Apr 30, 2012

NEWS: Mammoth Mammoth Announce New Album, Preorder & Preview ...

Mammoth stoner rockers from down under, Mammoth Mammoth, have announced details on their 2nd album and 3rd release. You can check out the full artwork on their site (link below, NSFW). After an epic 13 day DMT bender in an abandoned women’s mental institution, MAMMOTH MAMMOTH emerge with a new album not only ripped straight from the bucket bong, but straight from Satan’s anus too. To celebrate we’re releasing a limited edition, 180g vinyl, gatefold album with extra track, numbered, signed AND each individually cursed by a one breasted Haitian voodoo priestess just for you! You can get your hands on this rarified release first by pre-ordering for the special price of $20 (not including postage or your soul) from our website HERE, this limited release will sell out fast.

Listen to a sneak preview of 3 songs HERE


NEWS: NOOTHGRUSH / ALDEBARAN – “Procession To Extinction” European Tour 2012 ...

Oakland sludge merchants Noothgrush will be touring Europe this May with Portland funeral doomers Aldebaran. Their first two dates will be in Copenhagen, Denmark as part of the Heavy Days In Doomtown festival. The tour will continue down through Germany and into the Czech Republic for a show with fellow Americans Jucifer. Aldebaran are touring in support of their new CD on Profound Lore and Noothgrush are gearing up for their first ever Baltimore apprearance as part of the Saturday show for this year’s Maryland Deathfest X, in support of Archgoat, Winter, Anvil and Morbid Angel.

Words: Wes Cueto ( GRAVEYARNS )

NEWS: Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight release “Going Home” ...

Following a successful string of European dates, today sees the release of ‘Going Home’ the latest album from Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight. The nine-track, genre-spanning album is released via Superhot Records.

The band enlisted the skills of uber-producer, Tony Reed - who counts the latest St Vitus album among his credits - to mix and master the album which was recorded in 2011. The resulting album gives a firm nod to heavy influences such as Black Sabbath and Kyuss, but is thickly layered with their own identity and imagination.

Drummer, Chris West commented “The path from Movin On to Going Home was neither straight nor easy and the inspiration for the songs came from some serious highs and lows. That first listen through when we had the mastered LP in our hands confirmed everything we’ve been through was worth it. It was absolute bliss. Working with Tony on the records was a blast. We knew him personally, he knew our vibe from touring together and it was like finding the missing piece of the puzzle. Now we can’t wait for people to hear Going Home and continuing this crazy journey with us."

The album can be purchased from:
Superhot Records | Big Cartel
Trippy Wicked Bandcamp

See Trippy Wicked play live at the following dates:
Unicorn, Camden- London: 8th June
Windmill, Brixton- London: 30th June
Moon Club- Cardiff: 7th July
Scream Lounge- Croydon: 21st July

Watch the video for ‘Up The Stakes’ here:

For more information about Trippy Wicked: Official Website
To sign up to their newsletter: GO CLICKY HERE

Source: Pioneer Music Press

Wooden Stake - At The Stroke Of Midnight CD Compilation ...

For those people with a fixation for all things horror and metal, Wooden Stake are a band you just can't go past. This new release is also a vital purchase for fans of the band that might have miss out on some of their out-of-print titles as this compilation brings them all together in the one place. In fact you almost get everything they have ever released on the one CD, except for their last full length of course, the great 'Dungeon Prayers And Tombyard Serenades' If you have never heard the band, you have been missing out. Their releases are almost worth buying just for the voice of Vanessa Nocera alone. She has such a diverse vocal approach that is easily up there with any of the doom-metal front-men/vocalists in the world today. Wooden Stake are a classic "cult-band" in every extreme. Everything from the artwork down to the raw, primitive production screams underground metal but it is the doom metal/black metal/old-school death metal blend that is really addictive here.

The band have always striked me as sounding like early Obituary meets Jex Thoth with a side order of Hellhammer. It is primitive, ritualistic and sometimes pretty rough around the edges but that gives the band a certain charm. Obsessed with ghoulish horror films, the occult and sabbathian lumbering riffs, Wooden Stake could easily be passed off as another Acid Witch, Hooded Menace kind of band but they sound nothing like those bands at all. This compilation features a new cut 'Night of the Banshee,' two tracks from 2011's 'Black Caped Carnivore” 7” EP' with the title track and 'Curse of the Funeral Mistress.' You also get 'In the Godless Moonlight' from their split release with Druid Lord which also came out in 2011. Then there's the two cuts 'Death Reads the Black Tarot' and 'The Legend of Blood Castle' off another split release from 2011 with Blizaro. There is the four tracks from 'Vampire Plague Exorcism' and to top things off, they also deliver 'Invoke the Ageless Witch'  and 'At the Stroke of Midnight / Howl of the Devil'  off of 2010's 'Invoke the Ageless Witch 7” EP.'

Now of course I have already reviewed most of these original releases before and you can read those reviews still by clicking the Wooden Stake tag at the bottom of this review if you wish. The truth is, this is essential for fans of the band wanting all these cuts in the one place or for those people who missed out on the releases the first time around. As a release, it all flows pretty well and despite these tracks coming from different releases, recorded at different times, it all flows nicely. The cd's booklet includes lyrics and cover art from all the featured releases too. This is a great compilation for fans but perhaps more importantly, the perfect starting point for those folks wanting to get to know this band a little better....9/10.

Wooden Stake @ Facebook

NEWS: BLACK SABBATH Announces 'Intimate' Homecoming Show ...

Before their headlining performance at this year's Download festival, British heavy heavy metal legends BLACK SABBATH will perform in their hometown of Birmingham for the first time in thirteen years in an intimate homecoming show at the O2 Academy on Saturday, May 19. A donation to Help for Heroes will be made from the proceeds of the show. Tickets are priced at £45 and go on sale at 9 a.m. on Friday, May 4.

As previously reported, BLACK SABBATH has been confirmed for this year's edition of the Lollapalooza festival, which takes place on August 3-5 at Grant Park in downtown Chicago.

BLACK SABBATH was supposed to tour the U.S. this year as part of a worldwide trek in support of a new album, but guitarist Tony Iommi's cancer diagnosis put those plans on hold. Ozzy Osbourne's wife and manager, Sharon, said recently that SABBATH would now play just one date each in North America and the U.K.

It was the decision by Lollapalooza organizers 15 years ago to deny Ozzy a spot on the bill that led him and Sharon to launch Ozzfest. When asked if original SABBATH drummer Bill Ward will participate in the band's U.S. show, Sharon told VH1 Radio Network, "We don't know yet, we really don't know. It's up to Bill. The door is open for him to join us, so it's up to him."

Meanwhile, Ozzy, Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler are in London continuing to record their first album together in 33 years, although without Ward it is not the original SABBATH reunion announced last November. Sharon said about the recording sessions, "It's going good. They're doing really well in the studio. Gosh, they must've written 15 new songs already and it's going great."

She also denied that she was responsible for Ward's current absence from the project, saying, "Everybody's got their own manager, so we have an independent group of people that have come in to manage the project, and I don't, and I get the blame because Bill doesn't want to play with the band; he doesn't like his deal and I get the blame. It's like, 'All right, I'm a big girl, I can take it.'"

Ward has been sitting out the sessions due to being offered what he called "an unsignable contract" in an open letter to SABBATH fans. Ward posted an update on February 17 in which he said he "remains hopeful" for a positive outcome to the situation.

The rest of SABBATH's scheduled European summer gigs will be replaced by "Ozzy And Friends", at which the singer will be joined by Butler, former Ozzy guitarist Zakk Wylde and other special guests, including Slash on selected dates.

Apr 29, 2012

Guaranteed 100% “No Bullshit Rock’n’Roll” – Interview with Ollie Stygall of Grifter ...

It is difficult not to get caught by and to stay sober while listening to the juicy, ballsy, badass raaaaawk done by Grifter, and especially when you stumble upon one of their gigs. So those who missed them at the Desertfest in London last April or during their crushing tour with Orange Goblin have better catch these three Brits during one of the coming gigs during their invasion of the Continent!
In the meantime I got hold of Ollie Stygall, Grifter’s frontman: a friendly genuine rocker with a nice witty humour and a strong passion, as well as a highly appreciated reviewer for the fine UK webzine The Sleeping Shaman.


