Yatra‘s 2018 début album Death Ritual (Grimoire Records), rather than being a “grower”, receded in appeal due to the unflinching harshness of their slow, Doom-laden sound and the voice of Dana Helmuth, which sounds as if Gaahl had been gargling on hop-bombs. There were flickers of invention in the Maryland trio’s sound, however, and these are further explored in follow-up Blood of the Night (STB Records). Continue reading
There’s something in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada’s water (or maybe it’s the Molson) that just lends itself to riff writing. Need proof? Fuck the Facts have just released their tenth studio album, Desire Will Rot (Noise Salvation). And that’s without counting all their previous EPs, compilations and like 4 billion splits. Eighteen years later and bastardized grindcore still lives.
And not only live, but slay as well. Age has not dulled the musical blade of Fuck the Facts as they spend the better part of 30 minutes hitting you with an endless volley of liver punches. Rippers like ‘Prey,’ ‘Everywhere Yet Nowhere’ and skull splitting ‘Solitude’ will beat you to the point of handing over any monetary possessions. It’s like a sonic cocktail containing an ounce of Trap Them, one part Napalm Death, and a dash of Ion Dissonance. Garnish said highball with some of the most ferocious vocals in the business courtesy of Mel Mongeon.
And while they can jackhammer beats with best of them, this Canadian brand of grindcore also allows for moments of breadth not unlike the mighty Pig Destroyer. ‘La Mort I’ and its immediate follow-up ‘La Mort II’ contain some rather neat lead guitar work that at times almost flirts with sounding progressive.
And much to my pleasant surprise the album ends with a series of slower jams starting with ‘False Hope’ which is all fury and flames in its initial two minutes only to give way to Eyehategod like waves of sludge. ‘Circle’ and ‘Nothing Changes’ continue to lengthen the running times and widen the sonic soundscape. Album closer ‘Nothing Changes’ is a particular highlight as it’s more in line with Serpentine Path or Converge at their slowest moments.
By the sounds of it, bastardized grindcore has a long life ahead of it. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to try some of that Molson.
From highly-rated Belfast quartet War Iron comes a morose, ponderous noise infected by the pure evil of Andrew ‘Baggy’ Bagwell‘s nefarious, slurring rasp. Dual leads pluck the heartstrings at intervals through the crushing riff and crawling, titanic rhythms of ‘Bludgeon Lord’, the opening track of third album Precession of the Equinoxes (Independent). A warm, crackling production heightens the sinister feel and prevents the quickening bridges from exploding into a full-on Death assault; instead applying the reins enough to make one marvel at how such a precariously-balanced pace is kept.
The desolate peal of ‘Summon Demon Scream the Abyss’ is initially accompanied by a penitent chorus before that terrible lascivity seeps over the body; a funeral groove, twisting with the slowing power and weight of a dying anaconda. Baggy’s repetitive early vocal has the sneering perversity of ex-Lord Mantis‘ screamer Charlie Fell, the track fizzing and swelling with all manner of sadistic sorrow. The introductory bass notes of the title track cause concussion, some unsettling low growls whispering around the floor before the most fetid scream tightens the sphincter: whilst colossal, almost Blackened riffs make the tension nigh-on unbearable. Oddly-pulsing leads at the mid-section combine with bone-crunching rhythmic gymnastics and brutal chops to the coda, all the while staying close to the Doom template. Closer ‘From Napalm Altar’ sees a return to that funereal hostility: the intermittent quiet moments filled with eerie language, setting the teeth on edge for the forthcoming bludgeon; every chord, note and single beat flung from Thor’s Hammer; the accompanying roars and rasps the embodiment of despair and terror.
Finally, the UK has a contender in the Blackened Doom market. Although the winding noise of an Indian or Coffinworm is absent, it’s replaced by an Ophis-style mournful tolling which adds to the ominous feel rather than detracting attention from it. The resonant, single-kick sequence closing this fine, startling album chills the spine, and leaves the feeling that nothing good will ever happen again. To Serpentine Path: if you want to scare the shit out of people at a snail’s pace, this is how you do it.
Ramesses is a British doom/sludge trio consisting of guitarist Tim Bagshaw (ex-Electric Wizard), drummer Mark Greening (Electric Wizard) and vocalist/bassist Adam Richardson (ex-Lord of Putrefaction). Unfortunately Ramesses has been put on hold. Bagshaw moved to the US to form Serpentine Path with the guys from Unearthly Trance, and Greening rejoined Electric Wizard, leaving Richardson out in the cold. Thankfully Ritual Productions decided to reissue debut full length Misanthropic Alchemy for those who just can’t get enough. This exhausting 2-disc set spans over two dominating hours and includes MA on the first disc. The second is made up of the We Will Lead You To Glorious Times EP, the Tomb EP and Glorious Dead’ from the split with Unearthly Trance. Continue reading