Wednesday, 22 November 2017

SATAN'S DOZEN: 13 Unearthly Hymns Unearthed (November 2017)

Compiled by: Andrei Moose
Artwork by: Josh Mashesh

SATAN’S DOZEN is our attempt to present the very best music the underground scene has to offer and whilst we’d love to review every band submission we receive, not to mention the countless recommendations you send our way, in practical terms that is just not possible.  Therefore because we don’t want killer music to pass you by, each and every month Andrei Moose will painstakingly sift through the music labelled “all killer  riffs” and choose 13 of the best new albums released via bandcamp and bundle them together into the mightiest riff sandwich.

Whilst all the albums we have included below are top tier stuff, we have compiled them into a chart on a sliding scale of 1-13. So we hope you dig our selections for November and enjoy 13 Unearthly Hymns Unearthed.  

These bands need more exposure, so go “like” “share” and “follow” their pages, but most of all enjoy some of the best music the underground has to offer.  THE SLUDGELORD most sincerely approves.   Now, go heavy or go home.

1) Bone Church – “Bone Church” (Connecticut) Released October 30, 2017

Psychedelic / stoner / doom / metal

2) DROID – “Province” (Melbourne, Australia) Released November 9, 2017

Sludge / Stoner / Doom / Metal

3) Presumption – “Presumption” (Le Mans, France) Released November 17, 2017

Stoner / Doom / Metal

4) Mauvaise Foi“Mauvaise Foi” (Paris, France) Released November 3, 2017

Doom / Sludge 

5) Snowy Dunes – “Atlantis” (Stockholm, Sweden) Released October 27, 2017

Psychedelic / stoner / rock

6) Indian Goat – “1” (Spokane, Washington) Released July 24, 2017

Fuzz / stoner / rock

7) Zong – “Zong” (Brisbane, Australia) Released November 4, 2017

Heavypsych / instrumental / stoner / rock

8) The Dues – “Time Machine” (Winterthur, Switzerland) Released October 18, 2017

Blues/ stoner / rock

9) Mojo Wizard – “The Mystic Peephole” (Sherbrooke, Québec) Released October 25, 2017

Psychedelic / stoner / rock

10) KER“Buried At Sea / Comfort The Blind” (Konstanz, Germany) Released November 6, 2017

Blackened / Doom / Sludge

11) MouthBreather – “PIG” (Boston, Massachusetts) Released October 10, 2017

Grindcore / Powerviolence / Noise / Mathcore

12) Transylvania Stud – “The Red Queen” (Nashville, Tennessee) Released November 17, 2017

Desert / stoner / rock

13) Temple Of The Fuzz Witch“EP” (Detroit, Michigan) Released November 4, 2017 

Stoner / Doom / Metal

FOR THOSE ABOOT TO ROCK: Riffs of Canada with Pale Mare (Toronto, Ontario)

By: Mark Tremblay

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 10/11/2017
Label: Medusa Crush Recordings

For those of you who long for the days of “Blessed Black Wings” era High on Fire, this record is the perfect trip down memory-lane.  If you dig thick and dirty riffs, you’ll dig Pale Mare.

“Pale Mare EP” CS//DD track listing:

1). Descolada
2). Carthage
3). Hoplite

The Review:

Toronto’s Pale Mare has finally released their long awaited self-titled EP. After making a name for themselves locally opening for acts such as Windhand and Weedeater, Pale Mare have unleashed their well-honed brand of sludge metal. For those of you who long for the days of “Blessed Black Wings” era High on Fire, this record is the perfect trip down memory-lane.

The EP comes out of the gate swinging with “Descolada”; a song built upon a heavy riff that would make Matt Pike smile. Where Pale Mare break from the pack, however, is this jazz break they’ve fused into the middle of the song. The clean shimmering guitar chords and wah-tinged bass give them a nuisance and balance not often found in riff-driven music.

 “Carthage” is a straight out banger that page homage to early Baroness EP’s “First” and “Second” while adding their own twists. Luke Roberts’ drum fills on this track are particularly jaw-dropping. Given the fact that he is also the guitarist and main creative force behind Ayahuasca, it begs the question “Is there anything Luke Roberts can’t do?”.