Mari - So, here we are, Ollie! Well, my intention was to start the interview with one of those classic questions that I like, i.e. about the history of the band and so on, but I guess that many many people by now know about Grifter after the blasting tour with Orange Goblin and the experience at the Desertfest in London! So I thought I might start with a flamboyant update for the fans!
I guess you have a lot to say about the tour through UK with Orange Goblin and a lot of expectations and curiosity for the coming dates on the "continent" ...

Ollie - Oh thank you Mari, that does seem to be the standard opening question...I've heard it so many times I'm tempted to start making up utter rubbish in response!!!
The tour with Orange Goblin was incredible. It was great to be asked by those guys to go on the road with them and they showed us a lot of genuine hospitality, kindness and respect. The tour started off great with Desertfest. We headlined the Black Heart stage on the Saturday night and, despite the time clash with Orange Goblin in the Underworld, we ended up with a full room in front of us giving us a great reaction...it was a real buzz!!! The rest of the tour was also a real buzz. The only flat gig was Newcastle and even there we got a good reaction, everywhere else the crowds were amazing to us, we were blown away. Orange Goblin also put on a great show and Ben is an awesome frontman...it was a real lesson touring with them.
We can't wait to come to Europe. We have two gigs in Belgium; Room 66 in Leuven and La Taverne Du Theatre in La Louviere on May 17th and 18th with our Italian buddies Doctor Cyclops then we head to Netphen in Germany to play the first Freak Valley festival with bands like Doctor Cyclops, Orange Sunshine, Bushfire, Wicked Minds and Colour Haze. It's our first time in Europe and hopefully not our last. We've heard that European crowds are really cool and the beer looks awesome!!!

Mari – Oh, I am sure the Euro tour will be a blast as well! And I do hope, too, that more will come! And, by the way, how does it feel getting a mention in Metal Hammer?

Ollie - That was awesome. We didn't even know they had the album so to get such an awesome review from them was pretty cool. I guess we should try to get them to a gig some time. Having said that all the reviews we've had so far bar one have been pretty damn good so we can't complain?

Mari – OK, sorry, I have to do it, I can’t avoid it … For the unlucky ones, for those who still  are not conscious about Grifter (!), I have to ask you, please, “that” question … i.e. to outline the history of the band and its roots, previous experiences of you guys, your personal definition of the music you play, how the adventure started, and the whole lot, you know what I mean …

Ollie - Aargh you did it!!!! Well, to sum it up, we formed in Plymouth, UK in 2003. At first we were a four piece with a different singer but he left right after we did our first gig, I mean literally as we walked off stage!!! No problem we were back on stage a month later as a three piece with Foz on drums, Phil on bass and me, Ollie on guitar and vocals and it's been that way ever since. We started doing the usual local circuit and building up a following then did a demo (Elephantine 2005). Gradually we started getting gigs further afield around the country and caught the eye of Fury 76 Records who released our first EP (High Unholy Mighty Rollin' 2008). After that we hooked up with Catacomb Records and appeared on their Sound Of The Catacombs compilation and put out another EP (The Simplicity Of The Riff Is Key 2010). The EP release coincided with a UK tour with Sun Gods In Exile which was a lot of fun.

Musically we're just a rock and roll band...maybe heavier and dirtier than some but still just rock and roll. We don't really buy into the whole stoner, doom, sludge labelling thing to be honest. None of us listens to much of that stuff and between us our tastes cover a huge range from metal to grunge to blues to ska to reggae to hip-hop to folk to 70's rock and beyond. Collectively we all dig Sabbath, AC/DC, Clutch, Led Zep, ZZ Top, Motörhead...etc. it's all just good, hard, arse kicking rock!!!

 Mari – Thanks, Ollie, now the readers have no more excuses!  Let’s go briefly back to the past again … I remember that when we started interacting via e-mail about three years ago you guys were basically going through the typical DIY routine of many many underground bands, surely with great satisfactions but tiresome as well. So I guess the encounter with Ripple Music was a great deed. By the way, how did everything start with the Ripple Music folks?

Ollie - Before they were a label Ripple was, and still is, a very well respected review blog so I sent them the second EP to review and they loved it. This was right at the time they were putting out their first release, the JPT Scare Band album. They asked us to be involved in the Heavy Ripples vinyl split alongside Stone Axe, Sun Gods In Exile and Mighty High so we naturally said yes. When we recorded the tracks for the split we decided to also record an album and see what happened with it but Ripple offered to release that as well. It's been a great relationship so far, they've worked hard for us and want a second album so let's see what the future holds.

Mari - And now that you are enrolled with a cool American label has life and activity changed in better or the interaction with a label induces stress? And do you miss the "early days"?

Ollie - Distance doesn't matter with the Internet nowadays. Those guys put their backs into making things happen for the label and the bands and we have no complaints. In fact since we signed with them and put out the album things have been on a constant upward trajectory for us...we got on Classic Rock magazine's CD, got the Orange Goblin tour, got offered the festival in Germany, hit a whole bunch of year end best of lists, got some incredible reviews...etc
The only thing I miss about the early days is that, now we all have home life commitments and now live in different towns, we don't get to hang out socially anymore except at practice or gigs...but it makes those times more fun.

Mari - Another mandatory question is about your future plans with Ripple Music, although you gave us already a hint …

Ollie - As I mentioned Ripple have asked for a second album so we're busy pulling material together for that and aim to record later in the year. The material is a mix of new tunes, some old tunes that have never been released and revamped versions of some other older unreleased stuff that now sounds killer...they've finally found a home!!! Other than that we're working on more gigs and looking to get a European booking agent. There may be other cool things in the pipeline but it's way too early to say anything now and jinx it!!!

Mari – Right! Well, can’t wait for the new album, then! Now I have another question about an important issue, i.e. about your constant activity in the promotion of your own band during all these years. You made a lot of efforts for auto-promotion and you never lost, let's say, "faith" even when you had no or very sluggish reactions in forums etc. I admired you a lot for the effort. So do you think all that effort in auto-promotion was worth and effective?

Ollie - I guess “faith” is a good word to use. I have ultimate faith in the band and the music we create. I know we don't fall into a convenient musical pigeon hole so a lot of the people who can't see beyond their own narrow genre may pass us by, but a lot of other people do pick up on it. The thing is you have to promote your band if you want to go further than practicing or playing your local bar. It's a very big world and the potential audience for each band's music is huge, so you need to go out and get them as people won't necessarily come to you. Every fan you pick up along the way is important but they need to know you exist. I'm passionate about Grifter, not just as a member of the band but as a fan of what we do. If I hadn't put in the hours promoting the band, making contacts and getting our music heard there is no way we would have got as far as we have now.

Mari – In this respect, I often have the impression that many young or emerging bands have difficulties in organizing their auto-promotion. So how would you advise an emerging band about this issue?

Ollie - Unfortunately there is no guide book for this. It all boils down to investing the time and making sure you have a product worth promoting. If you're starting out as a band don't stick crappy quality rehearsal recordings on the Internet. Get a decent set together and gig it then choose some of the songs and record them properly. The next step is then to get your music in the hands of the people who can spread the word...magazines, fanzines, blogs, radio...etc. if that means spending money and ending up out of pocket then so be it. Put stuff online for free...people love free stuff!!! From there people need to know you exist so you need to start hitting forums, social media sites, posting news on blogs...etc. finally you need to make friends...organise gig swaps to get your music to new audiences, trade CDs, talk to blog writers...etc. maybe even start your own blog to review other bands and send your stuff out in return. Ultimately if you're passionate about what you do that passion will spread and you will never regret the time and money necessary to promote a band.

Mari - I’m sure your words and advices will be of interest and helpful to many people out there. Well, Ollie, thanks a lot for the pleasant chat. All the best for the European tour and the cool things to come and keep on rocking hard! \m/

Ollie - "Thanks, Mari, for the interview and thanks for the support over the last few years. Hopefully we'll.continue to kick your arse with rock and roll for a few more years yet!"

Interview by Marilena Moroni

Grifter Official Website
Grifter @ Facebook
Ripple Music
Grifter @ Bandcamp

Here are two cool videos from Desertfest in London, one of which carries a cool cover of a song we all know and love around here …

Grifter Pendulum @ Desertfest London 17/4/12

Grifter Fairies wear boots @ Desertfest London 17/4/12

The Isosceles Project - Bridges ...

