Sunday, August 31, 2014
The older I get, the less self-aware I become. It usually takes a not-so-casual nudge from my wife to coax me into tackling the garlic on my breath. I just may go through an entire day at work without realizing I've forgotten to glaze my 'pits with deodorant. Stray hairs poking from my shirt's collar, weird marks that may or may not be self-inflicted as I sleep, and some smudge on any of the day's articles of clothing all seem more and more likely as years pass. And I'm giving fewer fucks by the day.
But this stickiness... whew. The slick, slimy nature of the stink steaming from No Way's four-track Sing Praises is fully self-aware. This four-track EP is equal parts sludge-metal, noise-rock, NYC hardcore, and every blister in-between. Sweating through eighteen all-too-brief minutes, this Brooklyn quartet introduces an angst-riddled clinic on shifting blame and gnawing caked dirt. These guys know what they're doing.
Abrupt, jarring noise is thrown thick on the opening tandem of The Cutting and Shake The Meat. The former is jagged and sticky, leaning forward with stab after stab and revealing more layers than you'd expect. NO WAY shove our faces into hot mud, pushing as deep as they can until the track's initial bouncing rhythm returns with hanging flesh. Shake The Meat continues the bass-led, buoyant administration of piss. Jarring patches of blazing licks grapple with stop-start highlights as guitars burn and Chris Enriquez's drums absolutely fucking flatten. The near-hopeful tone at the midpoint creates a wholly deceptive moment of clarity, but Chuck Berrett's vocal gruff is gruff, dirty, and damn near sweaty-Southern. You uncomfortable yet?
War Dance is NO WAY's tapered, reserved juxtaposition to the terse noise, at least briefly. When Berrett awakens and hopes to face the sun, he simply can't. A long lament is violently interrupted and... well, they're slamming our faces again. Repeated punches, abscessed clamor, and the disc's slowest, sludgiest moments can't detract from the bemoaning of prophecies fulfilling themselves. The band open things up, but the track ultimately bookends with those pensive plucks.
Sing Praises saves its largest sound for the closing Pasture / Abuela, steadily fuzzed-out and providing no shortage of warnings as it plows. Every evolution unveils a hidden misdeed, and as the sound expands on itself, we're engulfed in swirls. Squeaking, squirming, and ultimately leveling everything the light touches, Pasture holds all of NO WAY's trademarks until life bluntly freezes. Abuela steadies the sound and you reach for Grandma's bony hand through the fog. Just as she's guiding us through the thorns, NO WAY smear us with shit, bag our heads, and scour us with their own recipe of fierce sludge.
Drawing from innumerable influences and stamping out their own brand of metal, NO WAY's net should drag wide and draw fans like flies. For all its filth and violence, Sing Praises somehow manages to maintain a resilient, resin-coated groove that washes down the sharp stones. That grease-ball bully on the playground is suddenly a jack of all trades, and he's got some cool shit for you. You know this won't end well, but... Goddamn, this is fun. "Whoa, wait a minute! Where the fuck are we going?!" Shhh...
For fans of: Whores., Unsane, Helmet
Pair with: Spaten Optimator, Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu
Friday, August 29, 2014
Have you ever listened to a band and said to yourself...holy shit is that band awesome , I wish more people could hear them? Well, here is your chance! Similar to Sirius Radio's Liquid Metal in which a fan guest DJs playing some of their favorite tunes, you the reader are here to takeover the pages of Heavy Planet for the day. Today's edition features 4 bands from Diesel Burner drummer Ronald. Short, sweet and to the point.
If you are interested in submitting your picks, please click the link at the end of the post.
Now, on with the show...
Very cool sounding metal band which kicks serious ass, especially live.
2. Liar's Dice (Netherlands)
Booze rock and roll on acid or something.
3. Mantar (Germany)
Should be very well known already. 2 piece heavyness.
4. Tank86 (Netherlands)
Instrumental 4 piece, new album coming soon.
If you are interested in submitting some bands. Click below.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
The Sherman Theater, Living Room
August 23, 2014
I hadn't taken an over-night road trip for a show in a long time. But when I found out that All Them Witches and King Buffalo would be making a stop in Stroudsburg (about a four hour trip from Pittsburgh), I rallied some troops and we took to the weary path that these musicians are all too familiar with. Being one of the lucky cats to get a King Buffalo tee with a promo earlier this year, I brandished it with pride, and began strolling Main Street Stroudsburg in search of our venue and a good dive bar. Our destination was the Sherman Theater’sLiving Room. With a quiet appearance, more common for art galleries and open mic poet nights, we were psyched to experience All Them Witches and King Buffalo in a tight fitting and intimate setting. As we approached the Living Room we were waved down by King Buffalo’s drummer Scott, who noticed my shirt. After the friendly introduction, we offered to give the guys a hand loading, but we were too late. We chilled for a while, waiting for The Witches to arrive, and carried on with Scott anticipating the music to come. Scott was a stand up dude with a killer Van Halen tee (thanks for letting us talk your ear off dude). All Them Witches pulled up and we got them loaded into The Living Room and after friendly hello’s I was in much need of a drink. Luckily there was a nice little joint called Kay’s Tavern with a pool table and old timers playing an ancient table top bowling game. My buddies and I ordered up a round of Yuenglings and they proceeded to kick my butt at pool.
