I’ll let you in on a little secret when it comes to reviewing metal and hardcore. If Converge’s Kurt Ballou produced or recorded an album, chances are that the getting is going to be pretty good. Two songs into Crowhurst’s III (Prophecy Productions) I found myself wondering who manned the boards and – lo and behold – the aforementioned Ballou handled the affair at the now legendary GodCity Studios. Praise the maker.Continue reading →
Weirds is not a heavy band. Or not heavy in the way that I’m accustomed to when reviewing God Dethroned or Suffocation. But on their début album, Swarmculture (Alcopop!) there is certainly traceable amounts of Hard Rock in Weirds’ diet. There’s also an abundance of post-Punk, synths, and even a dash of Blues in their musical makeup. Is this a case of too many cooks in studio?Continue reading →
And now the end is near, and so we face 2015’s final curtain, and once more the Ghost Cult army got together to vote for their favourites. The results? More than 20 writers pitched and voted on over 220 albums ranging from indie pop to the most horrific savage tentacle laden death metal showing the depth, breadth of the official Ghost Cult Album of the Year for 2015.
The votes have been cast, the dust has settled… let the countdown commence…
50. Liturgy – ‘The Ark Work’ (Thrill Jockey)
“Despite what you may have heard, The Ark Work is neither the ultimate transformation of stupid music into art nor the final betrayal of Metal’s values by the poser hordes. It is, however, one of the boldest, most distinctive and utterly unflinching Metal albums you’ll hear all year”
“A strong, distinctive album with its own character and some genuinely excellent songwriting and works well as both an introduction to one of the most genuinely interesting metal bands of the last twenty years and an album in its own right.”
44. Gorod – ‘A Maze of Recycled Creeds’ (Listenable/Unique Leader)
“Complete with Gorod’s signature Bossa Nova-infused jazzy riffs and complex arrangements, A Maze of Recycled Creeds stands not only as Gorod’s crowning achievement, but also that of 2015.”
43. Shape of Despair – ‘Monotony Fields’ (Season of Mist)
‘Monotony Fields’ adds a touch of light to the overwhelming darkness of Funeral Doom yet, far from trivialising it, only increases its power to move and intrigue. This is as refreshing as it is heartfelt and affecting.”
“Armed with 12 new ditties toasting humanity’s self-destruction, the new Slayer album is a complex one. Overall Repentless is an enjoyable, fierce album that sounds essentially like a Slayer album should.”
Publicist UK’ssound is not what I expected to hear when first seeing internet headlines of a group featuring bassist Brett Bamberger of Revocation and drummer Dave Witte formerly of Burnt by the Sun and currently Municipal Waste (among 2,000 other bands). I’ve listened to Forgive Yourself (Relapse Records) three times already today and I’m still slightly surprised by the sound. The compositions here are lush, moody, and at more often than not beautiful.
It’s the kind of music that the cool kids on college radio play while wearing obnoxious hats and chastising Interpol for “selling out.” And I like it. A lot.
Rounding out this supergroup is Goes Cube guitarist David Obuchowski and Freshkills vocalist Zachary Lipez. If you, like myself, are a fan of lower voice ranges, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised with Lipez’s haunting baritone. It alters from Bauhaus’ Peter Murphy to Joy Division’s Ian Curtis while also summoning sounds not unlike Type O Negative’s Peter Steele. Lipez has sounded strong on Freshkills releases, but here he sounds fully committed to the performance.
‘Blood Relative’ and ‘I Wish You’d Never Gone to School’ are world weary and almost shoegaze in nature. Think Deafheaven, but without the black metal edge. Music that can maintain its dark heart all the while remaining tuneful and soothing. Even old man Morrissey would nod his stubborn head to these songs.
Acting as counterbalance to the gloominess is a heavy guitar chug that wouldn’t be out of place on a Helmet record on tracks like ‘Slow Dancing to this Bitter Earth’ and ‘Levitate the Pentagon.’ ‘Away’ closes out the affair while making good use of that heavier dynamic and even throwing in some of Witte’s famous double kick-drums without feeling out of place.
When I cranked this album on my laptop the last thing I expected was the musical equivalent of Joy Division on a collision course with Cave In, but what a lovely wreck it turned out to be.
Publicist UK are an intriguing combo which see Dave Witte (Discordance Axis, Municipal Waste drummer) joining forces with Revocation bassist Brett Bamberger and team up with Distant Correspondent’s David Obuchowski and former Fresh Kills mouthpiece Zachary Lipez.
It would be natural to expect pounding rhythms and adrenaline fuelled blasts, especially considering the rhythm section. Only that couldn’t be further from the agenda. Instead gothic post-punk is the order of the day, with the spectre of the late 70s looming largely over the two tracks present here. The sound of the band is decidedly British in its choice of influences, reeking of decaying Chameleons and Fields Of The Nephilim records. “I love it when you talk real politics!” Lipez pines like Andrew Eldritch reciting the works of Fredrik Engels.
Original Demo Recordings (Static Tension) is the kind of effort fans of recent death rock troubadours such as Beastmilk may lap up, although Publicist UK are more retrospective in their style and the reverb and treble heavy production; Spiralling melodies are interwoven amongst the effortless performance of Witte, who provides a solid backbone, largely sitting back to support the song. His pulsing sixteenths accenting every nuance of ‘Slow Dancing To This Bitter Earth’ while Lipez repeats the hypnotic mantra of a chorus over jangling riffs to great effect.
They also use the music as a platform to hit out at faux social rebellion. “Wave a red flag and decorate your handbag” snarls Lipez on the latter number, clearly using it to take a swipe at insincere political campaigners who do much complaining but little to change the systems in which they live.
Since this tempting morsel has been delivered, the group have taken up residence on Relapse Records and are working on a full length. Given the murky depths this release mines, it will be interesting to see if they can progress as strongly as they have started.
Publicist UK, featuring Dave Witte (drums – Municipal Waste), Brett Bamberger (bass – Revocation), David Obuchowski (guitars – Goes Cube) and Zachary Lipez (vocals – Freshkills), have confirmed their debut release of a 7″ limited edition single, Original Demo Recordings.
The single features the songs ‘Slow Dancing To This Bitter Earth” and “Never Gone To School”, and will be released by Static Tension Recordings on 17 February 2015.
Most surprisingly, considering the day jobs of some of the members, there is nary a hint of distortion in the sound, with Publicist UK plying a Death Rock trade with strong Goth and Indie influences.
The band had never actually met prior to forming, nor had, apparently, discussed direction before writing the songs which will make up their as yet untitled debut album, released on Relapse in the Spring of 2015, with further details being announced in the new year.