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

REVIEW: Kings Destroy - "None More" (EP)


By: Ben Fitts

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 13/01/2017
Label: War Crime Recordings



 A varied listen, “None More” is the work of an experienced band weaving together disparate soundscapes into a cohesive, effective unit. The EP nods to old school heavy metal, incorporates slithering doom metal, plays with softer sounds, and keeps the listener engaged from the first twenty-four second long note until the thirty seconds of feedback that end “None More”.

 

“None More” CS//DD track listing:

I. Rise of the Betrayer
II. The Blood Waters
III. The Battle
IV. The Requiem
V. The Awakening
VI. Rise of the Betrayer (Reprise)

 

The Review:

The first note of the EPNone More”, by New York City’s doom quintet Kings Destroy, rings out for a full twenty-four seconds, until the whine of feedback swells and envelops the original pitch. From there, notes are added sparsely. In opening track “Rise of the Betrayer”, soft spoken vocals float over skeletal riffs struggling over the hum of amplifiers until over two and a half minutes into the EP. Then, Kings Destroy pull the curtain off their creation.

Twin guitars harmonize, the vocals roughen, a churning groove begins boiling underneath, and the listener becomes thrust into a whole new musical world. Steve Murphy’s operatic vocals soar through a din of galloping riffs and spirited guitar harmonies. However, “None More” is not the kind of EP content with riding one wave of feeling until the end. The tempos soon wind down once again as Kings Destroy experiment with several new textures and feels over the remaining eight minutes of “None More”. Gloomy melodicism, spacious strumming and even a slow burning power ballad work their way into this EP.

Given the diversity found within these fifteen minutes of music, it is difficult to point to key elements or to define the essence of “None More”. However, there are consistencies to be found between the six tracks tracks. While the EP flits between different feelings, attitudes and musical elements, it never abandons its strong melodic focus and every track displays Kings Destroy ability to construct dramatic changes in dynamics in a natural way. A varied listen, “None More” is the work of an experienced band weaving together disparate soundscapes into a cohesive, effective unit. The EP nods to old school heavy metal, incorporates slithering doom metal, plays with softer sounds, and keeps the listener engaged from the first twenty-four second long note until the thirty seconds of feedback that end “None More”.

“None More” has less of the ripping, doomed rock and roll riffing that defined Kings Destroy previous full-lengths, this EP is about something else. “None More” unfurls quickly and its strength lie both within the individuality of each track and its contrast to the music that preceded it. While “None More” has its headbanging moments and spots that are very reminiscent of Kings Destroy previous efforts, in the end, it is a step into something new for Kings Destroy. 

None More” is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Lecherous Gaze - "One Fifteen"


By: Victor Van Ommen

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 10/2/2017
Label: Tee Pee Records



 

..if it’s a rough and tumble slab of catchy punk rock that you’re in for, be sure to get your ass down to the train station to catch the “One Fifteen.”

 

“One Fifteen” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1.) One Fifteen
2.) Reptile Minds
3.) Cosmos Redshift 7
4.) Thing Within
5.) The Day the Earth Caught Fire
6.) Dark Nebula
7.) Malevolent Shroud
8.) Blind Swordsman
9.) X City

The Review:

Imagine what would happen if Howlin’ Wolf grew up in the 80s, spent his time jamming The Ramones and getting fucked up on anything that came his way. If such prospect tickles your curiosity, then by all means, jump on board the “One Fifteen” train, Lecherous Gaze’s new album.

There are a number of remarkable things that Lecherous Gaze has going for them. First off, the guitars. Man, those guitars! The main man behind the licks goes by the name Graham Clise and he’s accompanied on second guitar by Zach Dellorto-Blackwell. The way these two fly up and down the fret board, switching effortlessly from frenetic riffing to frenetic soloing, makes for one impressive axe-slinging show. Take the album’s closing cut “X City” as an example of this. The front end is a riff-filled party rocker that longs for the days of driving around in a Rocket 88, only to close out with one of the best guitar solos we’re going to hear all year. Guaranteed.

As is the case with guitar rock, the songs would be nothing without a steady rhythm section to back up the riffs. And that’s where Chris Grande (bass) and Noel Sullivan (drums) come into play. Their get up and get ‘em attitude saturates songs like “Reptile Minds” and the five minute extravaganza, “Thing Within,” with a steady, head on delivery, which opens up the playing field for Clise and Dellorto-Blackwell to dance around how they please. The interplay between these guys is aggressive when it needs to be and precise if that’s what the song calls for, all the while keeping just as much sleaze as accessibility in the songs.

And then there’s the Lecherous Gaze trademark, singer Zaryan Zaidi. A formidable front man to boot; one to be both scared of and impressed by. Shredding his vocal chords in the process, Zaidi barks and snarls his way through these nine cuts with both joy and frustration. Lecherous Gaze is a punk rock band, after all, despite all that tasty, groovy riffing. So there’s just as much room to make a statement as there is to have a damn good time.

So if it’s a rough and tumble slab of catchy punk rock that you’re in for, be sure to get your ass down to the train station to catch the “One Fifteen.”

One Fifteen” is available to buy/preorder here

Band info: facebook || bandcamp

ALBUM REVIEW: Black Anvil - "As Was"

By: Charlie Butler


Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 13/01/2017
Label: Relapse Records
 


“As Was” sees Black Anvil use black metal as a foundation for a grand opus that takes in influences from across the heavy spectrum. In a genre that is often content to recycle the past, this is a record that drives forward into bold new realms.


 
“As Was” CD//DD//LP track listing:


1. On Forgotten Ways
2. May Her Wrath Be Just
3. As Was
4. Nothing
5. As An Elder Learned Anew
6. Two Keys: Here's The Lock
7. The Way Of All Flesh
8. Ultra



The Review:


Black Anvil eschew the low fidelity approach of some black metal artists and opt for a huge production on new LP “As Was”. This captures the full breadth of the New York bands sonic ambition at no detriment to heaviness.

