While Red Fang’s fourth album immediately stands out as their first full-length since 2016’s Only Ghosts, it seems to hearken back to the Sludgy aspects of their earliest ventures. Tracks like ‘Unreal Estate’ and the title track reflect strong Melvins circa (A) Senile Animal vibes with their trudging riff patterns and eccentrically howled vocal lines. ‘Fonzi Scheme’ and ‘Days Collide’ elaborate further the former putting in a particularly potent stomp and the latter benefitting the most from the disorienting atmosphere.
Following up a breakthrough album, such as Boss Keloid’s last opus Melted On The Inch (Holy Roar) which finished at #4 in Ghost Cult’s Album of the Year poll in 2018, is a challenging proposition. Stray too far from the magic formula and you risk undoing that giant stride taken forwards (even without being a band that has always taken efforts to ensure development and evolution of their sound is a given); repeat the previous approach and accusations of diminishing returns, or playing it safe, abound along with an invariably inferior product. Continue reading
Ever since I was a kid, I have had a deep interest in cryptozoology. While I can accept most of these hypothetical creatures as misidentifications or outright fabrications as an adult, there is still the part of me that likes to imagine the possibilities. As a musician myself, a cryptozoology-themed band has also been on my bucket list for a long time. I’m sure plenty of bands with that sort of theming are out there, but the debut album from Mothman And The Thunderbirds makes for a particularly interesting variation.
The role of mythology is to inspire both individual and collective growth through storytelling. Myths do that by making sense of the world. Vital (Southern Lord) by BIG | BRAVE is a mythical-sounding album that does just that. Of the colossal yet intimate Vital, the Doom-Sludge trio from Montreal featuring Robin Wattie, Mathieu Ball, and Tasy Hudson says, “This album involves what it means navigating the outside world in a racialized body and what it does to the psyche as a whole while exploring individual worth within this reality.” Vital tells a story through sound that makes sense of the modern world, prompting growth for those who listen.
Shows are starting to come back as both the pandemic is lessening vaccination rates are going up, as well as bands and fans have the desperate itch to rock out again. As long as it continues to be safe, we’ll see more socially distanced smaller gigs and even bigger theater shows and festivals start happening. One such return to the stage was Crowbar who performed a pair of shows near their hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana, at the Southport Music Hall. The band played some crushing classics as they get tight for more live demonstrations of their power soon. They were even joined by former band member Sammy Duet of Goatwhore! n their way to releasing new music later this year or early next year via eOne Music. Check out this photo set from Evil Robb Photography who was there in person to document the night!
King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard – L.W.
As indicated by the title, King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard’s seventeenth full-length essentially serves as the second half of 2020’s K.G. and picks up where it left off stylistically. L.W. (Flightless Records) sees the completion of the microtone trilogy that started with 2017’s Flying Microtonal Banana, emphasizing a similar mix of Middle Eastern scales, rhythmic percussion, and loosely flowing song structures. ‘Static Electricity’ and ‘See Me’ do the best job of dialing that vibe with their upbeat pacing while the grandiose chugs and life-affirming chants make the closing ‘K.G.L.W.’ one of the band’s most over the top Doom Metal dives to date.Continue reading
For the most part, Thronehammer’s second full-length is poised to offer the same colossal Battle Doom as 2019’s Usurper Of The Oaken Throne. Incantation Rites (Supreme Chaos Records) features a similarly expansive runtime at seventy-five minutes long with the individual songs putting in the same mix of drawn-out lengths and monolithic tempos. This continuation would raise concerns of recessing into stagnancy, but the band hones their focus while picking up a couple of new tricks along the way.
Working With God (Ipecac Records/Liberator Music) is the 24th release by the Melvins and features their 1983 lineup of Buzz Osbourne, Dale Crover on bass, and original drummer Mike Dillard (although they have been doing a ton of regular Melvins lineup activities with Steven Shane McDonald of Redd Kross). The record encapsulates the Hardcore and Sludge style Melvins have delivered since their genesis. The result is a fresh album that is thrilling and cathartic.
Beers, Aliens, and Riffs, oh my! Boozewa, featuring current and former members of Backwoods Payback, will drop their sludge debut EP/demo, First Contact, tomorrow February 5th! The Pennsylvania power trio puts a premier on fun topics and bludgeoning songs. Check out the full EP stream here at Ghost Cult.
Metal, for all its anti-establishment credentials, can often be quite conservative. Many of the same old tropes have been rolled out again and again for the past four decades or so. Whilst that’s not a major problem for many metal fans, it is arguable that the same recycled ideas just don’t have the same impact that they once did. What once seemed impossibly heavy, deafeningly loud, even shocking or transgressive, can now be played on mainstream radio without anyone raising an eyebrow.