Friday, March 30, 2007

Band Feature: In First Person

This band does some things in a genre that I’m not really familiar with, but I’m finding really intriguing. The band lists the genres they fit into on their MySpace page as being hardcore/screamo/punk, and I guess that’s a loose description. The screamo bit is a bit misleading, it probably does fit into screamo, but it doesn’t sound like any of those bands labelled as screamo making it to the airwaves.

The bands that I can think of that I can compare to In First Person would be Kylesa and Circle Takes The Square. The vocals by the male counterparts in the band are screamed, yet the female vocals are sort of a spoken word shout that harmonize with the harsh male vocals. All this is played on top of noisy jangly chords.

I love the record label website. The first thing you see is a bunch of young adults assembling the cardboard packing for the vinyls in someones living room. Paramnesia Records lists the production numbers for their vinyls, most being printed off at around 500 copies, so you know this is some ultra underground stuff.

In First Person At MySpace


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Band Feature: The Abominable Iron Sloth

In 2006 this band released their first self-titled album on Goodfellow to lots of very good reviews. I was surprised it didn’t appear on any best-of lists for 2006. If you’re wondering what they play, super heavy low tuned sludge that usually hangs around the mid/quick tempo range. The tempo is a bit surprising considering how heavy the band is, and that most sludge bands prefer to keep things slow. What was also surprising was the most of the songs on The Abominable Iron Sloth were short, usually under three minutes.

The Abominable Iron Sloth

The last I heard they’d broken up. When I started searching for the band to provide some links too, their MySpace page says that the band is back together, and is preparing for a new album in 2007 (but with only one member). Losing the whole lineup, and with the lone core member talking about how he’s working two jobs, and only has enough time to watch one TV show and sleep isn’t a good sign though...

The Abominable Iron Sloth
The Abominable Iron Sloth At MySpace


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Unsigned Band Feature: Dr. Doom

It’s funny how things can work out when a band is given the proper opportunity. I was going by SMN News on my regular news readings and saw Dr. Doom, a Dutch grind/metalcore band as the last post, putting them at the top of the page.

The single theme of the band seems to revolve around the Fantastic Four nemesis Dr. Doom, which reminds me of a review I read recently in Decibel Magazine about grind bands being dedicated to a single theme. It’s a bit difficult to gage how dedicated Dr. Doom is to the comic book character since they don’t have a release out yet with art, or printed lyrics.

The material on their MySpace page is tight, well-produced and well written, and having their first live shows coming up soon with Cephalic Carnage, things seem to be on their way up for Dr. Doom (lets hope they don’t get sued over the name). While I don’t know for sure, the overall quality level suggests they’ve had some experience. A band that truly deserves to get signed.

Dr. Doom At MySpace


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Band Feature: Losa

Back in 2005, after a great big signing binge with metalcore bands, Metal Blade stumbled upon this pretty different experimental band called Losa from Texas. Losa got to put their very first release titled “The Perfect Moment” out on Metal Blade, which got a lot of good reviews from various sources. “The Perfect Moment” is one of those albums that’s actually one single track, in this case chopped up into nine parts. Then in 2006 Losa got dropped by Metal Blade...

Describing Losa is a difficult task. Many people could say that Losa somehow fits into the world of metalcore. There are bits that sound akin to Meshuggah, I personally could hear some bits of Tool (though not everyone else thinks so). When the vocals are going, most of the time they’re harsh, and reminiscent of a screamo style scream. There is singing, but it’s not done in a way to create sing along style choruses. There are also parts that could be considered breakdowns, in the sense that a song slows down and gets heavier to get a crowd moving, but not the standard style of metalcore “chugga” style breakdowns.

The Perfect Moment

There doesn’t seem to be much info at the Losa website, but it did get updated in January saying the band isn’t dead, although last I heard they lost a guitarist and their drummer. I love their website though. Good looking, simple, and it's easy to see and get linked to lots of stuff you might want or need from Losa.

Losa At Metal Blade
Losa At MySpace
Lose At PureVolume
An e-card for “The Perfect Moment”


Monday, March 26, 2007

Band Feature: Diskreet

I gave this band a listen after their debut EP got a very good review from Metal Review this morning. The description that’s been given from Metal Review and the band themselves is technical death/grind/core (there are a few “chugga” style breakdowns present). The technical aspect is certainly present in the form of super fast drums and lots of guitar runs, which reminded me of Necrophagist and Beneath The Massacre, and they’re surprisingly catchy for being all over the place.

Diskreet appears to be looking to release their EP “Infernal Rise” on April 3 through Candlelight and Siege Of Amida. I’ve heard the band is also working on a full-length.

Diskreet At MySpace
Diskreet At Metal-Archives
Siege Of Amida At MySpace
Review of “Infernal Rise” At Metal Review


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Malhavoc Announces Their Return

The wife of a very good friend of mine would often talk about this band whenever the subject of heavy music would come up. Although I can’t remember for sure, I think she may have known some of the members personally.

Recently posted on Blabbermouth, Malhavoc announced their return, along with a new mix of an old song on their MySpace page. It’s funny how nostalgia works, as the remix of the song “Release” on their MySpace page has a very classic (but not dated) sound to it, the kind of thing that transports you back to the late 80's/early 90's rise of industrial.

