If last year's Torche release, Harmonicraft, was 2012's epitome of a pop metal record then Deville's latest, entitled Hydra, will gladly pick up where Harmonicraft left off. Deville, a Swedish quartet based in Malmö, hold a heavy resume filled with two strict stoner rock releases and performances in the company of Fu Manchu, Mustasch and Sepultura. With Hydra, their third full length, the guys loosened their grip on the set stoner rock sound and opened themselves up to criticism by infusing the sonorous characteristics of pop rock and some astute songwriting. Now, while Harmonicraft showed up to the party with a playful vibe Hydra is a little more serious, filled with a young man's angst. Within moments of pressing play you will realize that the musicians here have no anxiety though, displaying a confidence and cohesion that many a veteran band cannot boast. Each musician knows his role and executes that task effortlessly all while increasing the chemistry between the other three band-mates. In the end though one feature of Hydra apexes making these forty-five minutes excellent and truly memorable... Andreas' King Leonidas style vocals. This powerful and intimidating tool along side the gravitating instrumentals niche a new step in the stoner rock ladder allowing Deville to stand out from their other rock peers. Check out the thick progressive sludge tendencies seeping into in the six minute monster Imperial below and get over to Smallstone Recordings Store to get a copy for yourself. If you aren't a believer yet be sure to click the youtube link below for the official video for album opener Lava!
Andreas Bengtsson - Vocals // Guitar
Markus Åkesson - Bass
Markus Nilsson - Drums
Martin Hambitzer - Guitar
The Black Heart Rebellion: Har Nevo
This week's second dose is not your expected Doom, Psyche, Sludge or Stoner band that generally grace the virtual pages here at Heavy Planet. Belgium's The Black Heart Rebellion don't even land in any of these genres noticeable characteristics. Their sound actually tends to be minimalist [at times]. However listeners will find tremendous percussion supported by haunting melodies and abounding atmosphere in their completely authentic 2013 release Har Nevo. So, how the hell does Uncle Zac get off promoting this "crap" without RIFFS at the center of this little universe called Har Nevo (that was my poor attempt at comic relief). Well, I ask you for peace and a few moments of your time and TBHR will do the persuading.
Har Nevo begins with Avraham a middle eastern tinged tune the likes of OM's Advaitic Songs. Rather than being greeted with a relaxed vocal TBHR's Pieter Uyttenhove initiates the album breathing heavily as though he's been chased to the sanctuary's door only to find it locked. As the exhausted vocals climax so do the percussion and instrumental back-drop and the song fades to nil. The album continues on this path of eerie poetic proclamation and drone-y, post-rock quiet to loud sequences over the course of forty-five minutes. Attentive listeners will find many reoccurring themes through Har Nevo. In my opinion the most prominent are the themes of sin and home. The music and lyrics combined have created, for me, a concept album out of Har Nevo. I'm not sure if this is what the musicians intended, but I welcome it (because, as we all know, I'm quite fond of concept records). From my take the concept runs full circle beginning with Avraham burning down the broken "home" into a errant life full of "beasts", "sin", and "ashes". Just as all good and powerful stories find their eucatastrophe (the moment destruction turns to glory), TBHR's protagonist sheds that old skin through direction and guidance from some brave care-giver toward's the "golden land" of "light". Into The Land Of Another, album zenith and closer, completes the circle with a warm effervescent sound. The tasteful use of a banjo throughout Into The Land Of Another increases TBHR authenticity and brilliance and now although our protagonist is broken he will "rise" and "grow". In the end The Black Heart Rebellion have created something fresh for 2013, something I'm sure will make some friends and enemies throughout the next nine months. I suggest immersing yourself in these vibrations over at bandcamp where the entire album is streaming. Har Nevo offers more to return listeners, so if you find yourself in that category head over to Smoke & Dust's web store to order a copy for yourself.
Alex Maekelberg - Guitars // Vocals // Percussion
Emeriek Verhoye - Bass
Pieter Uyttenhove - Vocals // Percussion
Tim Bryon - Drums // Percussion
Valentijn Goethals - Guitars