The albums closer “Hoplite” is continuation of all these elements mashed together in one riff-crammed magnum opus. Pale Mare is a throwback to the hey-day of the Savannah sludge metal of the early 2000s, only with a twist. If you dig thick and dirty riffs, you’ll dig Pale Mare.

“Pale Mare EP” is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

6 NEW BANDS: THE SLUDGELORD'S 666 Pack Review (November 2017)

By: Nikos Mixas
Art: Joshua M. Wilkinson 
Welcome to THE SLUDGELORD’s November installment of the 666 Pack Review!  As the weather continues to cool, we’re turning up the heat every passing month with 6 more victims….errrr…newish bands to review.  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 holiday foods inspired rating scale below:

1 – Do you know what Lutefisk is?  Well, I liken this band to it.  It stinks and it’s intolerable…
2 - Fruitcake.  It’s almost ok to eat.  This band?  It’s almost ok to listen to.   
3 – No matter how you slice it (no pun intended), this band is average, just like turkey.
4 – It’s not the pumpkin pie that does it for me, it’s the whipped cream.  Yes, this band is sweet.
5 – Green bean casserole with toasted onions and mashed potatoes with gravy….mmmm…mmmmm!  You see where I’m going with this???
666! – THE SLUDGELORD loves the tasty riffing, the sweet drumming so much that he’s going back for seconds! 

The 666 Pack Review is meant to offer humorous criticism and is not meant to hurt feelings, however, there are no safe spaces here.  THE SLUDGELORD is a picky listener…and doesn’t care what you think of his opinions….

Dirt War - “Loss” – (Buffalo, USA) Rating: 1

We’re off to a poor start…

Soyuz Bear - “Black Phlegm” (Toulouse, France) Rating: 3

Five seconds in, it’s all EYEHATEGOD.

Obscene - “Sermon to the Snake” (Indianapolis, USA) Rating: 2

Martin Van Drunen sounding sick.  Nope.   

Diuna - “The very best of the Golden Hits” (Torun, Poland) Rating: 3

I present thee…the Polish QOTSA

Apotelesma - Timewrought Kings” (Utrecht, Netherlands) Rating: 3

The “vokills” ruined it for me.

Dumblegore - “Misanthropic Ritual” (New Jersey, USA) Rating: 5

When black metal meets Missing Persons.

REVIEW: Cetacean - ‘Dichotomy’ [EP]

By: Daniel Jackson

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 16/11/2017
Label: Apes Who Looked Up

‘Dichotomy’ is dynamic, brilliantly composed and dense enough to keep giving you something new on repeat listens. It’s tough to nail down whether this is doom, post-metal, or something else altogether, but whatever label you want to place on it, it’s fucking powerful.

‘Dichotomy’ DD track listing:

1. Zephyrvs
2. Dichotomy

The Review:

The peaks and valleys approach isn’t an easy one to get right in a metal context. There are no shortage of bands implementing the soft verse/heavy chorus formula well, but where compositions are less rigidly formulaic; a lot of bands fall short or half-commit. Neurosis has been great at it for more than twenty years now, and there have been a handful of others too, but they’re exceptions to the rule.

Cetacean are a relatively new band, but they’ve absolutely mastered the art of building to big climactic moments. Right from this EP’s opening minutes, the band take their time, adding layers and heft as they go until the song explodes with scintillating melody and soaring lead guitar. From that point on, the music ebbs and flows; retracts and expands. When it’s loud, it’s some of the most beautifully layered heavy music I’ve heard this year. When it’s subdued, it comes at the perfect time, and it always does a wonderful job of setting the stage for whatever peak comes next.

Another area where ‘Dichotomy’ excels is in its use of less conventional instruments. The saxophone and organ work on the title track suits each moment perfectly. The saxophone comes in at the midway point, taking on a similar role to the instrument's used in Pink Floyd’s “Us and Them”, before returning in later heavier sections, providing musical unease when opportune. Even better is that these unique elements aren’t hamfistedly shoved into the mix of things for the sake of it, but rather as tasteful accompaniment and only under the right circumstances.