I haven’t really followed pure industrial that much, since I’ve grown up being a metal guy most of my life. Even though industrial metal seems to have lost a lot of its popularity in the 90's, there are still quite a few notable bands doing a very extreme take on industrial metal in the underground, like Tristwood, Aborym, The Project Hate, The Berserker and Anaal Nathrakh.

Malhavoc stated in their post on Blabbermouth that they were the first industrial band, but I think Skinny Puppy might have something to say about that...

A VERY Old Malhavoc Site
Malhavoc At MySpace
Malhavoc At Wikipedia
Malhavoc At Metal-Archives
Malhavoc At BNR Metal Pages


Friday, March 23, 2007

Update: Premonitions Of War On MySpace

I was looking around at some MySpace pages with a connection to, you know, Nate Johnson and stuff... I swear I’m not a stalker! Anyways, I found a link to a Premonitions Of War MySpace page that has more recent updates than the one that I’ve currently been sending links to. It still hasn’t been updated properly, because the last blog entry lists the split with Benumb coming out, but doesn’t mentioned the “Glorified Dirt/True Face Of Panic” release.

Premonitions Of War At ANOTHER MySpace Page


Update On The Nate Johnson/Through The eyes Of The Dead

It seems that Nate Johnson will be doing the vocals for the upcoming album “Malice”. Other than that, I’m not sure if Nate has joined permanently or as a fill in or guest (at this point in time it has the appearance of being permanent). Also in question is Nates position in all of his other bands, especially if Through The Eyes Of The Dead continues their tradition of heavy touring.


Nate Johnson Joins Through The Eyes Of The Dead

Damn, I’ve got some great timing considering that this directly coincides with that Premonitions Of War article yesterday. Currently Nate Johnson is in Premonitions Of War, Through The Eyes Of The Dead, The_Network, The Final Battle, and War On Our Shores (the last two bands are unsigned). Burnt By The Sun has also had some involvement with Nate Johnson, naming him as a member doing vocals at one point in time. Nate Johnsons first band though, was Deadwater Drowning.

It’s unclear at this time whether or not Anthony Gunnels left before or after his vocals were finished being recorded for the next Through The Eyes Of The Dead album, or whether Nate Johnson will be recording vocals for the new album. Through The Eyes Of The Dead has had a reputation for having an extremely heavy touring schedule as well, something that Nate Johnson is familiar with already.

I just realized how many times I just want to say “It’s currently unclear”, perhaps it’s time to send an e-mail out and see if I can get an interview with Nate Johnson.

Through The Eyes Of The Dead
Through The Eyes Of The Dead At MySpace
Through The Eyes Of The Dead At PureVolume
Through The Eyes Of The Dead At Prosthetic
Through The Eyes Of The Dead At Lovelost
Through The Eyes Of The Dead At Metal-Archives
Through The Eyes Of The Dead At Wikipedia
Premonitions Of War At MySpace
Premonitions Of War At Black Market Activities
Premonitions Of War At Victory
Premonitions Of War At Tartarean Desire
Deadwater Drowning At Black Market Activities
Deadwater Drowning At MySpace
Deadwater Drowning At Metal-Archives
Burnt By The Sun
Burnt By The Sun At MySpace
Burnt By The Sun At Relapse
Burnt By The Sun At Metal-Archives
Burnt By The Sun At Wikipedia
The_Network At MySpace
The_Network At Metal Blade
The Final Battle At MySpace
War On Our Shores At MySpace
Nate Johnson At MySpace


Some New Links

I added a few more links to music news and magazines. In the music news area, there are new links to Metal Forge, Metal Observer, Punkupdates, Tangra Metal Rock, and Underground Review. For the magazine links, I added Mass Movement, and Sounds Of Death.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Band Feature: Premonitions Of War

The legacy of this band sadly seems to have faded somewhat due to inactivity. Premonitions Of War play what many have described as something fitting into the world of hardcore/metalcore and grind. Their songs typically sound like they locked themselves in the studio and beat the crap out of their instruments until they came out with songs around one minute and thirty seconds. Pretty intense stuff. Their debut full-length album in 2004 “Left In Kowloon” on Victory was produced by Erik Rutan and got a lot of very good reviews. “Left In Kowloon” is only twenty five minutes long, but those are some intense moments.

Left In Kowloon

The band seemed to go around like touraholics, boasting that one year that they played 300 dates, even with the revolving door of band members (possibly due to all the touring). Their last (and most likely current) vocalist Nate Johnson did vocal duties in Deadwater Drowning before going to Premonitions Of War, and was found recently playing bass and doing vocals for The_Network. The best vocal work I heard Nate do however was on his guest spot for The Acacia Strains last album, the guy has a very deep haunting voice when recorded properly.

Premonitions Of War/Benumb Split

S/T aka Glorified Dirt

Premonitions Of War
has had a strange legacy when it comes to releases. They started off with two EPs, the first EP getting some confusion on its name, whether it was simply S/T or “Glorified Dirt” in 2000 (I guess the band decided to go with “Glorified Dirt”), then after that putting out “True Face Of Panic” in 2002 on Goodfellow. Then came the famed “Left In Kowloon” in 2004 on Victory. Then came the split with Benumb on Thorp in 2005, as well a re-recording “Glorified Dirt” packaged it with the old recording of “True Face Of Panic” on the aptly titled “Glorified Dirt/True Face Of Panic” release in 2005 on Black Market Activities.

