Carnivora, Photo by Marissa Elise Kramer

Carnivora, Photo by Marissa Elise Kramer

Boston modern metal upstarts Carnivora have unveiled their artwork for their upcoming EP, The Vision, to be released later this spring. Combining the brute strength of classic metal (tech death, thrash) with the melodies and grooves of more recent legends, Carnivora is a band you ought to have on your go to playlists. The Vision was produced by Anthony Lopardo, at Westfall Recording Company of Long Island, NY, Mixed and Mastered by Ray Marte, and Engineered by Juan Ortiz. You can see the artwork created by Fivemiligrams below:

 

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Carnivora formed in 2011. In addition to slots on The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, Summer Slaughter, Gigantour, and The New England Metal and Hardcore Festival, the band has shared the stage with Cannibal Corpse, Behemoth and Avenged Sevenfold among others. They are managed by Matt Bachand (Shadows Fall) and his company Manshark Entertainment.

cancer bats headline tour poster

It’s Friday, you’re out of work, and everyone’s either at the bar or out on a date. What’s a girl to do? Make her way down to Cambridge, MA to catch a show at the Middle East Upstairs with her friends, obviously.

Homegrown trio Rozamov took the stage first. I was familiar with them in name, but not in sound. I’m sure fans of doom would have enjoyed them but things require a little more energy and variety to keep my short attention span engaged. It wasn’t until the final song in their set that I started to get into things. I don’t remember what it was called but I believed the band mentioned that it was going to be featured on an upcoming split so keep an eye out for that.

Gozu (1 of 8)

Gozu, Photo by Meg Loyal Photography

Also hailing from Boston, MA were my favorite surprise of the evening; Gozu. Again, I was familiar with their name but not their music. I can’t say enough great things about this band and I’m actually listening to their album Locust Season (Small Stone Records) as I write this. It’s some dirty, stoner rock that makes you want to knock back a few beers and maybe one of your friends. In my case, the evening involved a lot of shaking my friends due to my excitement and an inability to shut up about their bassist. So, business as usual, really.

Exalt (12 of 12)

Exault, Photo by Meg Loyal Photography

Exalt brought their brand of metalcore to the stage next. I have never been much of a metalcore fan and as such, there were bits and pieces of songs that I enjoyed but nothing that I could really get into overall. It may prove to be a different story for fans of the genre. They were interesting to watch if anything and I can appreciate the hard work put into their performance even if it wasn’t really my thing.

cancer bats (16 of 35)

Cancer Bats, Photo by Meg Loyal Photography

Headlining this little shindig in the tiny show space were the one and only Cancer Bats. I had seen them three times before, as they have a habit of playing with bands I love, but this was my first time having the chance to see the boys headline their own tour in the US. Anyone who has had the chance to see the Bats live before knows that they always bring a lot of energy to their performances. Vocalist Liam Cormier is like a fire cracker in tight pants bouncing around the stage and it’s impossible to avoid getting swept along with him. The set list for the evening primarily revolved around songs in support of their latest release, Searching for Zero (Metal Blade Records). They play some of my favorites off of the album including ‘True Zero’, ‘Arsenic in the Year of the Snake’, ‘Beezlebub’, and ‘Buds’. I would have liked to have heard ‘Cursed with a Conscience’ as well, maybe next time. The set also included fan favorites such as ‘Bricks and Mortar’, ‘Hail Destroyer’, and everyone’s favorite Beastie Boys cover; ‘Sabotage’. I ran into a few bohabs during the course of the evening and even more made themselves known once the band’s tribute to Dave Brockie a.k.a. Oderus Urungus of GWAR, ‘All Hail’, began.

Cancer Bats, Photo by Meg Loyal Photography

Cancer Bats, Photo by Meg Loyal Photography

cancer bats (18 of 35)

Cancer Bats, Photo by Meg Loyal Photography

All in all, it was a great show. My main complaint was that Cancer Bats’ set seemed unusually short for a headlining band. I would have liked to have gotten at least another half hour out of them. The sound for the show in general was quieter than I would have expected as well but that may have been because there was another show going on downstairs at the same time. Apart from that, I’d say it was a job well done and now I get to go back to complaining about them needing to tour again until the next one!

WORDS BY ALEIDA LA LLAVE

PHOTOS BY MEG LOYAL PHOTOGRAPHY

dead flowers 2

Dallas bluesy punk rockers Dead Flowers will be out on the road in April and May, supporting their new album His Blues, out now. The band features frontman Corey Howe, lead guitarist Vince Tuley, bassist Evan Johnson, and drummer Ed Chaney. Stream “I Won’t Go” from the Chevy Music Showcase performance below.