On Forgotten Ways” begins the album with an epic fusion of traditional tremolo-picked riffs and more atmospheric modern black metal sounds. Each subsequent track sees Black Anvil maintain a core of black metal while introducing intriguing new elements. “Nothing” begins with the gnarliest riffage on the record but mid-way takes an unexpected left-turn into lush prog territory complete with 70’s sci-fi synths which erupts into a headbanging outro complete with a monstrous guitar solo. The title track sees Black Anvil embrace a more classic heavy metal feel. Slower riffs like Mastodon wading through quicksand make their presence felt alongside clean melodic passages with an almost folky feel on the vocal front.

The second half of “As Was” sees the band take a more progressive route bringing to mind kindred spirits Enslaved, particularly on “As An Elder Learned Anew”. The lengthy “Two Keys: Here’s The Lock” provides the albums highlight. Sections of blissed-out reverb-heavy guitar in the vein of Pink Floyd lull you into a trance-like state which is soon shattered by pummelling mid-tempo black metal.


The closing double duo of “The Way Of All Flesh” and “Ultra” provide more surprises. The former is a short acoustic-based instrumental that ushers in the yearning heavy rock of the latter. Choruses reminiscent of Baroness’Yellow and Green” sit within the heavy riffage to provide a close to the album that is a great contrast to opener “On Forgotten Ways” but remains true to its spirit. 

As Was” sees Black Anvil use black metal as a foundation for a grand opus that takes in influences from across the heavy spectrum. In a genre that is often content to recycle the past, this is a record that drives forward into bold new realms.


As Was” is available here





Band info: bandcamp || facebook


RIYL: Goatwhore, Aura Noir, Beyond De-th, Enslaved

Monday, 16 January 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Sepultura - "Machine Messiah"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 13/01/2017
Label: Nuclear Blast


Will this convert early-Sepultura-only fans? Unlikely. Will it convert Cavalera only Sepultura fans? I doubt it, as those people have made their decision and won't entertain that a Sepultura can exist without the Cavalera brothers. However, this is yet another high quality entry into the Sepultura discography and is one of the best records the band has made.


“Machine Messiah” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Machine Messiah 5:54
2. I Am The Enemy 2:27
3. Phantom Self 5:30
4. Alethea 4:31
5. Iceberg Dances 4:41
6. Sworn Oath 6:09
7. Resistant Parasites 4:58
8. Silent Violence 3:46
9. Vandals Nest 2:47
10. Cyber God 5:22


The Review:

Sepultura, it can accurately be said, were once one of the most important bands in metal from 1989 to 1996. In the early 90's they were THE gateway band into extreme metal. People loved them and they were seen as somehow more cool and edgy than bands like Pantera, more modern than Slayer and were perfectly positioned to rule the metal roost in an era when Metallica and Megadeth had gone a little too far from the original blueprint. As we all know, Max Cavalera quit and the rest is a much more low key history than what might/might not have been.

As noted back in 2013 when I reviewed the superb ...Mediator... album, it is such a shame that the latter day work of the band has been dismissed by many. Sure, it may not be the classic line-up(s) that produced the early records but there is a great deal of superb metal to explore nonetheless. Sepultura have become a quirky no-one-album-alike band who have followed their own muse to produce some truly original metal over the course of the last 20 years. Yes, it is now almost that long(!).

With “Machine Messiah”, we find Eloy Casagrande still behind the kit (a monster, one of the best in metal/any genre), along with Andreas, Paulo and Derrick. We also find ten tracks of white hot intensity wrapped up in an excellent production of power and clarity unthinkable thirty years ago at the start of the band's career. The first three tracks take in a downbeat and sombre title track, the flat out thrash assault of “I am The Enemy” and even a mix of instrumentation and fantastic groove in “Phantom Self”, which also possesses a strong hook.

Those former fans wanting a return to the blackened death thrash of the band's earliest work will have to dig out those (recently purchased) cassettes and records again. This is yet another varied and magnificent work of originality. If anything, it perhaps veers a little closer to “Chaos AD” than previous Green-era records. The songs are mostly quite direct and there are no small amount of hooks across the record. There is even an instrumental in the shape of “Iceberg Dances”, which is a beguiling aural assault, packed with great riffs, an acoustic guitar section and very inventive drum work- a mid album highlight and just a superb piece of music.

“Sworn Oath” finds the band in groovily bullish mood, Green providing an excellent vocal performance to accompany the surprisingly dynamic track. “Resistant Parasites” and “Silent Violence” are arguably more “typical” latter day Seps fare; heavy, murky grooves and dark themes, while “Vandals Nest” a rip-roarer with a superb intro and a feel more akin to “Arise” or even “Beneath The Remains”.

The album thus concludes with “Cyber God”, which is a dirge type track full of angular riffs and tom work; a satisfying and dark end to an album that could be described in exactly those terms. The exploration of technologies influence/control over mankind is continued on from the ...Mediator opus and the themes are very prescient.

Will this convert early-Sepultura-only fans? Unlikely. Will it convert Cavalera only Sepultura fans? I doubt it, as those people have made their decision and won't entertain that a Sepultura can exist without the Cavalera brothers (Sepultura still boasts one original member- there are bands out there that don't, but I appreciate the arguments people will counter that with). However, this is yet another high quality entry into the Sepultura discography and is one of the best records the band has made. The days of “Beneath The Remains” are never coming back, but, frankly, why would you want them to? There are lots of thrash bands doing that, but there is only one metal band doing this. Original and uncategorisable, long live Sepultura.

Machine Messiah” is available now
Band info: official || facebook