The Isosceles Project are a progressive, sometimes psychedelic, instrumental metal band from Toronto, ON, made up of Eric Euler (guitar), Scott Tessier (bass) and Brandon Smith (drums). This album 'Bridges' is to be put it mildly "a total mind-f@#k" of an album. Listening to the opening track 'March of the Obsolete' made me think this is like Rush playing metal and gone totally insane in the process. Without a doubt, this band plays progressive metal but it is not the snobby kind. This sits alongside the likes of some of The Atomic Bitchwax stuff so it is stoner-ish, metallic, infectious, head-bangable but still jaw-dropping in its musical delivery. The guitar work of Eric Euler is mathematical, very complex at times and it is constantly exploratory. The riffs themselves vary from prog-metal wizardry complete with odd timings to moments of pure stoner-metal, crushing madness. They off-set these passages with moments of psychedelic spacey noodling but overall, this album can only be described as "pummeling."

The guitar work alone is enough to send the listener in states of sonic musical heaven but the drumming and bass player is equally as challenging and amazing. The drumming is full of jazzy kind of fills to moments of intense aggressive pounding and the bass playing is all over the place supplying exciting bass runs. Basically the three tracks here that all run around or way past the 10 minute mark leave the listener exhausted and speechless. It was literally just a few minutes into the opening track, 'March of the Obsolete' when I was sold on this band. The whirlwind of guitar notes, the aggressive yet complex drumming and bass playing is flawless but it is all delivered with so much energy, it is exhausting just sitting and listening to it. I hate to bring up a genre debate at this point but 'The Isosceles Project' are thinking outside of the box at all times so it is hard to successfully pigeon-hole them into any genre. They have more proggy touches that most "progressive rock" bands but they can be so up-tempo and metallic at times that it is unlikely the traditional prog-rock fan will be able to handle the intensity. Yes, E.L.P or even Dream Theater this is not, this band are on another planet.

The key to the magic of these three pieces is they are constantly changing directions and do it so often, it is almost impossible to know where you are in the song. I wonder how the band can remember where they are at times, especially during the opening track. 'March of the Obsolete' is the albums most intense track, throwing riffs, leads and notes at you at a million miles per hour. If all three tracks were like this, it would be pure overkill but thankfully these guys know how to mix it up. Second track 'Temporal Laceration' is more graceful than the first, more psychedelic and spacey but it still has many passages of complex prog wizardry. There are infectious melodies everywhere - almost too many of them to go through in detail here and there is no shortage of soaring leads. The band is obviously gifted in the songwriting department too as these three tracks have room for each of the musicians to move wherever they want. It is a tight performance and certainly doesn't sound like off-the-cuff jamming but it also doesn't sound like a stuffy, up-tight album where everybody is fussing over each and every note - the music comes across as free, natural and organic.

The other track on 'Bridges' called 'Ship Without A Sail' is another musical exploration piece and again it is the combination between spacey, psychedelia, progressive metal and crushing riff rock that is instantly appealing and infectious. The band is not 100% unique, there are many bands both old and new that are walking the same musical path but there is something fresh about this. Bands like Dream Theater, Russian Circles, Ihsahn, The Re-Stoned and even old-timers like Rush all deliver their moments of metallic prog-ness but even those bands (as great as they are) can sound stale at times. The Isosceles Project however sound fresh and intensely exciting and nothing is predictable. Even after several spins of this album, you will be still uncovering passages of musical brilliance you have never noticed before. The production also deserves a mention - it is almost flawless. Everything is loud, clear and right where it should be and it is a treat for the ear-drums. This band could be the next kings of the Canadian progressive metal genre, amazing album....9.5/10.

Official Facebook

Bruja – Twisting and Convulsing ...

Bruja is running a serious risk, that of replacing Meth Drinker from my top fave reference for extremely dark and tortured sludge metal. These guys’ ears might then be ringing a lot due to quoting for one of my favourite genre of extreme metal …
Since the first listen of Bruja’s debut self-titled demo/EP I was hooked by their impressive heaviness of their music and of the hopelessness and suffocating gloom evoked by their sounds. These feelings and appreciation further increased after listening to their new album, the 2012 monster tape Twisting and Convulsing.
Bruja is a young sludge metal band from Omaha, Nebraska (USA) founded in early 2010. Three guys only: Klaus Backlund on vocals, Geoff Skoog on guitars and Mick Ridgway on drums.
They are devoted to a gut-smashing, sick blend of toxic raw blackened sludge doom metal contaminated by drone and fuzzy noise as well as by crust and death metal. The impressive feature of Bruja’s tunes is that they are also loaded with groove and make you feel like joining the forces and “sing along” with Klaus Backlund’s hissing rants and blood-curdling screams and Geoff Skoog’s twisted mammoth riffs.
Bruja means “witch” in Spanish, so similar to the term “Bruxia” used in the ancient dialect spoken in the island of Sardinia, here in Italy.
Like witches, Bruja are luring, misleading and nasty. Bruja are contrasts. Their music style encompasses extreme slowness and frenetic accelerations, their rhythms change, for example, from ritual and epic to wild and nasty; beefy, magma-hot distorted riffs can be coupled with icy-cold black grimness, and so forth. And everything is mantled by deep darkness.

The 2012 album/tape “Twisting and Convulsing” includes five tracks from which it is difficult for me to pick out a fave one, as I  found all of them as being of crushing beauty and impact. So this tape is a 35.31 minutes-long nightmare that may, however, last longer because of the urge to spin it again and again and again …
Bruja’s grim magmatic vortex starts with the highly atmospheric intro of the +8 minutes-long opener “Parallel to Time”. Ritual drumming by Mick and an isolated but alarming sigh by Klaus emerge from silence before the backgound howls of the guitar lead you into the core of the track. There a flow of majestic, distorted doom riffs, the crushing drumming and the suffering nasty chanting will swallow you. The melody is slow and epic although occasionally accelerated. The wall of sound is interrupted halfway through the track by the same droning coupling of  ritual drumming and background guitar  howls heard at the beginning. The acceleration closing this central atmospheric interval brings you back to a new surge of doom heaviness where Klaus’s singing momentarily turns into growls encompassing death metal and funeral doom for their depth. But unexpectedly the overall sound and sick singing blast into a killer attack of pure crust and subsequently to chaotic grindcore and noise that close this impressive suite. 
There’s no peace for your lungs with the following shorter slab. Why your lungs? Because the +4 minutes-long track “Convulsions” is a wavy surge of distorted sick heaviness that makes you breath deeper gasping for more oxygen. The rumble of drums and the wall of distorted noise created by the extremely downtuned guitars and by Klaus’ deep growling to nastily screaming vocals  is impressive. Again, what conquers me here is the great variety of sounds created by the band over a monotonous wavy leading melody by means of a continuous swap between genres and, especially, between accelerations and slowdowns, changing singing style, etc.
The following +8 minutes-long suite “Vivisection” starts with a charge of killer syncopated, twisted riffs bearing the aggression of death metal and poisoned by noise and by the painfully screaming vocals. When super-slow doom takes over halfway through the track, the vocals get extremely low as well, deep slow growls. In this central doomy core of the track riffs start as disturbingly buzzy and drony, but soon they turn into pure Electric Wizard-esque smokey groove! But poisoning here is the rule, so the magics of groove is torn apart by the explosion of Klaus’ bestial screams …

“Rat’s Nest” is another +5 minutes-dose of hatred and noisy heaviness recalling the wavy rhythms and sounds heard in Convulsions. Here the vocal parts are somewhat more dominant than before. Here as well as elsewhere in this stunning album the combination of torn screams and deep roars convey loads of desperation and violence and chaos as in some suicidal black metal or, better, as in bands like Alkerdeel.
The almost 9 minutes-long closing track “Another Vagabond” has a tricky quiet intro after which a killer crusty charge starts. Again the band rapidly and naturally swaps between genres! A few tens of seconds see the diversion from pure crust to doom and to epic raw black metal riffs coupled by doom-death metal-like roared chanting. In the core of this suite the style turns into a sort of super-slow, noisy “funeral sludge” where one might imagine the singer rolling over the pavement caught by convulsions and uttering his extremely torn screams and roars as soon as he gathers some breath … The closure of this great track and this spectacular album/tape sees a gradual increase in the pace of the plodding, majestic riffs before they die out in the noisy howls of the amps …

So let’s sum up and provide some comparisons, at least according to my impressions.
Mind-blowing, crushing ritual to drony heaviness like in Horse Latitudes and SunnO))); downtempo Sabbathian and swampy groove as in Electric Wizard, Weedeater, Black Cobra; contamination deeply dark, raw and sick sludge charges as heard in Meth Drinker, Bibilic Blood, Jucifer, Grief, Alkerdeel, Salomé and found in several cool emerging bands like, for example, Grime, Cult of Occult, Red Blood Water, Backward Zombies …
The contamination of death metal and noise in Bruja somehow reminded me of bands like Antediluvian and Dragged into Sunlight, although the loads of atmosphere drenching the sound were reminding me of the stronges sides of Sol as well.
The minor but awesome insertions of crust can’t but recall what I just heard in one of the most intense gigs at the last edition of the Roadburn Festival, the one by the “crust guru” Doom …