Dead Flowers Spring U.S. Tour Dates***
Apr 18: Three Links – Dallas, TX (Tour Kickoff Show)
Apr 20: Red Brick Bar – Norman, OK
Apr 21: Hunt Club – Tulsa, OK
Apr 23: Heavy Anchor – St Louis, MO
Apr 25: Subterranean – Chicago, IL
Apr 27: Melody Inn – Indianapolis, IN (w/ The Old Adage)
Apr 28: Drinkery – Cincinnati, OH
May 02: Monty’s Krown – Rochester, NY (w/New City Slang)
May 07: Official Show at Johnny Jackson – Toronto, ON (CMW)
May 09: Northern Lights – Detroit, MI
May 11: Mohawk Buffalo – Buffalo, NY
May 12: The Dev – Utica, NY
May 15: Olives – Nyack, NY
May 16: Pianos – New York, NY
May 18: Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
May 21: The Cave – Chapel Hill, NC
May 23: Casbah/Tremont Grindhouse Event – Charlotte, NC
May 27: Nick – Birmingham AL (w/Sideshow Tragedy)

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mew 2

Following a successful week of concerts at SXSW, Danish alt-prog rockers Mew is streaming their new Anders Malmberg directed music video for “Water Slides,” off their upcoming album +- (as in ‘plus minus’), due out April 28, 2015 via PIAS America below. Currently on tour in Asia with a full European schedule for this summer, Mew plans to tour North America extensively beginning later this year.

mew 3

Danish indie rockers Mew is streaming an acoustic version of “Satellites,” off of their forthcoming album +- (as in ‘plus minus’), out April 28 in North America via PIAS America. Currently on tour in Asia with a full European schedule for this summer, Mew plans to tour North America extensively beginning later this year.

antigama

Polish grinders Antigama have completed their seventh full length release titled The Insolent, out May 7, 2015 via Selfmadegod Records. The band has booked a May run of US dates tied into the release of their record, which is posted below.

ANTIGAMA Blast the East Coast US Tour w/ Drugs Of Faith:
May 13: Nihil Gallery – Brooklyn, NY (w/ The Communion)
May 14: The Funky Jungle – Providence, RI (w/ The Communion)
May 15: Clash Bar – Clifton, NJ (Mildfest) (w/ The Communion, Organ Dealer, Pink Mass, more)
May 16: Second Empire – Philadelphia, PA (w/ Infernal Stronghold)
May 17: TBA – Washington, DC
May 18: Cellar Door – Annandale, VA
May 19: Strange Matter – Richmond, VA
May 20: Main Street Annex – Charlottesville, VA
May 23: Baltimore Soundstage – Baltimore, MD (Maryland Deathfest) [no Drugs of Faith]

antigama the insolent

Recorded in February at JNS Studio in Warsaw, The Insolent was engineered by Pawel Grabowski, mixed by Grabowski and the band, and mastered by Scott Hull at Visceral Sound in Bethesda, Maryland (Pig Destroyer, Agoraphobic Nosebleed), the album features a very special guest appearance of the legend of Polish electronic music scene, Władysław “Gudonis” Komendarek, and bears cover art designed by Bartek Rogalewicz. The first single from the album comes through a new Youtube video for the fourth track, “Used To,” cut from footage filmed by Paweł “Pavulon” Jaroszewicz and Łukasz Myszkowski during the recording sessions.

The Insolent Track Listing:
01: Reward Or Punishment
02: Foul Play
03: Data Overload
04: Used To
05: Randomize The Algorithm
06: The Insolent
07: Sentenced To The Void
08: Out Beyond
09: Eraser
10: The Land Of Monotony

ANTIGAMA:
Łukasz Myszkowski – vocals, electronics
Sebastian Rokicki – guitars
Paweł Jaroszewicz – drums, percussion
Sebastian Kucharski – bass

Antigama on Twitter
Selfmadegod Records on YouTube
Selfmadegod Records on Facebook
Selfmadegod Records on Twitter

antigama the insolent ad

the illumination

Anthem rock outfit The Illumination has released a new lyric video for “A Chance To Change My Ways,” which was originally on their 2013 InVogue Records release Departures and later reinvented acoustically. The acoustic version was produced by Nick Ingram (For Today, Before Their Eyes, City Lights) and mixed by Samuel Winter. The track marks their shift in musical direction from a post hardcore sound to an anthemic rock sound.

brave the waters chapter 1 dawn of days

New York ambient duo rockers Brave The Waters will be releasing their six song debut EP titled Chapter 1 – Dawn of Days on May 12, 2015 via Bandcamp. Featuring Grey Skies Fallen and Buckshot Facelift bandmates Tom Anderer (bass guitar, acoustic guitar) and Rick Habeer (guitar) recording instrumental tunes in a stripped down fashion and recording at Keith Moore’s since burned down Audio Playground Studio.

Stream “Journey Through Highwood Forest” below.

Chapter 1 – Dawn of Days Track Listing:
01: The New King
02: Interesting Times
03: Voice of the Ancient Oak
04: Journey Through Highwood Forest
05: Setting Up Camp
06: At the Old Stone Bridge

original

I suppose that fifteen years is quite a long time but, for your average music fan, the Von Hertzen Brothers represent something of a “new” thing. Certainly, the band’s recent success is testimony to the benefit of hard work; it’s also testimony to the fact that as they have honed their art so it has become increasingly accessible. New Day Rising (Spinefarm) is unquestionably their most accessible record to date and will, as sure as night follows day, ensure a wider audience and even greater success for this most agreeable of Finnish bands. It’s a record packed to the rafters with ideas; if truth be known, probably a few too many.

