High Tone Son Of A Bitch – Death Of A New Day / Eye In The Sky

High Tone Son Of A Bitch. That’s it right there eh?! ‘Nuff said. Only it’s not even the half of it. Back in 2007, with merely one EP to the Oakland quintet’s name, ex-Cruevo guitarist Drew Kott fell from a San Francisco window and plunged his bandmates, especially brother Paul, into a deep mourning. It sparked a long hiatus which was broken by last year’s release of long-recorded EP Velocipede (Self-released), and there’s a show of intent to stick around with new two-track Death Of A New Day / Eye In The Sky (Self-released). Continue reading

Un / Coltsblood – Un / Coltsblood

When I heard about this particular collaboration, I swear a little bit of wee came out. Seattle’s Un is still reveling in the success of last year’s coruscating, moving Sentiment (Translation Loss Records), while Scouse / Scottish hybrid Coltsblood have laid waste to the UK Underground for the last five years. This split, therefore, promises to be a leveller on both sides of the Atlantic. Continue reading

BAK – Flower EP

Though enigmatic Australian duo BAK released an album back in 2010, new EP Flower (self-released) is the first time the band has released any music in the UK. Despite having a base of Beau Djekic and Kit Dyson this Arabian / Prog hybrid at times involves a full orchestra and up to 100 musicians in total. This release is, therefore, highly intriguing. Continue reading

Barbarian Hermit – Solitude and Savagery

Since their inception in 2013, Manchester quintet Barbarian Hermit has focused the vast majority of its Sludge grooves on live audiences around its home city and the rest of the UK. After two years of upheaval which has seen one original member return and two leave, debut album Solitude and Savagery (self-released) sees the band set out toward a brave new horizon. Continue reading

Shrykull – Shrykull

 

From the fetid depths of Nottingham’s catacombs comes Shrykull, a duo whose severe, wicked noise would shake the foundation of their city. Debut album Shrykull (self-released) is a sub-half-hour blast through blackened hell and pummelling Sludge which commences with the unholy ‘Plagued’: a brutal maelström preceding a morose, often funereal-paced second movement which is wonderfully controlled by William Powell’s spiked riffs and Kez Whelan’s hammer blows. Whelan’s screams cut to the the bone, never better displayed than on the rampant ‘Deafened By The Echo’, Powell’s ireful guitar buzz covering the frantic yet controlled battery. Continue reading

Son of Hawk – Son of Hawk

Hailing from South Africa, Son of Hawk’s self-titled, self-released debut is a visceral blast of hard rock, with the riffs of Rage Against the Machine, the energy of Clutch and the raucousness of the Dropkick Murphys. Here are twelve songs whose charms are obvious from the get-go. Continue reading

Nomasta – House of the Tiger King

House of the Tiger King (Self-Released) is a record that very much wears its influences on its sleeve. Born out of Leeds’ underground DIY scene, the members of Nomasta have put in the legwork over the past 10+ years, with vocalist/guitarist Owen Wilson and drummer Andy Richards previously being a part of the very much missed Canaya as just one of many examples. Channelling the psychedelic spirits of the likes of Mastodon, Baroness, and a huge helping of High On Fire, the UK’s new favourite sludge-mongers Nomasta have put their name to an energetic, riff-heavy, and crudely produced record that has more complexity than you would initially assume on first listen. Continue reading

One Machine – The Final Cull

One Machine The Final Cull album cover 2015

It’s no secret that metal music seems to be getting tamer recently, especially due to the influx of metalcore bands dominating the scene. However, there is no need to lose hope yet. If you are craving a dose of proper metal then you definitely need to check out what One Machine have been up to. Their latest album, The Final Cull (self-release), serves as testament (no pun intended) that traditional metal music will never die.

Opening track ‘Forewarning’ opens with a killer guitar riff: it is almost as if Steve Smyth (Nevermore, Forbidden, Dragonlord, Vicious Rumors) and co. are warning the listener that there will be no gimmicks or frills used on The Final Cull, just pure metal music. Chris Hawkins’ vocals are as powerful as ever, allowing the listener to fully engage with the lyrical content.

Title track ‘The Final Cull’ is about the captain of a ship on the stormy seas carrying human cargo, and he is unsure of whether the humans are alive or dead. The morbid theme of the song is not only apparent from the lyrics, but it is also emphasised by the gloomy orchestral opening of the song. This progresses into a heavy and unforgettable song which will send shivers down your spine.

‘New Motive Power’ is a four-minute thrill-ride of a song. The shredding guitar riffs make it almost impossible to sit still through and it will be interesting to see how this song would sound live. It is powerful, passionate and heavy: everything that metal music should be.

Ashes In The Sky’ begins as a beautiful and melodic song, completely different to all of the other songs on The Final Cull. Chris’ voice is soothing and relaxing, which could easily make you think that you are listening to the wrong album. However, around the two and a half minute mark the song progresses into a heavier dimension with chugging guitar riffs.

Both old and new fans will find something to love about this incredible offering from One Machine. It is hard to be disappointed with an album which will make you want to either smash things up or drive full-speed down the motorway.

7.5/10

 

JULIA CONOPO