Following the news that former Entombed and current Entombed AD vocalist Lars-Goran Petrov was diagnosed with incurable cancer, Converge announced they would be donating 100% of the earnings from their 2013 guest-filled Entombed covers EP to Petrov’s GoFundMe. The EP includes five covers of Entombed’s “Wolverine Blues” with a different vocalist on each one. The covers were originally recorded to be spliced together as one track on Converge’s 2012 split with Napalm Death, but the following year, Converge released each vocalist’s take as its own track on this EP. In addition to Converge’s own Jacob Bannon, Nate Newton, and Kurt Ballou, the vocalists include Aaron Turner (Isis, Sumac, Old Man Gloom), Kevin Baker (All Pigs Must Die, The Hope Conspiracy), and Tomas “Tompa” Lindberg (At The Gates, Disfear). Continue reading
Long-running post-Metal legends Neurosis have been busy this year. A tour of Europe with Godflesh and YOB, followed by a string dates in the USA with Bell Witch and Deafkids have been stoking the engine of activity, along with the recent reissue of the bands’ acclaimed collaboration album Neurosis + Jarboe (Neurot Recordings). Joined by the indomitable chanteuse Jarboe, the grouping created something unique, experimental, and lasting. Ghost Cult caught up with legend Steve Von Till to discuss the pairing, the remasted reissue, the new artwork with Aaron Turner (Sumac, Old Man Gloom), the process of creating the special vinyl edition, how the band writes together, and when we can expect a potential new Neurosis album. Continue reading
Big time artists do big-time things, at big times, to paraphrase my favorite sports analogy. 2018 is shaping up to be a crazier time in the world than ever, full of chaos, and special kind of hubris that fuels the mania. Art is typically a reflection of society, and for me personally, I have been clinging to art in a vain attempt to help save my own life in this tumultuous time. One of those artists giving me life has been underground supergroup SUMAC, with songs as big as the all caps in their name. Turning in yet another massive release with Love In Shadow (Thrill Jockey), the band peels back the curtain on this undercurrent running through all of us and shows us the glorious ugliness many choose not to see. Continue reading
Full Of Hell will be unleashing their new record, Trumpeting Ecstasy, on May 5th via Profound Lore Records, and another new song has made its way online. Continue reading
Chicago Post-rock leaders Pelican continue to give their die-hard fans something to smile about. The band has released the full version of their Live In Wroclaw, from their deluxe version of their City Of Echoes vinyl set. You can stream the live album or purchase it from the band on their Bandcamp page.The band is also donating purchases to the ACLU. Hear the album below: Continue reading
With the formation of SUMAC back in 2014 featuring Aaron Turner (Isis, Old Man Gloom), Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists) and Brian Cook (Russian Circles, These Arms Are Snakes) and the release of their début album, The Deal, shortly afterwards, the metal community was taken back by the sheer exponential experimentation that was introduced on this project. And let’s just say that they left quite a raw post-metal-ish impression. Nevermind that the expectations were already set pretty high with such an all-star line-up, but what is more stunning is that they met them effortlessly with The Deal, showing the machinic beauty in minimalistic chaos.
Now one can only wonder what to expect from SUMAC’s sophomore release, What One Becomes, having newly signed to Thrill Jockey Records. How are they going to show progress after such a smashing début? Well, they sure as hell did something because the bar has officially been set higher for all bands in the cold metal game. This 5-track LP is a masterpiece of mechanical pandemonium and order, props to Kurt Ballou (Converge) for mixing. All tracks clock in a minimum of 10 minutes, with the longest one, ‘Blackout’, being a 17-minute journey. One of the aspects of this record that stand out the most from the previous is that on the balance scale of control and chaos… a tad more weight was placed on control although chaos still has more emphasis.