In Bruja riff patterns and sounds and melodies are not too complex or too technical. But they are so charged and involving that they seem to speak to our deepest, instinctive, animal-like inner features. Exactly like the effect of menacing feelings induced by the minimalistic yet awesome cover art of this impressive tape. No gore, no horned goats, no skulls, just an old photo of two people (a lady, maybe, and a man with a hat) taken at dusk and with (enhanced?) gleaming eyes like nocturnal animals. Nothing “officially” tragic, but, hell, I wonder whether there is someone who doesn’t feel a cold shiver along the spine by looking at that picture … 

The 2012 album “Twisting and Convulsing” is available from Bandcamp, as is the debut 2011 demo/EP Bruja for free download. 
For those who like it “solid”, “Twisting and Convulsing” is available as limited edition tape as well as CD, that can be purchased via Bancamp or by contacting the band for a ridiculously low amount of money. Well, allow me to express my pride for being the first European to buy their tape back in March!
Before writing this review I have listened to this album so many times that I don’t even remember. And I still enjoy it massively. It is too short, but it is awesome, and I can’t wait for more from this killer band …………………..  10/10

Review by Marilena Moroni

Bruja @ Facebook
Bruja @ Bandcamp

Apr 28, 2012

AHAB: New Album Title Track Available For Streaming ...

AHAB, the German funeral doom metal band featuring former MIDNATTSOL members Daniel Droste (guitar/vocals) and Christian Hector (guitar), has posted the title track of its forthcoming third album, "The Giant", to be released on May 25 via Napalm Records. The CD features cover artwork (see below) by acclaimed artist Sebastian Jerke (LONG DISTANCE CALLING) and a guest appearance by ENSLAVED vocalist/keyboardist Herbrand Larsen.

"The Giant" track listing:

01. Further South
02. Aeons Elapse
03. Deliverance (Shouting At The Dead)
04. Antarctica The Polymorphess
05. Fathoms Deep Below
06. The Giant
07. Time's Like Molten Lead (digipak and vinyl bonus track)
08. Evening Star (vinyl-only bonus track)

The second in a series of video clips featuring behind-the-scenes footage from "The Giant" recording sessions can be seen below.

AHAB's sophomore album, "The Divinity Of Oceans", was released in July 2009 via Napalm Records. The follow-up to 2006's "The Call of the Wretched Sea" contains seven songs and is based on the wreckage of the Essex.

AHAB is named after Captain Ahab, a character in the novel "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville. Along with its name, the band also draws thematic and lyrical inspiration from "Moby Dick" — some songs even feature direct quotations from the book.

AHAB is:

Daniel Droste: Guitar, Voices, Synths
Christian Hector: Guitar
Stephan Wandernoth: Bass
Cornelius Althammer: Drums

WITICHSORROW: God Curse Us All Press Release ...

For years, if not decades, Heavy Metal's heaviest sub-genre known as Doom Metal has been something of an enigma, generally ignored by the metal masses, its flames kept fanned by a mere handful of cave-dwelling enthusiasts that fully understood its emotional depth and beauty. With this in mind, it was almost inconceivable that it would become as widely acknowledged and appreciated as it is today. Since recent times the term 'Doom Metal' is used almost as commonly as any other form of metal, and whilst many trends have come and gone, Doom never went away. Now that it is a more commonly-accepted genre, it has typically led to an abundance of bandwagon jumpers coming to the funeral. Using as much copy and paste occult paraphernalia possible can’t disguise the fact that they're not genuinely into the art, or in fact particularly that great.

Witchsorrow are a prime example of a band unaffected by this Johnny-come-lately approach and play their pure and epic non-pretentious brand of Doom Metal straight from the heart. If their self-titled 2010 debut suggested that, God Curse Us confirms it across almost an hour of unsullied doom.  Recorded over Hallowe’en by Chris Fielding at Wales’ ultra-remote Foel Studios (Electric Wizard, Primordial, Hawkwind), God Curse Us is an album that brings the dark spirit of ‘70s Sabbath forward to 2012. Capturing the dark essence of classic doom: heavy, mournful riffs; oppressive atmosphere, bleak, sinister vocals and full-power metal freakouts, there’s no mistaking it for anything else. “I just want to carry on what Sabbath started,” states frontman Necroskull. “I want to keep that old flame alive. I think that’s always been what all the great doom bands have strived to do. It’s a tremendous honour to add our own colour to the great tapestry of doom metal.”

God Curse Us certainly does that over its hour of pure heaviness, taking in an Electric Funeral-esque vision of the apocalypse (God Curse Us), morbid, crawling grimness (Masters Of Nothing), dark fascination (Ab Antiquo/Megiddo) and pure Heavy Metal thunder (Breaking The Lore). For fans of the lighter side of metal, this is not.  “There isn’t any light at all in the album,” asserts Necroskull. “It’s far too easy for metal to become a parody. We’re not the band out high-fiving everyone and pouring shots down your throat.

Everything is falling apart, you can almost taste Armageddon - we’re the ones peering ahead to the end of the world.” Having already taken their doom-worshipping hymns all over the UK – including a slot headlining the Jagermeister Stage at Sonisphere 2011, where they unleashed Hell to the surprisingly large number of acolytes they pulled away from Metallica’s bloated performance on the Main Stage – God Curse Us looks set to cast Witchsorrow’s shadow even further.

Indeed, God curse us, every one!

Necroskull – guitar, vocals
Emily Witch – bass, piano
Wilbrahammer - drums

WitchSorrow @ FaceBook

The Funerary Text of Doom - Interview with Odradek Room ...

(interview with Artem Krihtenko)

Ukrainian avant-garde doom band Odradek Room (Ukraine, Mariupol) stuck in my memory after I had listened to “Doom-art compilation – 2009”, which I should say exceeded all my expectations. I’ve remembered the band not only for it’s strange name but also for really qualitative and nearly extraordinary stuff. Typical doom atmosphere was combined with fresh notes of avant-garde and a scent of madness and in the end this mix sounded very effective for me. Music these guys create is really hard to define with certain common genres, it stands beyond doom metal stereotypes. That’s why as soon as I had found out that the band has released their first long-play “Bardo. Relative Reality” I hurried to get in touch with them. Artem Krihtenko (vocals, guitars) has heeded my call.

Salute comrade! Who is on behalf of Odradek Room facing progressively thinking  doom-audience today ?

-Artem. Guitarist, vocalist, Odradek room’s composer and lyric writer.

Artem who belongs to Odradek Room besides you? How old is your band?

-There is Sergey Kuznetsov, the bassist and at the same time the guy I have been playing with since the origin of the band, Roman Borovikov – the drummer. These fellows are my bosom friends and close associates. We have been creating music for a long time together. One more guitarist Ilia Zernizkiy joined us lately. He is likely to play with us as a session musician. I hope he will benefit some new stuff in Odradek’s sound. The exact date of origin is no use trying to recollect. Approximately in 2007 or so.
Both non relative to music Kafka, Hesse, Sartre, Lynch and a good deal of great profound music, such as Pink Floyd, Silver Mt.Zion and up to various jazz music. We all have been brought up by something and absorb something to some extent.

Is Odradek Room a studio project or the band in the true sense of the word giving live performances every once in a while?  Is there a need for (and reason) live performances as your music is some kind of a chamber one ?

-We are a fully valid band). We just suspended our live performances till time our album recording is finished. To my mind, live performance is the most powerful way of interaction between musicians and audience. We like live concerts very much. They enable us to reveal ourselves to the audience more closely. Our stuff is some kind of a chamber one indeed. Besides, we have been planning playing acoustic stuff.

You didn’t give performances in Russia, did you? Whom did you share the stage during the performances in Ukraine?

-Hardly had we set out travelling about other cities and giving live performances when it was decided to start off recording the album. We didn’t happen to play at conceptual doom concerts in Ukraine. We just shared the stage with black metal and death-doom bands playing more aggressive stuff. No, didn’t make any enquiries in terms of giving performances abroad yet. But we are about to do it soon). There is a great will to go through this, hope it comes true in the nearest future. You are welcome to invite us abroad )

Odradek Room’s first album “Bardo. The relative reality” has come out lately. What label released it?

