Migration Fest tickets are on sale now! Presented by 20 Buck Spin and Gilead Media, Migration Fest III has booked False, Mizmor, Spirit Adrift, Yellow Eyes, Immortal Bird, Obsequiae, Thou and Emma Ruth Rundle Obsequiae, Imperial Triumphant, Buried At Sea, Falls of Rauros, Kowloon Walled City, Spirit Adrift, Tomb Mold, Ulthar and many more. The full list can be seen below. The fest takes place July 31st – August 2nd, 2020 and returning to Mr. Smalls in the Pittsburgh suburb of Millvale, PA. Continue reading
Migration Fest is coming back for its third edition and it looks like a rager! Presented by 20 Buck Spin and Gilead Media, Migration Fest III has booked False, Mizmor, Spirit Adrift, Yellow Eyes, Immortal Bird, Obsequiae, Thou and Emma Ruth Rundle Obsequiae, Imperial Triumphant, Buried At Sea, Falls of Rauros, Kowloon Walled City, Spirit Adrift, Tomb Mold, Ulthar and many more. The full list can be seen below. The fest takes place July 31st – August 2nd, 2020 and returning to Mr. Smalls in the Pittsburgh suburb of Millvale, PA. Continue reading
Born in 2016 from the ashes of Atmospheric Sludgers Sòl, Portland trio Flood Peak have thus far allowed their more black-tinged slime to crawl beneath the canopy. Debut EP Plagued By Sufferers (self-released) is about to change that status, containing the shimmering lights of the former incarnation and uniting that style with a ferocious, darkened power which at times takes the breath away. Continue reading
Do you like loud sounds and overwhelming consistency? Great, then keep reading. Less Art is a group of musicians consisting of members of Thrice, Kowloon Walled City, and Curl Up And Die. They’ve got Mike Minnick on vocals, John Howell and Ed Breckinridge jamming away on guitar, Riley Breckenridge on the drums and Ian Miller slappin’ the bass. Continue reading
Los Angeles is the site of The Power Of The Riff Festival this weekend, including a sold-out pre-party tonight celebrating all things uber heavy and underground. Continue reading
Bay-area post-metal masters Neurosis have performed a new song live, ‘Broken Ground’, from their forthcoming September 23rd release Fires Within Fires via Neurot Recordings. You can watch fan-filmed video at this link or below:
Their eleventh studio album, Fires Within Fires, is the follow-up to 2012’s Honor Found In Decay, and was recorded at Electrical Audio Studio with producer Steve Albini. Pre-orders are live now from the bands website.
Neurosis Fires Within Fires track listing
1. Bending Light
2. A Shadow Memory
3. Fire is the End Lesson
4. Broken Ground
Neurosis upcoming tour dates:
Nov 07: Koko – London, UK w/ Earth
Nov 08: Koko – London, UK w/ Discharge, Subhumans
Nov 25: Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR w/ YOB, Kowloon Walled City [all ages]
Nov 26: Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR w/ YOB, Kowloon Walled City [21+]
Dec 19: Neumos – Seattle, WA w/ YOB, Sumac [21+]
Dec 20: Venue – Vancouver, BC w/ YOB, Sumac [19+]
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There’s a shimmering, spectral beginning to Light the Way (Prosthetic Records), the fourth full-length from Arizona trio North and the first to feature bassist Evan Leek as lead vocalist. Its gently stirring sound suggests no little emotion or drama ahead, and that’s certainly what unfolds. The stark, Post chimes of opener ‘Moonswan’ carry through into the title track and penetrate the heart; whilst Zack Hansen’s Doom-paced drums and Leek’s gravelly Stoner-Sludge roar, appearing less strained than that of long-time predecessor Kyle Hardy, deliver both ferocity and weight.