True Face Of Panic

Now Black Market Activities says that Premonitions Of War is working on a new album for Victory, but that the band is essentially taking things slow because of other members playing in other bands. I’ll do what I can do dig up some sort of e-mail or contact to the band and find out what they’re doing, because I know myself and a few others would love to have another full-length from Premonitions Of War.

Glorified Dirt/True Face Of Panic

For some reason, the band has some promotional pictures with six people, when only five play instruments. It’s never been explained who the extra guy is, whether he’s their manager or merch guy or roadie or something...

Premonitions Of War At Victory

Premonitions Of War At Black Market Activities
Premonitions Of War At Tartarean Desire
Review Of “Left In Kowloon” At Metal Review
Review Of “Left In Kowloon” At Lambgoat


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Nile On Ozzfest

Posted recently was the news about the bands that will appear on this new “free” Ozzfest this summer, one of them being one of my personal favourite bands Nile.

I made some predictions about this happening earlier to some friends, and I believe here on this blog as well a few months back too. To be honest, when I heard that Ozzfest was going to be free, and likely would have fewer bands, I thought that prediction might go by the wayside.

Death metal has certainly been changing a lot in the new millennium. A lot more creative bands came out, a lot of metalcore bands got their beginnings touring with death metal bands, and some have even returned the favour and gotten death metal bands on more metalcore focussed tours.

The rising popularity of Nile and their appearance on Ozzfest will hopefully give death metal some more recognition and popularity, as well a some of death metals related extreme kin.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Infected Malignity Post New Song

Cruising by SMN News today, I saw a post for a new song for simply “Japanese death metallers”. I’ve noticed that Japanese bands have a tendency to execute music either as generically as possible in an attempt to make something executed properly (I think I may have heard one good Japanese band operating under that idea), or they get so experimental that no one gets it. Well, the whole experimenting to the point where the music is just too weird and no one gets it seems to be giving way to bands experimenting in just the right ways and gaining a larger and larger underground following.

For such a standard death metal name as Infected Malignity, that new song I heard on their MySpace page grows in catchiness. The beginning of the song “Fictitious Follower” starts off decent, and a little different than I expected, and it seemed like every riff added to the song was progressively infectious, going from “Hmm, a little different, not quite what I expected” to humming along with those last harmony lines.

If the song “Fictitious Follower” is an indication of the overall sound for the next Infected Malignity release, then I hope they get a North American record deal. If they can grow enough interest in North America, perhaps we could see some Japanese bands touring in North America with some of the more known bands in extreme music.

Like most Japanese bands in the world of extreme music, Infected Malignity continues the tradition have having an ugly website.

Infected Malignity

Infected Malignity At MySpace
Infected Malignity At PureVolume
Infected Malignity At Metal-Archives
Unmatched Brutality


Monday, March 19, 2007

The Legacy Of Rune

The year 2004 was a strange time for me. I changed musically as a person for a couple of different reasons. In 2003, I had just gotten exposed to Cradle Of Filth, Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage and Lamb Of God, and now the internet could finally connect me with music I liked. Being from a small town, I didn’t actually know how much of these bands were on the rise, I mean, back in 2003 if I name dropped Lamb Of God in the local CD shop in town while talking to some Slipknot kids, they’d tell me I was listening to “Satanic cookie-monster death metal”.

The appeal to me about metalcore (and a few other bands that socialize with metalcore) was that I was really into a modernized version of thrash throughout the 90's, like early Machine Head for instance. My interpretation was that a lot of bands such as Lamb Of God, Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, Chimaira, and a few others had heavy thrash influences. I know I’ve read in a lot of places where all those bands have mentioned 80's thrash as a heavy influence on them, of course you could also say that I might have been modifying my personal rules to allow myself to like those bands, since I was pretty closed minded at the time.

When I saw a lot of the bands I was into quickly go on the rise in 2004, I was pulled in two directions. On one hand, I thought it was really cool that music as heavy as metalcore was getting a lot of exposure. At the same time I was seeing a lot of clone bands, and the same people who told me I me that Lamb Of God was “Satanic cookie-monster death metal” came back saying they were listening to Lamb OF God before everyone else was when they were Burn The Priest.

When trends are in the process of changing, it’s often the people who were completely ignoring trends to play whatever they wanted who catch on. I certainly felt some connection to the modern music that was getting bigger, I really felt like I was into something a long time before anyone was else was in town, and nobody got it. Then of course I was watching bands get on labels during the huge melodic metalcore signing binge in 2004 putting out emotionless cloned music. Metalcore wasn’t just hijacked by the former nu-metal posers in town; it become a wide spread phenomenon in Canada in the US that still exists right now.

I had ended up soaking up tons of melodic metalcore releases with no regard to how creative the bands were, and I certainly felt burnt out after a bit. How many albums could I get that were just cheap clones of the real thing? I decided to let go of my special rules for thrash and metalcore and focus a bit more on some more creative stuff. I ended up looking a lot more at death metal, a genre that I had previously blown off by adopting many of the same stereotypes to it that people basically applied to me. I also gave a lot of other genres in the world of extreme music a try, especially a lot more experimental stuff. It felt pretty cool to find some really weird band that no one else knew about, and know they wouldn’t get it. I took in a lot of personal joy to go out digging hard for obscure bands, playing music that was strange not for the sake of being weird; it was just weird because they played whatever the hell they felt like.

