This past year was a huge one for music with so many bands releasing new material it was hard to keep up, even for us here at Ghost Cult. So many legacy bands, modern classic acts, and up and comers dropped new music this year, some may wish they had waited until 2017 to drop it like it’s hot. Without further ado, here are our picks for the new tunes you need in your life in 2017. Continue reading
Brooklyn trio Mortals garnered much-deserved attention with the visceral Sludge of last year’s second full-length Cursed to See the Future (Relapse Records), and hot on its heels comes the dark horror of their single-track contribution to this ‘split’ with Philly nasties Repellers (Broken Limbs). Led in by the sound of a rabid werewolf coming in for the kill and terrifying the shit out of the listener, ’10 Years of Filth’ is nevertheless a cleaner sound than one would imagine, but that and the quickened, Occult Doom-style pace still fails to lift the omen of the terrifying vocal scour.
There’s a melodic, NWOBHM sound to the riff at times, yet, when the defiling power of Caryn Havlik’s drums kicks in at the two-third mark, the resonance is electrifying. With leadwork and closing riffs possessing elements of Blackened Punk, this is a pulverising yet complex and occasionally emotional rollercoaster which further enhances the ladies’ collective reputation.
Every aspect of the Low End seems present in the sound of Crusty trio Repellers: from the morose, ‘spaghetti western’ feel of the intro to opener ‘Descend’, through the rampaging Stoner-Death intensity of its riff and rhythms, to the downright filthy croak which is as evil as it gets and the most hoarse rasp you’ll hear this side of hell’s frozen wastes. At times the speed of ‘Descend’ clean rips by, the band right on the edge of keeping time, the scything riff and pounding drums of the coda vicious and seething. A sinister opening to ‘From Jericho to Ai’ sees a terrifying, ponderous pace given a fulminating power by flashing, savage breaks and the expiring roars of the track’s second half. The initial melancholy of ‘False Solace’, rising to the band’s more familiar Blackened Thrash crush, closes an intriguing, mauling set with a paradoxical twist of emotion.
An interesting tussle then, full of twists and turns. Overall the spoils must go to Mortals, but their lesser-known partners offer up plenty of atmospheric brutality and many talking points.
Skeletonwitch, Goatwhore and Mortals will play the following European/UK Tour this spring:
Apr 03: Inferno Fest – Oslo, NO
Apr 04: Kulturakademin – Motala, SWW
Apr 06: Pumpehuset – Copenhagen, DEN
Apr 07: Hafenklang – Hamburg, GER
Apr 08: Bastard Club – Osnabruck, GER
Apr 10: Roadburn Festival – Tilburg, NET
Apr 11: Sound Control – Manchester, UK
Apr 12: Voodoo Lounge – Dublin, IRE
Apr 13: Ivory Blacks – Glasgow, UK
Apr 14: The Oobleck – Birmingham, UK
Apr 15: Corporation – Sheffield, UK
Apr 16: Underworld – London, UK
Apr 17: Magasin 4 – Brussels, BEL
Apr 18: Underground – Koln, GER
Apr 19: Covent Garden – Paris, FRA
Apr 20: La Nef – Angouleme, FRA
Apr 21: Sala Lemon – Madrid, SPA
Apr 22: Sala Razz 3 – Barcelona, SPA
Apr 23: MJC O Totem – Lyon, FRA
Apr 24: Dynamo/ Werk 21 – Zurich, SWI
Apr 25: Lo Fi – Milan, ITA
Apr 26: Traffic Live – Rome, ITA
Apr 27: p.m.k. – Innsbruck, AUT
Apr 28: Backstage – Munchen, GER
Apr 29: Conne Island – Leipzig, GER
Apr 30: Magnet – Berlin, GER
May 01: Arena – Wien, AUT
May 02: Exit-us – Prague, CZE
Following their recent tour stop at Bogie’s in Albany NY, Mortals sat down with Bella Vendetta to chat about many topics including, social media, touring life vs home life, signing to a label, what is American Black Metal exactly, touring Europe for the first time, and much more. Cursed To See The Future is out now on Relapse Records.
