Thursday, 15 December 2016

Interview With A Wizard...... Union Collective

Wizard Union are a Sludgy Stoner band from Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti MI with an interesting sound and ethic. The band started in 2012, when whilst playing with seperate projects Drummer Larry and Guitarist Samir decided to jam together. They later invited Samir's workmate Aaron to play Bass in this project, and have been producing colon crushing Stoner riffs ever since.

I was fortunate to get to hear their new release Phantom Fury and speak to Collective member Samir about how they go about their thing. And no this is not a tale of tragedy, Vampire children and immortality, like the title would have you believe. It's far more interesting than that.


So why is their project any different from anything else? What makes them unique?


Wizard Union are part of a collective, the Wizard Union Collective, which is all about promoting and distributing their various projects. What does this mean? I hear you ask.

Samir: ''Overall it's about having musical freedom to do and play whatever we want without calling it Wizard Union. It's just a part of a larger body of work''. So potentially this approach could incorporate different projects from the same musicians, an opportunity to explore different sounds and genres as a group".

So why does this approach work for Wizard Union?


Samir; (There's) ''No deadlines. (We) release as much as we want from different members. Play shows with whoever is available within the collective. Right now we're still pretty young as a collective, but the three of us have been playing with each other for almost 5 years now, and we're open to jamming with others, and if we jam with someone else and it doesn't sound like Wizard Union, then we'll call it something else and release it''.

So, this is a metally musical melting pot, allowing freedom of expression for the musicians that are involved. An idea that I find fascinating and intriguing, so my main thought is how does it transpose itself to actual performance? Is it garbled, without direction or identity, or is it creative and purposeful?



Listening to Phantom Fury I am pleased to hear a great many influences sounds and also unintentional influences. There seems to be a hardcore punk ethic and I hear hints of EyeHateGod, Thrash even Surfer Rock! Whilst all this is evident it is not confused but instead pleasingly interesting and most importantly as heavy as a left hook from Chuck Norris. I asked Samir where influence were drawn from.

"I'd like to think Wizard Union is what happens when the three of us get together. I know the one band that binds us altogether is The Melvins, but we're all into different shit. I listen to a lot of punk and metal. It's funny you mention surf rock, because I'm definitely a fan, I just never consciously wrote anything like that. I was in a stoner/doom/thrash metal band called Lord Centipede, so maybe that's where the thrash comes from. I like the Eyehategod's Dopesick album.'' (C'mon you like EVERY EyeHateGod Album, just admit it to your self Samir - Editor)

Phantom Fury is full of heavy fuzz, grinding guitars and is held together well by the quality of Larry's drumming. Harsh Tokes Of The Wizards Pipe has grinding guitars, a hint of an eerie edge with a punky style vocal.  Whereas Cosmic Gatekeeper is fast paced, almost a punk track in its own right, until it hits the sludgy breakdowns, slowing the situation down with a pleasing groovy step down sequence.

Ancient Evil Bong chugs along joyously, hitting you aurally with guitar stabs and vocal aggression before taking an inspired turn with a breakdown and buzzing solo then it slowly works itself back into the faster paced chug of Doom.

Burn Bitches, Not Witches would be the crowd pleaser of the tracks, with a chorus that was made for shouting back at the mans and a great lead riff. Not just a pretty name! Samir; ''The chorus Burn Fucking Bitches Not Fucking Witches, came from something I read on the Internet somewhere. I thought, that's funny, I should make that a song title or use it for something. I have lists for song titles, album names, and band names for projects in the collective, for when I find shit like that. Once I had the title for the song I was like so what's this gonna be about? And it's about the Salem witch trial. I guess people can sing along to the chorus if they want to, but that's not what I had in mind when I wrote it.''

Burial Ground opens with a wet psychedelic sounding bass before leading into the most outright stoner riff on the album. My fist reaction was to head bang and there was no cause to stop throughout the entire track. Full of monumental riffage and drum attack, this is an absolutely storming track.

Phantom Fury takes off where Burial Ground finishes, continuing the stoner theme with great riffs but covers more ground musically than any other track, taking many turns and directions.

This is definitely a release that improves with each track in terms of sound and songwriting in my opinion. Speaking to Samir about this progression and future plans he told me;

''Our next Wizard Union band project which we'll start recording next spring is going to be the start of a living LP. We're going to have an album on Bandcamp that keeps getting updated with new songs over time, rather than just releasing a bunch of EPs. When we think the LP is full, we'll release the physical copy and then start the next LP the same way. So the evolution of the songs that you mentioned on Phantom Fury, might be even more apparent on the LPs. We have 3 songs ready to record, and maybe 3-4 written that I think are good enough to start practising, so who knows how different those songs will be compared to our previous works. They're fucking heavy though.''

As far as I'm concerned this a Collective to keep an eye on. They have plenty to offer in terms of the Stoner Sludge sound but also touch on different styles which could open them up to a larger fan base. But to just regard the Wizard Union element would be wrong, there's other things to look forward to from these musicians.

Samir; ''As far as projects we have lined up, Larry and I have a Sludge Punk Noise Rock thing called Bladder that we're planning to record in the spring. That project pretty much came out of he and I playing together as Wizard Union as a duo, because our Bass Player Aaron had to drop out at the last minute, and we didn't wanna cancel'' Samir took over Bass duties for this show as they felt it might add to the Doom effect, but they were not happy with the outcome. ''We didn't necessarily like Wizard Union songs played with just a bass and drums, but Larry was like, hey how about we keep this going as a godheadsilo type thing, and that's pretty much how the collective idea was born. Keep it all under one umbrella.''