I read about Rune at Metal Review, gave the mp3s on their web page and Willtips web page as well. On a whim, I picked up “The End Of Nothing” when I saw it sitting on the rack at the CD shop in town. It was an unexpected sight to see a band so experimental somehow land on the shelves in a CD store in a small conservative Canadian city in Ontario. Who in the company wanted to have CDs landing in a place where under normal circumstances wouldn’t sell?

"The End Of Nothing" By Rune

It turned out to be a lucky break that the 2003 album “The End Of Nothing” by Rune ended up in the CD shop, and that I picked it up on a whim. I ended up playing that album so many times, getting to know it from front to back, a lot of times in the dark in my room before I fell asleep (it usually takes me a least an hour to fall asleep).

Describing what Rune plays is a difficult task. I can tell you what they play and what they do, but it still fails to capture what they sound like when an album of theirs leaves the speakers and gets received by your eardrum. The best thing I can say is that they play a metalgaze (similar to Neurosis), keyboards and samples and all. They employ two harsh vocalists who “harmonize” often. It reminded me slightly of Cradle OF Filth, but in a more death/grind/hardcore vein. Mix that all together with some of a death metal and grind mix, of songs flowing from slow calm motion, to a much quicker pace. It’s a weird combination that works extremely well. They even made the drums weird by playing the slowest blast beats I’ve ever heard. Fast enough to be considered a blast beat, yet slower than any blast I’ve heard from early death metal bands. It’s tough to describe because those blast beats happen at a mid-paced/quick tempos. That sounds about as close as I can get to properly describing the album “The End Of Nothing” by Rune. If you can get into that album, it’s like an experience to a whole other world, being more intense than watching Apocalypse Now.

I had a bit of difficulty digging up the earlier releases by Rune. They released their first self-titled EP in 2000 through Clean Plate/Crucial Blast, and a split with Kalibas in 2003 through Relapse. “The End OF Nothing” was released in 2003 through Willowtip. Being the first full-length and the release that most people think of when they think of Rune, Willowtip was the official record label for Rune. Being officially on Willowtip during the early days of the label, Rune fell victim to the early Willowtip curse. In case you’re wondering, the curse of being signed to Willowtip early usually ends up with a band breaking up, although the curse seems to have lifted since Willowtip got a lot bigger and started signing bands that were a bit more “normal” sounding, as opposed to the much more experimental bands on the earlier Willowtip roster.

As a final homage to the band (or something like that, or for all I know a final cash grab... whatever...) Willowtip re-released “The End Of Nothing” in 2004 with some bonus tracks, three of them being live tracks, and one being an unreleased recording.

The legacy of Rune lives on in the bands they formed afterwards. Ultralord was one band rumoured to have a member of Rune in the band, although it’s a bit unconfirmed (perhaps he was in Rune before Rune was signed)? Ultralord was some extremely angry, hatefu,l sludgey doom, who released an EP and a full-length in 2006 before breaking up. Some of the members moved on to a band called Necrodamus.


A highly regarded instrumental band called Kenoma contains three members of Rune in it’s ranks. Kenoma put out a split with a very notable band, also featuring a Rune member.

Mouth Of The Architect

Mouth Of The Architect is a metalgaze band that went over extremely well, and may have actually gained more popularity than Rune. Rune bass player Dave Mann went to play drums in this band. So far they’ve released two full lengths and a split with Kenoma, all through Translation Loss. All of their releases so far have gained a lot of critical acclaim, even appearing on some year-end lists.

Rune and info (such as mp3s nd reviews) for “The End Of Nothing” At Willowtip
You can find an mp3 for the S/T EP by Rune on the mp3 page at Clean Plate
Rune At Metal-Archives
Ultralord At Metal-Archives
Kenoma At MySpace
Kenoma At Metal-Archives
Kenoma At Translation Loss
Mouth Of The Architect At MySpace
Mouth Of The Architect At Metal Archives
Mouth Of The Architect At Translation Loss


Friday, March 16, 2007

Scars Of Tomorrow And Metalcore

Scars Of Tomorrow recently posted a message about breaking up, and of course thanking people along the way as many bands who break up do. If you like, you can read that message at their MySpace page here.

I’m not going to beat around the bush here, Scars Of Tomorrow have had a track record for making completely by the numbers metalcore albums. While some people have accused them of making the same album over and over again, I pretty much saw them as re-writing the same Poison The Well song “Rings Of Corona” usually around 9 to 13 times for each release.

For the average metalcore listener who isn’t worried to much about bands experimenting with a sound or being creative, but rather executing music in a “proper” way, I think many of those fans would’ve rated Scars Of Tomorrow to be things like “ok”, “decent” and “pretty good”. These same fans though haven’t viewed Scars Of Tomorrow as being as good as some of the big bands that Scars Of Tomorrow have attempted to run with.

I will admit, putting an album out every year, and touring as much as they have for every release they’ve put out, I really admire the work ethic that Scars Of Tomorrow have had. They’re practically touraholics. At the same time, I never saw them land a headlining tour, and if they were on a tour with a lot of bands, they usually ended up opening for most of the bands. For a band that’s been around as long as they have, and worked as hard as they could, all the hard work just didn’t seem to pay off (at least in their eyes I'm betting). I’ve even seen shows where the band playing earlier than Scars Of Tomorrow got a better crowd reaction. I’ve seen smaller bands, regional bands, and weirder bands than Scars Of Tomorrow get better crowd reactions, bring more fans to a venue, sell more merchandise, and sell more albums.

