Thursday, 20 July 2017

6 NEW BANDS: Nikos Mixas' 666 Pack Review July 2017

By: Nikos Mixas
By: Joshua M. Wilkinson

It’s the July edition of THE SLUDGELORD’s 666 Pack Review!  We’re over halfway through the year and it’s about as hot as it’s going to get!  So….it’s time to drink beers and review bands!  If you’re new to this, each and every month we handpick 6 review submissions and critique them by only using 6 words, then we rate them on a scale from 1 to 666!  Check out our awesome (burp!) rating scale below: 

1 – I liken this band to having too much to drink.  I’m going to get sick… 
2 – Two is a lonely place to be…like drinking by myself. 
3 – If you want to be just average, like a pilsner, that’s cool with us.
4 – Four, four beers makes you good…just like fried pork rinds.   
5 – This is solid stuff and that’s not the alcohol speaking! 
666THE SLUDGELORD thinks that you deserve a keg party for your efforts! 

Even though there was some partaking of adult beverages during the review process, let’s make it clear that it was done responsibly…with metal!!!  THE SLUDGELORD is a picky listener…and doesn’t care what you think of his opinions….

Bonglord - “Bonglord” – (Ann Arbor, USA)    Rating: 2

Not even bongs can save them….

Ogimaa - “Desolation” – (Winnipeg, Canada)   Rating: 4

Sick guitar tone makes me happy.

Gamma Goat - “Nocturnal Harvest” – (Gilman, USA)   Rating: 3

Soundgarden meets The Sword meets beer.

Ripis  - “Monolith” – (Austin, USA)   Rating: 5

Windhand and Cough orgy with Pabst

Cutlass  - “Cutlass” – (United Kingdom)   Rating: 1

I changed my rating twice…ugh…

Elder Devil  - “Graves Among The Roots” – (Fresno, USA)   Rating: 666!

Went to the school of NAILS.

Band info: Bonglord || Ogimaa || Gamma Goat || Ripis  || Cutlass || Elder Devil  

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

VIDEO PREMIERE: Mastiff deliver a devastating blend of sludge aggro-core with "Nil By Mouth"

Mastiff are a quintet from Hull, a self styled “miserable band from a miserable town” playing a combination of doom, sludge and aggressive hardcore, this crazy bunch of miscreants imbue hate. A sound in the key of malevolence, Mastiff are devastating, with their blend of sludgey hardcore metal. Hell, I’m a dog lover myself, but this four piece are more rabid that a rampaging packs of Rottweilers, an intimidating proposition indeed.  Is there a genre called sludge aggro-core? If indeed there was, this band of merry bastards would be the antithesis of that.  Their music is just low end filth, the pace of hardcore, the crush of Crowbar and venom of Converge

In 2016 Mastiff self released an eight track album entitled “Wrank”. Recorded and mixed in two days in February of that year it was a ferocious DIY statement of intent which matched the rabid intensity of their live shows.  The  group  continued  to  gig  relentlessly  and  started  to  pick  up  a  following  beyond  their hometown.

In July 2016 Mastiff played a now legendary show at The Alma Inn in Bolton which is recognized as the performance which took them to the next level. They opened a five band lineup at 6pm and blew the venue apart, leaving jaws dropped and ears ringing. In the audience that night were band members and reviewers from the growing UK stoner / doom / sludge metal scene who went away stunned. Also in attendance was Andrew Field, founder of APF Records, who befriended the band and signed them to his label in February 2017.

Mastiff’s second release, and first for APF Records, is “BORK”. A six track, 25 minute EP it was again recorded, mixed and mastered in a two day period at the beginning of July 2017. Everything about “BORK” puts debut album “Wrank” in the shade. With  the groundswell  of  support  and  goodwill  felt  towards  Mastiff  in  the  UK  metal  community,  THE SLUDGELORD  is thrilled to be debuting their debut video from the new EP in the form of “Nil By Mouth” which you can check out below. This is very special EP from potentially one of the most exciting bands in the UK today and we are excited to be able to introduce the band to a wider audience. “BORK” will be available via APF Records on 31st August.