Check these guys out on Bandcamp and give them a follow on Facebook and Twitter. If they're you're thing the EP is only $3, which is cheaper than a pint of Fosters Kangaroo Piss. Have a taste below! (of the band not Kangaroo Piss).



Friday, 2 December 2016

Circle of Dust - Machines Of Our Disgrace

If all you want for Christmas is not to listen to Mariah's mind numbing rectal discharges but hear some ass ripping industrial metal and electronic music, with some of the most satisfyingly crisp production you're likely to hear for a while, then Circle Of Dust going to be for you.

Producer/artist Klayton, who some may know from his work with multi-genre project Celldweller, is back creating under the pseudonym Circle Of Dust, who he has released 4 other albums as, the last one being twenty years ago!

I have to say I'm not familiar with his previous work as Circle of Dust, but after hearing this album I intend to be and am at the same time disappointed in myself.



Machines Of Our Disgrace


From the start of the first track, Re-Engage, onwards I was drawn in by a stunning quality of sound which is carried through the entire album. I took the opportunity on a long drive down to London, to preview a couple of tracks to my pal, who is an electronic music producer himself, to gauge just how good it is. He was wax a lyrical about the what he heard. My belief that this is brilliant work was confirmed.

In songs like title track Machines of Our Disgrace and Contagion, Klayton displays a flair for amalgamating catchy riffs, elements of classic metal sound, quality use of samples and electronics and song composition that holds the listener. This mix of skills creates intrigue and genuine moments of "holy shit this is brilliant"!



Then with racks such as Embracing Entropy (featuring Celldweller), alt_Human and Hive Mind Klayton introduces a more outright industrial style.

Embracing Entropy and Hive Mind, amongst others on the album, have a splattering of poppy hooks and a glorious tinge of 80's electronics, whilst never losing an alternative edge. alt_Human is peppered with industrial soundscapes and is full of edgy ambiance. As a fan of electronic music, outside of my metal fandom, these tracks tick a lot of boxes for me.

One of the biggest highlights for me is the track Humanarchy, which is an aggressive gem. Mixing growling vocals and the machine gun double bass with industrial noise, juxtaposed by a melodic, catchy vocal chorus it's a great all round performance. Neurachem balances bravely on the edge of metal and electronica which would normally irritate the tits off of me but this doesn't which is helped in no small part by a groove aspect that is impossible not to enjoy.




Conclusion


This album covers so much ground, including industrial metal, electronica, classic metal, pop and incorporates some fantastic voice samples, which along with the incredible production, culminates in a seriously good release. Klayton shows off an undeniable multitude of talents in terms of song writing, multi-instrumental-ism and production. It will please industrial metal fans as well as fans of multiple genres.

On release this will be going up on my genius production shelf alongside Ils - Bohemia and Mars Volta - De-Loused in the Comatorium.

Score 4.8/5





Follow Circle Of Dust: Facebook/Twitter


Pre order on Bandcamp  or on FiXT (Both Worldwide). 




Saturday, 19 November 2016

King Minos - The Minos Touch



In Greek mythology King Minos, the first King of Crete, was a bit of a grim bugger. In life, he made made King Aegus choose 7 young boys and 7 young girls to send to a labrynth to be devoured by a Minotaur every 9 years. In death, he was judge of the dead. He could often be seen with a snake attached to his pecker via it's teeth. 

All in all a gruesome, hard bastard. So basically, King Minos is a FUCKING GREAT name for a metal band. I think it was either that or 'pecker snake', and the UK based thrashy trio made the right choice......just. 



The opener, Destroy By The Use Of Violence, has a vocal performance with growl and grit. Musically its busy and interesting with some nice touches with the bass and drum stabs. There is a brilliant seamless transition between deep heavyness and high end melody on guitar. The track has a definite groove element and at points also took me back to Diabolos era Slayer, an album which holds many great memories for me. 



Get All The Knives doesnt hang about in giving you a shot to the jugular. This tracks grinds and pounds relentlessly and repetitively which accentuates the first breakdown when it hits and adds to it's effectiveness. Towards the end of the track it again slows, this time creating a chilly, menacing feel, added to by the evil laugh seeing he track out!

As soon as Eschaton begins you can tell this is going to be musically excellent. Heavy and choppier than a pork cut, with chaotic but tight drumming, this is intense. The vocal is abrasive at first but you soon adjust. Melodic elements of the guitar work and the way the vocal cuts through remind me again of Slayer. This is not their only similarity with the behemoths of thrash, as they're not afraid to take on things that are high on the political and worldwide agenda lyrically. For me, they saved the best 'til last.




Conclusion

This is a musically excellent release, all instruments in crushingly heavy tandem, creating a dirty, thrashy, grinding, bowel adjusting noise.

The vocals, shared between all three members, are at times Serj Tankian, at times Tom Araya and at times Max Cavalera! Abrasive on the first listen, but once you adjust to the tones you realise their almost another instrument adding to the heavyness.

A good EP offering some sound song writing and raw energy. I think theres scope for some great music from these guys and I'm looking forward to hearing it.....