-Currently, it has a status of self-released album. There were interested labels, but it was either a financial difficulties (no money to release copies) or something else that knocked the bottom out of it. We have some preliminary agreements concerning distribution, but still it just a verbal agreements.

How much a band is supposed to spend to release СD on its own? How much did you spend recording the album?

It’s quite pricey I should say. We recorded it completely by our own efforts. Made our studio right in our rehearsal room. On the one hand, it appeared to be more expensive rather than on professional studio, but on the other hand, there was absolute creative latitude. There were no time limits and much time to think over some details. That was our first experience of more or less serious recording. I hope our next album will sound better.

How would you define “Bardo. The relative reality”? What differs it from other doom bands? IMHO some songs bring back to middle-aged Katatonia in terms of structure of its compositions. The fragile, quite insane atmosphere slightly feels like Finnish band Aarni…

-I don’t like describing our music. The music comments itself. We didn’t take cue from anybody during composing and just tried to express every emotion and every bit of a feeling as clearly as it was possible with appropriate artistic devices. Our music bears a lot of stylistic influences and artistic devices.

Do you consider Odradek room’s songs to be technically difficult? What things are you proud of in the album best of all?

-It’s some sort of bottom line of the past years. Music which runs a story about not only a single person, but everyone in a way. It’s a sinking deep into unconsciousness. It’s the effort to realize and perceive things exactly the way they are. It’s hard to put into words for me.

Are you going to stick to the style and atmosphere of your first album in future or your music will develop and transform into something else? In what direction?

-I don’t see the point of repeating ourselves. Everything changes and flows. And so do we. Still there will be both aggressive and melodious harmony contrasts. What direction?  – I am at loss to answer. Everything flows intuitively. It might be some drone pieces or trip-hop… there are plenty of other variants.

How long the album was being recorded? Was the sophisticated atmosphere which features Bardo - The relative reality created deliberately?

-Recording lasted a year and a half or so. It had been completed from the musical point of view but different technical details obstructed the process. As for the deliberateness in creating the atmosphere…sure, we did our best to transmit the feeling and vibe of our music.

What comments and reviews did the album get? As for me, it was a great pleasure listening to it, but it is difficult to please everybody…. And do you care reviews and feedback from the audience?

-Labels’ reaction was the worst)… Just joking). Jokes aside, the album was highly  appreciated. But to make things clear, our business is to play music and it’s up to the listeners to judge. It is natural that certain kind of music awakes an echo in someone’s heart and in someone’s it doesn’t awake anything.

The name of the album has drawn my attention at once. The matter is that Odradek Room is not the first band to apply to Tibetan notion “Bardo”, which stands for transient process while the soul of the deceased departs. IMHO none of the bands which claimed to develop this particular theme happened to find any appropriate embodiment of this conception. In your case, notion “the relative reality” goes apart from emotional expression of the music. What do you think about that?

-Afterworld or while dreaming ( no matter as there is fractal self-similarity of transient states of mind ) psycho-emotional mental forms expose, it is the psycho-emotional experience which frames person’s perception of the reality. The environment is a reflection of an individual. For example, in “The Picture” lyrics the reality is described as being originally seemed unanimated. But after a while, protagonist watches the picture of the world and the worldview break to pieces. Everything he had observed as existent happened to be just gore, bandages, wounds and imprints of his life projected on his worldview. When everything fell down to pieces he faced the reality as a mirror. He is reality. It’s a metaphor, though an obvious one. The album runs about of this transient process from the point of view of human being. As a rule, he is still absorbed with emotional perception of the environment, he still experiences depression, fear, anger, affection. He doesn’t have a clue that he is the only author of this performance. Excuse my complicated explanation but this phenomenon is rather a sophisticated one.

Everything is quite clear to me, mate. It’s a partial summary of the most fundamental principles of Bardo. But doesn’t it seem to be misleading to you to load intensively the “illusionary side of reality”, does it? You capture emotions and sounds consequently creating stronger affection to this world.

-Music doesn’t create any affection itself. Music is clear and objective in this respect. People suffer from affection trying to hold stream in their hands. Besides, music is a great mental and spiritual tool.

The name of the band derives from one of Kafka’s writing. Do western philosophy or eastern spiritual tradition prevail in “Bardo. The relative reality”?

-The band’s name taken from Kafka’s “The Cares of a Family Man”. There was surrealistic creature Odradek, the bogie, looking like an animated spool of threads. I think in terms of European culture as I was brought in this environment and this fact is reflected on hero’s perception of the reality expressed in the album). But all the while both our music and album is based more on eastern philosophy traditions. Even such an artistic device as constant contrasts in music (aggressive/melodious, mad/mild) originally meant as creative and destructive potentials interchanging. The album depicts life and death, their dualism and unity at large.

Where did you get the samples used in “the river” from? “Self –realisation comes as soon as a person conceives that he himself is a hero of another person’s dream”. Sounds quite far-fetched…

-It’s from “Waking Life” by Richard Linklater. Great film. Our album has much in common with the plot and conceptions of this film. Transient state of mind after death, alternation of dreams in a dream and mental forms embodied in individuals and their stories. In the sample there is a monologue of a hero, who conceives that he was dreamed by another individual and was created by his imagination.

Your song “The picture (sticking oil colors into a canvas )” was also included in the latest “Doom-art.ru compilation”. I consider the idea of releasing the compilation to be great, but the list of the bands doesn’t provide objective glimpse of our stage. Is there any sense of self-organization of doom bands for joining efforts in doom music promotion?

-Yes, the idea of compilations itself is very good. We intended to take part in them since the first compilation had been released. Unfortunately, the 2009 compilation was released on the quiet without any promotion and consequently without proper feedback. Of course, there is a sense in self-organization.

By the way, I got to know about Odradek room thanks to this compilation, and it means that the idea proves to be working. How would you review post-Soviet territory doom-stage?

-To my mind there are some really interesting bands. I don’t very much like what is being played by doom-death bands, although things get better in other doom developments and directions. Both post and experimental doom directions are quite on the high level. There are some great funeral bands. To say the truth I am glad gothic stuff is left behind in the past of the Noughties.

Currently, sludge and stoner trends are emerging. And a great many of bands representing these genres are rather predictable in their using hackneyed music patterns which were borrowed from western bands. We are short of really original unique bands. Is there a need for copycats on the doom-stage? Even if nobody has played anything of the kind before over there in post-Soviet territory….

-No stoner can be played without clichés in a proper way). I suppose there will always be lack of original distinctive bands, otherwise the notion of the word “originality” will be doubtful. In any kind of art copycats are useless. The value of “retranslation” is not worthwhile.

What native bands would you point out and consider worthwhile?

-Autumn (or Men of the Autumn ), latest sludgy stuff of Evoke Thy Lords, Inter Arbores, don’t know weather НИМФ is alive or not ….. these are the first to come into my mind. There are some others.

What have you been planning in terms of the nearest future?

-Giving concerts, working at new compositions. Might be recording acoustic EP in half a year.

Thanks for the interview Artem. Let me know when you go to Russia and when you have a new music material. That’s all for today. Wish you good luck and successes in new achievements.

-Thank you. Let the music reign). Best wishes.

Interview By Aleks Evdokimov

Odradek Room @ Bandcamp
Russian text:

Apr 27, 2012

NUCLEAR MAGICK – “Priests Of The Bomb” (cassette) ...

“This is the first step ever towards the possible destruction of the entire planet.”

Duck and cover! A young German duo deliver apocalyptic death doom directly from the core of their reactors. The demo cassette released in 2010 is a solid first from a band whose members have little to nothing under their chain belts but stands up with some of the most punishing death doom I’ve heard in some time. The tape opens with some old school sound effects of troops marching, a siren wailing and some spoken word on the importance of civil defense, courtesy of 1950?s news reels no doubt. Then we get blasted with some bone crushing riffs and crashing cymbals that ride you to the gates of oblivion in the form of “Enhanced Radiation Weapon”. The vocals here are my favorite kind- slow growls and painful cries. These guys are death doom to be certain but some of the fast, breakdown parts on here verge into black metal territory.