The first stand-out track, ‘Image of Control’, pushes out an interpretation of what it feels to be in constant battle with an anxiety-ridden mind. It begins its manifestation with confused out-of-key guitar distortion and cavernous vocals. But as the clouds of confusion begin to break, the lone guitar signifies the deep breathe of relief to finally gain order in the midst of it all. And so begins the heavy monologue of awkwardly orchestrated harmony between the zombie guitar/bass riffs and marching drums. To the untrained ear, it may sound like just noise. But with each additional listen, one will realize the strong musicianship and technical skills needed to create this amazing sound.
Another stand-out track is, without a doubt, ‘Clutch of Oblivion’. It starts off with a somber annunciated guitar riff which leads into a slow progressive groove that can easily give you an Isis flashback. But SUMAC is a lot dirtier sounding and experimental, which is one of the greatest differentiations from the band members’ past projects in general. Nevertheless, the track suddenly shifts from that familiarity to this wall of epic sound, bringing the listener back down to harsh cold earth. The technicality is most notable on this track because the time signatures throughout this entire track (and every track for that matter) are so strange and unpredictable that it leaves you intrigued.
With the magnitude of progressive and experimental metal available for your listening pleasure, you can often find yourself knowing what’s coming next whether it be a down tempo breakdown, extended distortion or ambience. But with SUMAC, you truly cannot see what’s coming. Every track on the album leaves an everlasting feeling and one can easily find themselves circling back through the entire album without hesitation. This solid body of work is truly a highlight of 2016 metal releases thus far and will surely be on plenty of end-of-the-year lists.
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Steve Von Till is streaming “In Your Wings,” off of his forthcoming album A Life Unto Itself, out May 12, 2015 via Neurot Recordings. The album was recorded at Avast! Recording Co in Seattle, WA with producer Randall Dunn (Earth, Sunn O))), Wolves In The Throne Room, Marissa Nadler and Rose Windows). Von Till was joined by viola master Eyvind Kang, pedal steel wizard J. Kardong and percussionist Pat Schowe for the recording, and cover art was done by Aaron Turner (Sumac, Isis, Old Man Gloom, Hydra Head). Stream it below.
There’s prolific, there’s ubiquitous, then there’s Aaron Turner. With Isis no more than a beloved memory and the latest effort from Old Man Gloom done with its mischief-making, the man’s thirst for invention and colossal soundscapes appears unslakeable and latest project Sumac bounds into being with debut album The Deal (Profound Lore).
From the outset, earth-shaking bass notes and riffs allude to the swelling hostility of former glories. There’s a marvellous tone to the switching, slamming riff and bass of ‘Thorn In The Lion’s Paw’, as deep as the Marianas trench yet resonant, crashing through fearful, hissing amps that groan under the sheer weight. Wonderfully dictated by rolling, pulverising stickwork, Turner’s diseased bark careers the bulldozing track toward a lush, atmospheric ambience; the piercing piano keys and howling lead chord chilling the soul. It’s a typically diverse, adventurous, yet sonically booming exercise deserving of beefy cans rather than those tinny, treble-heavy ‘in-ear’ aberrations. The scything, hammer riff of ‘Hollow King’, when colliding with the frenetic rhythm episodes, is positively euphoric and claustrophobic; even an albeit accompanied drum solo and brutal jam session can’t bore, instead numbing the senses with their size and stunning display of instrumentation, the closing imitation of a pulse the beating heart of the grandest titan.
Despite the undulating power, however, there’s a self-indulgence which leads to meandering moments: the pounding, scorching Stoner twist of ‘Blight’s End Angel’ for example containing extraneous and tedious passages. Despite a rolling pummel and that ripping scour, the thirteen-minute title track houses aimless lulls broken by a crushing intensity, yet even this is occasionally stodgy and flinches only with switches of pace and enlivening lead breaks at both the halfway point and the coda. Only the drifting yet reverberating power and beauty of the YOB-like, aptly-named closer ‘The Radiance of Being’ reflects that early variance you’d expect more of.
This is still a fine album, full of Turner’s trademark phenomenal power. He is doubtless capable of more spectacular results than this, however, he would feel that someone of my limited cognitive powers couldn’t fully understand…