hear that the idiosyncratic production tendencies of the band are present and correct- soupy guitars, odd sounding drums- all sounding very live- and a gnarly bass tone for new-ish recruit Terry Butler (ex-Death et al).

‘Violent By Nature’ brings rumbling grooves and riffs that get the head nodding like no other band. John Tardy's vocals are still a thing of wonder- very harsh, very unusual and perfect for the sound. Brother Don's drums are always a joy- simple and powerful grooves- well paced double bass and nice work all around the kit; the guy is a class act and never overplays, unlike many in the death metal genre I could name!

‘Pain Inside’ brings the patented slow Obituary stomp groove- sludgy, doomy and deathy all at the same time. Nice lead work from newest boy Kenny Andrews too. Trevor Peres keeps the rhythm work down and tight, just as he has done for nearly thirty years.

‘Visions In My Head’ has a nice stop start riff and percussive cymbal chokes before the tanks really start rolling and the band sets up a monstrous groove. Again, it's heavy stuff- but like Crowbar is heavy, not like Nile is. Some clean picked acoustic adds nice dynamics towards the end as does the lead wailing of Andrews.

‘Back On Top’ is another mid paced bruiser, all low riffing and dark imagery. ‘Violence’ is faster- but only thrash fast, lots of twin kick flourishes and an almost punk or hardcore approach to the structure make this one memorable and in an odd way, catchy. This is perhaps similar to the Tardy Brothers' offerings on “Bloodline” a few years ago.

‘Inked In Blood’ is a beast of a title track- slow to start with some interesting and purposeful riffs. The band seemed to have widened their approach to the songs this time around- they are not one paced and they don't use the same tricks on every track, something which has happened in the past. They seem more purposeful, more willing to change things around and use rhythms and dynamics to their advantage.

‘Deny You’ has that ‘Redneck Stomp’ feel to it- low and slow like a gator in the everglades- it's a predatory and vicious sound. It's a strong riff and the band make the most of it, playing around with it a little to make the bridges and construct a nasty little reptile of a song. Things change for the middle section but the familiar refrain returns to good effect.

‘Within Dying Breed’ is massively heavy, sticking with the sludge tempos again- no blasting off here, just feral marching towards the end of the record. Things do pick up pace, but not too far. The changes do allow for an excellent fadeout and crushing tom overdub though- kind of like the end of Megadeth's ‘Reckoning Day,’ but more direct!

‘Minds of The World’ is surprisingly nimble in the intro and it actually keeps this fleet of foot quality- Don Tardy plays particularly well here- lovely phrasing with crystal clear production (no hiding behind walls of reverb) as his hands and feet do call and response phrasing. Excellent stuff and classic Obituary material. ‘Out of Blood’ gives us one last groove at half tempo with cool mixing on the vocals as they pan around from line to line. ‘Paralyzed With Fear’ finishes strongly with that textbook double kick semi-quaver roll underpinning the guitars- it is like ‘Slowly We Rot’ amped up for a new age and it glorious to behold. Great leads, again, and a good performance all around with the weight of the production shining through.

Obituary can most definitely still cut it, with all elements of their sound present and correct. The album is more diverse than previous releases, but nothing too radical- no blast beats for example. The leads are well placed and well played and the whole band sound rejuvenated. One of the best death metal bands live, Obituary have not always hit the mark on record. On this one, they do, though. It's a strong album front to back with lots of reminders as to why the band is legendary in death metal circles. Incidentally, the stuff on offer here will also please those who prefer their sludge or doom to more deathly delights. It really is that heavy, feral and nasty.
  
