REVIEW: Switchblade’s self-titled album

Switchblade Sweden’s Switchblade were known for years as a quarter, then a trio, but now with a founding member moving on to new things, the group have decided to continue on as a duo with Tim Bertilsson (drums) and Johan Folkesson (guitars) taking on the duties. Their brand new album on the Denovali label has them plodding down the instrumental demonic track with a three movement album where things get intense as the album goes on, from fierce guitar riffs to drums that sound like someone in a coalmine, eternally pounding until there is no more strength to pound.

Switchblade are joined on the album by a few other musicians, including Per Wilberg on the Hammond B-3, whose playing may be simplistic and almost borderline minimalist, but ends up becoming a mandatory drone for the vibe they are trying to create with this music, almost like a throbbing headache that doesn’t seem to want to leave, but you ride with it, knowing that part of the solution is taking the pain towards finding comfort. Just when you think the song is about to end, you realize that it’s one part of the same song morphing into the other, and things only go downhill (metaphorically) from there. Take on another ride.

While these guys may be called drone metal, they’re a bit more than that. To me, drone metal is playing one key and remaining there for the duration of the song or album. There’s a bit of melody in these slower-than-molasses tracks, but the path in order to get there is a test of endurance, and that’s the fun of it too. Understand their methods and you will understand the slow and irresistible path these two men are taking with their music.

(You can order the vinyl, CD, or MP3 versions of the self-titled Switchblade album, along with sampling a segment of “Movement II”, by clicking to Denovali.com.)

REVIEW: Black Goat Of The Woods’ self-titled EP

Photobucket It’s great when a band comes out with new music out of nowhere, or at least that’s the common phrase to use when someone makes music that blows you away, leading to the question “where did these guys come from?” In this case, Black Goat Of The Woods are from Indianapolis, Indiana and they play the kind of music that makes you want to deny everything good in the world, only to lead you to want to cut your eyes open with a razor blade. Some of it comes off like Venom if they were raised in the 90’s or 00’s, still bringing on that dark heaviness that made them famous in the 1980’s but playing with the kind of precision that lacks toe sloppiness Venom sometimes had in their heyday. With tracks like “Terrorize The Church”, “The Whoring Cunt”, and “Fisting Angels”, they will most likely not be welcome at your holiday get-togethers but outside of the shock tactics of the titles, Black Goat Of The Woods, don’t dwell too much on embellishments for most of the album, keeping things under the two minute mark (sometimes under the one minute mark). But when they do go for demonic anthems, as they do in “Crawling Through Hell”, they show what they’re all about by playing in a number of different speeds and structures, offering a glimpse of what they are capable of. There’s also a track here where the vocalist allows himself to get into David Lee Roth grunt mode, which for me tells me that while they are serious about creating brutality in metal form, they can add a bit of unintended/unexpected humor to throw listeners off. I hope the expected and unexpected will follow in future releases.

(Their EP is a CD-only release, which can be ordered by clicking here.)

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/album=3906510934/size=venti/bgcol=B34B30/linkcol=FFFB10/

FREE MP3 DOWNLOAD: Hunter’s Pub’s “Ancient Woods. Drunken Hags”

Photobucket Ancient Woods. Drunken Hags is an album from Hunter’s Pub, a duo consisting of Danny Kreutzfeldt and Lars (Dennis) Hansen, former members of the band Noisejihad known for their heavy mixture of drone & noise. They continue on with their creativity but show how things are in their world. To sample their style of “drone folk”, play the Soundcloud player below. Like what you hear? You can download the album in full for free, courtesy of Drowning.cc.

The album consists of one big 26 minute track, which was recorded and assembled in 2007, but not released until now.

REVIEW: Ahab’s “The Giant”

Photobucket Talk about a trip. Ahab is a name for a band that may bring a wide range of thoughts, and if I were to tell you that they were a rock band who mix up indie and progressive rock, you might go “oh, this might be something I could really enjoy.” Now let me add that within that, they’ll spew out various types of metal, including death and black metal. Now what?