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

INTERVIEW: "We never want to stand still in terms of songwriting": Amped & Doomed with Simon Ohlsson (Vokonis)

Vokonis Hailing from Borås, Sweden and formed in 2015 out of the ashes of stoner rock band Creedsman Arise, with a well-received EP ‘Temple’ under their belts, the band became embroiled in a legal dispute over the name. Well what better way to stick it to the lesser ‘Creedsmen’ than with a new album of six psych-tinged bangers? Rising like a phoenix from the flames Vokonis  released their brand new album The Sunken Djinn on 9th June via Ripple Music,  an album that has been met with almost universal acclaim, topping our own Sour 16 chart just last month.  

The Swedish doom trio, consisting of guitarist/vocalist Simon Ohlsson, drummer Emil Larsson and bassist Jonte Johansson, are hewn from the same doomy bedrock as genre titans Sleep, and with Iommi’s influence looming large, their new record is about as strong a rebrand as is possible.

The craft that afforded Vokonis such acclaim on their debut “Olde One Ascending” has been refined and renewed. Whilst being undoubtedly heavy what makes their sophomore effort stand out is the variation employed in the bludgeon. By embracing less traditional doom landscapes ‘The Sunken Djinn’ has allowed Vokonis room to demonstrate the full raft of their audio-weaponry, and in doing so propelled them to the forefront of the heavy underground. 

Today, Amped & Doomed is back and it gives us great pleasure to invite Simon Ohlsson to answer our questions.  You can check out our interview in full below. 

Simon, welcome to The Sludgelord.  Could you give us an insight into how you started playing music, leading up to the formation of Vokonis

I started playing when I was about 15 because I suddenly had this urge to play the guitar. I had just discovered grunge and alternative rock from the 90’s and was immediately smitten by the sound and feel of it. I’m very certain that to this day I am hugely influenced in my writing by
Dinosaur Jr. and Nirvana.

Vokonis came about when our previous band, Creedsmen Arise, imploded. The three of us all had Sabbath worship as the main goal with the band. But now we’re trying to incorporate a lot more in the mix than that. We never want to stand still in terms of songwriting.

Can you remember who or what inspired you to pick up the guitar and is there any bands, musicians currently on the scene that continue to inspire you and push you to try new things?

The one guitarist that made me pick it up at the first place is probably J Mascis. I was sitting around in my room and just trying to nail every
Dino Jr. solo I could find tabs on. That certainly sparked my interest for everything loud and fuzzy.

Shifting attention to the now there’s a lot of bands doing great stuff right now. The new album by
Elder (“Reflections of a Floating World”) have really given me a revelation on how to construct songs with different sounds and soundscapes. Nick is doing a wonderful job of always keeping it interesting with textures and dynamics in his playing. So he’s a major influence on me.

Going in a completely opposite direction, Thomas Jäger of
Monolord have been a huge influence for the past years. His no-nonsense sludgehammer approach is something I admire and get inspired by constantly.

Whilst we’re on the subject of inspiration or heroes for example, do you have 5 records that stand out as favourites, what influence did they have upon you and what is it about those record that particular resonates amongst others? 

Elder – “Reflections of a Floating World”. This is a new record but it has had such profound effect on me that I have to list it. It’s pushing the genre forward and I think it’s going to be regarded as a classic in a few years.

Monolord – “Vaenir”. They kinda perfected the Wall of sound bludgeoning doom with this record. Playing as a unit it’s always about the song and what the song needs.

Bad Acid – “Revelations of the Third Eye”. One of my favourite records of last year. It’s got a lot of cool things happening, a very psychedelic rock take on stoner and doom. But never losing its footing or direction. I appreciate when psychedelic music keeps a good flow and they managed that perfectly.

Slomatics – “Future Echo Returns”. Don’t know where to start with this. It’s something that just grabs your attention and doesn’t let go. You can’t just listen to separate songs; you have to listen to the record in its entirety to fully understand these guys vision.