Score 3.8/5



Get it here


Follow King Minos: Facebook/Twitter


Written by Jonny Radley

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Cloud - Rebringing the Doom

Instrumental Doom bringers Cloud are back with a new release, which goes by he name of Indeterminate. I was a fan of the self titled EP, as you will see here, especially the triumph that was the track Grim Reefer so was eager to hear this new offering...

Indeterminate




Indeterminate opens with thunder and rain and resonant guitar. It's a reworking of 'Unpolished' from their incredible first EP and what a rework  it is. The pitter patter of rain seems to slowly develop into drum before the heavyness smacks you in the face. But this isn't ur, it generates speed with an awesome riff making it impossible not to head bang like a lunatic. Stunningly fulfilling in heavyness, incredible ambience throughout and lovely blues laden solos, this is living up to everything I hoped it would be.

Relapse fades in, slow and heavy with before breaking into a chugging wall of distortion and hangover like fuzziness with a satisfying hint of groove make the track more and more listenable as it develops.

Desert Weed was a make or break moment for me. A track with lyrical content, provided by Gabriel Ravera of Mephistofeles. I love that Cloud, up till now, produced great instrumental music so was dubious about this. Any doubt was soon cast aside when hearing the Ozzy style tone of Ravera complemented by a well written track. Cloud are clearly not limited in their writing ability and Ravera puts in a performance that has made his band the next in my search list. The instrumental interlude comes in and transports me back to early Sabbath, before Ravera sees us out with his last contribution.

Otherworldly takes is back home to instrumental land, with a track that shows some development from the original EP with pleasing licks and touches which add an understated element to the track.

Yggdrasil, the last track, opens with bluesy, groovy intent which continues to a breakdown of epic proportions. It eventually builds its way back, layer by layer, to being the heavy blues groove that controls your ears so hypnotically at the beginning. It sees us out by becoming bludgeoningly slow and heavy, with some great drumming fills.

Conclusion

Another great effort from Cloud and if instrumental doom is your thing then this album is a must. Its shows a steady progression the self titled EP in terms of song writing and a nice, and more importantly not out of place, surprise with the vocal track. Another success for Cloud.

Score 3.8/5



You can (and should) get this now on Bandcamp

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Author: Jonny Radley


Friday, 4 November 2016

Gravehuffer - Your Fault

Crust is a term I seemed to have missed on my musical journey. And no I don't mean the best, most tasty slice of bread, or the strange gritty stuff you find when picking your belly button. I mean the musical genre!  Whislt this is the case, the style is very familiar, a dirty bastard offspring of extreme metal, hardcore, anarchic punk with a sprinkle of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal.

Gravehuffer are a self described 'Crusty Metal' band from Joplin, Missouri we received the upcoming release of their album 'Your Fault' to review.



Your Fault 


Opening with what sounds to me like the sounds of someone enterering a graveyard, digging a grave and then using it for an unsuspecting victim , you kind of get the idea of the kind of imigary the band are about. Gravehuffer (the first track) flits between slower chugged out riffs, thrashy melodic lines, blasted out extreme metal and even groove all of which sound pretty awesome.

Of Fish And Men, Dead Peace and Death Caprice definately show a more 'punk' ethic approach, having hallmarks of classic punk delivery musically and vocally whilst remaining very heavy and aggresive. This is Crust through and through and I think will be a treat for fans of the specific genre.

The main riff in Kill for Sport is so good, it is made to move to and forms the highlight of a decent track. But the winner on awesome riffage all the way through has to be he monumental Destroyer Of Worlds. Great riffs, heavy as a an Anchor in the temple and an awesome breakdown. This for me is the most complete track on the album.


Destroyer Of Worlds is closely followed by Worms Of God with its heavy mechanical riff and psychotic short guitar solo towards the end and Prince With A Thousand Enemies which is full of thrash intent, as two more highlights on the album for me.

Gravehuffer, genre wise, cover a lot of ground on this album and Chains Around You kind of brings this all together in one track. It nicely reminds you of what you've just heard through the last 10 tracks rounding the album off nicely.

Conclusion


Kudos has to go to Gravehuffers drummer, who gives a powerful performance throughout. Also some of the riffs on display are simply brilliant. I can't see it being anything other than a hit amongst fans of Crust, Extreme Metal even Thrash and whilst not all to my personal taste had enough to keep me listening and wanting to hear what was next. I for one will be following these guys as a fan from now on.

Score 4/5


You will be able PreOrder the album soon via Swamp Metal Records so get following Gravehuffer on Facebook and Twitter and have a spin of this when it comes out on these formats;



Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Floodhounds - 'Look What You Started' Review



Who used to play Pro Evo - sorry, PES - 2009?

It was probably the last in the series before the FIFA games really took over as the definite standard bearer for football sims. I played it quite a lot for a while and on hearing opener, and lead single, A&E I was immediately taken back to one or two of the Indie tracks from the in-game playlist. Whether that's a good thing or not is largely up to the listener's personal taste but it is immediately clear that while there is a large audience for this sort of retro-ish indie, this band is ready to be heard by it. One gets the feeling this song did not take a lot of work to get from original inception to finished piece. That's not to say it comes across as a quick throwaway track, rather that it is the product of a band who know what they're doing and it all comes together rather seamlessly.

