Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Mare - Mare
Label: Hydra Head Records
02. They sent you
05. Sun for miles
Maybe I am blinded by my love for Hydrahead Records, but it seems to me that as of late the label has been churning out spectacular album after spectacular album at a rapid rate. Whether it's the latest release from regular mainstay Harkonen or the debut release from the young phenoms of Mare, Hydrahead definitely has a knack for finding talented acts to please my ears.
Mare hail from Toronto and generate music that is the result of equal parts Isis, Godflesh, and Today is the Day. That is to say, they create music with beautiful orchestrations that show off their technical mastery as well as their comprehension of atmospheric doom. "Anisette," the album's opening track, begins in a very subdued tone: the sound of a lone guitar stripped down with no distortion. It reminded me of holding your breath before something really intense is about to happen. And that is just what happens. At the sound of the first high-hat being struck, the tuned down and distortion heavy guitars enter the formula and blend into the musical representation of trudging through a Louisiana swamp. Partnered with the dual attack of coarse screams and sweet melodies of vocalist Tyler Semrick-Palmateer, this song is a feat you must hear.
With a seamless blend, we move on to the next track, "The Sent You." In contrast to the visceral screams that dominated the opening track, Semrick-Palmateer demonstrates his versatility as a vocalist on this song. The melodies from Semrick-Palmateeare are reminiscent of Mike Patton, particularly his mannerisms on Mr. Bungle's California., This is not something you would not expect to hear out of the same man whose scream personifies the phrase "immense heartache and pain." Mare continues to execute in the niche they have carved for themselves on the next track, "Tropics." And on the album's closer, "Palaces," they succeed in every aspect that I could ever desire in a band playing this style of music. Words just won't do it justice. You really should hear it to believe it, but this is epic doom metal at its finest.
For being a demo re-packaged as an EP, Mare's self-titled debut will no doubt be praised as the surprise release of the year by many critics. But for those familiar with Semrick-Palmateer's past with The End, this album really shouldn't come as a surprise. That doesn't mean that he carries the band; the music will be the driving force that keeps this band fresh as the years go on.(-by scenepointblank.com)
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Come Sleep - The Burden Of Ballast
Artist: Come Sleep
Album: The Burden Of Ballast
Label: Version Studio
01. Be The End
02. To Unveil The Sky
03. Storm Awaits
04. For Sleep
05. Crave Change
06. Never Conquered
07. To This Day Not A Sound
08. His Beast Is Done
09. By The Unknown
That old saying attests that “you only get what you give.” Nowhere does this apply better than heavy metal. The genre can somehow simultaneously be an embarrassing parody of itself and push musical boundaries to new creative planes. The resurgence of “thinking man's metal” came with an increased presence of amplifiers, New York Times profiles, and expensive LPs. It's safe to say bands like Sunn0))), Isis, and Pelican are solidifying their presence as some of the fore founders of the trend. Say what you will about these bands, I think they're really adding some credibility to the genre, sometimes seemingly inevitably associated with the juvenile.
Come Sleep, based in Stockholm, offer a promising album worth of the kind of hypnotic, melodic, tectonic metal that has become increasingly popular over the last few years. The Burden of Ballast is nine tracks long and each cut safely dwells in the six to eight minute territory. These shouldn't be off-putting numbers if you're a purveyor of the niche this band occupies, though. Come Sleep does a good job making sure they sound varied, they aren't afraid to palm mute or play loud if they want to. Similarly, the band has some of the meditative, soft passages that give a band good range. The most direct comparison I could make would be Neurosis at their most contemporary. Vocals are interspersed tastefully, but the band is most interested in creating the oceanic, desolate music they do. The songs aren't long enough to even compare to the shortest Sleep songs, but they aren't as compact or poppy as Jesu. The band occupies a safe zone that is perhaps on the more palatable, accessible side of things.
Perhaps you're looking to explore the genre, Come Sleep would be a good place to start. This band is doing something original, offering the best of both converse ends of the “Doom/Drone/Post/Whatever” pack. (-by scenepointblank.com)
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Constants - The Murder of Tom Fitzgerril EP
Album: The Murder of Tom Fitzgerril EP
Label: Radar Recordings
01. Walking Dead in East Texas
02. Robotica and Lobotomy
03. The Murder of Tom Fitzgerril
04. When Stars Dilate
I'm a sucker for sprawling, epic rock music. Mogwai, Isis, M83, etcÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ You name it, I'm in. There's just something about music that slowly draws you in and hypnotizes you that really fuels my engine. About six months ago, my band was scheduled to play a show at this awful venue that pretty much everyone avoids. Of course, we ended up playing to only a handful of people. After our set, as we all began downing as many drinks as humanly possible, the headlining band took the stage. The house lights went down and a few floodlights illuminated the mysterious figures on stage as they slowly crept into their first song. The band was Constants. They played sprawling, epic rock music. I was quite pleased.