Skraeckoedlan – “Sagor”. When Sagor first released I didn’t really understand it. But returning to it a few years later it have turned into one of my favourite records of all time. The way they took their influences and ran with it is outstanding.

Can remember your first electric guitar?

I think it was a no-name Jagmaster copy. Not quite a Jazzmaster not quite a Jaguar. Wasn’t very good but I loved the shape and feel of it. As previously stated I had a huge thing for Dinosaur Jr and Nirvana, so that’s why I even got it. Sold it many years ago.

I still have my third guitar though, my trusty
Fender Jazzmaster that I got as a graduation gift from my family. Last time I used it was recording clean parts for our debut album, “Olde One Ascending”. I consider this my first “true” guitar though, given the bond I have to it.

What guitar (s) are you using today and how did you gravitate towards the guitar you currently use? 

I use a variety of SGs.

For recording I have an old
Gibson SG from 88 or 89. It’s supposedly from one of the first years of the 61 reissue. It’s got a thin neck and a warm sound.

I also have a Japanese
Gibson knock-off from the late eighties called Burny. These are quite common in Europe I think due to them being as good as Gibson but without the price tag. I used this all over our new album, “The Sunken Djinn”, and live all the time.

For live use I have a
Boult Troglorite” which I love. It’s made of Zebrawood so it looks totally insane. It’s a very sturdy guitar and always manages to turn some heads so I use it live whenever I can.

Also I don’t want to forget telling everyone about my signature guitar over at
Boult, “The Djinn”. It’s got the shape of the Yamaha SG but without the backbreaking weight. So that’s a huge honour for me. Will come in silverburst with Zombie Dust pickups that me and Willie (at Zombie Dust) will design together.

What do you like about the guitars you currently use and has there been any specific modifications to it? 

I like the way the SG hangs on the body. They’re very light and easy to play. And they always sound a lot bigger than you’d imagine.

I tend not to do that big of modifications to them, mostly swap pickups or stuff if I become bored of them. I have a set of
Lace Dirty Heshers in the Burny SG that is totally face-melting.

What amps and pedals do you currently use?  Do you use a combination of amps, or a full half stack? Talk us through your set up both in the studio and in the live environment? 

For guitars I use two Orange OR100 heads. They just have a big and bold sound that go well with pedals in general. I have either an Orange 4x12 with V30s or an Orange 4x12 with Celestion G12 100 K speakers. We don’t play on big enough stages to warrant a full stack but we’ll see for the future.. For bass Jonte is using an Orange AD200B MKIII head along with an Orange 1x15 cab and my Orange 4x12 with G12 100 K speakers. This is a really menacing combination and gives us a huge low-end but a focused and aggressive mid-range punch.

I have a variety of fuzz-boxes and overdrives but I usually tend to go back to the
Pharaoh and Black Forest by Black Arts Toneworks. They have been really supportive of us and have been kind enough to grace me with a custom-pedal. So I’m using that for over the top insane sounds. Jonte is actually using a Pharaoh as well on bass, but I know he’s been using a DOD Boneshaker and a Boss ODB-3 in front just to tighten things up.

Our setup is basically the same for studio and live use. Last time we were in the studio we used an
Ampeg 8x10 cab and a Sovtek Mig100 for a huge clean sound along with the dirty Orange tone for bass. Turns out they complement each other in a really nice way.

What one pedal could not live without and why?

That would be the Pharaoh. Best fuzz pedal I’ve ever tried, and I’ve tried a few that have come close. The thing I like about it is that it can leave your EQ intact and deals more with the texture and gain of your sound.

What are your amp/ pedal settings?

Amp is set up just to get some break up. Mid heavy, roll off some bass and up with the treble a bit to get a cutting sound. Then blast with the Pharaoh. It’s got the volume all the way up and the gain all the way down. Think of it as the doom metal version of using a Tubescreamer with a 5150 haha..