All the above continues with State of Mind. It was only after listening to the EP a couple of times that I looked up the band to get some background (a deliberate decision so as to not have any preconceptions going into it). No surprise at all, at that point, to find out that these guys hail from Sheffield. There's a familiar sound routed in Sheffield Indie that is most apparent in this second track. I've heard quite a lot of this going way back to the early/mid 'noughties' (I hate that term but it will have to suffice) to varying standards. Over the years a lot of bands have tried to recreate the sounds of the likes of Futureheads or The Fratellis or Razorlight or whatever Indie trend they like at a given time and it sounds forced. Others naturally produce material that just fits the genre they slot into. I'd say Floodhounds come under the latter category.

If this EP were a live set then track 3 - The Fear - would be the point at which an audience would begin to get involved. It's a little change in direction to a fun, short, punchy effort with a jaunty rhythm. There's still time for an instrumental, a voice and drum breakdown and a guitar solo to finish, meaning it is compact and complete.

I don't know if a lot of thought went into the order of the tracklisting but I think Floodhounds have got it exactly right. Soulmates to Cellmates follows with an enjoyable hook and although it is again short and follows a similar structure, it has a different sound and acts as an appropriate bridge into...



End of the Road, which is a real head-bopper with a bit of a rock edge. It's easy to imagine that in a live setup, it could really take off here and there is a textbook use of instrumental breakdown and build-up into final chorus. The most exciting number on the EP.



Greatest Mistake is a bona fide closer - appropriately stripped back to begin with, bursting to life for the first chorus, dropping back and picking up again before a series of movements into a quiet semi-chorus finish. Throughout, the bass and guitar complement each other, taking turns in adding little flourishes and the lyrics are philosophical, akin to the old adage 'It's better to regret something you have done than something you haven't' as it is proclaimed 'the greatest mistake is to make none at all'.

It would also be a mistake to dismiss this as a set of run-of-the-mill indie songs. It's actually quite an achievement to get the variety Floodhounds have within the confines of a recognisable, coherent genre. The fact that I have rarely mentioned specific vocal, bass, guitar or drum parts is also testament to the unit - the whole EP portrays a togetherness that enhances the whole rather than draws attention to anyone vying for the limelight. Competency over showboating, substance over inappropriate stylising.

After first listen I thought this EP was decent. Second time round I became more positive and as the songs have become more familiar it's fair to say I quite like them.

Score: 3.5/5



Floodhounds are:

Jack Flynn -Guitars/Vocals
Rhys Owen - Bass/Vocals
Lauren Greaves - Drums

EP: Look What You Started, out now and available on iTunes and Spotify

Tracklist:

A&E
State Of Mind
The Fear
Soulmates To Cellmates
End Of The Road
Greatest Mistake

Follow Them: Facebook/Twitter/Web

Written by:  Magz aka Bint McLinsky

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Friday, 28 October 2016

Ion Dissonance - Cast The First Stone Review

Hailing from Quebec Ion Dissonance are Extreme Mathcore Metal supremo's who as you'd expect incorporate dissonant tuning, syncopated drumming along with varied, unexpected time signatures but with their own distinct brand of energy and agression to create a anarchic symphony of destruction.

On 18 November they're unleashing Cast The First Stone into the world and we at Behind The Beat Music Blog care enough about your personal aural preservation to prepare you for this monumental event.



Cast The First Stone


Ion Dissonance cast the first stone (I'm here all week) with Burdens which smacks you straight in the flaps with its psycho-chaotic abbrasiveness. Any sign of melody has the vocal cutting through it unsympathetically, like the bad guy you secretly want to win. It's really well performed extreme and technical metal and leaves you under no illusions as to what your going to get with this album, a fucking good bludgeoning!

The track To Expiate sounds like someone pissed on Sikth's chips and they decided to write a song about it. Even the melodic parts are dissonant, and this works so well, again the intensity has continued. With the pace of the album so far I'm starting to wonder if these guys have a defibrillator offstage to give them a quick jump start between tracks. And it's exciting, angry and interesting to listen to.

To Lift The Dead Hand Of The Past blows my mind. It has everything for me that I'd want. The vocals are gutteral and relentless, it has some incredible, almost jazz like in parts, guitar work which is something to behold from the chugs to the melodic lead lines. I realise at this point, this is more than just a good Mathcore release, but something that could stand up there shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Sikth (you may never hear me say that again) and Meshuggah.

Suffering...The Art Of Letting Go provides an element if groove and more normal structure which is a nice break from the joyous chaos in the album. Its also an absolutely storming track that I found myself involuntarily head banging to all the way through.



D.A.B.D.A A State Of Decomposure in parts has the deep satisfying heavyness of Meshuggah but with Ion Dissonance's personalised machine gun delivery. This track is, simply, epic and note for note, it's my favourite on the album and I can see this being a fan favourite as it hits every mark, including a slow jazzy breakdown, providing the perfect opportunity for their lead singer to get his defibrillator action stage left.

The album is seen out the same way it came in with Perpetually Doomed: The Sisyphean Task. Whilst it maintains intensity it has an almost orchestral feel with some of the guitar work which makes the track seem to fly by as you really get into it. A great end to a great album.



Conclusion


This is an album that not only improves as each track goes by but improves also with every listen. You can only sit back and admire the pure skill in musicianship and composition, and as far as Extreme Metal and Mathcore metal goes, personally for my taste, I've not heard many better albums.

