Forest Nocturne (Southern Lord) is the debut full-length LP from The Lord, a solo project of the ever-prolific Greg Anderson, perhaps best known for his work with Sunn O))). The press release uses words like “pictorial” and “cinematic”, and mentions the influence of film composers such as John Carpenter and Bernard Hermann. Continue reading →
Time to win some free shit! Oakland, California’s awesome Unknown Controller Records has relaunched and Ghost Cult is helping them celebrate! The indie label is headed by musician Paul Kott (Kalas, High Tone Son of a Bitch) and they are kicking things off with a cool, cassette-only series featuring releases from HTSoB, Ails (ex-Ludicra, Abrupt), Keverra (current and ex-Goatsnake, -(16)-) and Worshipper. You can win the entire cassette series right here, right now! Enter at the links below, but before you do, jam out to this awesome new HTSOB track “Tribute’, featuring High on Fire / Sleep guitarist Matt Pike!Continue reading →
Secrecy surrounds the release of Sunn O)))‘s latest opus Life Metal (Southern Lord Records), aimed for a limited release on Record Store Day. Who can blame them? With albums by megastars falling victim to hacks and illegal leaks, it’s frustrating but somewhat understandable to be reviewing a product after it’s initial release. Whatever the strategy an epic journey is guaranteed and, with four tracks spanning seventy minutes, the album doesn’t disappoint in that regard.Continue reading →
Thorr’s Hammer was a seminal 1990s doom metal band from the pacific northwest/Norway that included Sunn O))) and Goatsnake members Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson. Now former drummer Jamie Sykes, who has been battling several medical conditions, has gotten a preliminary diagnosis of Renal Cell Carcinoma, or a mass on one of his kidneys. Jamie’s family has set up a Gofundme campaign to help with the mounting medical costs. Please help if you can, and if you can’t donate, a simple click of the share button will aid in raising awareness. Continue reading →
It’s a staggering yet frequent reoccurrence: the hardest music to explain, often due to an apparent lack of infectious hook or because of the fact that little is actually happening, sees its orchestrators revered with an almost pathological devotion. Such is the case, of course, with US Drone gods Sunn O))). An overwhelming crush of Ambient noise, their worshippers hang onto every note, every sparing chime, as if it were a word from the heavens: their live shows remarkable for an inhuman level of sonic pain; each new recorded output more of an event, an experience, than a mere album or EP.
Latest full-length Kannon (Southern Lord) evolves in three movements, the first a sequence of pedal-strewn, cosmic, soaring chords. Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley take turns in expanding the eerie yet soothing soundscapes whilst positively terrifying guttural sounds emanate from the mouth of Mayhem’s Attila Csihar. Save for the brief introduction of didgeridoo and the atmospheric air coursing through this fifteen-minute opener, not much else of note occurs: yet it is inexplicably euphoric, haunting, muscle tightening; a spiritual epiphany which the guys conduct with almost superhuman understanding and control.
The opening chords of ‘Kannon 2’, just as economical, are nevertheless more ‘fuzzed’ and allowed to howl over an almost undetectable bass resonance. Chilling chants are intoned across a throbbing, fulminating body in an almost mournful yet Zen-like expression of emotion: an overtone of synthesised harmonics adding a barely recognisable sense of intrigue to an already hypnotic, captivating sound.
If ‘…2’ is the lament, ‘Kannon 3’ is the grave ascension. A similar structure sees that minimalist riff spike and clash with horrific anger, whilst the chanting bass voices become more sinister yet, paradoxically, reverberating to the verge of messianic celebration: a triumphal, fearful tribute to a returning, victorious tyrant. The intermittent Blackened roars, terrifying yet beatific, are both the counterpoint and the embodiment of the ability to stir and surprise while retaining control of an almost unbearably slow pace.
Masters of their sphere, legends of the galaxies, Kannon sees Sunn O))) display every shimmering ounce of their resplendent power.
Kannon had a limited white vinyl Record Store Day release last Friday, but will see official worldwide release on gatefold LP, CD and digital formats this Friday. Order the album directly via the SUNN O))) store here, at Southern Lord here, at Bandcamp here.
The band is planning many live rituals in 2016, but has announced a brief tour of Australia already. Tickets are on sale now.
SUNN O))) Australian Tour Dates:
Mar 12 2016: Adelaide Festival – Adelaide, AU w/ Magma [tickets] Mar 15 2016: Manning Bar – Sydney, AU [tickets] Mar 16 2016: Max Watts – Melbourne, AU [tickets]
Teenage Time Killers, the supergroup put together by Mick Murphy (My Ruin) and Reed Mullen (COC) is putting on a one-off all-star concert in Los Angeles on September 12th. Featuring many of the big names that make up each of the tracks ofGreatest Hits Vol 1, (Rise Records) taking the stage with Murphy and Mullen will be Randy Blythe, Corey Taylor, Neil Fallon, Lee Ving, Tommy Victor, Vic Bondi, Phil Rind, Ron Beam, Tony Foresta, Clifford Dinsmore, Tairrie B. Murphy, Jonny Webber, Greg Anderson, Pat “Atom Bomb” Loed, Karl Agell, and Trenton Rogers. Tickets are already on sale at this link:
Have you ever heard an album so good you thought it was made just for you? Like someone reached into the great boombox in your brain and pulled out just what you wanted to hear? Well, Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (Rise Records) by Teenage Time Killers is that album for me. If you have yearned for some new tunes to come along and kick your ass back to 1988, then this music is for you. Masterminded by Mick Murphy (My Ruin, and Reed Mullen (Corrosion of Conformity),the core band is rounded out by the ubiquitous Dave Grohl and chipping in everything except lead vocals and Greg Anderson (Sunn O)))/Goatsnake) and his mighty axe. In addition to a cavalcade of former and current stars from across punk and metal, it’s an ambitious attempt to turn the idea of a supergroup on its head.
