ALBUM REVIEW: Between the Buried and Me – Between the Buried and Me- Remixed and Remastered

The first time I saw Between the Buried and Me live was at The Gramercy Theatre in New York City, during a tour for their then-newly released Colors (Victory Records) album; it was a pivotal period for the group who had, at that time, seen a series of lineup changes in short order. Five drummers, four guitarists, and three bassists later, the band was shaping their sound to dull the edges from the ever-aggressive Silent Circus (Victory Records) and Alaska (Victory Records) albums to an arguably more technically complex, albeit at times mellower, Jazzy era that would set the tone for the rest of their musical trajectory as we know it today. Continue reading

Astronoid – Astronoid

For all the directions and manner of subject matter that Metal music conveys, for a record to be purely joyous and sincerely uplifting, not simply fun or adrenaline pumping, is a rarity. It is this feeling that Boston, Massachusetts’ own Astronoid tap in to. Their debut effort Air came from out of nowhere and made waves in some circles, whilst criminally going unnoticed by many others, with a sound entirely of their own. Where Air was an excellent and unique debut, their self-titled (both Blood Music) follow-up is Astronoid refining and fully realising who they are. Continue reading

The Mound Builders – The Mound Builders

After seven years of relative silence since their debut, the excellently monikered The Mound Builders use the opening minute of their self-titled sophomore album (Failure Records and Tapes) to well and truly set the scene. There’s a triumphant opening chord ringing out, with more than a hint of Volume 4 (Vertigo) about its tone, Ryan Strawsma hits a vintage clanking bass run and the swinging drums come in. By the time Jim Voelz’ raw shouts come in on top, we’re well underway to establishing this is going to be a fun, riffy, High On Fire fuelled uptempo Sludge Metal romp, with all the essential hints of Hardcore to pepper things up. Continue reading

Cloudburst – Cloudburst

One of the most appealing aspects of getting to listen to Cloudburst’s self-titled sophomore (Samstrong Records) effort is learning that they hail from Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Through years of tape trading, international touring and eventually communicating online we’ve always known that the extreme music market is indeed a global one, but it’s always exciting to receive these imports. Continue reading

Trees – Trees

Search online for bands named Trees and the only entries you’ll find are references to the glorious British Folk outfit of the late sixties and early seventies. Deep in the recesses of Finland, however, comes another such incarnation: one that joins the gathering of acts that have revitalised the genre this year. Continue reading

Burning Vow – Burning Vow

We’re nearing the end of another year and no doubt we’re all scrabbling together our now mandatory album of the year lists, all the while agonizing over those handful of records that we leave out or forget, to showcase our personal highlights and the standouts that will be used in future years as a signifier for the high quality of music 2018 has bestowed upon us. Continue reading

Thunder Horse – Thunder Horse

Fancy that, Thunder Horse (BC/TX) just happens to be the debut LP from well, err, Thunder Horse. I’m only surprised because even the youngest bands today seem to have a trail of EPs and singles before jumping onto the hollowed full length. And as far as musical maiden journeys go, this San Antonio outfit has hit the ground running. Continue reading

Dead Letter Circus – Dead Letter Circus

The self-titled album is an interesting concept. Where the eponymous opus is not a debut, it is usually installed into a band’s canon as a way of stating that a specific album is either a summation of everything that represents a band – their pinnacle and natural conclusion of a journey of sound – or a launch of a bold new chapter, a “look at me now” redesign and rebranding. Fourth album in, and Australian Alternative Rock act Dead Letter Circus have opted to go down that route as a way of combining both those factors – a presentation of all that they have been, and a refocusing and refining of direction. Continue reading

Jøtnarr- Jøtnarr

Over the course of numerous EP releases and various appearances in the UK’s underground scene, Colchester trio Jøtnarr have begun to garner quite a reputation. Where the blend of black metal and crust punk is, by now, all the rage, in the hands of Jøtnarr it becomes a whole new beast which fully incorporates it all fluidly through sludgy grooves and an intensity that makes it their own. If early EP’s were impressive, however, this full self-titled debut (SuperFi) fully realises and hones their vision. Continue reading

Pound – Pound

Although hardly a recent phenomenon, duos are still quite the novelty in rock and metal. While often lazily lumped into that category, acts such as Satyricon, Anaal Nathrakh, and Alcest tend to utilise session musicians when it comes time to record or tour, while those who operate strictly within the parameters of two permanent members and nobody else are still pretty much a rarity in the field. However, thanks to the likes of doomsters Mantar, and Eagle Twin, the drone pair of Nadja, synthwave crew Zombi, and space-rockers Black Asteroids, there does seem to be an apparent rise in the number of genuine duos. Continue reading