If Black Label Society was influenced by Classic Metal and Doom instead of Southern Rock, they would probably sound a lot like Temptation’s Wings. The Asheville, North Carolina-based group features delightfully Ozzy-esque vocals with extra Zakk Wylde gruffness, guitars rooted in beefy bottom-heavy tones with playing that consists of steady gallops and melodic leads, and rhythms with a certain Southern Metal swing. All presented with a barbarian attitude that lends itself well to tales of drinking and mythological conquest.
While Legacy Of The Anointed (Argonauta Records) may be Spiral Grave’s full-length debut, it’s easy to also think of it as the sixth Iron Man album under a different name. After all, the musicians involved were part of that band’s last active lineup with guitarist Willy Rivera in place of the tragically passed on bandmate, Al Morris III. The style also bares a superficial resemblance to the Doom Metal approach last seen on 2013’s South Of The Earth. However, there’s a distinction between the two entities and Spiral Grave uses that connection as a springboard for their own identity.
Cooking Hostile, the animated series from Joey Siler that featured Philip Anselmo in hilarious shorts is now back with another NOLA favorite, Acid Bath! There are tons of Easter Eggs for the seminal sludge/doom bands history as well as music. See if you can spot them all! Watch this Acid Bath inspired episode in Cooking on the Bayou with Acid Bath. Continue reading →
In a move some thought might never happen, Brand New Sin is reuniting for a career-spanning concert in their hometown of Syracuse, NY. All original members of BNS will participate, which will be the first time they will have appeared together in over a decade. The southern rock and metal inspired band (think Black Label Society meets COC with a piano) had some minor hits, recorded WWE entrance themes and put out five records from 2002 – 2011 for labels like Now Or Never, Century Media, and Goomba Music. This band was incredible for their time, and here’s hoping they do a tour or at least several more dates eventually. Continue reading →
Zakk Wylde is undoubtedly one of the icons of today’s metal scene and the Black Label Society guitarist and vocalist’s back catalogue is filled with more hits than he’s worn through guitar picks. Continue reading →
Melding differing types of rock and metal together are American metalheads Sons of Texas. Formed in 2013 from, as their name suggests, the lone star state SOT are vocalist Mark Morales, drummer Mike Villareal, bassist Nick Villareal, and on guitar Jon Olivarez and Jes De Hoyos. Their new album Forged by Fortitude, coming two years after their début Baptized in the Rio Grande (both Razor & Tie/Spinefarm), is a continuation of their radio-friendly hybrid of rock and metal. Continue reading →
If you find yourself seeking a soundtrack to a belligerent, drug fuelled weekend look no further than Songs of Darkness and Despair (Housecore Records), the new collaboration between the iconic Phil Anselmo and horror movie mainstay Bill Moseley.Continue reading →
I first saw Liverpool’s Iron Witch around five years ago, supporting the once-mighty Kylesa and looking ready, with a little nervousness, to take on the globe. Cue the obligatory hard knocks and line-up changes…debut album A Harrowed Dawn (Secret Law Records) has seemed an age in the making but boy, has it been worth the wait.Continue reading →
Every once in a while it is always nice to get a break from the heaviest of heavy music to just enjoy some nice hard rock for cruising in the summer time. Rubikon has created an album perfect for such a scenario in Delta (Round Hill Records). The Boston-based group does a pretty good job with mixing influences from the blues realm and the southern style metal world. Like some cheeses, Delta gets better with age as I found myself enjoying this album a bit more with each listen. Each track carries its own characteristics and overall feel that allows the entire album to feel fresh track by track. Of course the one down side to this as a writer is trying to determine which songs are on the list of favorites when each song is vastly different from the previous.
Right off the bat, ‘Live That Lie’ hits you with everything Rubikon is made of. The guitar work is catchy, bass can actually be heard and grooves well, and the vocals are certainly at sing-a-long status being memorable and fun. There are also a few keyboard passages, typically in the chorus, that help glue all of the parts together. ‘Swingers’ provides one of the more bluesy tracks from Delta and may or may not be about going to swinger parties. The track is slow, heavy, guitars utilize slide to add that southern “twang” for lack of a better term, and even includes the use of a harmonica solo towards the end which puts the icing on the cake. ‘Wasting Time’ is a ride of a track that starts off like an acoustic campfire song and escalates into a heavy outro. The overall groove of this song kept my head bobbing around to the bass but then started banging right as the distortion hit at the end.
While my first few plays through Delta did not overly impress me, it did end up growing on me after a few more tries. The overall laid back feel that Rubikon delivers through this album is the biggest upside for me which not many, if any, heavier bands are able to provide nowadays. If you are having a pool party or cook out in this second half of the summer, press play on this album, crack open a nice cold one, and enjoy before the winter returns.
For those who stopped paying attention to Mastodon when they started getting all proggy and had the nerve to feature twerking in their music videos, help is at hand from Austin, Texas power-trio Unmothered who churn out some seriously hefty sludge on new EP UMBRA (self-released), a blink and you’ll miss it slice of blackened southern riffs, pummelling tribal drums and angry, snarled vocals.
Featuring a mere three tracks, UMBRA is presumably stop-gap release before the trio get their arses in gear and record a new full-length. They already have one long player to their name in their self-titled 2012 effort, and fans of the dark, sludgey tones captured on that release will be all over this like a hillbilly on fresh road kill.
Opening track ‘Magnetar’, named after a neutron star with an extremely powerful magnetic field wields a seriously catchy riff that stops and starts between booming percussion fills before the band march off into the unknown with some vaguely Minsk-esque tribal effects giving things a primitive and primal feel.
Next track ‘Huntress’ is thankfully nothing like the lame mainstream wannabes of the same name, but instead features a selection of pounding riffs that fellow Southern grizzlies Black Tusk would sell their most potent moonshine for. Keeping still to this one is pretty much impossible so it’s probably a good thing it only lasts for just over two minutes.
Last up is the gradually building crush of ‘Scarp’ which toys around with a menacing discordant riff for a couple of minutes before wandering off into the swamp, replete with ominous background percussion, stark melodies and muffled spoken word before everything finishes in a blaze of glory that harks back to the glory days of Remission-era Mastodon.
Not content to blindly recycle the usual clichés of their genre but at the same time not straying too far from the path, Unmothered know it’s the riffs that matter and they have plenty of big dirty ones for you to cop an earful of.