The Giant is an album that will keep you guessing throughout, for when there are moments where it’ll enter a Danzig or Voi Vod vibe, but then two minutes later it becomes so disgusting and raw, it may make you open the bandage just to smell the wound so you know it’s real. It’s a 6-song album where the shortest track is just under eight minutes, and when they want to bring the listener into the aura of what they’re doing, they’ll play it out at a grinding and sludgy pace while decorating the soundscape with a lot of color and depth. It’s not heaviness for the sake of sounding this way, but when it’s done this way (and done very well, I may add), you want to be captured by the sonics and turn it up loud. Some of it even sounds like it could be extreme folk, if there was ever such a genre, or at least some of the melodies within are things some may not expect to hear in a style of music that at times sounds vulgar. Then again, a good amount of metal roots have origins in certain types of folk and classical, and Ahab graces itself in a number of different styles but still comes out sounding like eating mud.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=thisbosmu-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=B0088IBAVEhttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=thisbosmu-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=B007MY7RRQ

REVIEW: Sloath’s self-titled album

Photobucket Is there such a think as meditative sludge? If there isn’t, then I’m going to have to apply that to a British metal quintet who call themselves Sloath. Their self-titled debut (Riot Season) consists of only three songs: two of them at 11 minutes, and one giant 22-minute wad of thickness.

There’s a term in the 1980’s that I remember reading about in association with the group U2, “three chords and the truth”. Maybe Bono said it, and he may have stolen it from someone else. What Sloath do with three chords or less is amazing, because that’s what their songs are: three or four chords, solid riffs played over and over. It may sound monotonous, but it becomes like a drone as the songs go deeper into itself, and then the tempo slows down eerily until they’re playing at half the speed they started out at, and then half of that. It’s a bit like a sarod in Indian classical music, you catch that and hang on to it because one slip and you’ll fall into the abyss. At least with two 11-minute songs you can figure out that things will be somewhat the same throughout.

In the 22-minute “Please Maintain”, it’s almost if as these guys are telling their listeners to do just that. In this song, within the repetitive riffs and drones are occasional melodies that are like a splash of water to the face, as if someone is gently adding colors to the grim gray and black tones these guys perform. It’s definitely not for everyone, but of stoner, sludge, doom, and drone are your thing, this will feel like metal kama sutra, and the reward at the end will be twice as fulfilling.

If there is one complaint that I have, it’s that the heavier moments sound as if they were either mixed “in the red”, or they were brickwalled. The lighter moments show how well this cluster of sound gels, but it’s too forced. Not sure if what I obtained is an unmastered mix or done improperly, but a proper sounding mix would do this music justice.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=thisbosmu-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&m=amazon&f=ifr&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&asins=B003TXIL4C

RECORD CRACK: Celebrated Wolves In The Throne Room album gets released on vinyl in two ways

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It has been said that the Pacific Northwest was the last stop for the criminally insane, and perhaps that’s why a lot of things have been left of center. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but the imperfections are what make them appealing. Case in point: Wolves In The Throne Room from Olympia, Washington, who have gained a following well beyond the Washington State boundaries, in fact they’re currently on tour in Europe.

In 2005 they released Diadem of 12 Stars, which was called by one critic “environmentalism black metal”. Van Records in Germany have now released on vinyl in two ways: one as a standard 2LP edition, the other as a deluxe 180g 3LP box set with a poster, patch, and a vinyl-only bonus track. The music is spread over five sides, while Side 6 features an etching.

The deluxe 3LP box set can be purchased here, while the standard 2LP set can be had there. Both are German pressings and thus you’ll be paying import prices. Both links will take you to AllThatIsHeavy.com. You can also buy other items directly from the band.

RECORD CRACK: Year Of No Light/Machu Picchu Mother Future offer up vinyl munchie

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If you are a fan of stoner/doom metal, you’ll want to pick up this vinyl morsel. It’s a split LP featuring Year Of No Light and Machu Picchu Mother Future, the latter a makeshift supergroup featuring members of Lesbian, Conifer, and Souvenir’s Young America.

The Year Of No Light side features two songs, with individual collaborations with Fear Falls Burning and Nadja. Side Two is the Machu Picchu Mother Future side, where 11 musicians team up for a massive audio fuckfest called “Space Mountain Forever”.

A French label called Music Fear Satan is releasing this, and you can buy it from them directly.