Words by: Richard Maw

You can pick up a copy here



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Sunday, 19 October 2014

SELVA - Life Habitual (Album Review and Exclusive Album Stream)

lajf həbɪtʃuəl cover art

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 27th October 2014
Label: Argonauta Records

Life Habitual – Track Listing

1 - [I]
2 - ENCLOSURE
3 - LIFE HABITUAL
4 - PERSISTENT
5 - [/]
6 - EXISTENCE
7 – GLOAMING

Bio

Founded in late 2013 by Tommy (drums), Gino (bass/voice) and Ale (guitar/voice), who have previously been in other different hardcore bands, ['selvə] are authors of a stunning work made of blackened atmospheres and abrasive sonorities, with a meshing of themes and motifs that goes from post-hardcore and screamo to black and post metal to instrumental post rock, a fascinating experience in murk and tension. Mixed and mastered by Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Loma Prieta, among others) at Atomic Garden Studio (San Francisco), “Life Habitual” is a blasting debut which will appeal to fans of CELESTE, RUSSIAN CIRCLES and ALCEST

Members

Tommy – Drums
Gino – Bass/Vox
Ale – Vox/Guitar

Review:

Selva are another hotly tipped band to come from Italy. Obviously our good pals Argonauta Records are involved yet again in releasing their excellent debut album – Life Habitual. A stirring mix of Post-Black Metal, Screamo and Post-Rock vibes. Sure a million bands have done this style of music before but none with this much confidence on a debut album.

Comparisons to bands such as the ones listed in the Bio only tell a small part of the Selva story as Life Habitual is a dark brooding musical odyssey waiting to drown you in a vengeful sea of anger and fury. Selva are pissed off through out the album. Sure there are moments of calm and peace but Selva live mainly in the darkness. It's more Post-Metal than anything else as Selva blast there way through 38 minutes of brutal riffs. The vocals of Ale and Gino carry extra weight with the heavy riffs on show. 2nd track – Enclosure is where the band impress the most with their haunting and almost hypnotic music weaving a spell so early on. From then on the album impresses even more with each passing second as Selva play like a band possessed with more emotionally charged songs to impress you with.

Life Habitual is an album that demands your full attention as Selva include many different noises and effects you may miss first time round. Especially on some of the album's later tracks such as Existence and Gloaming. The last 16 minutes of the album are dedicated to those final two tracks and it's where Selva show their brilliant musical talents for everyone to see. The dark despairing and violent riffs come crashing all around you and it will devour your very soul. It's bleak, dark, angry but also very beautifully played in scope that will leave you begging for more.

Life Habitual is an excellent debut album if you're a fan of Post-Metal with a dark and twisted edge. Italian Metal has another great band to call upon. Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Gero and Barbara at Argonauta Records for sending a promo to review. Life Habitual will be available to buy on CD/DD on Monday October 27th 2014.

The kind folks at Argonauta Records have an exclusive stream for the album for you all to hear.



Release show info here:

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Friday, 17 October 2014

Textures - 'Polars' 10th Anniversary European Tour

With their fifth album in the works, Textures will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of their debut album ‘Polars’ this year. On account of this special occasion they will be playing an exclusive headline tour through Europe in October 2014, during which the band will be performing the debut album in its entirety, supplemented with songs from their other albums.

In 2004 Textures made a blast into the metal scene with their debut album ‘Polars’. Inspiring later bands like Periphery, Tesseract and Monuments, their state of the art combination of diverse metal styles would pave the way for new genres as modern-, prog-, math-metal and djent.

In honor of this, Textures will be releasing ‘Polars’ exclusively on vinyl for the first time. ‘Polars’ is still the only missing vinyl record in the 4-album discography of the band. Also the band will be releasing new ‘Polars’ related merchandise. Items can be purchased later this year.

The ‘Polars’ 10th Anniversary Tour marks a last flash-back before the band will head into a new future and a new album cycle with Nuclear Blast Records.

'Polars' 10th Anniversary Tour:

18 October - SHOKO, Madrid, Spain
23 October - UNDERGROUND, Cologne, Germany
24 October - EBULLITION, Bulle, Switzerland
25 October - CCO, Lyon, France
26 October - DAMAGE FESTIVAL, Paris, France
29 October - THE GARAGE, London, UK
30 October - EFFENAAR KZ*, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
31 October - P60*, Amstelveen, The Netherlands

Source: Nuclear Blast UK

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Thursday, 16 October 2014

Lord - Alive in Golgotha EP (Review)



Album Type: EP
Date Released: 4/9/2014
Label: Heavy Hounds Records

‘Alive in Golgotha’ DD track listing:

1). We Own the Storms (04:27)
2). What You May Call the Devil is Amongst Us (05:55)
3). With Reaching Hooves (05:06)
4). Golgotha (05:07)