 Whether it’s bursting with color and melody or taking things into darker musical terrain, Cetacean take you on a journey over the course of these two songs and eighteen minutes. The valleys are alternately comforting or foreboding and the peaks are electric and satisfying. ‘Dichotomy’ is dynamic, brilliantly composed and dense enough to keep giving you something new on repeat listens. It’s tough to nail down whether this is doom, post-metal, or something else altogether, but whatever label you want to place on it, it’s fucking powerful.

Full Disclosure: Daniel contributed guest backing vocals to Cetacean’s previous release, ‘Breach | Submerge’.

‘Dichotomy’ is available here

Band info: Facebook || bandcamp

Monday, 20 November 2017

VIDEO PREMIERE & REVIEW: Norilsk - "Le Passage des Glaciers"

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full length
Date Released: 24/11/2017
Label: Hypnotic Dirge Records

French canadian doom duo Norilsk return from a two-year layoff with a surprising new album, one that gives a reengaged sound to the pair's signature style.  Norilsk manages to be bold without being alienating, and that is indeed refreshing.

"Le Passage des Glaciers" CD//DD track listing

1. Midnight Sun
2. Le puits de l'oubli
3. Namolennye
4. La voie des morts
5. Ghosts of Loss (Passage pt. I)
6. Noirceur intérieure
7. L'érosion (Passage pt. II)
8. Ellesmere

The Review:

French Canadian doom duo Norilsk return from a two-year layoff with a surprising new album, one that gives a reengaged sound to the pair's signature style.

Norilsk's 2015 full length, "The Idea of North," was praiseworthy as a doom record. From its terse moments to unique departures, the album conjured up recollections of some of the better moments of groups like Last Sacrament and a more downtempo Temple of Void. In other words, Norilsk forged a steadfast doom metal path, with new wrinkles – a touch of moody ambience and experimental music most notably was part of the band's approach.

With "Le Passage des Glaciers" Norilsk plunges headlong into an atmospheric realm that is far bolder than past offerings. "Midnight Sun" begins seemingly where "The Idea of North" left off, until it doesn't. There's that familiar doom metal footprint to the cut that veers off into unusual territory. A spoken word bridge into a dirge-like guitar progression floats into "Le puits de l'oubli," which follows an identical road. Strong, classic doom arrangement makes the song outstanding, while Nicholas Miquelon’s low vocals set a depressive tone. There's a psychedelic riff that emerges about three minutes in, before giving way to rapturous doom. You hear these idiosyncratic elements throughout "Le Passage des Glaciers" to varying impact. There's the prog-rock introduction to "Namolennye" and the grubby blues riffage of "La voie des morts," which spins a hypnotic tempo. Norilsk manages to be bold without being alienating, and that is indeed refreshing.

Hardcore doom fans may like Norilsk's latest because it is molded with an eye to old-school doom records; seldom does the album go past a glacial pace, with even the stylistic flourishes never distracting the duo's strong suit. Songs such as "Ghosts of Loss (Passage pt. I)" and "Noirceur intérieure" prove to be deceptively good because they center the fundamentals: exceptional guitars, compact drumming and a reverberating vocal. Even as a selection like "L'érosion (Passage pt. II)" charts into post-rock territory, Norilsk keeps its core doom aesthetic as its compass. Again, such is a philosophy that is good because it is harder to pull off than the casual listener realizes, though musicians may well appreciate most how well "Le Passage des Glaciers" steps out while also seeming to be part of the greater canon.

As the release ends with the curiously quiet "Ellesmere," the listener has to appreciate the risks Norilsk took to get here. The band's subtle experiments deliver in ways you hear a few listens in, presenting a stunning return for the Canadian act.

"Le Passage des Glaciers" is available here and were also excited to premiere “Noirceur intérieure”. A hybrid between a lyric video and a music video, it features a storyline developed jointly between the band and Erik Labossiere of Wikked Twist Films, and uses both French lyrics subtitles and their English translation.