Score 4.5/5



Label: Good Fight Music

Ion Dissonance Are:
Kevin - Vocals
Antoine - Guitar
Sebastian - Guitar
Jean-Francois - Drums
Dominic -Bass

Track List:
1. Burdens
2. The Truth Will Set You Free
3. To Expiate
4. To Lift The Dead Hand of The Past
5. Untitled II
6. Suffering: The Art Of Letting Go
7. Ill Will
8. D.A.B.D.A State of Discomposure
9. Treading on Thin Ice
10. Virtue
11. Perpetually Doomed: The Sisyphean Task

Released 18 Nov, Pre order on Bandcamp/Amazon (US)/Itunes

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Author: Jonny Radley

Monday, 24 October 2016

Headless Kross - Projections I Review

Headless Kross formed in Scotland in 2011. They are a Psychedelic Doom band who use an unearthly vocal style along with a satisfyingly fuzzy bass and heavy as a wrecking ball in your crotch guitar sound. We’ve been sent their new Album, Projections I, the first part of a pretty exciting trilogy of releases, all due out within the next 12 months, to review. You’ll be able to get your filthy hands on this instalment on 18th November.

Now let’s not fuck around here, these guys have shared the stage with the likes of Conan, Orange Goblin, Jucifer and Slomatics, and you don’t get to do that if you’ve got nothing going on! They’ve already shattered a few eardrums and expectations with their second full length album Volumes in 2015, so many will be interested to see how Projections 1 fares.

Projections I



From the opening notes of Does Not Equal Time I’m enthralled. Straight away it is heavy and sublimely Doom, with a neck cranking groove. The distant scream vocal adds to the atmosphere as musically it chugs along, satisfyingly low tempo and fuzzily. Then halfway through the speed is increased in a hypnotising repetition of riff, where the drum beat is the only thing that changes, adding an underlying intensity, then slowness, then intensity again. The Drum work single handedly changes the mood of the track whilst everything else stays the same and I find it so effective in terms of song writing. This is a composition that draws you in and allows you to lose yourself, something only great Doom metal bands achieve.



Practical Mental Effects introduces itself with layers of feedback and a gut-wrenching scream, an indication as to what you’re going to hear vocally for the remainder of the song. It is so slow, it makes a sloth look like Usain Bolt, but this adds to the intensity of the heaviness, a few surprises are thrown in in terms of notes, which work well to peak your attention. Again, Headless Kross show a propensity to create interesting sound, when later in the track a spacey solo comes in creating a glorious few moments that alone are worth the 8 minutes this track weighs in at.

In comes the frankly haunting introduction of Church Of The Fifth Season. When the guitar riff comes in some of my uneasiness (like watching a good horror) is lifted, it’s not deep and heavy like we’ve heard so far, but more proggy, psychadelic and epic. Whilst the track does regain the plodding heaviness this track shows more diversity in sound than the previous two tracks. Nothing like keeping things interesting, it’s well placed on the album.

The Map Is Not The Territory has a bluesy, sludgy groove. Sexton’s intense screamed vocal cuts through the proceedings like an eerie, devilish augmentation. When the track starts chugging we get to enjoy some understated blues lines, again making me appreciate the composers’ ability to add so much intrigue with little touches, before the song fades out into a fuzz or bass and guitar, which seems like a fitting end to this album.



Conclusion

This album is grim, abrasive, fascinating, joyous, slooooooow, monolithically heavy and epic all at once. I’m already salivating like a fat man waiting for pizza at the thought of what Projections 2 and 3 are going to bring. But concentrating on this release, the tracks draw you in to the point you’re fully involved in the music, captured in the sublime heaviness and almost hypnotic vocal that you feel may possess your soul. I was genuinely shocked when I sat down and looked at the timings of the songs, that not one of the tracks is less than 8 minutes, such is the level you get involved when listening.

Score 4/5



Headless Kross is: 
Derek Sexton – Bass /Vocals 
Tommy Duffin – Guitar 
Jonny Montgomery - Drums

The album will be available via their Bandcamp page, so you may as well visit now and Download their back catalogue.


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By Jonny Radley

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Throne To The Wolves - Unholiest Of Kings

When Metal and Hardcore finally hooked up after all the playground "I'll act like I hate you because I fancy you" shit, there was a night of despicable passion that resulted in the conception of Metalcore, the great divider.

I'm basically of the school, if it's good it's good. I'm disinterested in the whole "this is what Emo scene kids listened too" b.s as I never paid attention to all that anyway. My personal belief about the genre is though is that it's moved on a long way from those days. And Throne To The Wolves are a decent example of this belief.

They are a metalcore band based in Toronto, Canada and their EP Unholiest of Kings was released in August.

Unholiest of Kings

Opening with the energetic Fear the Faceless, they get right into the nitty gritty with this high energy track full of pace and aggression with a group shout style chorus perfect for fan participation. It's heavy and relentless but it saves its heaviest section for the end with the obligatory Metalcore breakdown to get every one moving, and when you hear this, you wanna move.

Hellraiser has a hint of groove to it which goes down well with me. I realise at this point also that I realise how much the vocals of Billy Hulcup please me, this fellow can howl with the best of them and is capable of some pits of hell style screams. A great choice for the first single.


Bite The Bullet is next up and is a bit more what I would consider to be traditional Metalcore, with a dual clean and heavy vocal. Its a decent track however what comes next really made me pop my head up and take notice...

Every Lit Match (Another Bridge Burned) is a window into the brilliance Throne Of Wolves are capable of. From the start of its eerie intro to the outro it's a balls to the wall thunderbastard, and that in my language is good. High energy, heavy as hell, it's an absolute stomper made to get in the pit for.