The Band:

Steve Kerchner | Vocals
Will Rivera | Guitars, Vocals
Stephen Sullivan | Drums, Bass (Has now left)

Review:

I first heard of this band while searching for Chief Keef records to steal (well I'm not paying for them…), I chanced across their unbelievably grimy album ‘Chief’ and was hooked by guitarist Will Rivera's ultimately dirty and uniquely unreasonable sound. The guy has a knack for taking laid back and simple blues riffs and twisting them into serpentine doom monsters that at times rival the sludgiest of lords. That combined with Steve Sullivan's mad battery attack drives this moonshine ride straight to hell with a barbaric melodic/rhythmic twin assault. Their 4 track EP is a short 21 minute run through all their costume changes, from chicken-fried southern slouch to damn-near-d-beat, that Jay from HellrideMusic.com called "so damn Mason Dixon molested" and no way could I top that line.

The kickoff lyric of the song ‘We Own the Storms’: "Whether we weather the storm or the storm weathers me" sums the release up succinctly: a typically downtrodden doom sound competing with a relentless breakneck energy, clearly lifted from excellent classic thrashing punk.  Frontman Steve Kerchner's homicidal howling, from grimly growled "I'm so fucking tired" to wordless wailing fury, evoke someone that initially seems to have a grip but progressively loses control until completely coming unhinged. It builds in intensity and aggression up to a slick, grooving, face-to-the-floor head bobbing bridge, before a pummeling final thirty second break down into the horns in the air thrasher main riff one last time.

A hammering, throbbing beat opens the second tune with a droning hypnotic wave of churning guitar-slime and impure tribal drumming. This has the clear motive of build-up, as the sewer thrash returns quickly and blasts the brains out of any hope of hypnosis with an absolutely massive head banger riff. Twists and turns abound as several deep-south stompers intertwine with the narcotic intro, into a loud but occasionally aimless rocker. It almost sounds like they just threw some leftover mismatched riffs together and called it a day, but they just happened to use some immense, reckless riffs and got lucky!

‘With Reaching Hooves’ almost begins in a similar trance-inducing vein before the bottom drops out and the shrieking begins. Up-tempo sludge alternating with fast thrash, collapses into straight-ahead rock and roll dirt, and a melancholy solo with a fucking deliciously filthy tone, before the alternation returns with maniac drums bashing out the tune.

The final song of this entirely-too-short slab, gets at a particularly experimental element of their sound, that sees the combination of fast and slow, take on a skewed and subdued character. Bringing to bear the ferocity of bands like Tombs onto a new "we traded all our whiskey for prescription painkillers" almost-ambient angle that actually works incredibly well with the ragged dixie thrash, and gives it a haunting quality. A few seconds of gargantuan guttural doom strangles the life out of the EP and I just KEEP pressing play on that last one.

Another destructive venting from LORD, if they keep up the experimentation this band could really be something else. Unfortunately Steve Sullivan is no longer in the band, which removes the entire rhythm section of this record (he also played bass in the studio), but I'm looking forward to the evolution new players Ol’Scratch/Palkoski drummer Skip Marrimow and bassist Christ Dugay will bring to future endeavours. Big shoes to fill! I also rarely notice artwork when I'm not holding the vinyl release in my hand but I felt the need to point out the exceptional work by Chris Lang. Never heard of the guy but I'll be paying attention. Right up my alley, this.

Electrifying band, but a damn difficult Google search…you'd be surprised at how many Christian rock videos came up in a search for "Lord - ‘Chief’.

Words by: James Harris

‘Alive in Golgotha’ is out now



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Black Tar Prophet - Deafen (Album Review)



Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 19/4/2014
Label: Domestic Genocide Records

‘Deafen’ CD/DD/LP track listing:

1. Dethroned
2. Judgment Whore
3. Bottom Feeder
4. Ring of Buzzards
5. Back on the Nod
6. Stoned to Death
7. Hypomania
8. Let the Cold Winds Blow
9. Condemned

Bio:

BLACK TAR PROPHET was spawned in 2011 in Nashville by Swinehart, then on drums, and former guitarist Mark Owen with a simple desire to record low quality demos of heavy riffs in Greg’s living room. The pair eventually left the living room jam sessions and recorded their debut LP, Note To Nod. Tracked and mastered in Swinehart’s shed, the record features one gargantuan forty-two-minute track of girthy riffs, feedback and hostility. Following a short live excursion, Owen fled the band for personal reasons. Swinehart moved to bass and recruited drummer Erik Dever. Their enormous volume efforts proved effective and in 2012 the band joined forces with Atlanta sludge bringers, Crawl, for a split CD. The following year the band performed upwards of sixty shows throughout the Southern and Midwest regions, deafening unsuspecting ears one decibel at a time. In 2014, no one is safe.

The Band:

Greg Swineheart | Bass
Erik Dever | Drums

Review:

Let’s start this review by stating that I never believed it was possible for a 2 person group to create a truly coherent piece of rock music, let alone an entire album’s worth.  I always thought that at a minimum, you had to have drums, bass and a lead guitar.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Sure I have heard The White Stripes, but their music didn’t really grab me in any way.  But having heard much talk about how great a particular 2-piece band was back in 2009, I checked out Black Cobra’s ‘Chronomega’ LP and was completely blown away by the wall of sound they created.  Had someone said to me this band consisted of 3 or more members without knowing anything about them, I’d have no trouble believing it.  Since then, I began to give duos a closer look, and I’m glad I did. 

Fast-forward a few years to the present, and while searching for new music online, I came across Nashville, Tennessee’s Black Tar Prophet, an instrumental 2-piece band consisting of Greg Swinehart on bass guitar and Erik Dever on drums.  Intrigued by their band name, I listened to a few tracks from their debut LP ‘Deafen’ and immediately acquired everything they had put out.  These guys hit HARD, and it’s some dark and heavy stuff.  That’s exactly what I was looking for, and they delivered in spades. 

‘Deafen’ is 9 tracks of pure downtuned, fuzzed-out sludge fury.  There isn’t a bad track on here or anything that I would consider ‘filler.’  The album starts off strong and does not let up.  Each song is just as heavy as the last. 

Now the tone of Greg’s bass doesn’t change all that much throughout ‘Deafen,’ but it doesn’t have to. In less capable hands that may have been a problem, but here it works well. It’s all about the riffs and believe me, they are massive.  As in “hit you over the fucking head with a sledge hammer” massive. 

Now I can’t forget Erik’s drumming.  It has a HUGE sound on ‘Deafen’ and to me, the mix is perfect.  The drum sound is HEAVY, and that is a definite plus.  Some bands who deal in this style of music sometimes seem to forget they even have a drummer, with a cymbal crash here and there and not more than 3 seconds of continuous drumming at a time.  Often the guitar or in the case the bass can often take all of the spotlight and sometimes, that doesn’t work for me.  Thankfully that isn’t the case with Black Tar Prophet, as the drums play just as an important role as the bass and are as much in the forefront.

‘Deafen’ is an incredible album and I have listened to it several times from beginning to end. I consider this one my best finds of 2014, and definitely rank this in my top 5 albums of the year.  I have been converted into a Black Tar Prophet “disciple,” and if you take this album for a spin, I’m sure you will be to.

Words by: Mike Lainez

You can pick up a copy here


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Moon Curse - S/T Vinyl Release (Album Review)


Album Type: LP
Date Released: Out Now
Label: Bilocation Records / Kozmik-Artifactz

‘Moon Curse’ LP track listing:  

A1. Medicinecoma (5:42)
A2. Northern High (7:11)
A3. Seminary Woods (9:10) (BONUS TRACK!)
B1. Brontis (5:43)
B2. Chandra (2:05)
B3. Black Elk (8:45)

Bio:

Beneath the faded light of Milwaukee's infamous "polish moon" clock tower (a structure built for the sole intent of dominating the night sky and the view of it's immigrant residents), three bleary eyed mystics brew stoner hymns dedicated to baphomet bongsmoke, Pontiac muscle and 70's rock n' rollers. following a DOOMED path, tred by true HEAVY fanatics before them, a path that will always remain for those dedicated to the riff; MOON CURSE walk with intent to play loud and proud! Keith bangs the drums, Rochelle strums the Squier P bass, and Matt breaks Orange amplifiers and howls. One could cite Sabbath (duh!), Zeppelin, or a handful of other protometal-fuzz-stoner-whatever-rock as influnces, but you get the idea! You know it! You love it! So ... GET CURSED!