What gives though? I mean, as far as I can see it, Scars Of Tomorrow executed their music “properly” in the eyes of a lot of people, so shouldn’t they have been more popular, especially since they worked so hard? Looking back on the situation, considering how derivative the music they played was, I think they reached the peak of their success.

With Scars Of Tomorrow breaking up, my original thought was that this might be a good time to bring up an article which some people might see as a rant or a hyperbole about the whole metalcore scene and how there’s a lot of metalcore bands. I had a lot of difficulty trying to formulate what I wanted my message to be, because we’ve heard the argument so many times about metalcore being oversaturated. I wanted to create something detailing how record labels really work and what peoples chances are of actually “making it” in a metalcore band are because I live in a small city, and I see so many bands that don’t get signed. My intent was to create something to say “Take this as a warning, and do your homework!”, but if there’s something that I’ve learned about local bands looking to make it big, the messages about creativity and hard work often fall upon deaf ears and simply get ignored.

I’ve heard of people before talking about bands who they thought deserved to get signed, but never got their “big break”, despite all the supposed “hard work” the band set forth. The reason I placed quotations around “hard work” is because a lot of people have different interpretations of how much hard work it does take (or should take) for a band to get signed to a record label.

It’s been my personal experience that most record labels are always looking for bands to sign. Record labels want to hear that well done demo land on their desk, and they want to witness the live show from the local band that everyone has been talking about. This might sound harsh, but if you’re an unsigned band, there’s probably a good reason why you’re not signed.

I have the belief that if a band is really that good, and has truly and actually put in the amount of “hard work” required, then I think things should work themselves out just fine, record signing and all. After all, if a band is truly putting in the required amount of “hard work” then they should also know what they’re in for in terms of watching out for bad deals, fake record labels, and the amount of success they might achieve. I’m tempted to say that there’s a typical exception to bands knowing what they’re doing, and working hard enough to get signed, which is supposed to be music so experimental and strange that no one gets it, yet there’s even a market for music that strange.


Converge has a great attitude towards getting their music out to people, the classic DIY attitude (standing for Do It Yourself). Instead of waiting around and relying on other people to do the work for them, they made their own shirts, booked their own tours, made their own record label, did their own artwork, lugged around their own stuff, changed their own strings, tuned up their own instruments, recorded the music themselves, and produced some of their own albums. Converge even made their own studio to record their own music. Rumour has it that Converge could afford to tour in a bus, yet they choose not to because it’s cheaper. I seriously wonder if any of the members of Converge own the equipment to press vinyls and make CDs, and operate that equipment when they have time.

Are there some bands that are going to get away without putting out the “hard work” needed? Sure, it’s always going to happen. Even from a creative standpoint some bands will be extremely derivative of their peers, but still manage to overshoot a lot of other bands and become relatively big. Still, even in those cases, those bands shooting straight for rock stardom and looking to make it as big as say Mastodon, Lamb Of God, Hatebreed, Shadows Fall or Killswitch Engage haven’t obtained the same level of success as those bands who took the time, worked hard and paid their dues. Actually, I can only think of a very few bands (maybe 3?) that get consistently beat up on in reviews for being clone bands bent on stardom. I’ll refrain from naming any names to be polite.

One has to wonder if said clone bands getting pretty close to hanging with the big boys will outlast the scene or not, or if adding a new popular clone band will chip some time away at how long metalcore will last before the bottom falls out of the whole thing. All these factors being taken into account, simply because a band plays generic metalcore doesn’t mean they’ll gain that much popularity, but who knows, maybe we’ll see a local band from my hometown become the next Scars Of Tomorrow.

Scars Of Tomorrow
Scars Of Tomorrow At Victory
Scars Of Tomorrow At MySpace

Some links to some album reviews for Scars Of Tomorrows previous albums:
Rope Tied To The Trigger Review At Metal Review
The Horror Of Realization At Metal Review
Rope Tied To The Trigger At The PRP
The Failure In Drowning At Decibel Magazine


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Raise The Red Lantern Has Recorded New Material

Raise The Red Lantern come from Chicago Illinois, the same home as Minsk, and wow are these guys hard to pin down. I’m going to give it a stab and say that they’re a stoner rock band with a heavy sludgy sound, with some long droning melodic moments that give them some relation to metalgaze.

Lambgoat just reported that Raise The Red Lantern spent some time in the studio with Sanford Parker who has worked with Minsk and Buried At Sea to record 3 songs. In keeping with their current tradition of keeping themselves really underground by having only a few songs, those 3 songs will appear on a split with Lord By Fire, a band that hails from Richmond Virginia. That split will be released through weAREtheLABEL. Expect a new song on Raise The Red Lantern's MySpace page sometime soon.

Raise The Red Lantern (Site currently under construction)
Raise The Red Lantern At MySpace
Seventh Rule Recordings
Witch Trial Records
Review Of Raise The Red Lantern’s “Thunderfuck” At Metal Review
Review Of Raise The Red Lantern’s “Breathe Fire” At Metal Review


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Band Feature: Lengsel

I know many readers (mostly my personal friends) of this site might be unfamiliar with Extol. Well, Extol is a long standing experimental Christian band from Norway. They were known for making drastic changes between albums (most being critically acclaimed), but keeping a portion of black metal in all their work.