Calm Before the Storm brings is back to what I'd consider a standard Metalcore sound, but with some nice little touches, such as a little programmed drum n bass part, not overdone but a nice enhancement which shows the attention to detail in composition. It ends with a great suspense building breakdown before giving you a parting kick in the gut with that brilliant vocal and a heavy riff.

Conclusion

This is a really enjoyable listen. To me it has enough to satisfy the metal heads and Metalcore fans alike. It's got some great little understated touches throughout in terms of programmed sounds but also carries strong musicianship and an excellent vocal.

Score 4/5



Highlights: Hellraiser, Every Lit Match (Another Bridge Burned)

Buy it (less than £3!)

Throne To The Wolves are;
Billy Hulcup - Vocals
Cody McGhee - Drums
James Fyvie and Kyle Jennings - Guitar
Joe Shipton - Bass

Article by Jonny Radley

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Thursday, 20 October 2016

Introducing.......The Last Confidence

The rain's coming down at the usual rate in glorious Manchester as I am once again nursing an absolute mind fuck of a hangover, sipping on a bucket of black lava, getting ready to start the day. So I hit the YouTube button in the search of 'The Last Confidence' and give the existing world the big middle finger as I slip into a headphone coma! 

You know when you're sat there and you think to yourself 'I want something solid, some real pop punk!' Well guess what, these guys are it!! Signed to Loserkid Records and a few videos on tube, welcome to The Last Confidence!



Four dudes making Italy proud in the music industry and standing up strong like a teenage erection on a Summer's day! 

You've got Marco and Christiano both on vox and string tickling, Diego skin smasher and Helio string slapper.

I started talking to Diego over social media as we shared a love for a 'Famous' brand out there and he told me about his band. Now I get a few people who say 'Hey dude, check this band out' but never before have I been so grateful that these guys shared what they had with me!

I checked out the YouTube video for 
'Before the Day I Die' and I was instantly drawn in! Movie theatre, pizza and laid back vibes! Instantly I hear influences of NFG and 'The Starting Line' being played by dudes who look like the surf has just pulled them in and shit them out! It was beautiful! Punchy riffs flowing fluid bassline and a beat that instantly made me wanna throw some shapes that don't even exist and that the owner of the coffee shop I'm currently sat in would judge me for! I wanted more, so much more! So I moved onto the next video



'Miss a moment'
Now if I'm being honest I'm not a fan of lyric videos mainly because my brain is lazier than my ears but........this works! It's cleverly done and not lazy in the slightest, and aesthetically pleasing as it suits the style of the song! College lettering and diary pages with a song so hormonal I was expecting to discover a crusty sock. A chorus that I'm sure will have many fans singing in front of the band as well as dudes and chicks singing to each other at the barrier of the show! I personally would put this on a mix tape......or a playlist as it is in this day and age! I mean what happened to the mix tape?



It really seems that these dudes have found their own sound without falling away from what they want to sound like! You can easily spot the influences of bands such as Blink 182, NFG, The Starting Line, Hit the Lights and the rest of 2002. 

I for one will be listening to these guys for as long as they let me.

Be sure to check out the EP 'Best Break' on iTunes, Spotify and Bandcamp now!

Stay tuned for a full review of the EP very soon, dudes stay pretty you handsome sons of a bitch.


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Author: Jimmy Tinsley

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Introducing..... Reign of Zaius




The world's future is bleak. In just under 2,000 years, when highly evolved Apes have replaced humans as the big dogs, the world will be on it's last legs.

How do I know this?

Beacuse I listen to Reign of Zaius and they are here to warn us.

They proclaim to be renegade Ape scientists who have travelled back from the almost destroyed Earth to warn us of the horrors and doom we are leading ourselves into.

Well that was the plan, until a spliff was smoked. Then they ascended into the world of fuzzy stoner rock and instead geeked out on horror, comics and video games. And this is what we're left with.

Our future is fucking doomed, and it's their fault. Luckily they play some good shit, so I'm already over it.

Planet Of....



Reign of Zaius released their EP, Planet Of... on 13 August. It is brimming with sci-fi, horror references, such as all out stomper Deliver Me, that starts with that epic sequence played by the banjo boy in Deliverance.

Davis Zaius (Bass): "There's been a general pop-culture theme to the band, going back to its very name. Most of our songs focus in some way on comic books, video games, sci-fi, fantasy, and of course horror. Just like the best sci-fi or horror movies, we like to touch on big, serious themes but keep them cloaked in something a little more light hearted."

Gorilla Monsoon (Drums): "If you're into heavy, dark music odds are you're probably drawn to the same type of things in TV, cinema, or literature. Personally, I like the challenge of taking something perceived as vile or chilling and making it not just palatable, but catchy. "Farewell to Arms" (our tribute to Evil Dead 2) has a four-on-the-floor dance bridge in the interest of seeing how to make chants of "Dead By Dawn" and "I'll Swallow Your Soul" work as hooks. "

There is a plethora of catchy hooks and tracks on this EP but they also show off a great range of styles, incorporating aspects of thrash, hard rock, heavy metal into their Stoner Rock cauldron, which makes them stand out as original.

Phantom Cosmonaut (Guitar): "One of the real strengths of this band is that everyone is coming from a slightly different direction, style-wise. That makes the end result something unique and usually difficult to categorise."