I would say Jontes bass amp is setup fairly the same gain-wise but with almost a flat EQ. No matter what you do the AD200B just sounds great on its own. But it’s a great platform for dirt too. He’s very delicate with the way he tunes his pedals.

What tunings do you use and why, and as a result is there a specific brand / gauge of string you prefer?  

We play in C standard and we use D’addario strings. I use a set with 0.13-0.56 with a wound G-string that I like. Sounds fat but it’s tight and doesn’t get too floppy. Don’t know the gauges Jonte is using though.

Do you have any advice for up and coming guitars players, bands?

Practice your instrument, challenge yourself musically as a group and while writing, always think “what’s the best for the song?”
Do feel there are deeply help misconceptions about being in a band? 

I know that when we started out I knew there was going to be a lot of work. But the extent of it, I had no idea. We spend a lot of time rehearsing and writing just to become better as a band. But in the end, with a little luck, people will notice that your hard work pays off.

I mean look at a band such as
Conan. Completely D.I.Y approach to everything. They’re a band that has truly forged their own path. I don’t think I know a more hard-working band than them.

Moving on a little then,  what can you tell us about any of your current projects, tours, cds, etc you’re currently promoting, completed and anything else band related we should know about?

That would be our newly released album ‘The Sunken Djinn’ that’s out now through Ripple Music We’ve got a few shows lined up, including a Swedish iteration of Ripple Fest that will be a lot of fun.


What springs to mind when you think about the completion of your new record and how is the mood in the camp at present?

Having just released our new record I think we’re in that mode where we can finally breathe after 6 months of holding in a lot of material. For me this record is more of a first record for us than “OOA”. That’s not a knock on our first record in any way; I just view it more of a demo than our first real offering.

And we’re looking forward to bringing this new record to a live setting. There’s some cool parts on there that I want to see how people react to.

What can fans look forward to from you over the next 12 months? How is your schedule shaping up?

Other than appearing on a as of now secret double LP compilation we hope that The Planet of Doom have neared completion. Very anxious to see how it will turn out and how our music will complement the animations. We’re probably going to write another record this fall. But we’ll be a bit more patient with recording it this time. So don’t expect a new LP until around 2019..

Finally, do you have any final comments/word of wisdom you’d like to bestow upon us?

Just something that I try to remind myself of once in a little while, to try and sit back and enjoy the moment when you can. Life moves fast, two years ago I wouldn’t dream of doing the stuff I’m doing with Vokonis.

Thank you for taking the time for us. It’s been a pleasure.

The End

The Sunken Djinn” is available buy here
Band info: Facebook || Bandcamp

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

RIFF REWIND (18/07/2013): On Pain of Death - "Year Naught Doom"

Formed in the boggiest of the boggy depths of Ireland in March '08, On Pain of Death play slow and twisted doom/sludge metal. The band played their first gig in June '08 and recorded their self-titled first demo over that same weekend and the next in Oaks Recording, Enniskillen, NI.

The band continued to play throughout the Summer and returned to Oaks at the end of September to record their next E...P which features one slab of degrading filth called "Rotting in a Tomb of Depravity". Not happy with the outcome of the recorded EP, OPoD decided to shelf the release with an intention to rework and re-record the track for a future release. A cover version of the Sepultura track “Troops of Doom” was recorded and released on vinyl by Blind date Records in December '09. The release featured bands such as Moloch, Thou, Aguirre, Loss and Hey Colossus all doing doomed out covers.

In the latter half of 2010 early 2011 OPoD recorded their first album entitled "Year Naught Doom". With Handshake Inc. on board "Year Naught Doom" was released as a free download in late 2012 and subsequently released on tape in the summer of 2013 by Dry Cough Records and on LP via Sentinel Records.  Still considered an active band, but yet to release any new material for 5 years, I feel it is time to remind you all just how disgustingly bleak this album was and perhaps reignite the spark within the band to follow up this stunning record. 