Not to mention the overall bleakness of nuclear annihilation as their main lyrical theme. The second track “SR-90? is their shortest and fastest ripper which resembles Norwegian blackened thrash, more than anything else but they know how to slow it down at the right moments and let the smog build to a thickness, just the right amount to pollute your lungs but not put you to sleep. “Nuclear Necromancy” slows things down even further with some classic death growls and murky sludge, which almost verges on funeral doom. Their theme song “Nuclear Magick” is an evenly paced jam which perfectly sums up what I like about these guys- short and brutal, they don’t have to beat you over the head for you to know which bunker they’re hiding out in. They’ve been quietly touring Europe but are preparing to release a new EP entitled Mutual Retaliation which features artwork by the brilliant Paolo Girardi (Blashphemphagor, Diocletian). Heavy is the head that wears the gas mask and red dawn has just begun.

Stream a preview of their new EP HERE.

Words: Wes Cueto

Times Are A Changing, Please Read ...

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Brotherhood in Metal – Interview with Ben Wrecker from Hotel Wrecking City Traders ...

Two brothers. Two globetrotters. Two musicians with firm roots downunder but branching out across oceans. Guitar plus drum only but making a hell of a cool noise! I had the pleasure to interview Ben Wrecker, the long-haired brother / drummer of one of the coolest bands in the international panorama of experimental heavy music, Australia-based instrumental duo Hotel Wrecking City Traders, and owner/manager of a way cool underground label, Bro Fidelity Records.
Watch out for the many juicy things to come from these dudes and from this label in a near future …


Mari - Hi Ben! Thanks for accepting the interview done by a total non-professional interviewer like me! You'll see, I'm not able to make "short" questions, lol … Let’s start with one of the “same old questions”!
HOTEL WRECKING CITY TRADERS, or HWCT, are a well known band but I'll ask you to outline the history of the band. So two brothers making a lot of cool "noise", heavy and trippy music with just drums and guitar, no vocals, no bass ...
How did it start with music in general and with the band in particular, and what made you choose to practice this genre and why in this way, i.e. instrumental and with minimal line-up?

Ben – Hi Mari! Well, the band was something that evolved from our teenage years jamming together when we were growing up in Hong Kong. In 2007 we were living together back  in Melbourne and we decided to move back here for the long term and started the band and decided to give it a name. We always thought of it as just the two of us and I can't really remember why we stayed a 2 piece. It was just good fun making music with one other person I guess. There was no conscious choice to play any one genre as our releases will suggest, we are influenced by many styles and genres and this is evident in the recordings.  We have always said that if given the opportunity we would recruit people for recordings and/or live shows if we felt there was a good fit and since we began we've had Bonnie and Rob Macmanus from Grey Daturas play in our live band as well as Raul from Magic Dirt on a number of occasions. Then, of course, there is the record we did with Gary Arce from Yawning Man. We hope to record another record with him next year.

Mari – Another album with Gary Arce? That’s a cool news! But let’s go back againg for a little while to the band’s line-up.  I find the "trve", genetic and artistic brotherhood behind your band an interesting feature especially for the great jamming component of the music you make. Well worth getting to know about this aspect from you ...

Ben - Thanks that's nice of you to say. There is definitely a sort of sub-conscious level when I play with Toby in this band. The Earthless guys refer to it as the 'cosmic nod' in their band, I guess a similar idea can be applied with HWCT. The familiarity of playing together for many years has allowed us to form a trust that we explore in live settings and in the studio, as the majority of our music is improvised and recorded in one take.

Mari - Well, the fact that cool tunes like yours do come out so well blended during improvisation is a thing that always astonishes me as a non-musician (and regretting it). A question which is due to instrumental bands like HWCT is about the reasons of leaving vocals out and how other various well-known underground instrumental bands have been influencing you ...

 Ben -  These days there are so many vocal-less bands. I have always loved bands like Ufomammut, whose use of vocals can be quite minimal. Other cool examples are bands like Yawning Man, Earthless, Carlton Melton, Hey Colossus, Oxes, Pharaoh Overlord, The Psychic Paramount, Year of No Light, Russian Circles, and Sons of Alpha Centauri who we have a split with coming out on Bro Fidelity later this year.

Mari - You guys are definitely in good company …  You play drums and your brother Toby plays guitars. How do you interact in the song-writing, at least when you do it? Who is the composer between you and Toby? And when you practice improvisation during jamming who normally leads the jamming?

Ben -  It's a complete democracy. Toby will sometimes have a beat in his head for a riff he brings to a jam, sometimes I have a guitar part or a time signature in mind. We share our thoughts freely and then begin to play, we try and record band practices on an HD Zoom recorder so we can go back and pick at the good parts as a way of inspiring us to focus on a certain movement or perhaps a fluke moment that we weren’t thinking about and just happened. For period of about 2 years we never practiced. Maybe only 3 or 4 times in that 2 year period, it was when we started playing loads of shows, and now we practice more as it is just fun more than anything and we have almost two sides to the band. One is a chaotic noisy side and the other a more focused side, where we pay attention to the craft.

Mari – That’s really charming! Also, are you taking care by yourselves of the technical aspects of recording, mixing and so on, or do you rely on external specialized studios?

Ben -  We have always incorporated elements of both. Our last recording session was one single day where we recorded and mixed a song called 'Leshy' which appears on the forthcoming Falling Down IIV Compilation as part of the'Endless Edition' deluxe silver tin box set. The studio in Melbourne is awesome, we always have one of the owners of the studio Neil Thomason engineer for us. Not only does he have exceptional technical expertise but he is good friend and we have developed a good relationship when we are making music in a studio setting. He understands the dynamic of HWCT and when given the heads up to push us out of our comfort zone he is more than happy to do so. 'Leshy' came out really well and its the most honed and melodic thing we've ever written and recorded there. When we press vinyl we have had James Plotkin (Khanate) handle that for us, he runs a great service and is a very talented guy. Though we do have plans to use the services of some other people for future records to keep things fresh.  Our next recording will be for a split CD release in honor of a Japanese tour we will be undertaking in November, with Spider Goat Canyon. For this we will bring a mobile recording setup to our jam room and our friends will be donating their time to helping us record it in a 100% DIY setup. We will mix and master ourselves with the aid of our friends who have expertise in these areas, but no studio budgets or anything like that. The whole tour is indicative of a community of friends and we wanted to have a limited edition release for that tour as a memento that embodies that spirit of brotherhood and friendship.

Mari – Thanks for the details about this new touring project of yours, it sounds awesome!  
Another curiosity that the readers surely have is the origin of the long and, I must say, fascinating and badass-sounding name of your band. I mean, how can one resist from checking out a band bearing such a cool name? And the even cooler things is that the music behind is a promise kept ...

Ben -  Haha. Well you might be in the minority there. It causes a lot of problems, people don't always remember the name, or get it wrong and sometimes prefer to refer to us as HWCT,  which we don't mind. But Toby came up with it, it's got a personal meaning I think I have mentioned in previous interviews but really we just liked it at the time and still do. We've considered maybe just using HWCT for the next record, we’re not sure. I think the folks in Japan may find it hard to remember our full name, with the language barrier.

Mari -  You are based in Melbourne although I had read in the past that you actually lived in various places of the world in Asia and in Europe as well. Also, you toured in Europe as well.
So I guess you are the ideal person to ask for a comparison between the European scene and the Australian scene, in terms of interaction with fans (do they come to gigs or are they lazy as far too many spoiled European fans?!?), diffusion of your music, interaction with or level of attention of the mainstream media towards underground music, etc., lots of things, eh eh ...

Ben -  Yeah we've bene very fortunate in living from a young age in many different countries and experiencing cultures. We haven't toured Europe yet actually, but would very much like to do so. We have a booking agent in Spain who is very supportive of us but it is all down to finances. With only two people in the band it has its pros and cons, you would think it is cheaper to tour, but there are only two of us contributing financially so whether that makes it any easier really, its hard to say.  Australia is very far away from the Europe or the USA, which I did visit a few years ago to do some stuff with Mondo Generator but that was paid for by the label. I am the label for HWCT so I have to find money to fund all the recording, production, distribution and all those costs before we can even consider the logistics of self funding an international tour. We are very happy to be heading to Japan to play with some good friends we helped out with a tour of Australia in 2010.  They are returning the favor and cutting a lot of costs for us as otherwise touring Japan can be very expensive for a band like ours. I think the thing which makes Europe so advantageous is the proximity of each country. To travel the same distance in miles in Europe you may be able to play in 6 countries or cities, where as the same distance in Australia might amount to shows in just two states! Australia is for the most part a big desert, so driving between shows can be really long with not much in between. But the underground in Australia has always been very strong and bands create their own destinies, I do believe Europe has a far more extensive network as far as promoters and labels and festivals that are aimed at fans of this type of music though and that's why bands like us are always really interested in coming out and playing shows over there.