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Friday, 17 November 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Northless - "Last Bastion of Cowardice"

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 17/11/2017
Label: Gilead Media |
Halo of Flies

Northless’ chemistry has gotten better, and the compositions are much more rich and the effect is nothing less than absolutely crushing.  If you enjoy intelligent sludge, "Last Bastion of Cowardice" is for you.

"The Last Bastion of Cowardice" CD//DD//DLP track listing

1. The Origin Of Flames
2. Godsend
3. The Devil In Exile
4. Slave To A Scorched Earth
5. Their Blood Was Always Mine
6. Never Turn Your Back On The Dead
7. Extinction Verse
8. Last Bastion of Cowardice
9. Our Place In The Dirt
10. Rotting Days

The Review:

The National Alliance on Mental Illness notes that one in five adults in the United States experiences mental illness in a given year, while one in 25 will experience a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. We've seen these issues played out again and again on the national stage, often in the form of violence. However, tragedies are only the hint at a much more widespread problem.

Now 10 years into its career, Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Northless has continually captured hopelessness in its blackened, noisy sludge. Their 2011 album "Clandestine Abuse," 2013's "World Keeps Sinking" and the 2016 EP "Cold Migration" gave fans intense, personal and heavy music. Their new album, "Last Bastion of Cowardice," delves headlong into a much darker place, telling the story of a person who discovers the futility of violence.

In his day job as a social worker, guitarist/vocalist Erik Stenglein mentioned in recent interviews the scope of mental illness he sees on a daily basis. Human suffering an institutional lack of empathy and neglect for people's most basic needs are all far more significant than you might imagine. His experience, combined with today's headlines, offer a poignant backdrop to what is, even stripped down of concept, a savage return for Northless.

Fans of Northless' work will take in its first one-third of the album with a lot of satisfaction. Drummer John Gleisner and bassist Jerry Hauppa concoct a sinister foundation for those first three songs. "The Origin of Flames" opens festivities with a tremendous noise rock/post-punk influence that enhances the sludge base of the quartet. "Godsend" slows the rhythm down as Stenglein's mammoth vocals take center stage. This cut also lets you appreciate Nicholas Elert's guitar riffs and his overall contribution to the band. As you reach "The Devil In Exile," which brings back in a bit more of the post-punk and even hardcore edge to the band, longtime listeners will appreciate the maturation process for Northless. The group's chemistry has gotten better, and the compositions are still more rich. Oh yeah, and the effect is nothing less than absolutely crushing.

Furthermore "Last Bastion of Cowardice" is effective because it weaves stories that are at once topical and still not crack-you-over-the-head political. No shots at bands who can make political music; 2017 has seen many exemplary songs that are socially conscious. Northless just happens to be the strongest at creating a mood and presenting songwriting that everyone can relate to in many a fashion. Without spoiling more of the story, Stenglein and company are faithful to telling their story through the tracks. "Their Blood Was Always Mine" is tightly wound lyrically. If you enjoy intelligent sludge, "Last Bastion of Cowardice" is for you.

"The Last Bastion of Cowardice" is available here and here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Thursday, 16 November 2017

INTERVIEW: "If Carlsberg did dynamic power doom duos, Monte Luna would probably be the best in the world"

By: Aaron Pickford

As I am sure some avid followers of THE SLUDGELORD can attest too, it is our mission to present the very best heavy music the underground scene has to offer and recently I commissioned Andrei Moose from our Russian chapter to painstakingly sift through the very best albums released via bandcamp and compile the best into a chart.   For me and I am sure many of you agree, if you’re not at least attempting to release your music via this musical platform then you’re fucking up and you ain’t in the game.

Now hitting the no 1 spot back in October, were a band previously unknown to me, but holy shit does THE SLUDGELORD most sincerely approve? Hailing from Austin, Texas Monte Luna deliver towering molten riffs, bucketloads of groove and hypnotic vocals, in fact this two piece are so fucking awesome, their self titled debut album  is one of the most captivating and downright fucking monstrous records I have heard this year.  Clocking in a hefty 71 minutes, “Monte Luna” never suffers from lag, never repeats itself and just as Alice peered through the looking glass, you have no idea just what a fantastical journey is ahead of you when you press play.