Lengsel is comprised of 3 band members, all of which are still in Extol. Lengsel incorporates post-hardcore with a subtle hint of black metal underneath, with the slower moments being akin to metalgaze, while the faster and noisier moments come close to Converge. The main feature though, seems to be the fact that half the time the band isn’t playing metal. Expect spoken word moments with accordions, or nice strum with an acoustic guitar, and that’s only what I heard so far from their MySpace page.

I can definitely see Lengsel appealing to fans of Opeth with some extra added experimental flair.

Lengsel released their latest album, “The Kiss - The Hope” last December through Whirlwind.

Lengsel At MySpace
Lengsel At Whirlwind
Lengsel At Black Sun
Lengsel At Metal Archives
Review Of “The Kiss - The Hope” At Metal Review


Despised Icon Post New Song

I mentioned in my concert article that Despised Icon played a song from their upcoming album at the London show, and “In The Arms Of Perdition” was the song they played. They also mentioned that a video had been filmed for the song as well.

Just as I mentioned before, the song does hang mostly towards the faster side, a bit of a departure for Despised Icon. Despised Icon mentioned on a previous occasion that they don’t want to make the same album twice, and this new song certainly presents some details not found in present Despised Icon material, while still retaining their signature sound. I could hear some elements of thrash, there was a guitar solo, and even tiny dashing of melody.

While the previous Despised Icon albums seem to stand heavily on intensity, “In The Arms Of Perdition” brings a much stronger song writing element forth. You can check out the new song at their MySpace page here.

Despised Icon
Despised Icon At MySpace
Despised Icon At PureVolume
Despised Icon At Century Media
Despised Icon At Relapse
Despised Icon At Galy
Despised Icon At Metal Archives
Despised Icon At BNR Metal


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Band Feature: Rwake

This strange band fits somewhere in the world of sludge, doom and stoner rock, and might also fit in a little bit with metalgaze.

Rwake recently released their newest album “Voices Of Omens” on February 20 through Relapse.

Review Of “Voices Of Omens” At Lambgoat
Rwake At MySpace
Rwake At Relapse
Rwake At The Metal Archives
Rwake Albums At Amazon


Friday, March 09, 2007

Band Feature: Fjord

The PRP compared Fjord’s caustic biting sound to Converge, Coalesce and Botch, while Lambgoat said that Fjord is a direct sound alike to Botch. Having heard lots about Botch and their underground influence, I have yet to actually hear them (perhaps I haven’t dug hard enough on the internet?). After hearing the mp3s on their MySpace page, I can see where the Converge and Coalesce comparisons come from, Fjord would certainly fit in with those bands (although I don’t see direct comparisons in sound).

Fjord features former members of Winter Solstice, Healer, The Takeover, To The Grave, Von Doom, and My Synopsis, although I’m not sure how much of that name-dropping will mean to readers who are unfamiliar with those bands.

Fjord released their debut about “Lives Lives” on January 23 through Eulogy.

Fjord At MySpace
Fjord At Eulogy
Review Of “Lives Lives” At The PRP
Review Of “Lives Lives” At Lambgoat
Fjord’s Album “Lives Lives” At Amazon


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Neurosis Post New Song

With so much talk about Neurosis in that band feature about Minsk, the timing was just right to find out the classic Neurosis posted a new song from their upcoming album. The song is titled “Water Is Not Enough” and comes from the upcoming Neurosis album “Given To The Rising”. You can hear the new song here, and at their MySpace page here.

Neurosis At MySpace
Neurosis At Neurot
Neurosis At Relapse

(Thanks: Lambgoat)


Band Feature: Minsk

I think the term “metalgaze” is starting to catch on for the genre started by Neurosis, and pioneered by Isis and Cult Of Luna (if we get used to using the term “metalgaze”m then people won’t need to name drop those 3 bands all the time).

I’ve always thought that Neurosis, Isis and Cult Of Luna had very unique sounds in comparison to one another. They do a lot of things in similar ways, long slow songs, hardcore vocals, keyboards and electronics added, with some of the instrumentation being based on simplicity. Yet while Neurosis, Isis and Cult Of Luna have all the same factors, they sound very different from one another. There have been some other bands coming out of the same mould, but with every band that comes out playing metalgaze, you start to get bands that get closer and closer to sounding like their peers.

Minsk is a band that arguably comes closest to sounding like Neurosis than any other metalgaze band I can think of. It’s a double edged sword of sorts, as their latest album “The Ritual Fires Of Abandonment” has gotten a lot of good reviews, suggesting that the band is good at executing what they do. The flip side is that there’s already Neurosis, and we are getting a lot more bands in the world of metalgaze. Still, the genre hasn’t seem a lot of bands, and there are bands attempting to bring their own variant to the table, letting Minsk get away with pulling of their Neurosis influenced parts so well.

Minsk released their latest album “The Ritual Fires Of Abandonment” through Relapse of February 20.

Minsk At MySpace
Minsk At Relapse
Review Of “The Ritual Fires Of Abandonment” At MetalReview
Review Of “The Ritual Fires Of Abandonment” At Blabbermouth
Minsk At The Metal-Archives
Minsk At Doom-Metal
Minsk Albums At Amazon


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Band Feature: Khlyst

Anyone familiar with Khanate? Impossibly slow, lots of high shrieking vocals, lots of feedback, and I have to mention again that Khanate is insanely slow. I can usually convince my friends to give all sorts of different bands a try, but where I live, Khanate was found by just about everyone I know personally to be intolerable. Funny how they were on the rise in terms of popularity... Anyways, Khanate broke up, so bass player James Plotkin and drummer Tim Wyskida are now doing Khlyst (James Plotkin plays guitar instead of bass here) with vocalist Runhild Gammelsaeter formerly of Thorr’s Hammer doing the vocals.