Today we are rewinding the riffs back 4 years to the day in order present “Year Naught Doom”. So if you missed it the first time, be sure to remedy your error by checking out our review in full below. 

By: Matt Fitton

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 3/7/2013
Label: Dry Cough Records (Tape) |
Sentinel Records (LP)

Year Naught Doom cover art

A mind melting and deeply intoxicating injection of Sludge and Doom, You'll need to watch Disney films for a week straight afterwards just to recover from the whole damned thing. Highly recommended.

“Year Naught Doom” CS//DD track listing:

1). Year Naught Doom (11:28)
2). Tell Your God to Be Ready For Blood (13:14)
3). It Came From the Bog (17:42)

The Review:

Ireland can kick out some noise when it wants to (see: Slomatics), and some of its filthiest noise in recent years has been produced by Sludge / Doom dealers On Pain of Death. Their current opus of depraved sick riffery is 'Year Naught Doom'. It saw a vinyl release at the tail end of 2012, but is being released on tape by the mighty Dry Cough. So let's get into it, shall we?

What you get for your cash here is 3 tracks of complete Doom horror to sink your fangs into, or whatever else you might be sporting. 42 minutes of harrowing sounds to wake the dead, and probably drive the living insane.

First track shares the album title and commences this ritual with suitably slow tendencies. Soaked in atmosphere and the potential for menace, it'd probably burst into flames if it walked into direct sunlight. It rolls on at an ominous pace, heavy as hell and full of feel. The low end that this band has is thick and syrupy, just the way I like it. The riffs are droning and the drumming pounds more like a curse is being banged into existence. If you listened to this enough it might give you an infection of some kind. It's sick, in a beautiful way.

'Tell Your God to Ready For Blood' is even more destructively slow and torturous. You constantly get the feeling that something very bad is about to happen, and when it kicks in even only slightly, the effect will still produce permanent damage in your ears if played too loud. The vocals are hissing and delivered with absolute venom. They'll haunt you. By the end it's so heavy that the cup on my desk nearly went all Jurassic Park.

The album rounds out with nearly 18 minutes of 'It Came From The Bog'. I can only imagine that the 'it' in question is the sound that this band commits to murderous tape. Like the death throes of an ancient being, heard across time and space and recorded in Ireland. It's really good!

Slow, winding and intense, it's an experience that your ears will beg you to cease, and your dark heart will implore you to let continue. The feedback at the end will rupture your arteries.

I seriously advise that you get this latest offering from On Pain of Death however you can. A mind melting and deeply intoxicating injection of Sludge and Doom, weighing in more heavily on the latter. You'll need to watch Disney films for a week straight afterwards just to recover from the whole damned thing. Highly recommend

Band info: Facebook

ALBUM REVIEW: God Dethroned - ‘The World Ablaze’

By: Daniel Jackson

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 5/5/2017
Label: Metal Blade

If you’re a longtime fan like me, this album is everything you’d want and then some. ‘The World Ablaze’ is all of the best elements of the God Dethroned’s entire discography amalgamated into a single album.

‘The World Ablaze’ CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. A Call to Arms
2. Annihilation Crusade
3. The World Ablaze
4. On the Wrong Side of the Wire
5. Close to Victory
6. Konigsberg
7. Escape Across the Ice (The White Army)
8. Breathing Through Blood
9. Messina Ridge
10. The 11th Hour

The Review:

Please bear with me as I do this. I know reviews should never center around the person writing them, and as such, this won’t be a proper review. I will definitely get to the music, but with the album having already been out for more than a month now, and given other circumstances I’ll get into shortly; I want to explain why this album has the deep resonance with me that it does.

For metal fans over a certain age, getting turned on to a band via compilations was a pretty common occurrence. In this case, the compilation in question ‘Metal Blade’sDeathmeister’ compilation, released in 1998. This comp was my first exposure to bands like Dark Funeral, Defleshed, Lord Belial and more, and all are bands I still listen to regularly.