Mari – You already mentioned Japan. But I am also curious to know something about the interaction of rock/metal fans from other nearby Asian countries with the Australian scene and, in particular, with your band and the genre you develop ...

Ben -  The South East Asian cities are definitely coming in to their own. Hong Kong and China in  particular since we left 8 years ago or so have really expanded and more bands are touring there. Russian Circles were telling us their show in Singapore was really amazing and we hope to get back to HK and China for some shows next year. We have had some people ask us about it and we would love to go back and catch up with some old friends for sure.

Mari -  A more than due question is about your music and how it has been developing during the life of the band so far. My feeling is that it has been changing quite a lot from the debut EP, more atmospheric, more complex, darker, sometimes heavier in terms of riffs as well without loosing the levity of psych fuzz/desert rock ...

Ben -  Yeah, there are certain freedoms as well as certain limitations as a 2-piece. But your description is pretty accurate. We've always wanted to explore darker and lighter shades and everything in between as we do not write or subscribe to any one genre. My feeling is the next record might be some of the most brutal and heavy stuff we've recorded and it is going to be heavily improvised. But we are experimenting with different instruments and tunings as well as Toby's ever growing pedal collection and our varied listening pallets. It has to stay fresh and we have to feel like we are progressing or else it isn't a challenge and we do enjoy a challenge. This is something that may also present itself in terms of having a few guests play on certain pieces with us but at this stage we will be recording the next release as a duo.

Mari -  I’m so curious about you guys getting brutal! And curious about next guest musicians as well. Speaking about guest musicians, the awesome split with Gary Arce of Yawning Man is one of the occasions where you guys interacted with other musicians. How was the experience with Gary and how did you get to it from across the Pacific Ocean? And what about the other experiences of playing with other musicians?

Ben -  We are really proud of that record. Gary, too. The whole process of getting that together was pretty effortless. We recorded our parts with him in mind, in so far as we left some open spaces with guitar parts and he recorded his parts in California and we backed and forth and we mixed it in Melbourne, with Neil and had Plotkin master it for vinyl. We hope to record the follow up either in Melbourne or California together next time and have all three of us in the same room, which will be nice.
We do have two singers who've expressed an interest in singing on some stuff which might happen as well as the wealth of really talented friends we play shows with in Australia all the time who have also expressed an interest in some collaborations. So when the time is right we will be investigating these things further.

Mari - Cool! Ben, you should make a full video as well of your coming jamming with Gay Arce, eh … And what about the musical projects/experiences you guys have or have had apart from or paralle to HWCT?

Ben -  Well, the main project outside of HWCT is called Daggers Mid Flight. A four piece improvised band with Deryck and Josh from Spider Goat Canyon/Computer Dying. It features two full drum kits, bass and guitar as well as the use of various Asian percussion elements and is also instrumental. We put out a self titled full length album in 2008 on Chairfish Recordings in Australia and the new record will be a digital release via Bro Fidelity/Chairfish recordings and is out this June (2012). We hope to also incorporate a few DMF shows as part of the Japanese tour.

 Mari -  I would like to know about your experience with the label Bro Fidelity, how it started and developed, what kind of activity the label is doing, how much you both are involved, how many bands are now involved, how you choose the bands to promote etc. and whether the life of an underground label is easy or difficult Downunder ...

 Ben -  The label was born out of the start of HWCT as a way for us to release and promote our own recordings. At the time their weren't really any Aussie labels that were releasing our kind of stuff and I had always wanted to start a label that would gradually expand into its own thing whereby I could release predominantly vinyl albums of amazing bands from both Australia and the rest of the world. The Fire Witch CD was the first one I did and those guys were an amazing band. In my opinion one of the best Australia has ever seen. They are all very good friends and I had wanted to have something out on my label for a long time. The next release I am currently putting the finishing touches to is the upcoming 3 way split between HWCT/Sons of Alpha Centauri/ WaterWays. Sons of Alpha Centauri are a great UK band who also formed part of Yawning Sons with Gary. WaterWays is the newest project between Mario Lalli (Fatso Jetson) and Gary Arce. It also features Tony from Fatso on drums, Abby Travis who has been in so many amazing bands (Masters of Reality, Farflung, her solo stuff is amazing). So this release is special to all of us because it is the next stage in a tri-continental community of musicians and bands that already have a  history and a certain approach to music and it's all going to be on one record. It's just been mastered in the UK and sounds killer. I am very happy to be releasing this. It will get the full colored 180g vinyl treatment with amazing artwork from Alexander Von Wielding. 
I think running a label anywhere these days is difficult due to the onset of downloading, but for me the main difficulty is distribution. I have been lucky enough to have the label picked up by Cobraside Distribution (USA) and am working on a European Distributor at the moment. I also have a new Australian one (OSCL) but generally handle the Aussie stuff myself. This new one is run by a collective of friends of ours and it looks to be a really worthwhile project, we are stoked to be involved. The general rule for bands I release on the label, aside from HWCT of course are just bands that I am passionate about. Plain and simple.

Mari  -  I’m impressed by the killer stuff due out on Bro Fidelity Records! And you have already anticipated some really cool news about future projects by HWCT for luring all of us ...

Ben  -  You can check out all information regarding Bro Fidelity Records and HWCT via:

    Bro Fidelity Blogspot

    Upcoming Releases from the label and associated bands:
    April, 2012:   FALLING DOWN IIV Compilation (France) - Feat. HWCT
    @ Falling Down Zine Blogspot
    June, 2012:     Daggers Mid Flight - 'Leap of Fangorn'
    @ Daggers Mid Flight Bandcamp
    preview the title track from upcoming album here:
    @ Grip of Delusion Radio Bandcamp
    TBC:     HWCT/SONS OF ALPHA CENTAURI/WaterWays - 3 way split
    November, 2012:     HWCT/SPIDER GOAT CANYON - Japan Tour Split album (cd)

Mari  -  Ben, thanks a lot for your friendly rich answers, the cool anticipations and the load of information about what’s about to come via your and other bands directly related to you and your label, aboslutely to keep under the spotlight …

Ben – Thanks and cheers! \m/

Interview done by Marilena Moroni

Hotel Wrecking City Traders @ Facebook
Hotel Wrecking City Traders @ Bandcamp
Bro Fidelity Blogspot
HWCT | Gary Arce Vinyl Bandcamp

Apr 26, 2012

Mar de Grises - The Tatterdemalion Express ...

Where do you find the words to define that which defies the description? When you've found something so profoundly different that you're left at speechless; what do you do? In the case of Mar de Grises you ignore convention and let the sounds of future ensnare your soul. Atmospheric, progressive, Funeral-Doom/Death Metal is perhaps the best way to describe the enigma that is Mar De Grises. If that description sounds incredibly ambitious, it’s because this band is. The guitars are moderately heavy with an emphasis on dirge filled passages and long drawn out sustain. There are bursts of speed sprinkled throughout this tapestry of wonder and insanity. The few leads are lost in the dual harmonies. There are no solos but the atmosphere makes up for it. The bass is fairly standard with very little flare. The drums are very complimentary and decidedly progressive. The keyboards are understated yet lay the atmospheric foundation. The vocals fit the music well and are mostly Death with a few cleaner moments.

Over all, the cohesion of the music is beyond words. The music goes from huge, grandiose arrangements full of emotion and passion to near silent passages where there is only a slight rumbling. The music is heavy, melodic and everything in between all the while being incredibly slow for the most part. There is a very ethereal quality to this band and their sound. This is incredibly classy music. This album is one that forces you to sit and down and listen to the whole thing at once. The songs work better this way; this isn't a concept album however.This is a band that you simply need to hear to believe, and understand for that matter. This is by far one of the best, if not the best album of 2004. This get's a 10/10.

Words: Grimdoom

Official Website

Apr 25, 2012

Kadavar - Kadavar ...

There has been a lot of fuss made over bands like Graveyard et al doing the retro rock thing and they are a great band so don't get me wrong here, I just think they are overrated and maybe, just maybe get more attention than they truly deserve. One band that doesn't get the attention they deserve and at least deserve just as much of the spotlight as other bands doing this style is Kadavar. It is kind of an odd situation where everybody that hears them, digs the band and yet, finding interviews etc with the band is not that easy. Like the Ghost and Graveyard's of this world, Kadavar are not trying to reinvent anything, they are just trying to come up with great hard rock in the 70's vein and that they do. The influences and sounds you hear come from the usual suspects; Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Pentagram, Hawkwind and maybe a touch of bluesy Deep Purple as well. The band is skilled musicians with an ear for a catchy tune and heavy infectious riffs but there is more to this band than meets the ears on the first spin of the album.