I’m a little sketchy on the details, so I’m not quite certain if Khlyst was a project going while Khanate was still around or if it formed after the breakup of Khanate. After hearing the sample provided on James Plotkins own page, you can expect a lot of similarities between Khlyst and Khanate. On the official Khlyst homepage you can view a video of Khlyst performing what looks like an improvised song, with James Plotkin making lots of guitar noise, Tim essentially playing a drum solo throughout the whole song and Runhild throwing some screeching on top. It kind of reminded of some of those noisy endings that rock bands did back in the 60's, only with high screaming.

Khlyst released their debut album “Chaos Is My Name” through Hydra Head late last year.

Very interesting and intriguing, although most people won’t be able to tolerate it.

James Plotkins Site
Hydra Head


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Band Feature: Trap Them

I haven’t heard anything this original for awhile. Trap Them features former members of Grief, Backstabbers Inc. and December Wolves (although the lineup may have changed recently). Much like the review on Metalreview stated, Trap Them describe themselves as “grindcore rock ‘n roll with a sunlight studio sound”, and they wear their influences right on their sleeve. You can hear grind like Terrorizer and Nasum, death rock like Entombed and Dismember (during Dismember's “Massive Killing Capacty” era), and don’t forget the buzzin’ guitars from the 2 aforementioned bands either. Even heavy punk like Disfear and Black Flag makes its way in. Extremely fun and pretty unique.

The new album from Trap Them titled “Sleepwell Deconstructor” is scheduled to be released April 3 on Trash Art!

Trap Them At MySpace
Trash Art!
Review of "Sleepwell Deconstructor" At MetalReview


Monday, March 05, 2007

Band Feature: N.A.M.E.

When I heard that first song on their MySpace page, my first reaction was “Damn! This is off the hinges!”. N.A.M.E. fits in with many other noisy, chaotic experimental metalcore bands, but seem to reign in the chaos (just slightly) for better production and tighter playing. The end result isn’t necessarily “heavier” from a low end sense, but it’s a lot sharper, especially in a painful stabbing sense, which helps to send the message home.

N.A.M.E. put out a release near the end of February titled “Memoirs For My Sweetheart, The Whore” on Gomek. Gomek is an interesting label, because if you go to their website, they offer all their releases for free in downloadable zip files that contain mp3s and art.

N.A.M.E. At MySpace
Review Of “Memoirs For My Sweetheart, The Whore” At Metalreview


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Concert: Despised Icon, Job For A Cowboy, Arise And Ruin, Allatus Adeo, Nebraska, And Closed Casket Funeral

Saturday March 3 At Call The Office In London Ontario

On Saturday March 3 right at noon I got a call from a friend asking me if I wanted to see a concert in London with Despised Icon at Call The Office. That was all the information he presented me. Knowing the venue is a nice place, and having seen Despised Icon before, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see the show.

I usually try to make it to the venue before the doors open to try and get in too see the first bands play. It’s funny things work out, as often in making plans months ahead I still manage to end up missing a band or 2, yet on this occasion with such last minute details, we got everything we wanted to get done early and on time.

Myself and a couple of friends got inside Call The Office just in time to see Closed Casket Funeral play. Closed Casket Funeral comes from Windsor takes some heavy influence from Dillinger Escape Plan. While they did their best on stage to keep animated, the vocalist was out of breath between songs, and they were a bit sloppy and don’t stand out much in a creative sense against their peers.

Next up was Nebraska, sort of a southern styled metalcore band along the same lines as Every Time I Die or Her Candane. When they first started, I was holding onto the divider between the audience and the stage, and when they began the bass player came right up and stepped on my hand. When the bass player jumped into the audience to crowd surf, he smacked the end of his bass against my head. I watched the guitarist have a problem with his guitar which rendered him unable to play for a whole song, and the vocalist lost his microphone going into the audience so many times. They tried hard though...

The next band, Allatus Adeo came next. They got off to a quick start playing strange noisy metalcore. All of their songs seem to split equal time spewing forth distorted chaos and lighter musical moments with strange effects, and no good cop vocals. They audience got into it rather quickly, and they moshed hard during the heavy parts, and took a break during the light moments as if the music had being created solely with that purpose in mind. During the show vocalist mentioned the band was Christian, although other peoples beliefs didn’t both them. The statement seemed to be lacking in purpose... I heard someone in the audience yell “Smoke crack and worship Satan!”, which must’ve been a response to the band stating they were Christian. Despite being religious, they put on a professional show which fun to watch, listen to, and be entertained by.

I had seen Arise And Ruin’s EP in the CD shop in town, and I had seen their video on the Much Music show Loud, and represent one of the few signed metalore bands in Ontario. Many people have stated that melodic metalcore is over-saturated, and my previous listening experience to Arise And Ruin had me label them as part of the pack. The roots of metalcore, much like hardcore however are very underground and all about the live show. Power poured from their set, and out came a powerful live mix of melodic metalcore and more modern hardcore akin to Hatebreed. The audience was caught up in them, and so was I.

