Zakk Sabbath, led by Black Label Society and Ozzy Osbourne shredder Zakk Wylde, has an unlikely hit on their hands. Released by the great label Magnetic Eye, known for sick bands, tons of stoner doom original releases, and tribute albums, Vertigo, is a tribute to Black Sabbath’s historic debut album which invented heavy metal and doom metal and turned 50 in 2019. The album, released only in physical versions and without online streams still ranked worldwide on the charts, due to physical sales (Deluxe CD vinyl). The label issued a statement on the release in light of charting., which you can see below. Zakk Sabbath also includes legends of rock and metal such as bassist Blasko (Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie), and drummer Joey Castillo (Danzig, Queen Of The Stone Age, Bloodclot),
Magnetic Eye Records (MER Records) founder Mike Viteli has sent out a message reflecting on nice years as a label and thanking the fans for their support. The label recently held a Day of Doom Showcase at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, celebrating the label. Coverage is coming soon for event by Ghost Cult. Check out this message from Mike and all the cool things co,ming up next for the label for the rest of 2019, 2020 and beyond. Continue reading
If your vision of California rock n roll begins and ends with lap dancers on the Sunset Strip, riding your steel motorcycle into the romantic sunset or worrying about dockside industrial relations, then California punk upstarts The Nopes are about to light a bomb under your preconceptions.
Nectar of the Dogs (admittedly, a decent play on words), out now via Magnetic Eye, is five songs of sonic terrorism it’s acidic, acerbic, scabrous punk rock which, if he is listening, Bob Mould should be getting on the phone to his lawyer about as it sounds like his old band, Husker Du. Wait: check that. It sounds exactly like Husker Du – from the layer upon layer of guitar distortion, some of it amp-led, some of it studio twiddling, this is college rock à la 1985 writ large. Or, as Bob might have it, large writ.
I hope he’s not that grumpy though. He needn’t be. This is an EP full of piss and vinegar, in the nicest possible way. Nectar of the Dogs is eight minutes (yes, you did read that correctly) of furious, life-affirming noise. From the opening bars of ‘Matinee at Market’ to the closer, ‘Jingle Berries’, this is the aural equivalent of falling downstairs drunk- bangs, crashes, wallops and a big shit-eating grin whilst it’s all happening.
If you care about this sort of thing, you might be interested to know that production comes from those guys who twiddled knobs for Deafheaven and their début album Sunbather (Deathwish, Inc.). Whether this matters or not, I couldn’t tell you. What I can tell you though is Nectar of the Dogs is a punk record that genuinely sounds punk. Amen to that.
Any band with the word ‘horse’ in its name should be heavier than the gonads of a prize bull that’s gone without for months. This debut album from Aussie quartet Horsehunter, achieving a label reissue just months after its initial release, will indeed challenge the strongest shoulders.
Caged In Flesh (Magnetic Eye) sees its initial riff kick through a cymbal shimmer with the might of Atlas’ left boot; slow, yet dancing through colossal opener ‘Stoned to Death’. Leads flicker briefly in and out, the bass fizzes and lumbers into the quicker, rampant aggression of the second movement and vocals shift from booming cleans to savage roars. The agility of the musicianship, particularly of the lead solo halfway through this monstrous track, really allows the sound to breathe and gives added vitality, counteracting the slow, deliberate riff of the third movement nicely. That stellar lead squeals above the fulminating power, reaching the stars by the coda, with Nick Cron‘s pummelling yet measured drums laying the bedrock. It’s a magnificent early statement, a real flexing of both muscle and inventive potency, and fully portrays the mood the title demands.
A brutal, crawling intensity takes over the title track, chords and solitary beats dropping like manhole covers from the sky in a second stage pregnant with the expectation of explosion. When it comes it slurs and chugs in as a cushion for hostile screams, riffs and bass notes so gargantuan they morph under the sheer, pulsing weight. The largely serene ‘Nightfall’ is a delicious departure before the fluctuating, atmospheric coruscation of closer ‘Witchery’ twists both the mind, feet and soul in an amalgam of Sludgy groove and surprising yet ultimately euphoric Post-Black finale.
Too often its detractors malign ‘low-end’ metal music as the output of neanderthals; a narrow, one-dimensional blunder through mud with no variation or ability to change course. Those of us who are bewitched by its weight and tolling resonance know also of its myriad inventors, their creative talent and nuances which give light to the glorious shade. On the evidence here, Horsehunter are certainly pounding a road to this pantheon.