The music is kind of hypnotic with a doomy presence bubbling underneath most of the tracks. I must also warn you, don't get this band mixed up with other bands of the same name as there is quite a few of them. This has nothing at all to do with death metal, this is pure old-school bluesy hard rock, simple and honest stuff. There are six tracks on the album with each one being in a similar vein and yet each one has its own unique identity. At least half the album has one foot in the doom rock direction with 'Goddess Of Dawn' and Black Sun being the closest thing to doom rock/metal. On the psychedelic side, the last track 'Purple Sage' conjures up visions and thoughts of Hawkwind at their best, circa 1971 to 75. For pure riffing ear candy, you can't go past 'Creature of the Demon' which is chock-a-block full of wonderful riff work. 'Forgotten Past' seems a little bit ordinary to my ears at first but those doubts are soon blown away with more killer guitar work and grooves. The tune that starts it all, 'All About Thoughts' is great in its own right but the album only gets much better as it goes on, at least in terms of memorable riffs and melodies.

If there is a problem with this album, it is it sticks a bit too close to the formula created by the influences mentioned and it lacks its own personal flavor at times. However with six songs that all have something different about them, this album never gets dull or too generic. The band is not reinventing anything but the quality of songwriting is so strong that these songs are memorable, even after just one spin of the album. They don't stick to one direction either; from doom rock to psychedelia to heavy blues, they cover it all in just six songs. If Graveyard can get album of the year status, then surely Kadavar can get it as well. I don't think they are the next big thing in retro-rock just yet but they are damn close. Nothing remarkable really, just damn fine tunes played by very skilled musicians and songwriters....8/10.

Kadavar @ Facebook
This Charming Man Records (EU)
Tee Pee Records (US)

NEWS: ICE DRAGON have released "The Burl, The Earth, The Aether on Vinyl ...

Here is a look at the package and artwork, looks impressive...

You Don't See This Everyday: Watch Sleep Rehearse "Dopesmoker" At Roadburn ...

Just posted on Prefix Mag

A jet-lagged Sleep shrug off the cobwebs and jam out the opening part of "Dopesmoker" in preparation for the next night's headlining performance on the main stage at the Roadburn Festival held annually in Tilburg, Netherlands.

Mar de Grises - Draining the Waterheart ...

Enigma, this is the only way to describe the entity known as Mar de Grises. Five years after their first groundbreaking release ‘The Tatterdemalion Express’ it was hard to fathom how the band could follow-up something so beautifully stunning yet intensely miserable. They found a way and it’s nothing short of divine.

The production is excellent, and it’s a good thing too as this would have lost something had it not been. This album is layered more so than anything that’s ever come before or since. All the of the instruments are doing something different 90% of the time, yet unlike in the jazz improve sense where you expect to see something like this, all the instruments sound cohesive and structured together. This is more a musical movement than a typical album as none of the songs have any repeating parts. This is also less Funeral and more Ambient/Progressive Doom/Death Metal.

The guitars are more or less heavy than on the prior release. They are the atmosphere and go from tight fits of speed and rage to spacey moments of intrigue and wonder. They go from clean to distorted periodically as well as disappear completely from time to time. They make this an epic ride from start to finish. There is a sense of urgency throughout this album as well, almost as if a nervous tension was filling the minds of the architects that crafted this soul purging album. There is a soothing sense amidst the musical chaos however.

The bass adds to the ponderous feel of the guitars. When coupled with the drums its, its own animal. The drums are bombastic and exploratory, highly creative and different. The keyboards more or less provide the background for the all-consuming atmosphere that this album is full of.

The vocals are a mix of clean and growled. They are buried (probably intentionally) in the mix until the latter half of the album. They accent the music over all. Interestingly enough, there are some traditional Doom hallmarks but they are played in such a way that they have a refreshing feel to them.

This is something from a different reality; it’s impossibly to perceive this as something from this planet/galaxy. Like so many bands in the Doom Metal field, this is art in its purest form. This album is a range of emotions from fear to wonder and everything in between. If there is any complaint it’s that this wasn’t released sooner. This is the sixth sense in audio form. They haven’t invented words to accurately describe what this album is.

This is for the lost souls and those seeking something incredibly different. Never will you hear such ethereal heart wrenching somber music that is filled with such an array of awe and sorrow. This is a sprawling masterwork that demands you pay it heed. Listen to this at your own risk as results may vary.

Side note: The special edition of this contains a mini-CD that has one 16:56 long track called ‘Unconscious Passenger’, it’s the bands foray into ambiance. This track, while interesting is ultimately forgettable as it’s beyond minimalistic. This will surely appeal to those who are into the stark emptiness known as ambient. To more accurately summarize the song; if you remove all the Metal from the album at large, as well as the drums, you’d have a pretty good idea of what this is. This get's a 10/10

Words: Grimdoom

Mar De Grises Myspace

Apr 24, 2012

Moonless - Calling All Demons ...

Band Bio:

Moonless is a doomrock band from Copenhagen/Elsinore. In the last two years Moonless have dominated the almost non-existent stoner scene in Denmark, supporting legendary bands such as Saint Vitus, Pentagram and Church of Misery. Their main influence, is Black Sabbath and many other heavy rock bands from the 70'ties, so expect a worship of the heavy riff, slow groove, and to get blown away. They have made a self released 12". "Born Burned Out" and a limited tour edition of the "Calling All Demons" Lp which was released March 2012 on Doomentia Records. (Heavy Planet Stoner Rock Blog: New Band To Burn One To: MOONLESS)

One of the benefits of being a well-known reviewer of the heavy is sometimes bands and albums come to my attention that are a total surprise. This band from Copenhagen is one of those bands. If you like your doom metal to be old school and very traditionally metal, this is a band for you. The band has all the classic old-school traditional doom rock elements starting with Black Sabbath and Cathedral but that is blended with early 80's metal sounds that are similar to the likes of Mercyful Fate and Cirith Ungol.

The bands don't describe themselves as "doom metal" per se, more like a rock/metal band with a doom edge and that is about as accurate description as you could get. If you like old-fashioned heavy metal but like it doom laden, you can't go past this album from Moonless. Perhaps the best reference point might be early Orange Goblin. Like early goblin, this band has a rich psychedelic sabbathian approach but whats more important is they make something old sound new again.

Yes nothing on this album is new but it all sounds so fresh, so dynamic and so amazingly infectious. Most of this comes from incredible riff after incredible riff, most of which sound like they were pulled from an unreleased Black Sabbath album. So you could say this very much in the 70's hard rock vein but make no mistake about it, this band is heavy. Moonless are great songwriters, although not original. The songs have the kind of grooves that gives you goosebumps much like how the classic bands of the 70's did when you first heard them and the musicianship is just as insane. So what is it about this band that makes them so great? That is hard to say really. There is nothing on this album that hasn't been done a million times before but these tunes are addictive. Kicking off the album is 'Mark of the Dead' which gets this infectious riff-fest on its way with a guitar riff that is ominously Iommi-ish. The song is a lot more upbeat compared with what else is on the album but it is the perfect way to hook you into the album. The song is so good in-fact that you could turn it off this early into the album and you would be satisfied enough but there is so much more to come.

The second track 'Devils Tool' is more insane riffing and even more over-the-top lead work. It is still driving, faster than the average doom rock kind of stuff but there is a haunting vibe to the song that is made even more ominous with vocalist Kenni amazingly gifted vocal range. They slow things down for the next track 'Horn of the Ram' but it again builds with catchy grooves and ends up another powerhouse, energetic performance. Turn the album over and you get to the title track and it is another winner. This track is on par with the other tracks on the album till it gets to the halfway point when a sabbathian riff is unleashed that would make Tony Iommi jealous with envy. 'The Bastard in Me' is a direct dose of energetic catchy riffing and more 70's rock-god vocals. The album then ends with 'Midnight Skies' whose main highlight I think is the wonderful singing from Kenni who puts on a Rob Halfordish quality performance.

While the band doesn't vary their songs that much, this 40 minute album is so addictive that you won't be able to stop listening. There are not many albums that leave me lost for words for a review but this release has done that. It is just non-stop solid doom-rock that would have sold millions if it had have been released circa 1975. This is highly recommended for anyone who likes their doom rock catchy, groovy and full of hooks. "A Must Have." ....9.5/10.

Moonless @ Facebook

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