Almost quietly, yet in spectacular fashion, American Black Metal as a scene has had an amazing year in 2014. While it’s not kvlt or troo to humblebrag or worse, fall into douchecelebrations over it, this was a year of great releases, many sick tours, and a further maturation of the landscape. While our Scandinavian forefathers still banging around are doing the senior festival circuit full of theatricks, and our better distant relations in Western Europe favor throwback flavors and doom inflected jams, USBM could not be in a more original state of being than right now. Among the flashy all-star affairs (Twilight), the gargantuan name releases (Krieg, WITTR) and morbid curiosities (Blake Judd in general and others) two amazing releases from USBM bands were by Wolvhammer and Mortals. Such glee to see them tour together several times this year as both bands compliment each other well.
Let’s not kid ourselves… I would love to say this show was as packed as Agalloch was last summer, but it wasn’t. In a torrential month of shows, this night was one you either played or made an effort to get here and be part of this. There were maybe 60 people plus band personnel tops in the room. For me it felt really special and intimate, not abandoned. I am not ready to share all these bands with everyone just yet either. There might be a certain power in the anonymity somehow, as if at least the Boston/Cambridge hipsters didn’t even make it out to this show en masse. Normally I’d be bummed about the light turnout, but it was ok. Oh and there was a guy in a fur coat that would make Liberace jelly and a smelly Oi punk kid that raged the entire night, even in the lighter moments musically!
The night started off with two locals in Stranger and LIVVER. Stranger is indeed strange. Sort of a New Romantics, Factory Records-era dance punk band troupe, complete with a singer that came on like the love child of Ian Curtis and Debby Harry, which came out of the womb to murder Lee Ving with a straight razor and steal his lungs. It was all over the place, and hard for them to keep the plot, but I liked it. Especially vocalist B who I think is scratching the surface of her talent right now. She was harsh and focused the entire set, which contrasted nicely with the music. LIVVER was playing the last show for their album cycle for their excellent Fuck You Pay Me (Ammonia Records) album. It felt like a last show too, an everything, but the kitchen sink performance that would be hard to follow for most other bands. Vocalist Bruce Bettis’ agonized shrieking help wake up the crowd as he paced the stage, hiding in the shadows. It was especially nice to see my buddy Breaux Silcio crushing behind the kit tonight, ending his brief run of shows for the band as a fill in. They are seeking a permanent drummer so if you know someone who loves hostile music, hit them up.
Mortals came next and the place got about as full as it was going to get on chilly Thursday night. The three ladies of the band set up quickly and got right down to work. Work being an aural black metal beatdown at a high level. After staring off as a bleak, blackened punk prospect a while back, Mortals twisted into form after a few years, releasing the sick Cursed To See The Future on Relapse this summer. Just tough and unrelenting riffage with little let up, this band just brains you with the business end of the musical stick for the duration of their set. Sort of a Neurosis meets Tombs with a bit of the light and atmospherics of those two sludgey bands, and all of the killer grooves and licks. Their dynamic composing gives way to long song structures that kept constantly unfolding, and holding your interest. Most of their songs are drawn out affairs, and take the time to envelope you. Terrifying dueling vocals and even stronger riffs mark this beastly sound and everyone in the place was digging it.
Before Wolvhammer took the darkened stage, I hung out with the band a bit in the dressing room (one can hardly call it a green room with so much gear and so little furniture and accoutrements) and we chatted about some stuff for a future interview series. They liked seeing the fans faces talking to them and getting feedback about their current album, Clawing Into Black Sun (Profound Lore). Wolvhammer are very much a surging, iconic band, without trying too hard to be one. They have their own sensibility and influences they set them apart from others, but coming from the cold kvlt Mid-West, there is a familiar sonic thread too. Another thing about their music we joked about to me what is the upbeat, march-y, sturm und drang of their tempos. Don’t get jumpy, they are blackened punks who aren’t Nazi punks, so… fuck off!
Hitting the stage in total darkness, with only some occasional floor lit blue L.E.D. Lights for mood, the band cut a striking figure as the y lurched into their opener. Adam Clemons (Liar in Wait) cuts a striking figure in that darkness. Razor thin, with a bit of lurch over the microphone, his vitriolic barking is so hoarse and broken sounding, it is alarming. His gravely tone certainly lends weight to the impact of his words. As they are want to do, the band builds up and breaks down sounds led by Jeff Wilson’s (Chrome Waves, Liar In Wait) dirge guitar ministrations. Even though Wolvhammer is unquestionably heavy, they pack a lot of soul into riffs and parts. A slightly drone part will creep in and leave a smile, even though everyone else is scowling.