Davis Zaius: "We come at a song in terms of what feels right for everyone in the band, and what we think will move the crowd at a live show. We often try to make the unusual or unexpected choice, especially where the rhythm section is concerned, without delving too far into self-indulgent prog rock. A song can be complicated, but it's got to stay groovy."

Leon "Space" Chase (Vocals): "So, most of what you hear is the unconscious product of five different people's tastes and tones smashing into each other, and just seeing what sticks."

Imagine if you will, a stoner rock band with triple threat vocals of Ozzy Osbourne, David Bowie and Dave Mustaine! Catchy opening track Hate Parade made me think of this very scenario and it works well. I asked the band members where their vocal influences come from, comparing the performance to a couple of these artists, and it's a wide and varied set of singers.

Leon "Space" Chase: "While neither of those was my intention, I'll take them both as a huge compliment. I would add Arthur Brown (Uk 60's pop star), Rob Tyner (MC5)".

Davis Zaius: "Mike Patton!" (Faith No More)

Leon "Space" Chase: "Also, Perry Farrell (Jane's Addiction), and of course Ozzy".

Orcs of the Nevermead sounds like a track that could have been written by the aforementioned Dave Mustaine for Megadeth back in the days where he may not have taken him self so seriously. Full of thrashy intent but not quite heavy enough to be thrash, I'd think it'd be a crowd pleaser live.

Tracks like Out to Get Mine and Power Hitter give bassist Davis Zaius a nice stage to show his creativity and ability to create interesting sounds. Out To Get Mine starts with a distorted bass and a dirty ground out guitar riff. It opens up nicely into more catchy riffs, nice solos and good breakdowns. Powerhitter has some effective effects on the bass in parts. It is also a 100% party track which closes the EP on a high note.

Reign of Zaius also give a nice sonic nod to the bringers of doom, Sabbath, in They Live and Farewell To Arms. They Live also has a hint of punk in the chorus and Dead by Dawn is blessed with a splattering if classic metal and opens with the classic line from the film of the same name, "I came here to kick ass and chew bubblegum, but I'm all out of bubblegum". Upon hearing this my 3 year old immediately stated she wanted to go to wherever "here" is because it sounds fun. I checked with the guys but I think I'll be keeping her away for now!

Gorilla Monsoon: "I dunno, a busy bank with aliens and a shotgun-brandishing Roddy Piper might get a little dicey, but you're the parent so that's entirely at your discretion."

Leon "Space" Chase: "Still, I think that the average 3-year-old is probably very in tune with what we do."

Davis Zaius: "Quite."


Power Hitters



There is a lot on show with this band. The EP captures a very authentic live feel. If there was spoken pieces in between each track from members of the band (I'd like to imagine some comical warning against some flesh eating cyber virus due to bit us in the year 2134) I may have thought at times it was recorded at a gig.

Creepy Mo (Guitar): "Our goal was to get a quick-and-dirty recording that showcases what we actually sound like together in a live room".

It is safe to say the goal was achieved successfully.

Take away the brilliant back story and good time vibe though and Reign of Zaius treat us too some real catchy hooks, an interesting and varied vocal and an occasional understanding from the guitarists that they can build some interesting layers of sound by going their own way. Finally I get a real punk ethos feel from the whole project, from the rough and ready sound to some of the delivery.

Who Are You and Where Do You Come From?


Reign of Zaius settled in Brooklyn New York after their arduous journey back through time. I tried to finally ask them if this was the epicentre of some important future event, but they told me to shut the fuck up because they were watching Ash Vs Evil Dead.

They Are;
Leon "Space" Chase on vocals,
Davis Zaius on bass,
Vlad the Inhaler (AKA Phantom Cosmonaut) and Creepy Mo on guitars and
Gorilla Monsoon on drums.

If you want to hear their music go here and get the EP.

If you want to follow them and have a laugh (they post some great stuff) check out Facebook and Twitter.

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Writer: Jonny Radley



Saturday, 15 October 2016

Wired For Havoc - Roll With The Punches. Album Review


So I'm currently sat here naked, why are you naked Jimmy? I hear you all ask. Well, let me tell you!

After having a little chat with the guys at Manic Kat records they hit me up on a band called Wired For Havoc. These guys released a full length album on Friday and dude was I keen to hear it! 

Who are they? Well they're a 5 piece from Provo, Utah consisting of;

Andrew Connor- Vocals 
Chase Gerber- Guitar
Devin White- Guitar
Houston Peterson- Bass/Vocals
Sean Michael Gordon- Drums.



They're signed to Manic Kat Records .

I tuned into my trusty Apple Music, searched, and there it was..

Roll With The Punches


The cover shows some Abraham from the Walking Dead lookalike dude, looking as though he's gonna rip your face off and wear it for Halloween. Now I like my face (as I'm sure many of you are starting to notice) but I was willing to take the risk of losing it for the sake of this record. 

I hit play and as I sat back and my clothes just flew off! That is why I am sat here naked. So boys and girls, hold onto your panties because this one is a whirlwind!

The album starts off with Vagabond.
The gateway drug of the album for sure, providing an awesome balance of angelic vocal to the 'I've just been punched in the dick' growl that we all know and love! This track really does set the tone perfectly for what's to come. The next track that really grabs me by the balls is 

The next track that really grabbed me by the balls was Patience. Dude I could already picture myself in a club signing to the DJ whilst punching the air pretending I'm giving the world the best performance of the night. I can really hear some A Day To Remember in this track both musically and vocally. There's a cute little breakdown which throws you right back into that 'dick punch' just to bring the track back in. 