Certainly, a lot of hype has gone on about the assembled players, especially the vocalists. If you re thinking of Grohl’s Probot project, you are not far off. That was Grohl paying tribute to his metal heroes. TTK is all about paying tribute to a certain mindset. An era when writing fun, smart songs that hit you where you live was the norm. Mullen has put his distinctive angry yelp on many C.O.C. albums and does a fine job here on the opening track ‘Exploder’ and on ‘The Dead Hand’. ‘Exploder’ is just a classic punk track with all the whoa-oh-ohs you can handle. Second track ‘Crowned by the Light of The Sun’ sounds like an early-era Clutch song and thus Neil Fallon is right at home singing over some stone grooves. The most blistering track here is the thrash/punk ‘Hung Out To Dry’. Randy Blythe (Lamb of God) just slays the track with his parts.
Following these first salvos the rest of the album is a tad uneven in a few places, but on repeated listens the entire thing holds together well. Jello Biafra is predictably pissed off in the too-short ‘Ode to Hannity’. ‘Barrio’ featuring Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio/Blink 182 has the second-best track on the album. It’s another fun old-school sing-a-long that is both fun and political. Mike IX (EyeHateGod), Tommy Victor (Prong/Danzig) and Tairrie B. Murphy (My Ruin) anchor the three of the remaining real standout tracks. While it’s great to have an album in 2015 with Lee Ving (Fear), Karl Agel (COC Blind/King Hitter) and Phil Rind (Sacred Reich) altogether, at times you wish the tracks were a little stronger. Although a little short of total greatness for all the meaningful names, Teenage Time Killers backed up having the stones to call this album Greatest Hits Vol 1.
Given how many of the fallen luminaries of the black/death/grind scenes have recently recaptured their former glories with a slew of successful comeback albums it was only logical that a big name from the South was going to get in on the act. With their line-up reading like a who’s who of classic stoner and doom outfits, the mighty Goatsnake have reformed after nearly a decade away with their classic line-up intact and ready to once more blend the rough with the smooth, which they do so with aplomb on third full-length Black Age Blues (Southern Lord).
Firmly rooted in Southern culture and boasting a strong Gospel influence that filters through the songs like light through stained glass windows, the members of Goatsnake may wear their hearts on their sleeves, but they are more interested in getting your hips shaking courtesy of the bulldozing riffs of guitarist Greg Anderson, whose day job is making people feel sick with Sunn 0))). The sonic waves are nowhere near as punishing as those emitted by that fearful outfit, but they certainly pack a punch. Opening track ‘Another River to Cross’ begins with the gentle sound of trickling water before a gigantic riff appears out of nowhere which the rhythm section instantly lock into for a stately march through the heat haze. Next track ‘Elevated Man’ is more upbeat, with elements of classic rock flaring up around the more standard stoner refrains, especially in the instantly hummable chorus.
The good-time vibes continue with ‘Coffee and Whisky’ which stomps along happily, aided by Anderson’s effortlessly shifting fuzzy riffs and another catchy chorus. The basic percussion adds to the frill-free atmosphere and all seems at ease until the power builds to a monstrously heavy level to close the song, indicating that the band are not interested in playing it safe. Things get even better on the pure NOLA-worshipping headbanger of the title track which the members of Eyehategod will surely be kicking themselves upon hearing for not thinking of it first. The sludge gets even thicker on ‘House of the Moon’ which sounds like it was grown in the New Orleans swamp and fed nothing but BBQ and liquor. The backing vocals from Dem Preacher’s Daughters give it a veneer of class, but not by much.
The band turn their attention away from genre lyrical tropes on the nod-along stoner jaunt of ‘Jimi’s Gone’, an ode to Hendrix that even features a brief guitar solo from Anderson. The soaring backing vocals and harmonica perfectly compliment proceedings and act as the perfect upper to the somewhat downbeat feel of ‘Graves’, which follows. The album finishes strongly with the heavy as molasses march of ‘Grandpa Jones’ which comes close to doom metal perfection, aided once more by superb backing gospel vocals before the slithering, sinister ‘A Killing Blues’ plays us out.
Clearly the time away and experience in other bands has done the members of Goatsnake the world of good. All four of them put in a stellar shift throughout Black Age Blues, from the measured percussion of Greg Rogers, the pulsing bass of Guy Pinhas and of course the fuzzy axe of ol’ Greg. However the plaudits must go to vocalist Pete Stahl, who not content with having pioneered hardcore with Scream back in the 80s, has just staked a claim for being one of the finest singers of today. His clear, soulful tones elevate the songs above the rest of their stoner/doom brethren and his vocal lines will lodge in your head for days after.
An excellent comeback album from a band that has been away for far too long. Let’s hope they decide to keep this motor running for a little longer this time around.