I was expecting a more doom-oriented effort on this one. Evil Witches opens up with a major chord and the odd pretty dissonance as the progression loops: reminds me of some of the work on Thrones And Dominions. A fuzzy tone that's thicker than on past releases; it holds me a lot more in that respect. There are more sections to songs on this one, the first track seemingly having three. The added variance is welcome as, despite how much I love total minimalism, it's always good to have something build or change upon a base.Open strings played to ring with slid notes are more common, too. Angels Blood is a Cure doing just that, as well as rising up an octave, something which give that fuzz and tone a little more drive and is just plain lovely. People have criticized The Father Of Witches for being sloppily played and poorly produced. While there is some truth in that at points, that criticism isn't applicable here. While the production is far from hi-fi it's appropriate to the overall approach to the music, so it's more beneficial than a hindrance. However, despite wanting the lone guitar approach, some songs do suffer from having nothing else - even a second guitar playing sympathetic melodies would work wonders.
Overall this release has a thicker sound and is something of a maturation of the style first presented in the debut.
The area of rock that straddles stoner, doom, country and psych rock is a small but very much loved genre. Influenced by the likes of Dylan Carlson (Earth) and Barn Owl, Goryl successfully wears these influences without sounding a clone. The Father Of Witches takes the approach of a lone guitar player and pushes it further: one or two riffs at most are explored to their very limit. The opening track seems to segue between the slow and sludgy riffs and open-string psych-country, arpeggiated chords rested on before moving back to power chords. Despite it being the weakest track on the album - having too thin a tone - it's still interesting, but the following tracks show how much a single instrument can really do. Cathedral Demons is seven minutes of one progression played continuously and is by far the best track on the album. The heavy, almost metal-without-distortion sound that Earth's Hex had on tracks like Railord is here; a punishing booming that won't intrude enough to detract from the otherwise quite relaxed atmosphere, rather giving it a menacing feeling. It's all very organic and if I were to see him play live, I wouldn't expect it to sound any different. It feels like a live recording even though it clearly isn't and this rawness, this pureness is what sets his work aside from other albums in the genre. There's a naturalness which allows me to properly absorb into it without the usual soundscapes and endless pedal boards which bands like Barn Owl rely on so much. Tracks like Old Demon Blues would improve greatly from simple percussion in places but this is forgivable because it's only really a problem when a choke or stop happens; when the drone is there as it usually is, it needs not anything but the guitar. Goryl certainly isn't for everyone, but if you like the sort of endless looping riffing that bands like Fulci do, this will tickle your fancy no end. It does mine.
A group involving the likes of Charlie Looker and Chuck Bettis, this is one I have had my eye on. Their quite obviously second release now opening with an almost free-jazz esqe drumming to minor 2nd chords played up and down the neck by Looker. As the drums begin to swell the guitar picks up with a more structured set of riffs, cymbals beginning to lightly follow forming an outfit more apposite to rock. This sort of mixed bag intro was tried when Steve Noble collaborated with Stephen O'Malley and I was quite ambivalent then. Mike Pride provides the drums on this (notably working with Boredoms) and he certainly has a sense of appropriate timing. And that, as well as the very idiosyncratic style Looker has, is what stops it sounding like your usual bedroom jam between-noise heads. Because the occasional pick-up of structure and coherence is teased but never totally established in the longer tracks. Ten minutes and they don't wear their welcome but it disappears without any sort of fade out or goodbye. Meandering too much. Following are screamed, moaned and whooped vocals over a very awkwardly timed riff and complementary drums, all now in time. Something of a dichotomy but the lax nature of the album opener gives a nice contextual nudge to the album. Your typical development on the riff occurs. Processed vocals become more atmospheric, weaving in and out of the now slowed guitar and drum punctuations; which is very much what these drums seem to be, at times. Punctuation marks rather than the text itself. Each track seems to bring in a new instrument. A saxophone comes into Ten (the third track - one would assume these were the works chosen to be put into the final album rather than an arbitrary series of numbers thrown around) and it starts to sound like a faster Ensemble Pearl mixed with John Zorn. Charlie needs to learn to play in a different style, that's for sure. There's having your own playing style and there's nailing and riveting yourself to it, refusing to budge and accommodating solely by working with other musicians. Sunn O))) are comparable in this sense in that without other collaborators they'd be in a lot of trouble right now. Saying that, there are a few moments where he will utilise simple muted strikes and very mellow feedback in conjunction with other instruments, forming an industrial mess of sound that really cheers me up. But then it's back to Extra Life/Psalm Zero/Time Of Orchids/every other project he's ever been involved in samey samey riffy GOD.