Driven by drummer Heath Rave, the songs flowed, yet were tight as fuck. Nothing gets me more open than when a drummer is precise AND heavy hitting. Drums are supposed to be impacting to you physically and emotionally, not always robotic and fast, especially in this style of music. I’m glad Heath gets it. Meanwhile the band played in a workman like manner that belies how amazing they are as performers. No posturing and posing, just great musicianship. They are the perfect vehicle for this bleak music. I’m looking forward to more tours and albums from these guys.
WORDS: KEITH CHACHKES
PHOTOS: EMMA PARSONS
More excellent news from our favorite music festival in the world this week. First Enslaved and Wardruna announce they will jointly perform Skuggsjá, an original piece dedicated to the 200th anniversary of Norway’s constitution. The Roadburn performance will be the first outside of Norway.
Then the festival released the original artowrk, by Arik Roper (Sleep, High on Fire, Earth, Weedeater, The Black Crows).
And the festival also announced the addition of more great bands such as Bongripper, Floor, Sólstafir, Virus, White Hills, Messenger, Junius, Skeletonwitch, Svartidaudi, Mortals & more.
Ticket Pre-Sales Start Thursday, Oct 16th 2014 at 21:00 CET; Pre-Sales Party at The 013 Venue (NL)
From The Press Release:
Roadburn Festival 2015 Ticket Pre-Sales Start Thursday, Oct 16th 2014 at 21:00 CET; Pre-Sales Party at The 013 Venue (NL)
Bongripper, Floor, Sólstafir, Virus, White Hills, Messenger, Junius, Skeletonwitch, Svartidaudi, Mortals, The Osiris Club and Zoltan also confirmed for the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival.
We’re elated to announce that Enslaved and Wardruna will perform Skuggsjá, the sound of Norway’s Norse History at Houses of the Holistic, Ivar Bjørnson‘s and Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik‘s curated Roadburn event on Friday, April 10 at the 013 venue inTilburg, The Netherlands.
Written by Bjørnson and Selvik for the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution and premiered this past weekend at the Eidsivablot festival, this will be Skuggsjá‘s first performance outside of Norway, and will certainly be one of the highlights of the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival.
Skuggsjá translates into ‘mirror’ or ‘reflection’ in the Norse language, and the commissioned piece not only contextualizes harder music’s role in the democracy in Norway in 2014, but also joins threads from the country’s ancient musical history and solidifies harder music’s position as Norway`s most important cultural export.
By highlighting ideas, traditions and instruments of their Norse past, Skuggsjá will tell the history of Norway and reflect relevant aspects from the past into the present day. In light of this they will reflect on themselves as a people and nation. In a magnificent tapestry of metal instrumentation, a wide variety of Norway and Scandinavia’s oldest instruments, and poetry in Proto-Scandinavian, Norse and Norwegian, Skuggsjá will be a fusion between past and present, both lyrically and musically.
We simply can’t wait to experience it ourselves, to hear how how Norwegian metal has developed from its rebellious roots into the highly acclaimed artistic expression of a complex music genre, under Norway’s constitutional right to freedom of speech.
In related news, Virus, Junius, Skeletonwitch, Svartidaudi and Icelandic heathensSólstafir, who are currently making huge waves with their latest release, Ótta, are also confirmed for Houses of the Holistic, Ivar Bjørnson‘s and Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik‘s curated Roadburn event on Friday, April 10 at the 013 venue.
Tickets for the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival, set for April 9 – 12 at the 013 venue inTilburg, The Netherlands, will go on sale on Thursday, October 16, 2014. Set your alarm and get ready to score your tickets at 21:00 CET!
The majority of Roadburners live outside The Netherlands, which is why ticket pre-sales will start at 21:00 CET. This should be convenient for most time zones. Apologies to our friends in Oceania who will have to wake up early (or just stay up late)!
We are pleased to report that there will be NO price increase this year. Three-day tickets will be available for 165 Euros (excl. servicefees); four-day tickets will cost 185 Euros (excl. service fees). Afterburner-only tickets will cost 32.50 Euros (excl. service fees). Please note that one-day tickets are not available for the Thursday, Friday or Saturday Roadburn dates. Online buyers can order a maximum of four tickets.