This is where I found out there was another opening band, King Dead a bass heavy trio Heavy Planet covered earlier this year (see the exclusive here). Some of the other musicians arrived at Kay’s and somehow All Them Witches lead man and bassist, who goes by the name Parks, and I ended up talking world music and the mystery that is Tuvan throat singing. Losing more time than we realized King Dead had already hit the stage with a western inspired atmospheric doom sound. I had made it back for their monstrous closer. Noticing that the trio was all lows, two basses and a thunderous set of drums, I wasn't prepared for the rattling my rib cage experienced. With a final crash of percussion King Dead laid waste to what was left of a battered crowd and tore down making way for the mighty King Buffalo.
Oozing a very different vibe, King Buffalo courted the audience with a more reflective sort of groove leaving the crowd in a head nodding daze. Front man Sean is of tremendous stature, proclaiming their message above the rhythmic crunch being laid down by Scott and Ben (bass) during their standout performance of Providence Eye. Scott’s tenacity with his kit left my buddy, Paulrus, and I impressed at the trio, who set a solid foundation for All Them Witches to take the stage and finish the night big.
The $3.00 Sam Adam’s draughts kept the set up time occupied and the conversations soaring. Before we realized it All Them Witches were rolling, checking their sound waves. Sound check seamlessly moved into the set with Lightning At The Door’s album opening one-two punch Funeral For a Great Drunken Bird and When God Comes Back. My initial reaction, of course after the rocking that surged through my body, was that these four have a spectacular chemistry together, truly something every music lover wishes to experience at a live show. The Witches set ran through the majority of Lightning and just as I was awestruck at Rob’s percussion antics during my first listening of the album (you can check out my opinion here), I was even more so impressed with his live performance. The dude has some serious mo-jo that naturally makes the grooves groovier. The four-some closed with emotion-builder Charles William and I would say that no group of musicians could have chosen a better way to end the evening. Each instrument, paired with Parks genuine vocals, built an immense wave of desire of liberation and The Witches delivered just that. When an evening of live music leaves you forgetting all of your other life concerns you know the music did exactly what it needed to do and that should leave the musicians themselves feeling resolute in their creation. As much as this music and these musicians meant to me upon the first listen, they now mean even more. If you’re interested in seeing more of the bands check the links below. If you’re a Pittsburgh native, you won’t want to miss King Buffalo, who will be playing at The Shop tonight (August 27th). They will also be playing with Heavy Planet favorite The Midnight Ghost Train at Bar Matchless in Brooklyn, NY for an event by The Electric Beard of Doom.
All Them Witches
Parks (All Them Witches), Scott (King Buffalo), & Paulrus
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Eleven months ago, I lamented "We only get five tracks, guys?" after submerging myself in Sunken's hypnotic, swollen demo. It was, of course, entirely complimentary, as those five songs collectively imposed a residual thickness that's still protecting my skull from lesser, boring releases sent my way. Sunken seamlessly hover, cool off, hit pause, and ultimately explode with more power than any two-piece has a right to. But what another bass/drum duo might reveal as weakness only serves as Sunken's spooky, chest-caving catalyst.
These Belgians lugged those swollen tracks and squeezed four more just behind them, wasting not an inch of air space and filling a sonic void that, again, we never knew existed. Thirty minutes expand and improve on the litany of the band's accomplishments, teetering between wholly encompassing and distantly foreboding. On Recoil, Sunken have found their static-sludge stride, slowly rolling out elements both adjacent and obtuse.
The new sounds are bookended by two massive nine-minute haunts that perfectly define their sound and their dynamic. On Sunken, the slow swell of A.'s smooth bass returns, graduating to a crashing storm of static. J.'s drums encircle with cool progression as rhythms worm and poke around corners. The marriage of drum and bass finds Sunken nailing their mark here, with low thumbings taking the lead only to withdraw as the burn deepens. The devastation here is subtle, dealt slowly and even calmly. Amid the haunt, however, is a gorgeous, flattened scene.
