The worlds of Country and Hip Hop don’t often meet, but Country Rocker and producer Shooter Jennings and acclaimed rapper Yelawolf have teamed up to create their eponymous debut as a duo Sometimes Y (Slumerican). As you would expect from such divergent backgrounds, Sometimes Y is an eclectic record that is largely rock but takes many a wide and varied detour.
The albums that Grunge legend Jerry Cantrell has released across his solo career and his mothership Alice In Chains always seemed to have an intertwined relationship. 1998’s Boggy Depot and 2002’s Degradation Trip seemingly attempted to fill the void left in the wake of Alice’s hiatus and Layne Staley’s passing while Alice’s comeback albums with William DuVall on board essentially felt like Cantrell albums with extra riffs. This symbiosis turned cyclical with 2018’s Rainier Fog, which shared quite a bit of noticeable commonality with Boggy Depot . So where does Brighten, his first proper solo album in nineteen years, fit into this dichotomy?
The eleventh full-length studio release from Swedish power/prog innovators Pain of Salvation, Panther (InsideOut Music) is a concept album which presents a futuristic city in which people are separated into dogs and panthers. The dogs being “normal” people while the panthers represent “spectrum” outsiders. Continue reading
Having originally formed in Texas, Doom/Punk quartet Wailin’ Storms relocated to North Carolina and it’s possible that both areas may be contributing to the band’s thick soup of rebellion and a life in the darkness. Third album Rattle (Gilead Media) sees the band incorporate a Grungey, swamp-drenched edge to that sound, further uniting related yet disparate genres.Continue reading
If ever an album title was created with the subconscious aim of getting my attention it’s Doom Folk (Exile On Mainstream Records), the fourth solo album from multi-faceted German troubadour Conny Ochs. More famed in Metal circles for his collaborations with Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich, Ochs’ own output is equally as relevant – perhaps more so.Continue reading
Search online for bands named Trees and the only entries you’ll find are references to the glorious British Folk outfit of the late sixties and early seventies. Deep in the recesses of Finland, however, comes another such incarnation: one that joins the gathering of acts that have revitalised the genre this year.Continue reading
While he’s been largely silent over the years, it’s hard to argue with the either quality or the diversity of Rex Brown‘s output. From Pantera’s transition from glam to thrash to pure groove, to the swampy sludge of Down and Crowbar, to borderline country music with Rebel Meets Rebel, the bassist has done it all.Continue reading
Greg Graffin, frontman of the iconic Los Angeles punk band Bad Religion as well as a renowned author, will release a brand new solo album titled Millport on March 10 via the Anti- Records label.Continue reading
Last time, nobody really thought there would be a next time. Some of us maybe hoped there wouldn’t be. Four years on from Last Rites (Metal Blade) however, Pentagram return with Curious Volume (Peaceville), and there’s still a level of energy despite the weight and omen of previous victories having lost its potency.
Opener ‘Lay Down and Die’ and ‘Earth Flight’ have more of the power and sleaze of early Kiss: Bobby Liebling’s gruff vocal Simmons-like; whilst Victor Griffin’s deep riffs dance around the rhythms, his solo work proving as stellar and timeless as ever. Nowadays, of course, we’d class much of this stuff as good-time Heavy Rock, adding fuel to the argument that some people should know when to quit. ‘Dead Bury Dead’ however, with its return to Iommi-style riffage, tortured solos and lascivious vocal, sounds like a fresh foray into Liebling’s song vaults: returning the band to its former glories whilst simultaneously displaying an existing relevance.
Conversely, the ensuing title track sounds like something that should have been recorded thirty years ago: the squalling strings and ominous nature not enough to hide the belief that a younger band could have prevented this from becoming a mere ‘filler’. Similarly the Punkish feel of ‘Misunderstood’ descends to a ‘pub Rock ‘n’ Roll’ that the band’s history ill deserves, despite the up-tempo rhythm recovering some of the early vim. A return to the signature Proto / Doom of ‘Close the Casket’ and ‘Devil’s Playground’ shows where the real power of Pentagram will always reside: the tolling riffs and Bobby’s ringing yet sinister vocal betraying both his years and his troubles, while the Country Rock twangs of the latter still show they can mix the sound up.
While it strums the heartstrings to see Vic and Bob back together, it’s plainly obvious that their outfit’s best days are behind them. Still capable of eliciting an involuntary twitch of the hips however, Curious Volume is unlikely to win new fans but raises a fond smile, and still shows the odd flash of why we should be thankful for their very existence.