The God Dethroned song featured on that comp was the title track from 1997’s classic ‘The Grand Grimoire’. It was absolutely ferocious. Combining Floridian death metal’s love for blazing, Slayer-loving tremolo with European death metal’s remarkable knack for melody, God Dethroned had a depth and range that I hadn’t really heard from a death metal band at that point. Before too long, the cassette I’d used to dub the comp for my Walkman was worn and warped from overuse, and God Dethroned was a big part of why that happened.

I’m grateful to have seen God Dethroned live on the ‘Death Metal Massacre 2000’ tour with Cannibal Corpse. Their set included songs from ‘The Grand Grimoire’ as well as their then new album ‘Bloody Blasphemy’. But it’s what happened prior to this show that leads me to essentially make this review about my experience and history with the band.

At the time of the show, I hadn’t yet turned 18 and didn’t have a car. My dad took me to the show and, as he often did, made sure to threaten my utter embarrassment at every turn by sticking around after dropping me off. He liked some metal, but only at a very surface, mainstream level. While I was waiting in line, he went to walk around and have a smoke. When he returned he explained that he’d happened to have a very quick chat with someone from one of the bands. That person turned out to be Henri from God Dethroned.

I can’t remember exactly what he said or what they talked about, other than him asking about what the name meant, and I remember feeling the earth crumbling beneath me and dread pounding through every vein in my body. But, to my surprise, my dad seemed to be happy with how the conversation went and even opted to stick around and listen to what he could from outside once the show started. From that point forward, God Dethroned was sort of his reference point for anything else I listened to:

“Oh, these guys aren’t as fast as God Dethroned.”

“This singer doesn’t have a powerful scream like the guy in God Dethroned.”

Every once in a while, even more than 15 years later, he’d ask about the band and what they were up to. He’d always bring them up as a way to mention him getting to talk to Henri. He was never one to pass up an opportunity to talk about something that made him sound cool, even if he’d talked about it before. As luck would have it, Dad had asked about God Dethroned in April, and I told him about the upcoming album, ‘The World Ablaze’, which was all he needed to launch into a conversation we’ve had dozens of times over the last 17 years.

At the end of May, my dad died of a heart attack brought on by long term health problems at the age of 64. At first, I was hesitant to listen to this album, for obvious reasons. But as time passed my apprehension gave way to something like warm nostalgia. As I went back and listened to the band’s earlier albums, I smiled to myself. I imagined the site of my painfully uncool dad talking to Henri, one of the great death metal vocalists of all time. What an absurd couple of minutes that must have been.

I know nothing about the afterlife, and I doubt there’s one at all. But if there is, I’ll be glad to tell him how good this album was, just to give him a reason to tell that old story again.

When I finally listened to ‘The World Ablaze’ for the first time since my dad’s death, that warm feeling washed over me, just as it had with the early albums. While I’ve enjoyed everything the band have put out—to varying degrees—the albums released after ‘Into The Lungs Of Hell’ felt like they were missing something. A minor “something”, but something nonetheless. With this album, they’ve gained all of it back in a big fucking way.

God Dethroned is at their best when they keep a balance between riveting viciousness and gut-wrenching melody, and this album hits both of these touchstones as well as one could hope. ‘The World Ablaze’ is an inspired work from a band at a new creative peak. All of the raw emotional energy of ‘The Grand Grimoire’ and ‘Bloody Blasphemy’ are present and strong. The infernal catchiness of ‘Ravenous’ and the added heft and sonic power of the band’s mid 2000s material is here as well, and it’s been improved after the band’s long break between albums.

If you’re a longtime fan like me, this album is everything you’d want and then some. ‘The World Ablaze’ is all of the best elements of the God Dethroned’s entire discography amalgamated into a single album. There’s a personal connection I have to this album that probably won’t exist for other people, but this is an album that stands proudly on its own musical merits.

“The World Ablaze’ is available digitally here and a CD/LP copy here.

Band info: Facebook || bandcamp

FFO: Necrophobic, Behemoth, Hail of Bullets, Unleashed