Onkyokei - a movement which utilizes silence in conjunction with timbre and texture to create sound studies - is probably an influence what with the aforementioned punctuation sometimes taking a more structured, subtle approach such as quiet parp of a horn surrounded by nothing else but ambient sound. And then a while later a crash into a more rock-style composition. A classical guitar even pops out and your usual structure-to-free improv fades through once again. The only reason this doesn't wear is because of the introduction of different techniques and instruments.
So why am I being so harsh on this? Well, I'm not entirely sure. Despite everything I've just said this is one of the best works Charlie's been involved in and despite it being a total cluster-fricative it's certainly not fair to level that criticism at it because that's actually what I like about it. Sure, the guitar playing is nothing new, the sax is nothing new, the drums are nothing new (are you seeing a pattern here?) but collectively every single musician has their own distinct sound that I actually feel somewhat connected to on a more personal level. I can feel these musicians. I can feel their distinct influences and styles merge into what is less an amalgamation of people into band or name but a circle of them sitting talking among one another as a collective. There is an understanding between them which is much more segregative than in other collaborations I've heard. And it works.
I don't do numerical ratings because I'm here to criticise/give my pompous opinion, not let it get summed up in a reductive number. So let me say that anyone who's a fan of either of the main duo, free jazz, experimental rock, or saxophones in general will like this, and that if I'm giving it a cruel final summation, it's certainly above average. So, time for links!
...And so, the great Moosick did attend a gig at which Casual Nausea - one of the worst band names in existence - were playing, and asides from the main vocalist's mike being turned up to 11 like it was a fucking harsh noise show, it was hardcore as fuck, and that was good.
For those of you who don't know, Foreign Objects was the original CKY, though it was originally techy progressive metal/rock. The key song being Disengage The Simulator, which made it through to Volume 1. Despite CKY being associated with Jackass and all those other jackasses, if you give Volume 1 a listen it's an excellently paced, considered album with emotion and childish incest jokes blurring seamlessly together so as to not put you off the excellent riffing that they've always been known for and if you disagree you're WRONG.
anyway they're starting it up again as a side project, but with a warmer, more atmospheric sound.
If you don't like Minecraft you probably have some sort of horrible problem or a social life or something of the sort. Anyway, it's a pretty soundtrack and say what you like about game soundtracks, but Minecraft actually makes the loops and snippets come in from time to time rather than play the same 10 second loop for 40 minutes and that alone is sign of an impressive amount of restraint from C418 or Notch or whomever sorted that jazz out. Not that this is jazz.
Advertised as a blackened hardcore group, use of more diminished progressions is considerably less present than it is in the lead riffs that embellish the chuggy, slightly sludgy supporting chords. But this isn't that black metal. Blackened hardcore is Hexis; this might have influence but putting it in the ad feels like a cheap shot at getting people looking for that interested. A typically raw sound is present very reminiscent of Rotten Sound and other breakneck fast bands. Slick changes in sound very distinct changes, too are consistently observable - very distinct changes, too - and the bass has a fantastic rumbling, muddy tone that offsets the brighter guitars only helping the transitions as it means that there's no off-putting changes in tone or sound between sections thus allowing for the distinct guitar tones to separate and rejoin cleanly like bloody puzzle pieces. Vocals are buried in the mix rather than being obnoxiously put above everything else like most fucking -core bands; giving the vocals an even more instrumental quality and a more rhythmic role than one of delivering a subject or tale. Short and sweet songs that merge together like blood and piss in a blender. Keelhaul is a bit of a sore thumb though. More atmospheric but detracting from the original heavier, abrasive style it's just a bit uninspired and I've heard gang vocals over a moody hardcore bassline far too many times. A lighter song comes in which kind of helps ease in Keelhaul and for all intensive purposes it's excellent use of context and you can tell the tracklisting has been considered carefully. Then it's back to the fast dissonant open string leads and repetitive -core. Finishes off on a longer song. A faster one too. I noticed something on the first listen and I'm hearing it again now and it's that fucking tom punching through the entire mix. You've got what is the thickest, sludgy song on the album and the drummer's hitting a trebly 8th note on it for the entire track. It's somewhere between making me want to tap my foot to it and turn it off. Regardless of how my mood takes it, it totally distracts from what is some of the best guitar work on the album and that's not really a good thing in this case.
It's pretty good. As I say about most bands I get requests for reviews I'd like to see it go further and do what the hell they want to but they're letting loose a little and it works well enough. It followed into some weird-arse experimental rock on my playlist which immediately put it on a downer. I'd like to see what Husk do when they really start to experiment.