Matters get off to what can only be described as a rip roaring start with the title track throwing down the gauntlet: it’s sprightly and full of chutzpah, an energetic tour de force. You get the impression of a band comfortable in their skin and ready to take us on new musical adventures with gusto. ‘You Don’t Know My Name’ lightens the frenetic pace somewhat but the straightforward rock style is maintained in earnest. ‘Trouble’ is initially disingenuous with its soft opening, soon breaking out into an expansive number and a clear progression from the album’s opening two cuts. So far, so very agreeable.

The brakes come on for the melancholy of ‘Black Rain’, which has a nice gentle melody that supports the mood of reflection and introspection.  ‘Hold Me Up’ is, make no mistake, Coldplay through a Helsinki misty rain, and is as arch and contrived as that sounds. It’s a self-consciously “big” ballad and I’m not sure it works: if someone said it was Finland’s Eurovision entry, I wouldn’t bat an eyelid. I don’t actively dislike it but it jars the overall tenor of the record.

One of the interesting things about Von Hertzen Brothers has been their fearlessness in trying something new and different, keeping the listener on their proverbial toes and demanding your undivided attention. Despite the relatively straightforward nature of New Day Rising, the quirky nature of ‘Dreams’ demonstrates that this sense of gentle provocation remains firmly in place. It’s quirky and fun, lightweight and unassuming.

‘Sunday Child’ is much more serious stuff, and whilst the Coldplay echoes and sense of impending drama remain leitmotifs there’s also a whiff of Biffy Clyro invading the melody giving it a sense of defiance in its melancholic timbre. ‘The Destitute’ is much more traditional Von Hertzen fare, with a glitzy bassline that recalls U2’s Berlin period. Again, like much of the record it dashes and dances through pace and time signatures as all Prog records tend to but, despite what appears to be wilful exuberance, the core song holds its own. The album coda, ‘Hibernating Heart’ brings the pace and mood down again: an archetypal reflection of times past, of mistakes made, it’s a heartfelt and impassioned ballad and a more than decent sign off.

New Day Rising is an album of progress and advance from the Von Hertzen Brothers: there are some brilliant new songs that build on a growing reputation. However, it’s a record that also has a few jarring moments and, weirdly, too many ideas for its own good. What we’re left with is a very good record but not a nailed on classic. Greatness though is surely round the corner. As it stands, less would, in this instance, have probably been more.

 

7.5/10

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MAT DAVIES

Undersmile_cover

There’s something unnervingly sweet and endearing about Oxford quartet Undersmile. Comprising two very loved-up couples, there’s also a folkish offshoot, Coma Wall; and a winsome charm to Taz Corona-Brown and Hel Sterne, the female half of the outfit, which belies their stage personae as zombiefied, brutally-defiled dolls. But the music…

The band’s torturously slow style is given a creepy quality by the ladies’ dual vocals: drawled intonations, atonal yet harmonic; expiring breaths emanating from the diseased, throttled, heavily-painted mouths. Near-feathered drums and thrumming bass notes accompany at a measured pace. Sound dull? Far from it. Anhedonia (Black Bow Records) is bloody hypnotic, because you’re waiting for the explosion; a squealing lead winding itself around booming yet crawling rhythms, riffs to crush buildings and barking screams that chill the soul.

The sorrowful opening to ‘Sky Burial’ houses the first employment of the cello which has so awakened the already urgent yet pregnant Undersmile sound, adding a SubRosa-esque quality which is the jigsaw’s missing piece. The accompanying latent chants keep the attention firmly fixed until the brief but spectacular shows of savagery, full of the weight and anger of a protective bull elephant, burst forth. This is the only track to fall under ten minutes, so the uninitiated may feel more comfortable bringing butties and a flask. The already converted, however, will have no such need.

The voices of ‘Song of Stones’ are delicate, honeyed yet shamanic incantations befitting the subject matter, enlivened by brief yet poignant cello/lead duets toward the apocalyptic, brain-dissolving convergence of power. Utterly terrifying Sludge sequences within ‘Atacama Sunburn’ complement the eerie, ghoulish softness and closing melancholy they counter; whilst that folk link is evident in the highly charged, mournful crush of the incredible ‘Aeris’.

Despite the more ponderous sound being the template this is haunting, sinister, sometimes brutal yet downright sexy stuff. It boots debut full-length Narwhal (Future Noise) to the sidelines with its increased flow and depth, and will ensnare the senses of all who encounter it. The hostile quickening and psychotic intonations of metronomic closer ‘Knucklesucker’ is a boiling coda to a remarkable achievement.

 

8.5/10

 

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PAUL QUINN