There are elements of both Kowloon Walled City and Black Sheep Wall here, but with a more noticeable pain and sadness: the plaintive, desperately sad music polarised by the brute force and slow pace of the rhythms, and the vocal nastiness. The sinister bass and wailing guitar opening ‘Weight of All Thoughts’ lead to a pulsating riff which at times hops and crushes with gay abandon, seemingly at odds with the soaring, emotive leads puncturing it. Similarly the Low-end, plangent hostility of ‘Earthmind’, again dictated by portentous tub-thumping and Matt Mutterperl’s colossal riff, is gradually invaded by heartfelt undercurrents.
The switches in tempo of the bruising ‘Primal Bloom’ display the band’s skill and versatility, whilst not straying far from the template. The gentle beauty of the nevertheless ominous ‘Rhef Anad’, however, does show a willingness to depart from a sound which would have proved wearing if unbroken for a full album. Indeed there’s a certain tedium in the oft cumbersome nature of the aptly-named ‘On a Beaten Crooked Path’, and the staccato ‘From This Soil’ which, although seismic and lively, loses a certain amount of impact from that unflinching vocal.
In spite of this, the juxtaposition of suffocating heaviness with sparkling, introspective chords emits attractive shards of light and shade which does win out overall. The gorgeous yet melancholic thrum and jangle of the instrumental closer ‘Relativity’, harking back to North’s earlier days, shows the band in its true light. Its delicate anger finalises a listenable set, showing enough of the invention and emotion of old to offset the intermittent chunks of flab.
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Another year, and more juicy low-end horror to get our teeth into. London trio Hag has been around for five years yet Fear of Man (DNAWOT Records) is the band’s debut album – and it’s a hulking, resonant beast of a thing.
The opening title track is a curious amalgam of Black Sabbath and the grungy/post-hardcore infusion peddled by the likes of Kowloon Walled City: vocalist Ian Baigent finding a middle ground between Ozzy Osbourne and the scarring pain of Scott Evans. The ensuing ‘Kingdom O’ and the brutal ‘Trauma Yauma’ set the tone for the rest of the album with a vicious, Stoner-Sludge vibe: a speedier, Melvins-style bluster given a Doc Marten to the arse, with Baigent’s growl reminiscent of Matt Pike. ‘…Yauma’, however, cascades beautifully to a staggered, psych-drenched second movement which shows the band’s invention alongside some endearing rough edges.
A potent production brings every ingredient to the fore, giving the roars of ‘Rainbow Dust’ no little beef whilst forcing huge riffs and Tamas Kiss’s titanic drums through the soul. The High on Fire link grows throughout the album, in particular through the sandpaper groove of ‘Low’, and the slightly ponderous yet fathomless ‘Metal Detector Man’ and ‘White Lion’. The swelling, ferocious riffs and powerful drums prove the overriding influence of the Americans, but a unique English personality allows those variations to shine through and help the band find their own identity.
The intricate, Jazz-tinged structures of the latter tracks, following a ‘stop-go’ format, are augmented by Bluesy leads which, although fleeting, leave their mark and exemplify that nasty charm. The rhythms of the penultimate ‘Beaten at Your Own Game’ pummel the mind whilst leading the senses a merry dance, with Robin Freeman’s bass work utterly ground-shaking. Closer ‘Wrong Bar’, meanwhile, shows both the few flaws and soaring attraction of Hag’s nefarious intent: a slightly limited vocal working alongside crushing power; an occasionally lumbering pace twisted and transformed by sheer oscillating muscle and flowering creativity.
This is an album that will continue to grow, overshadowing any limitations while flinging forward the boundless ammunition in Hag’s arsenal.
As we dash towards the holidays and the end of the year Ghost Cult is feeling good about this season of giving. So we are giving our fans a chance to get to know our partners, peers, and friends from bands in the world of music. They will chime in with some guest blogs, end of year lists, and whatever else is on their minds as we pull the plug on 2015. First up is our pal Seth Werkheiser from Skull Toaster Metal Trivia (@skulltoaster)
Hi – metal friends and people who enjoy reading things on the internet. My year-end list is a mix of metal and rock – but for a dude who grew up on Guns N Roses and Helmet – well – this is the sort of year-end list you get from me in 2015. I left some obvious picks (ahem – FNM) off my list – as they’ll get enough attention everywhere else – and tried to focus on picks that found their way into my life by random BandCamp exploring and listening to a handful of fine folk on Twitter (hey – I’m @sethw). Please enjoy.