As is implied in the title, the album is a phonetic palindrome. Ambient with synths, keys, an erhu, mandolin, and all sorts of other sounds and noises thrown in. Eerily beautiful at times. Think I'm going to enjoy this one...
The amazing women of Motherfucker are impressive, energetic musicians whose craft is geared towards extreme fun with absolutely no fucks given. As a close friend of the group, it gives me a great deal of joy to share in the release of their first EP.
Give it a listen or give them some money, either way they will destroy your face.
This'll set you back £3, but it's worth it. I picked a physical copy of this (with the booklet and all!) in the free section of my local record store. I hadn't listened to it until now because I'm a tosspot. It's kind of feel good anti-folk/punky stuff where the vocals are somewhere between mumbled, spoken, and sung. Typical British accent, too. Reminds me of a less refined, more youthful Noah And The Whale a-la their debut.
Cleft is releasing their first full length on February 10th and while you can pre-order their experimental mathy goodness on CD, Vinyl, or digital download, it is currently available for streaming HERE!
If you like what you hear then head on over to their Bandcamp and click to pre-order!
After many years and an obsessive online following waiting, Have A Nice have come back and soon their record will be in the mail. Beginning with a simple back-and-forth tremolo smudged to oblivion, the classic drum sound remains intact, as do the vocals. It does, strangely, sound much like something that would be on one of the more ethereal tracks on Deathconsciousness. Duel vocals are more apparent in this track and in later ones. It is expensive. This isn't the raw sound DC had on it. Over reverb and distortion higher-end guitar leads come in a way very reminiscent of bands in the post metal/atmospheric sludge scenes. While lacking the catastrophic introduction that was A Quick One..., a movement into a heavily bass-oriented riff as the follow up to the introducing track is here again. Much more punk here. While Bloodhail had slow depressive vocals from the start, Defenstration Song is more aggressive, rhythmically consistent, and with those dual vocals coming once more. But beneath it is a fairly standard group of progressions with a dull, predictable bridge. This by no means spoils the track; it getting progressively noisier and laden with squealing layers of dissonant feedback, the closing half minute repeating 'This is what it's like/is this what it's going to be like?', but it does take the shine off it, leaving me feeling quite ambivalent at times.
Drones are more present in this release, be it through reverb and delay-filled simple chord passages, through harmonics and feedback, or a piano being quickly "strummed" so that the sustained notes form together: very much how the likes of Charlemagne Palestine achieve a long and melodic and seemingly choral drone. Lumbering bass plays over sounding like a foghorn to guitar leads quickly picked at a fast and constant beat. So when the forth track comes in with what is essentially shoegaze-tinged drone metal a-la Nadja you can imagine my reaction. Moving in, a double bass, bells, chanting, crying vocals.
Have A Nice Life have matured considerably and with a refined sound to boot. Bands like Les Discrets in their more shoegazey works come to mind. Mid album, a sampled field recording before a return to the more aggressive upbeat playing. Something I occasionally notice is the louder vocals clipping to distortion; very much how Dan worked with the vocals in Giles Corey, particularly in The Haunting Presence. More genres are being brought in and it's only better for it. Some of it doesn't work as well. The bassline to Dan And Tim, for example, immediately reminded me of something A Brief History Of Love-era The Big Pink would release. Not that I dislike them hugely. Those swelling keyboards fade in and out of the song but until it gets properly going into a large, noisy, sad soundscape, it's lacking. A dull, generic bridge saved by beautiful but kind of typical chords gently downtuning with a whammy bar. As this repeats for a couple of minutes, it really starts to work and draw me in, but like Defenstration Song it can feel very inconsistent and built up on soft soil.
As an album, this will forever suffer from comparison to Deathconsciousness, and the near mimetic humour and fame which the album has on the inner circles of the internet's music boards will refuse to budge long after this has been released - even if critics do come to favour this one - simply for the influence Deathconsciousness had on the music scenes from which it was derived. However, unlike the relief of many long-awaited hiatuses from notorious underground artists, this isn't a disappointment. Quite the opposite. This is incredibly impressive, and is an excellent start to 2014.
I came across this band through a free sticker included with an order, of all places. Atmospheric sludge. Little more uptempo that a lot of the other stuff, but the sound is still distinct. Makes for a more varied experience. Some of the riffing between the different guitars reminds me of how ASIWYFA play around with leads over progressions...
This isn't going to leave your eyes wide and your jaw slack, but Juleah, a psychedelic blues/rock solo project, has some good vibes, and won't disappoint those looking for something that's both smooth and has a bit of a punch.