Despite an apparent reluctance to classify herself as a white witch Gwyn Strang, vocalist for Cleveland Doom / Post quintet Frayle, identifies as a spiritual being in touch with strong forces, and debut album 1692 (Aqualamb Records/Lay Bare Recordings) comes with a rather plush book explaining ancient magick among other things. It’s a daring opening gambit, complete with album title surely referring to the Salem witch trials, but does the accompanying music live up to this?
Sad news out of Boston as one of the legendary music venues of all time, Great Scott, has announced they will not return when the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic subsides. The club’s manager posted a Facebook message to fans, thanking them for a lifetime of memories. Great Scott, in the Allston neighborhood, was home to all kinds of music, but definitely supported all kinds of rock, metal, punk, and hardcore over the years. Ghost Cult covered countless shows at the venue including Intronaut, Nails, Royal Thunder, Corrections House, Toxic Holocaust, Revocation, Kylesa, The Krum Bums, The Atlas Moth, Kvelertak and many more. Sadly this seems to be one of a wave of clubs, bars, and small businesses crushed by the economic downturn following this pandemic. Continue reading
Did you daydream as a kid? Just stare off into nothing and let your imagination run wild? I did. A lot of my early childhood was spent amazed at what my mind could cook up with if I had a lack of books or toys, and before my soul was captured by music. Laying on my back in the grass, seeing shapes in the clouds or constellations at night, that was pure happiness as a kid. I never really stopped chasing that vibe as an adult, because I still drift off and let my brainwaves go crazy. Expect nowadays my field is my headphones and a turntable, and the clouds my mind is chasing down are inside of my eyelids, and not the sky. If you are looking for the ultimate “drop out, tune in, and turn on” soundtrack for 2020, it is definitely going to be Elder’s new opus, Omens (Armageddon Shop/Stickman Records). Continue reading
Spanish Sludge band Rosy Finch will release their brand new album Scarlet tomorrow, and Ghost Cult is bringing you the full album stream. For those unfamiliar with the band, they will immediately remind you of similar uncompromising, eclectic and heavy bands like Kylesa, Acid King, Baroness (old-school), early Mastodon and Le Butcherettes too. Scarlet was recorded and mixed at Red Records Studio and Surnia Records with mastering handled by producing legend Billy Anderson (Neurosis). Jam out the album right now! Continue reading
The term Stoner / Sludge is an insult to US quartet Torche and, what’s more, has never even come close to defining them or their blend of crushing backgrounds and soft harmonies. Fifth album Admission (Relapse Records) sees Jonathon Nũnez assume guitarist duties from the departed Andrew Elstner, with Wrong frontman and former Kylesa bassist Eric Hernandez taking over the bass role. Continue reading
Being self-analysed as having “…the total absence of tonal sanity” can cover a multitude of sins for a band, including that of openly peddling a load of pretentious shite in the name of self-expression. Fortunately, German quartet Bellrope contains some serious pedigree, being formed from the Musk Ox-bludgeon that was Black Shape Of Nexus, so debut long-player You Must Relax (Exile On Mainstream Records) is dripping with intrigue even before it begins. Continue reading
Serious praise has been heaped on LA trio High Priestess and judging by the majesty of this self-titled debut album (Ripple), much more is coming. As the name implies, the band peddles a mystical, dark yet melodious slow crush, but there’s a joyous inventiveness here that sets it apart from its peers. Continue reading
I first saw Liverpool’s Iron Witch around five years ago, supporting the once-mighty Kylesa and looking ready, with a little nervousness, to take on the globe. Cue the obligatory hard knocks and line-up changes…debut album A Harrowed Dawn (Secret Law Records) has seemed an age in the making but boy, has it been worth the wait. Continue reading
I always enjoy getting to review a début release from a band, and the recently formed noise rock group, Wrong, from Miami is no exception. Getting my hands and ears on the self-titled EP (Relapse), even if only at the 31 minute mark, has proven to be a valuable addition into my music library. Doing some further research on the group, I discovered that guitarist/vocalist, Eric Hernandez, is actually a former two-time drummer for sludge titans, Kylesa. As for the overall groove in the record, it is headbang worthy but also peppers in some aggression that is sure to please a large variety of fans. Each track does a good job in being its own entity but also sticks true to the theme.
While most of the tracks were less than 3 minutes long, there were a handful that certainly stuck out in my mind. One of the more aggressive tracks, ‘Mucilage’ has a very hardcore background to it with a great outro that has the feel of a breakdown without actually being one. One of the “longer” tracks, ‘Fake Brain’, does the best job at mixing both main influences of the aggressive side of hardcore and the noise rock side. The rhythm has heavily distortion in the guitar tone while the leads are higher pitched, tremolo picking riffs. At points, it sounds like the song wants to be powerviolence in the crescendos but stays clear of that type of chaos. Lastly, what would a self-titled record be without a self-titled song. Yes, the second to last track is entitled ‘Wrong’. This one just breaks the three-minute mark and is also a great example of the hardcore rhythm meets noise rock leads. The solo in the song is absolute scorcher as well so make sure to put on sunscreen before getting to the later stages of this release.
Going in to the first playthrough, I was not so sure of what to expect from this new group. However, I am happy to say that this EP is going to be up there with some other EPs I have listened to that will certainly be vying for a spot in many end of year lists. This is only the beginning of Wrong as I am sure they will continue to create and record music that just sounds oh so right.
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Following 2012’s Civil Disobedience for Losers (Sargent House), stoner duo Indian Handcrafts release Creeps (Sargent House) to kick off the last quarter of 2015. I was first introduced to this band when they toured with Red Fang back in 2013. They were impressive as a two piece back then and have yet to let up.
The first few songs of the album are pretty good, as expected. However, it isn’t until ‘Maelstrom’ that things change and the music really grabs you by the literal and/or metaphorical nads. This is a great song that showcases just how talented this duo is. It opens with some guitars that throw you back to the eighties for a moment before morphing more into something that you would expect to hear in a new installment of Heavy Metal. It’s so heavy and fuzzy, I love it. Whether you’re banging your head or shaking what your mama gave ya, this track will make you move.
‘The Divider’ is another groovy, riff filled track. This is one of those songs that gives me a case of what the kids call the “feels” when things slow down around the three and a half minute mark. It hurts so good though. I would absolutely love to see this played live. Even without providing me with my beloved bassist, Indian Handcrafts still shreds creates a depth and warmth to their sound that is difficult to duplicate.
This album has a lot of catchy riffs sprinkled throughout it, but the second is where it takes on a life of its own, sprouts wings, and drags you along for the ride. That alone makes this worth a listen. At the very least, do yourself a favor and check out the two songs I mentioned above. Don’t forget to catch Indian Handcrafts currently supporting Kylesa on a tour date near you. See you in Boston!
ALEIDA LA LLAVE