The Band:

Matt Leece | Guitar, Vocals
Rochelle Nason | Bass
Keith Stendler | Drums

Review:

This review is for the European only vinyl edition of Moon Curse’s self titled album, a Milwaukee based stoner/doom band, released via Kozmik-Artifactz records.  As the press kit states this is kind of tried and true stoner-doom band with atmospheric/psyche styling’s. That being said there is nothing really new here, nothing groundbreaking or unearthing as it would seem.  What we do have are 6 tracks of adept, well understood stoner-doom that is obvious the band care about making. Let’s go ahead and dig into the record and get more familiar.

‘Medicinecoma’ is first up and immediately we’re right into it, with a sort of Pentagram/Sabbath vibe, a super bouncy bass line (a theme that continues through most of the record) with vocals that are distant and atmospheric, think Red fang or a mellowed out Electric wizard. The guitar is definitely fuzzed out in a good way and combined with the bouncy nature of the bass is a good indication of where the band is takin ya. At the end of the track, we get a marching drum bridge with swelling guitar into the second track.

‘Northern High’ is reminiscent of sitting in the back of a bar having delved into the various effects of barbiturates and bourbon. Kicking off with an intro that sounds like a campfire, into a psych part that reminds me of ‘The Cure’ for some reason, effects laden vocals kick in leading to another bouncy riff ala Pentagram, I certainly dig it and most fans of this genre definitely will not be disappointed. The main riff of the song is definitely catchy but the distorted vocals take me away from the overall feel. The attack at about the 4 minutes mark is awesome and a nice change in the guitar work, followed by the odd ‘The Cure’ sounding guitar effect, but it definitely works.

‘Seminary woods’, is a European only vinyl Bonus track and one of the best songs on the record. We get another psyche-ish intro followed by some super rad heavy blues, flowing into a more straightforward doom sound, not a lot of vocal effects on this one, which is a definite plus point because the singer actually has a really good voice. The outro on this track is a cool end to the first side of the vinyl.

‘Brontis’ kicks off Side B and is my second favorite track on this album. Riff heavy, clean singing that will bring to mind Baroness and cool drum work.  Nothing more to really know about this song, except Moon Curse should definitely use this as their single or to open their live sets. 3:25 into the track is an awesome guitar vs. drum trade off leading into a classic doom bridge.

‘Chandra’ is short organ heavy intro leading into the final track of the record Black Elk.

Strangely I feel like ‘Black Elk’ is what the whole album was trying to reach. By far the best track I’ve heard from this band thus far. Doomy, Heavy and dark with just enough atmosphere. Let’s hope this is the direction Moon Curse continue in! Heavy, no intro and just straight into the song, with stomping riffs. Nice stuff and it slows down just enough with a heavy bluesy guitar. There is a stand out vocal performance on this track too and more of that ‘The Cure’ sounding guitar and the final solo is awesome. If the band would focus on making a record full of songs of this caliber, they could definitely make a bigger impact and reach a larger audience.

Overall I did like this album, I just feel like the band could do more. If you are a fan of the heavy blues/stoner doom section of the universe, (and who the hell isn’t?) you will dig this album, just don’t expect something earth shattering. There is nothing new here but that’s what I think the band is going for, tried and tested. What they do is stoner doom with a touch of psychedelic rock and they are doing it proficiently albeit not very adventurously.  And who am I to complain? This is not a release to bring new subjects into this type of music, more of something to throw on while you’re driving or cutting the lawn.

Words by: David Heaton

Available at: MOON CURSE 180g Vinyl

VINYL FACTZ

- 100x white w/ green (EXCLUSIVE MAILORDER edition)
- 200x clear w/ white
- Plated & pressed on high-performance 180g vinyl
- pressed in Germany
- matt laquered 300gsm gatefold cover
- Artwork by Vincent Zager
- handnumbered
- Especially mastered for vinyl
- incl. bonus track
 

For more information