Now despite releasing the album back in September, “Monte Luna’s” official album release is this Saturday November 18th, so with the band prepping for this show, I managed to hook with band members James Clarke (Guitar, Bass, Vocal) and Phil Hook (Drums, FX, Synth) to get the low down about the roots of the band, the recording of the new album and amongst other things how they managed to score one Chris Fielding, he of Conan to master their debut record.  So check it out below.  

Guys, welcome to THE SLUDGELORD, the new album rules, but before we get to that. Can you give us an insight into how you started playing music, leading up to the formation of Monte Luna?

James: I started playing music when I was around 18. For years up to then I had always enjoyed singing but playing had intimidated me. I tried drums when I was 11 and it was just too loud for my parent’s house so it deterred me. Eventually I started playing guitar because I really liked singing along with my friends who played music. My first band I was in was this terrible band I made with some friends in the Navy. We played a few shows in Virginia Beach and we sucked. After I got out of the Navy I went back up north and started a band called Chronoscope. That is where I really started to make some cool noise. I was much more serious about playing guitar and singing. I did that for about 3 years until I got a job in Buda Texas building Aquaponics systems and green houses. I really wanted to find an area that is accepting and much more into heavier music than the area I was in. Austin drew me in and I never looked back. Ha ha

I actually met Phil via craigslist. I posted an add asking for a drummer who was into Neurosis, the Melvins, Shrinebuilder and the likes and he was the first to respond! Who would have thought!

Phil: I taught myself to play drums in the early 90’s and was in a bunch of different bands in the Indianapolis metal scene.  Around 2009 I moved to Austin, TX and started doing a lot of drummer for hire work, recording and touring for many bands and artists. A couple years ago I was feeling burnt out and stagnant artistically and knew I had to play heavy music again. So I creeped craigslist looking for some people to jam with, typed “Neurosis” on the search and the rest is history. Haha!

For folks unfamiliar with your band, are there any bands on the scene past and present that you would use as a reference point to describe your band, and who or what continues to inspire you and push you to try new things?

James: For me I have always admired the work ethic of the Melvins. I look to them on how a band should perform and run a business. I have also learned a lot of band business knowledge from our friends in Destroyer of light. Both the Melvins and Destroyer of Light put on phenomenal shows, and to me, it is all about keeping your audience engaged and hungry. As far as sound I really don’t have a specific point to reference. I like Matt Pikes tone but I didn’t really mold my tone to anyone. I just tried things until I felt it filled enough room. I’m influenced in general by bands like Eyehategod, Neurosis, The Melvins, The Beatles, Funkadelic, Black Sabbath and Rob Crow.

As far as who inspires us to try new things. I would say most of my peers in Austin and San Antonio. I love the bands we are playing with and coming up with and I could not be more thankful! Cursus for sure! And our friends in Spain, Ground.

Phil: My music influences are all over the place… I pull from Godflesh to Howlin Wolf to Sade. The whole creative process is what pushes me to try new things for sure. When I composed the instrumental segways at the end of “6000 Year March” and “Inverted Mountain”, I sampled multiple records on my turntables, added drones and synths.

What can you tell us about your new record “Monte Luna” and where do you feel it sits within the context of current metal scene?

James: The concept of the album revolves around a story I created based on this crazy universe that is loosely inspired by things such as H.P. Lovecraft, Bloodborne/Dark Souls, Kingdom Death Monster, Berserk, The Thing and Dungeons and Dragons (which I love by the way! I dungeon master! I’m a huge nerd).

 Let me just pull an excerpt from my lore here “Long ago in a distant time, unnatural pestilence consumed a world of peace. Father Arbitor has called upon the forces of the old ones to set this tranquil land a flame. After the burning of Elohim, a once great and powerful city, the people of the Nameless City are called upon as the only warriors brave enough to face Father Arbitor’s hellish army. Through their journey the warriors of the Nameless City will face perils the likes they have never seen. A 6000 year march across arid, decaying, plague lands. Climbing the impossible, the Inverted Mountain, reaching the Nightmare Frontier and facing the end. The orb of power glowing green with madness. What will end the cycle? Is the orb the true evil? Or does evil lie within?”. And yes the “Hound” EP does tie into the full length.