The Murder of Tom Fitzgerril, the latest Constants EP, is a satisfying representation of what I initially heard that night. While the production could be better, the music never fails to suck you in. All four of the tracks that comprise the EP are nothing less than powerful indie-rock soundscapes that weave melody and energy into one capacious whole. These are songs in which you can easily lose yourself. But, The Murder of Tom Fitzgerril can also be an effective background companion. That is the beauty of this style of music and Constants definitely seem to know their way around. But, it's also important to know when to stop. Clocking in at around a half hour, this EP seems to end at exactly the right time. While this is ultimately at good thing, it makes me wonder if a full-length Constants recording would find the band overstaying their welcome. One can only hope that the band continues to expand their sound on future recordings. (scenepointblank.com)
Monday, September 15, 2008
Intronaut - Prehistoricisms
Label: Century Media
01. Promordial Soup
02. The Literal Black Cloud
03. Cavernous Den Of Shame
05. Any Port
08. The Reptilian Brain
Download part 2
Mixing intelligence and intensity all the while bringing psychedelic brutality, Intronaut have captivating hooks and unpredictable time changes. The essence of thinking mans metal that is so refreshing, it's a wake up call to the force feed masses. For fans of High On Fire, Isis, Torche, Opeth and Mastodon.
Preorder (official release on 16/09)
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Manatees - The Forever Ending Jitter Quest Of Slow Hand Chuckle Walker: An Introduction To The Manatee
Album: The Forever Ending Jitter Quest Of Slow Hand Chuckle Walker: An Introduction To The Manatee
Label: Eyesofsound / Motivesounds
At a push this is post-rock; no track dips below four minutes and the
longest runs to almost 16, but these Manatees do their very best to
avoid being caught in one particular genre box.
Within the sprawling first track alone there are echoes of artists as
disparate as Mastodon, Mono, Kid 606 and the Pixies. The second sounds
like Tool on a tribal drum trip with Mike Patton and elsewhere there
are swirling effects, cavernous screams, walls of impenetrable,
metallic noise and a solemn poem made of simple guitar plucks and
There is some warmth to be found among the occasional bout of
sledgehammer noise and the slow rumbling of a bass guitar that sounds
like it has foot-wide cable for strings but this is mostly music that
conjures up images of violent, blustery tundra, calm, deep-frozen
mountains and the shimmering alienness of the northern lights.
For all this icy power though, there is no cool detachment here. Press
play on ‘Untitled’ and expect to be embraced into a different world,
taken on the sort of journey that few other records can provide, and
not released for the next 45 minutes. Stunning stuff.
both musically, and design wise, manatees' debut album is the most
ambitious motivesounds release so far. if forced into a pigeon hole,
this would be ambient, tribal metal, but you would be bitten straight
away for your efforts. certainly the heaviest music we have put out so
far, the five tracks on offer hear showcase an extremely promising
band at the very beginning of what is sure to be a long career.
rocksound magazine describes this as "one of the most ambitious albums
of 2006", so grab one now.
"So we finnally finished this monstrosity we have spent however many
The Album is untitled and contains one 45 min plus opus entitled "the
forever ending Jitter quest of slow hand chuckle walker: an
introduction to the manatee" which has been split into 5 seperate
parts for better consumption and loveley hand drawn artwork is
courtsey of resident swedish tight face Magnus Birgson."
Monolith - Eclipse
Label: Self Realease
4. Born Of Fire
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Adai - ...I Carry
Album: ...I Carry
Label: Radar Recordings
01. The March...
02. And Termination
04. A Mark of Ownership
Adai is a textbook example of how to do it right in today’s tumultuous music biz. The two friends that comprise the band are hard-working, diligent, focused and, above all, they play a compelling, passionate blend of post-rock and metal. “[The band] originally was actually a four piece; two guitars, a bass, and a drummer. One of our guitarists and our bassist decided to leave,” drummer Justin Trujillo explains. “At the time we had some of our biggest shows lined up and [guitarist/vocalist Devin Mendoza and I] decided not to cancel them and instead see if we could make the two piece thing work. [W]e got a tremendous amount of positive feedback and decided to just stick with it.”