For everyone in the Netherlands and Belgium: we are aware that your local ticket outlets will not be open when pre-sales start, which is why we are throwing another pre-sales party at the 013 venue in Tilburg (NL). From 19:00 CET – 20:30 CET you will be able to purchase a maximum of four paper tickets for Roadburn Festival 2015. Guaranteed!
In addition to making it easy to get tickets, the pre-sales party is going to be a blast! This year, we have invited The Machine and Radar Men From The Moon to provide the soundtrack.
The live music part of the evening starts at 20:30 CET. Roadburn’s artistic director/promoter Walter Hoeijmakers will be on hand to share the latest festival updates, too.
Chicago instrumental band Bongripper will make a welcome return to the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival with two sets that feature their unique brand of devastating doom. The first will see them play their latest album, Miserable, in its entirety at the main stage onThursday, April 9. The second will be later that weekend (more info about the date to be determined).
If you are a fan of stellar riffs and molasses-thick distorted guitar tone, Floor has everything you want in music. These Floridian sludge/pop pioneers get a lot of comparisons to lead singer/guitarist Steve Brooks other band, Torche — and rightfully so — with his instantly recognizable singing style and guitar tone. Floor, however, is the essence of pure heaviness, with just a nod to the pop melodies that have spurred Torche on to crossover success. Come feel the downtuned thunder of Floor’s bassless power trio attack when Floor plays the main stage of the 013 venue at the 2015 Roadburn Festivalon Thursday, April 9.
Combining many of the essential themes of Roadburn music in their volatile sonic elixir — psych, space rock, stoner rock, kraut rock and noise — have made White Hills one of Roadburn‘s favorite bands. Their bespangled and energetic live shows have a life and chaotic energy of their own that reshapes their music and creates powerful sonic programming driven by pure energy, exactly the kind of thing that Roadburn celebrates, and fans seek. White Hills will make a very welcome return to Roadburn for a main stage performance on Sunday, April 12.
After winning the limelight category for the brightest young rising stars in the progressive sky today at this year’s Progressive Music Awards this past weekend, Messenger will bring their acid folk/prog and psychedelica to the 20th edition of Roadburn on Saturday,April 11.
Mortals, The Osiris Club and Zoltan have also been confirmed for the 20th edition of Roadburn Festival.
Curated by Ivar Bjørnson (Enslaved) and Wardruna‘s Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik, Roadburn Festival 2015 (including Skuggsjá, Enslaved, Wardruna, Fields of the Nephilim, Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin performing Dawn of The Dead and Susperia in its entirety, Zombi, Sólstafir, White Hills, Bongipper,Floor and The Heads as Artist In Residence among others) will run for four days from Thursday, April 9to Sunday, April 12 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
While most bands from Brooklyn should be viewed with caution given the possibility they may be a hipster plot to infiltrate the metal scene, at least according to a certain breed of metal ‘fan’, in the case of power-trio Mortals one should preferably don body armour and a hard hat lest you be flattened in the wake of their thunderous, bulldozing assault. Once their sophomore full-length release Cursed To See The Future (Relapse) starts to move, it barely lets up in single bloody-minded intensity over the course of forty-seven pulverising minutes.
Blending the feral, filth-flecked riffage of Mayhem at their most ugliest with the battering ram impact of crusty US types High on Fire and Lair of the Minotaur, Cursed To See The Future takes the Route One approach in terms of pace and structure; it’s quick, nasty and aggressive with minimal concessions to melody, akin to being repeatedly pounded over the head with a bone by a rabid caveman under a full moon. In short, it’s a wholly Neanderthal, unsubtle manner of playing and for the most part it’s utterly exhilarating as the frenzied attack of opening track ‘View From a Tower’ demonstrates while the more mid-paced, shifting grooves of ‘The Summoning’ remind you just how punishing sludge can be.
All three musicians are exemplary throughout with the triumphant drumming of Caryn Havlik deserving special praise while the venomous screech of Lesley Wolf lends an air of demonic intensity to proceedings that just makes everything that bit more evil sounding. One complaint is that some of the longer songs tend to drag at nearly ten minutes but with the overall assault being so devastating you’ll likely be too busy trying to catch your breath to care.
This is one band for the future we could do with seeing more from.