Dis-order is hands down my favourite track on the album, I got so excited I could feel my dicks heartbeat! A real Of Mice and Men sound which for me is perfect! The guitar work is a beautiful dark chunder thunder of power and beats that come at you like a blizzard.



The track Diamonds has such a fitting name. This is both lyrically and musically beautiful. When I was younger we made super hot chicks mixtapes (I'm sure you've all heard of them, they're not just myth) so they would fall in love with us, or give us a blowie behind the bike sheds. This is one of those tracks, I would throw this one on my mix tape for sure. I swear my ears melted onto my shoulders.

Satellites is a great song to close the album with, it's got that Punk influence guitar wise, piercing through those dual vocals leaving no room for error. The track starts to wind down in an atmospheric euphoria that the boys in Brand New would be proud of.


Conclusion


This album for me is staying in my personal collection, I already get a feel for what they are going to be like live so I really hope we get the pleasure of seeing them over here. I best go put my clothes back on........


Score 4/5



Get it: iTunes/Spotify/Bandcamp 

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Friday, 14 October 2016

Skin Drone - Evocation

Skin Drone are an extreme metal duo who incorporate elements of tech metal, industrial and avant garde. Sound scary yet? Well it is, like Freddy Krueger is scary, it's exhilarating, fascinating and scary. (Yes that's how I feel about Krueger, best monster ever, deal with it). 

This noise is created by Erik Martin (vocals and multi-instrumentalist) and Otto Kinzel (multi-instrumentalist and production). What is particularly impressive is that they create this whilst living very far apart, one in Boston MA and one in Hot Springs Arizona. They don't sit in a room together jamming this out, it's done cross country.

Evocation





Tracks such as Scarlet Road and God Complex don't hang about in telling us what this album is all about, with relentless double bass and technical heavy and in parts melodic guitar work.

Scarlet Road itself breaks down into a dark spoken interlude then it smacks you in the teeth again very quickly. Whilst extremely heavy the vocal is understandable, a great skill.  A second breakdown of ambience offset by the demonic vocal leads into my favourite heavy part of the track, which displays interchanging off riffs that are fat and heavy.

God Complex also has an atmospheric haunting section that leads into the best guitar riff of the track. Lyrically, to me, this track is interesting. My interpretation is that it is commenting on the tyranny and control of organised religion but it can just as easily be seen as addressing faceless corporations who control us through advertising and building a religion of consumerism. Deep I know, but I appreciate the way it gets you thinking, it's intelligently written.

Death Sentence whilst insanely heavy, is slightly more reserved and has elements that remind me of less underground acts such as Slipknot. Whilst Skin Drone would have the masked fellas running scared as a general rule, the riff work has its comparisons.

Shepard Of The Damned starts musically dark, moody and quiet with spoken vocal parts. It feels like mad ramblings and sounds in a murders mind. When I read the lyrics, it seems to portray a revenge killing, and this goes to show how well these guys paint a picture through music and vocal delivery. So far this is the most laid back track and it has a beautifully played guitar outro.


Ghost Reflection is a very nicely written airy light interlude, still slightly menacing but juxtaposed by the sounds of nature creating a relaxing feel, which is well timed on the so far intense offering.

But don't get too comfortable, City Lights opens up with a thrashy riff. This soon becomes and amalgamation of thrash and tech metal style guitar with the million mile and hour drum beats. Guitar wise some of the riff work is impressive on this track. A story of a man mutilating himself under the instruction of God reinforces the macabre subject matter throughout this album.


Witching Hour takes us back to the incredibly heavy side of life following the effective previous formula of including a breakdown, taking it a different direction within a breath.

Darkness Within throws in a nice surprise. It's a more straight industrial metal track in parts which holds back on the relentless drum speeds for the most part.

Salvation ends the album on an epic note weighing in at over 8 minutes. It is also by my favourite track. There is lots of elements on display, from magical programmed sounds, to straight heavy metal, to extreme metal. It also has my favourite drum work, with the bass drum having less speed and more form than in any other of the heavier tracks. This is a great way to see out the album.

Conclusion


This is one of the hardest albums I've had to give a score to, but I like a challenge.

At times the relentless heaviness of the bass drums was too much for me, especially when I heard the finesse of programming ability in tracks like Salvation. Having said that, for fans of extreme metal and/or industrial metal I don't believe it'd be a negative, and that is ultimately the target audience.

The album is well thought out in terms of track order, the softer tracks appear at the right time, to relieve some of the intensity. Whilst the tracks at times have a similar formula in terms of the mood driven spoken word break down but in terms of composition and delivery it has some incredible moments, I particularly enjoyed the sound scapes they create in some of the breakdowns which scope from sublime to sinister.

Finally the way the music supports the lyrical content in creating mental imagery is second to none.

This music is immensely heavy, busy, dark, tense, rage driven and almost psychotic. And this is exactly what fans of extreme metal want. So this is not a negative, in fact it delivers in droves.

This is their first album and they promise to get more complex and heavier! Now THAT I gotta see......


Highlights: God Complex, Salvation; Shepard Of The Damned

Score 3.8/5



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Writer: Jonny Radley