10. Super Unison – Super Unison
This is Meghan O’Neil’s new band after leaving Punch and this EP is killer.
9. Spylacopa – Parallels
Groovy in some places, atmospheric in others. All makes for a solid album that I’ve spun many times this year.
8. Torpor – From Nothing Comes Everything
Airy and doomy, super loud trio from the UK.
7. Our Oceans – Our Oceans
Ex-Cynic projects will always win me over: catchy- pretty- and bound with energy.
6. Royal Thunder – Crooked Doors
This album is going to age like some sort of hard drink; burning and so smooth.
5. Kowloon Walled City – Grievances
‘Grievances’ sounds like what every overcast, rainy day looks like. And those are my favorite sorts of days.
4. Coliseum – Anxiety’s Kiss
Like an old car with a manual transmission and no power steering, ‘Anxiety’s Kiss’ hurts so good.
3. Mutoid Man – Bridgeburner
This album is majestic, like surfing on the back of a gold-plated eagle that shoots lightning bolts from its eyeballs.
2. OHHMS – Cold
Two songs is more than enough for me. Just like you don’t fast forward classic movies to the “good parts,” so is this album – you listen to the build-ups like an adult!
1. Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love
This is the most metal album of the year for me. I get chills listening to each chorus and all that riffing. The vocals on this whole album just sound ferocious – like they mean something.
Follow Seth and Skulltoaster
Seth online at sethw.com
Despite the fraught hostility coursing through the first two albums from San Francisco Sludge quartet Kowloon Walled City, there was evidence of a Post-hardcore sensibility. It’s no surprise, therefore, to see a heightening of the band’s melody on third album Grievances (Neurot).
Brief flurries of lead are evident from the outset, but so is a slow pace; Ian Miller’s rumbling bass, especially throughout tolling closer ‘Daughters and Sons’; and Scott Evans’ embittered yell. What opener ‘Your Best Years’ misses in urgency and frenetic neurosis, it gains in feeling and an almost unbearable tension: sections where brakes are applied evoke scenes of tethered wild animals straining to be free. The ensuing title track has the same doleful, stone-kicking pace: violent desires suffocated by a Doom-like oppression which leaves every synapse twitching with the harrowing drama of it all. When the explosion occurs at the track’s midway point, it too is sufficiently reined to maximise its powerful statement. Less, here, is more…
It is this skill which Kowloon Walled City possess in buckets: the ability to move further toward the more touching, tortured elements of Touché Amoré without sacrificing their own aggravated, pummelling core. Timing, especially with the introduction of Evans’ vocal, is immaculate and delivered to optimum effect with always a word left out there hanging past the instrumentation: the “Weaknesses…” refrain to ‘Backlit’ is positively chilling. Yet it all feels so organic, a fluid part of the breathing whole.
That anger is occasionally allowed its freedom, within the crashing ire of ‘The Grift’ for example, yet it remains tempered by a complexity of sound: the guilt after lashing out which even the tweak of strings at the track’s coda highlights. This is the embodiment of pure expression: an album depicting a person with so much justified anger, yet is too nice to show it or feels like shit when they do. An album fizzing with pain and frustration yet constantly, feverishly, grasping at its reins for fear of what could happen if let loose. The pregnant ‘True Believer’ epitomises this fragile balance: a squall of pent-up hurt and aggression which flays the skin when the bubble pops.
Grievances is an at times unsettling and traumatic but always potent experience, blowing this year’s closest relative, Black Sheep Wall’s I’m Going to Kill Myself (Season of Mist), from the water by more accurately personalising the rawness and unpredictability of suppressed emotion.