This show was the first show ever in Canada for Job For A Cowboy. The internet seems to have helped in building the popularity for Job For A Cowboy. Some audiences view Job For A Cowboy as a modern creative force in the world of death metal, while others from a more “troo” crowd seem to hate the band based purely on popularity. I was looking forward to seeing this band after hearing so much about them myself, and hearing the songs featured on their MySpace page. The band did not disappoint, owning the stage moving all over, giving the crowd a good view of their technical prowess when it came time to do a solo. This technical prowess included the vocalist who had some vocal passages with lots of words stuffed in, which were all in time rhythmically and properly pronounced in his signature standout voice. I could see this guy giving George “Corpsegringer” Fischer some competition. I could see that the vocalist lacked a hint of confidence, as he didn’t look into the audience that much and not much was said between songs. The band has certainly built a reputation in many ways, and from the looks of things, for good reasons.

It was my third time seeing Despised Icon. I’ve witnessed them on stages big and small, as well as audiences of varying sizes. They go nuts every time, and this time was no different. What I found unfortunate at this point in the show was actually the audience, as it seemed there were more people there for Job For A Cowboy than Despised Icon. After seeing the amount of hometown spirit the Massachusetts crowd gives towards their bands, it was sad to see some lacking Canadian support for Despised Icon. Insanely harsh, extremely fast with massive jumps between tempos, Despised Icon provide lots of loved chaos. The live environment is Despised Icons home, with massive breakdowns inciting hardcore style dancing and plenty of crowd surfing (especially from the bands 2 vocalists). They played a new song for their upcoming album which seemed to stick mostly to fast tempos, a bit of a departure from their earlier work which continually shifts between tempos.

Seeing all those bands in a small crowded venue always reassures me that those small clubs are often the best.


Friday, March 02, 2007

Band Feature: PsyOpus

I remember this band being on the second stage at the 2004 New England Metal And Hardcore Fest. They’re one of those technical metal/hardcore/jazz bands looking out-tech basically everybody (they may have succeeded in doing that in some peoples eyes). I have their first full length which came out on Black Market Activities, which was re-released on Metal Blade, and now it seems that PsyOpus is signed full-on with Metal Blade.

I thought “Ideas Of Reference”, the first album from PsyOpus was a decent effort with some surprisingly catchy bits, although the band sometimes gets so caught up in jazzy scale runs in the high guitar register that the low-end bottom falls out. I’ve heard a couple of new songs from their latest effort “Our Puzzling Encounters Considered”, and those songs seem to have succeeded technically, but still have the same problem with low end. I’ve heard that they’ve experimented with some not so technical parts which weren’t represented in songs available online.

“Our Puzzling Counters Considered” was released on February 20 through Metal Blade.

PsyOpus Links:

Download the song “Insects” from “Our Puzzling Encounters Considered” at Download Punk

Official Website
At MySpace
At PureVolume
At Black Market Activities
At Metal Blade
At Metal Archives
Interview At Decibel Magazine
Review Of “Our Puzzling Encounters Considered” At ThePRP
Review Of “Our Puzzling Encounters Considered” At Metal Review
Review Of “Our Puzzling Encounters Considered” At Decibel Magazine
Buy PsyOpus Albums At Amazon


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Band Feature: Jesu

Jesu is the band formed by Justin Broadrick after he put the widely influential and phenomenal Godflesh to rest, feeling that Godflesh wasn’t the same after founding member and bass player Ben Green Left.

Jesu made gained a lot of interest when they released their full length, the self-titled “Jesu”. I have that album, and I can see why Jesu is getting so much attention. The latest full-length titled “Conqueror” was released on February 19 2007, and the reviews so far have been extremely promising. The EPs “Silver” and “Heartache” are proving a bit difficult for me to get my hands on (especially the “Heartache” EP).

The latest album, "Conqueror".

plays what’s described by a lot of people as mixture of industrial, drone and ambient, and that’s probably the best explanation I can put into words. It’s certainly something that would fit in with later Neurosis (because of the clean vocals).

Jesu Links:

Official Website
Conqueror Website (You can hear the whole album streamed here)
Hydra Head
Conqueror Review At Metal Review
Conqueror Review At Decibel
Interview With Justin Broadrick At Decibel
Jesu At BNR
Jesu At Metal Archives
Jesu At Doom Metal
Purchase Jesu Albums At Amazon


New Format Here (Again)

As much as I’ve tried to keep up with current events going on in the underground music scene, I’m beginning to feel burnt out and overwhelmed. I’ve heard that a few readers of this site have also felt a little overwhelmed as well, not being able to get in enough time to read about every article I’ve posted. Not only that, but there hasn’t been to much of a focal point on a certain genre, so certain end users are probably skipping by lots of posts.

I’ll admit, I got a little addicted to trying to post as much as I possibly could, but it’s becoming taxing. Not only that, but I think I could be providing a lot more information about specific bands, rather than little bits and pieces from a whole bunch of bands.

From now on, I’m going to try and limit the number of posts here to either 1 or 2 on a week day, and I might post something on the weekend if I get around to it. While I like a lot of different genres of music in the world of “extreme music”, I’ve decided to focus my attention a lot more on “art” bands because that’s my favourite kind of music. I’m not going to stop posting about upcoming albums, unsigned bands or concerts, there’s just going to be a lot less of it. I will continue to keep my links and upcoming album info up to date.