Damaged is immediately loose and abrupt, juxtaposing what we've just tread. Stop-start noise is chaotic, attributed to stringy, buoyant bass that breaks for stomping statements. You'll detect a nod toward space, approaching a shipyard on a foggy fadeout. So the transition to Downwards is a smooth one, a midnight stroll that's deceptive and captivating. A. guides our steps, but J. never trails by much. We're pulled blindly into alleys and can't seem to commit to one route, dodging the gradual approach of danger. When paces lift, a blanket of fuzz descends and a strong, ever-increasing groove offers no escape. Our vessels begin to pop.
Perhaps everything has led to the closing title track, offering trademarks and undaunted patience. The patches of enormity drizzled over long, numbing stretches are certainly highlights, but simply MASSIVE doom crashes emerge at the midpoint. The denouement buzzes and swarms upon itself, staying true to form but huffing in a whole new level of buzz. The crashes craft an incredible burn, and these final moments make for a sticky experience.
Sunken's great triumph is their lack of predictability. Listening to Recoil, I can't pinpoint where the sounds are headed, whether I'll be crushed by the weight or lifted from the soil. There's much to sift through, and the largest compliment I can give this release is that it'll require multiple spins. One bass. One drum. Hell, you won't even notice there's no vocal. Each progression is a statement, each shift is another nervous tick you've now developed. The deeper you go, the more you want. Junkie.
Friday, August 22, 2014
Spain might not be the biggest exporter of stoner metal in the world, but Barcelona’s Acherontia are using their fast-paced heavy grooves to make sure you know that they are there.
Their second EP Kings Of The World opens with the riff juggernaut ‘Human’ screaming for you to “learn to hunt, learn to try to have it all, learn to kill” all along a bass heavy guitar riff that never lets up, often dipping it’s toe into the bluesy side of sludge metal. ‘Spectral Spectrum’ follows on from ‘Human’ with gut-dancing riffs to make any rocker throw some moves to, and its turns of pace and heavy hooks are what make it the standout track here.
The band never know when, or perhaps how, to stop, as they thunder their way through head-banging tracks ‘Iron Feast’ and ‘Hell Games’ as if the songs are standing in their way of getting to the mountain top amongst the gods of metal. A full LP is surely the only next progression for these guys, to see if 12 or 13 tracks might quench their thirst.
The riffs are what this band is all about. Riffs don’t care about what country they come from, about how many people hear them, or whether you can take any more of their onslaught. Riffs are brutality and ecstasy all rolled into one. Nothing else in the world can unite like a riff, and not many other bands can lay them out quite like these relentless Spaniards.
We hear you Acherontia!
Sunday, August 17, 2014
The hits just kept coming this week. Some would drum up the ridiculous superstition of death coming in threes, but a fourth hit a bit harder in my narrow, heavy corner of the human experience. Robin Williams caved to depression, Lauren Bacall's rough voice went silent, and the incredibly influential bad-ass that was Jay Adams suffered a quick halt to a fast life. Learning of a band you love hanging it up for good can be a fucking downer, but circumstances rarely match those of Swiss droners Snarf when it comes to sudden, unexpected loss.
Following the loss of their frontman Chris, Snarf have declared themselves to no longer exist. Their final, staggering dose of droning sludge was mixed and mastered just before tragedy struck, effectively rendering Klabat Snarf's swan song, a bittersweet adieu for a under-appreciated trio just hitting their stride. Here's one epic track swelling to thirty-three minutes, twisting and shape-shifting, leveling with hovered sustain despite brisk, bold, and busy delivery.
The sheer volume of emerging layers is numbing, leaving behind sterile static in favor of slugging riffs that meander and teeter. The whole of the track buzzes with eerie reverb, recalling the best droning moments of Snarf's previous triumphs. But the prevalence of nightmarish doom is a heavy-handed pronouncement of mastery. Innumerable slow-burning disturbances under tight drones evoke slight, distant spooks that leave listeners in cold shudder.
We could dissect the track into movements, but I simply don't have the vocabulary to do them justice. Scraped vocals bark with malevolence, entering a sonic cemetery and seamlessly transitioning toward deliberate, haunting chants. Klabat is at times wholly primitive, at others thoroughly disheartening. Snarf are patient, the dominant doom crunches are slow with agony, and the overall unpredictability marries unearthed stratum slabs to raise questions that the band, unfortunately, will never be able to answer.