It sets in motion the events as the hooded warriors kill father Arbitors faithful dog, thus starting the war leading up to the burning of Elohim. For those wondering, yes we sampled Bloodborne on 6,000 year march! I love that game!! Where does it sit? To be honest I don’t know, we aren’t really trying to be just one genre. We both love so much music we couldn’t say, but it’s certainly heavy meditative music. We want you to turn it up, smoke it up and feel the sound. Like you would live.

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

James: I think I’m just glad to be done with it and I am ready to move forward as a band. The concept of the album was a long and difficult process. We tried to capture as much live magic as possible on the recording because we feel that to experience us fully is to see us live. For the mood band wise I know I’m loving it. We just played some awesome shows in Indianapolis and I got to meet some of the guys in Coffinworm and Gates of Slumber so that was an awesome fan boy moment!!

We have received a lot of positive feedback for our album and we beyond humbled at the reception. I think that Austin has a phenomenal group of musicians that I am proud to call my brothers and sisters. We are all doing so much right now and trying to grow this into something for all of us. It just takes time, but it is a wonderful time to be playing heavy music in ATX and the surrounding area. The Lost Well is our home away from home and we are thankful for it.

Phil: We’ve always respected what each of us brings to the table as artists and humans and I don’t see that changing anytime soon….no matter what life shit happens.

What stands out as your overarching memory from the recording sessions?

James: I think what stands out most for me was how amazing the environment was. We recorded at Tommy Munter’s studio in San Antonio (Matador studios). He is a good friend of Phils and an excellent musician. We did 3 days in the studio and crushed it. I think the moment I knew we were doing something right was that within the first day, at like 6 p.m. the cops came and told us we had to turn down. I almost lost my shit! I couldn’t believe it was really happening, and it just happened to be the night of a crazy storm. My mind was racing and I was thinking well that’s that, were screwed. But the next day we woke up early, moved the bass cab into the bathroom and ripped that puppy a new one.

We recorded all the instrumentation in about a day and a half. Also, what really stood out was how receptive Chris Fielding was to mastering the album! And for him to say he loves the vocals made me swoon! Haha! I run a Matamp GT2 into a Worshiper 4x12 and ABY it with a GK 1001 RB into a Worshiper 2x15. I was happy to lay that down as we would live. Phil and I were able to be in the same room while recording so it allowed us to capture the energy we have. We did very little overdubbing.

Phil: The album opener, “Burning of Elohim” had a pretty cool moment in the studio. James and I tracked the album in the room together as we would for our live show and I have a pretty big drum configuration…Ludwig maples, 26 inch kick, 14, 16, 18 toms and a 14x8 steel snare. On the opening tom pattern I’m just beating the living shit out of my floor toms and the air pushing off the drums carried into James guitar pick-ups and created this cool guitar part. We didn’t even realize what happened until playback and James was like, “what the hell guitar part is that”? Of course we kept that magic on the album!

With you new record in the bag, how is your schedule shaping up over the next 12 months?

James: We are planning a 2 week, potentially 3 week tour in April/may (East Coast) and a smaller run with some friends overseas (They want to come here though, we will be in EU asap!) We are going to book a week for the studio this time and that should be right after we come off our 2 week tour. We want the album to really crush, keep some elements of what makes us Monte Luna but always evolve the sound forward and have fun with it! If we aren’t having fun we aren’t a band. We played a great show with Omotai and it felt great to be back home! We hadn’t played TX since June. Our album release shows are coming up on Saturday and we are doing a few dates in December with our friends in Forming the Void!

This year is going to wrap up nicely into a hectic but fun new year. Lets get to Europe sooner rather than later shall we?

Finally, do you have any last words?

James: I’d just like to say that we aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel here. More so, trying to invent an interdimensional space ship.

Phil: I’m going to borrow a quote from my friend Karl Simon (Wretch, Gates of Slumber)…the music’s not too slow, you’re listening too fast. 

The End

Band info: bandcamp || facebook