That relentless attitude is this Denver duo’s M.O. For their debut EP, …I Carry, surely they could have found a suitable studio in their native Colorado. But no, Trujillo and Mendoza weren’t going to settle for anything less than perfect, so they drove their van all the way to Massachusetts to record with one of metal’s most in-demand producers, Kurt Ballou (Converge, Cave In, Genghis Tron).
Since recording and self-releasing …I Carry in 2006-7, Adai has been hitting the road hard, touring with future labelmates Caspian, Junius, and Constants, among others. During that time, the band developed a relationship with Radar Recordings, who will be re-releasing …I Carry later this year. “We love everyone involved with [Radar] and they’re easily some of the hardest working people we’ve met in this industry,” Trujillo says.
One gets the sense that Trujillo and Mendoza are perfectionists. From working with Kurt Ballou, to tracking down Seldon Hunt (Isis) to design the sleeve for …I Carry, to choosing to continue as a duo– on their own terms– when bands with lesser mettle would have thrown in the towel prematurely; Trujillo and Mendoza clearly love what they do.“Music for us is an emotional expression and it takes a lot for us to be satisfied with what we’re doing,” Trujillo explains. “That in itself has been the biggest struggle over the years we’ve been doing this but we couldn’t be happier with the results we’ve got so far.”- (metalmartyr.com)
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Irepress - Samus Octology
Album: Samus Octology
Label: Translation Loss Records
01. Pah no
04. Snayk's tale
05. June ipper
06. Fiddler, yee-ryding
07. Frid/Ohmmartin E.e.k.
08. Nonografistole adendum (trampled to death by love)
Instrumental music that doesn't bore one to death is hard to come by, especially in a world like today. There are handfuls of bands attempting the instrumental sound and failing miserably. There are others of course that do succeed in such risky endeavors. Luckily for Irepress they are one of them. Instrumental bands have a tendency to bore an audience of listeners. Nevertheless, the conventions of their songs reach another feat: they are fun to listen to.
What exactly am I talking about? Well, Irepress, if you haven't already guessed it, is an instrumental band laced with hardcore sound. All in all it's a band we would expect to hear from the influences of today. However, Irepress stand out in a way that is very important: they don't follow the rules. Their music essentially, as most hardcore bands do, incorporates a slew of breakdowns. What's makes them so unique, however, is how crafty these breakdowns actually are, which his a blessing to all of us. Their musical style is a green thumb to today's established hardcore instrumental bands.
Luckily, to enjoy Irepress I don't have to see them live. Typically to really enjoy the full experience of a solely instrumental band it's important to see them live. However, the producer has done them well by incorporating the full air feel of the bands musical convictions.
Why listen to Irepress? Because it's fun and its epic. Imagine flying ninety miles per hour down a highway blasting Irepress and day dreaming of being chased by ninjas and directly above you is an alien spaceship awaiting the downfall of the world and you're the only one who can save the world. By the way, it's raining heavily and your family has been obliterated. That's the feel of Irepress, an epic entourage of expressive guitar and explosive bass.
It's difficult for me to point out the faults in this band. It's obvious that they have worked hard to record the album as tightly pressed as possible. They have completed the task of an instrumental band: to create music that doesn't need a vocalist. I actually tried sitting down and considering a vocalist to match the sound of Irepress. But there is no one that could still compliment the band and not delude the incorporating sound that the band has worked so hard to achieve.
If I had to describe the band I would have to title it “simple complexity.” The songs are very nicely strung together in a way that keeps your attention yet dares to prolong its minimalist nature. Something very daring it today's ADD culture.
I have to compliment the drummer on this one. The songs flow together smoothly because the drummer seems to send the band on its way. While the other instruments are the boat, the drummer is their sail, without him they are not lost essentially, but indeed slow paced. The drummer keeps the listeners interested. And for that I applaud him very much. Great musicianship.
To conclude, the only minor fault of the band is its distortion tone. Some may argue that the guitar tone is too compressed. However, it is of personal opinion that the tone is only necessary to continue the expression of the band as a whole. That's why they are a band, not just individual musicians. Buy this album; it will be worth your time. I'm going to see them live, and I hope you do to.
By the way, they have shared the stage with Wu Tang Clan and Immortal Technique. If you ask me, that's pure balls.-(scenepointblank.com)