This record hits so deep. On its own, the track smolders and frightens with incredible scope and character. The broad sweep of soundscapes and nightmarish curveballs set apart both this record and this band. To think this is the last Heavy Planet will hear from Snarf is a drag, sure. But the ardor and care exercised in the crafting of these sounds should be noted above any tragedy. Sit with this and allow Klabat's tides to direct your emotions. You'll get there.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Have you ever listened to a band and said to yourself...holy shit is that band awesome , I wish more people could hear them? Well, here is your chance! Similar to Sirius Radio's Liquid Metal in which a fan guest DJs playing some of their favorite tunes, you the reader are here to takeover the pages of Heavy Planet for the day. Today is a really cool edition as it features bands from Down Under as introduced to you by Swamp Dan. If you are interested in submitting your picks, please click the link at the end of the post.
Now, on with the show...
Hey, its Dan here from Australia.
It's not massive but it contains some really killer bands from down here in Oz and New Zealand. We sometimes get forgotten about down here, so bands have to be extra loud and heavy to get noticed overseas. For a fan like me that's a good thing. Here's the heavy:
Apocalyptic sludge-grind from Auckland, New Zealand. Fast sludgey noise with cool Blade Runner and Fallout samples. Welcome to the Wasteland.
Heavy sludge doom from Perth, Australia. Slow. Crushing. Death.
Power violence from Perth, Australia. Savage stuff.
Stoner doom from Brisbane, Australia. Will you play the Game of Cones? Its fun. Trust me.
Pure DOOM from Brisbane, Australia. Be sad and eat the cosmic space shroom.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
"He gave off a lot of magic. But he was sort of a changeling. He seemed to change every time I saw him. He seemed ageless..."
Squeaky Fromme isn't exactly the barometer for outling philosophical conceptions of higher beings, and perhaps she and Charlie Manson have no place whatsoever on this blog. But her quote has always stuck with me, standing out from Bugliosi's Helter Skelter as the perfect characterization of a man wearing countless faces. Don't get me wrong, his approach didn't exactly work in a society demanding order, reason, and common interaction. But he managed to get some ordinary Janes to do some crazy shit.
Immersed in Surrounded By Shadows, the latest from Phoenix-based sludgers Sorxe, I just couldn't let that "changeling" term escape. You might say these nine tracks collectively diagnose a mood disorder, but that'd unfairly detract from the quartet's deft placement of note, progression, track... There's coiled angst, swollen intermissions, elemental showcases from every corner, and ultimately an all-encompassing experience pushing and pulling in more directions than we knew existed. Sorxe funnel their personalities into one supremely commanding heave.
Immediately evident among the gargantuan buzz of Steamroller is a head-first riff clinic. Canyon-wide vocals swathe those repeated thumps, but the band won't hesitate to tap those rusty brakes. Hooded chants encroach and introduce a womb-like ease, but we're abruptly unsettled as the buzz returns. Oh, but are we talking about mere movements and tempo shifts? Not exactly.
A vocal identity crisis reveals itself on Her Majesty, but the ease in moving between jarring and jagged to cool, ethereal tip-toeing is a marvel in itself. Cosmic low-end thumbings wreathe a dying fire, but licks eject in every direction just in time. The swell into a primitive march, however, when immediately met with the spiral into chaotic rhythmic explosion, is just beginning to illustrate today's entire thesis. At varying levels, Sorxe flatten landscapes and abruptly rip us from the grips of comfort.
Smoke Signals' progressions have their low-tide origins, but the static storms promise destructive cascades of slow-motion horror. This nine-minute, ever-expanding instrumental stoner session crushes at its midpoint, steadily thrusting into a spiraling monsoon and marrying punishing skins and fleeting fretwork. Spacing into Make It So, we're knee-deep in the disc's most formidable of tandems. Bursts of violence juxtapose Smoke Signals' cool passages, churning and spitting angst before growing to a tapered purr. Each slow breath bloats, though, assuring relapse with a hazy, early-morning march. Sure enough, we're abruptly slapped with hot-acid guitar amid organized chants. I'd swear these sounds have been watching me for years.
Sorxe reserved their crowning achievement for the thick, untouched scope demonstrated on the album's closing track, The Mountain Man. With progressions patient and churns simply sludgy, this awesome exercise ushers in vocal waves atop undeniably blistering guitar licks. Boasted as the album's coolest song, Sorxe hit every soft turn and sharp hook with an incredible balance. They've more than delivered on their promise of devastation.
So many bands dishonor their ambitions by over-inflating and doing too much with too little. Sorxe clearly have the stones to throw their best clubbed-foot forward, but they also exploit their strengths. I could speak all day about the pedigree of the band members or craft thousands of paragraphs on why this album fucking slays. Surrounded By Shadows is, quite simply, exhaustingly complete. Gradually or suddenly, Sorxe unfurl coiled force and chew through 2014's best releases. This is a changeling you can welcome into your home, but that won't stop them from shoving a carving fork into your belly.
For fans of: Yob, TOAD, Zoroaster
Pair with: Circus Boy, Magic Hat Brewing Company
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
"Set amid a soundscape of Americana roots and wall of sound heaviness comes a refreshing and breathtaking band from Asheville, North Carolina. Bask is the name of today's featured band and the name couldn't be more fitting. Soft and mesmerizing melodies tangle with a whirlwind of deafening riffs to not only tranquilize but pulverize. If you think that country and doom don't mix, then think again. Death, despair heartbreak and disaster are the perfect mixture to set forth this raging leviathan and does just that on the opening track "High Mountain Pass". An eerie and crooning vocal yearns of days gone by on the wearisome tracks "American Hollow", "A Man's Worth", and "Shake the Soot From Your Boots" with the latter being my favorite track on the album.
The band sums up this wonderful listening experience into their closer "Endless Summer". A little ditty about "Jack and...ah fuck that shit! , the band builds upon a swirling riff and hitches a ride on a combine and undoubtedly destroys everything in its path.
I think I'm gonna grab myself a nice tall ice cold glass of Country Time lemonade and let the summer wind blow through what hair I have left. on top of my head as I "bask" in sweet oblivion.
UPDATE: The album has been released on This Charming Man Records and the band is supporting High On Fire and Black Tusk in Europe. Tour Dates
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
From the website:
"Wildflowers Wither takes the loose analogue blues of the late 60's and melds it with a roaming groove and haunting vocal harmonies."
It's hard to find anything critical in what Wildflowers Wither is doing. The occasional organ distracted me from the captivating guitar tones but that's hardly even worth a comment. It speaks more to my own preference for guitars over keys.
Wildflowers Wither hails from Sydney, Australia and is the first solo outing by Kegan DeBoheme (The Gypsy Bangles). DeBoheme's vocal tone is sultry and in perfect alignment with his powerful songwriting. The delivery is heartfelt and honest, as though he was performing live in front of me. Even the visual aesthetic of Wildflowers Wither is poignant, eschewing the usual black and dark for an earthy, organic vibe.
Sunday, August 3, 2014
Imagine a world where Black Sabbath never existed. Iommi never riffed, Ward never jazzed, and Ozzy & Geezer never tripped and wrote shit like Fairies Wear Boots. You'd wonder where that would leave the heaviest bands of the last four decades. Would Birmingham still be credited as birthing heavy metal? Would we have fans demanding to knight Rob Halford instead of John Michael Osbourne?
While Birmingham's produced unlistenable pop acts like Dexys Midnight Runners and Fine Young Cannibals, thank Christ they've given us Napalm Death and Godflesh. Adding to the city's litany of great heavy acts is sludge-doom trio Acid Goat. Providing a nod to 1970 and stomping a bootprint into tomorrow's breakfast, these stone tossers drop four slabs of riffage that'll have you suffering from gravity's cruel joke. This self-titled EP is so swollen with thickness that you may be walking with a cane from now on.
Demonstash opens with echoes of the first and finest moments of Black Sabbath on Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath. The descending doom lumbers and looms with massive, entrancing reverberations. Long, deceptive pauses provide minimal relief, giving way to lingering guitar screeches as drums usher doom's second wave. This instrumental clinic is wholly devoted to the riff. Nosferatu's low, malevolent bass plucks offer an even thicker, filthier breed of sludge. Vocals emerge, spitting and echoing to add a subhuman element to the murky nightmare. Things get weird, though, as wormy guitar licks bob and weave for a whisper of thrown-back psychedelia. Ever-expanding, there's seemingly no end to the destruction.
Acid Goat have their somber moments, however. Green Queen is rife with hollow isolation before we're greeted with a pendulumic sway of high-density doom. Guitars buzz from a distant electric woodshed as repeated rhythmic crashes dent the back of your skull. And that vocal is back, this time weaving rusty barbed wire through your limbs. This track succeeds in swinging a knobby club and flattening anything it crosses. And when Acid Goat take on Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2), they've unearthed trippy licks and a vile vocal that'll have your father scratching his head. This heaviness is Goddamn ridiculous.
It appears these four songs are just the beginning. Stoning and dooming in equal measure, these highs are low and these lows are real... fucking... low. Set aside a few bucks for some new speakers before you spin this shit. Layers reveal themselves beneath each unrolled note, offering an all-too-brief glimpse into a band that just may keep these flames burning hot. Have a seat, please.
For fans of: Sabbath,Conan, Electric Wizard