Palinopsia – Murmurs From the Well Nothing More (Review)

PalinopsiaThis is the début EP from US Sludge Metal band Palinopsia.

This is dirty great Sludge with a Blackened Doom component and a Hardcore backbone.

The scathing, acidic vocals sound utterly inhuman and are frequently layered upon each other, screaming and shouting for all they’re worth.

The recording is extremely heavy, making the most of Palinopsia’s ugly, downtuned sound. It’s unpolished and teeming with viral life, seemingly writhing with diseased lustre.

Southern Sludge riffs mix with a Blackened influence to result in venomous songs that don’t have any pure intentions at all. The Hardcore backbone of the band gives them an upbeat edge that is as sharp as any blade.

The Black Metal influence works as an undercurrent to each song, spreading darkness as it works deep into the marrow of the guitars. The Hardcore elements allow the band to speed up on occasion, as if the attack hounds are being unleashed once more. All of this is tethered by a swampy Sludge presence that’s as big as it is bold.

They’re not without subtlety or introspection though. It’s not an obvious part of their sound and it doesn’t happen very often, but occasionally the distortion fades and they offer some light along with the shade. It’s a welcome enhancement to their music and when the guitars roar up again it sounds heavier than ever.

This kind of nasty Sludge is always an enjoyable hate-fest. Turn up the volume and tear down the house.

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Expenzer – Kill the Conductor (Review)

ExpenzerExpenzer are a Swiss Metal band and this is their début album.

This is modern Thrash Metal with a sound that’s somewhere between Darkane, Dew Scented and The Haunted. Indeed, the final song is a The Haunted cover.

The songs are well written and done in the classic verse-chorus style. This makes for easily digested Thrash songs that are quite catchy.

The songs are riff-heavy and are full of shredding licks, leads and solos. It’s mainly a heavy assault, but the band do insert the odd touch of melody here and there. They don’t do this often, so it’s noticeable when they do.

Kill the Conductor has a tight production, with all instruments sounding good. The drums pound away and the guitars rage and crunch. The solos have a fluid, flowing feel, which is something I always enjoy.

This is a decent Thrash Metal album that has a workman-like ethic of just getting down to it; no nonsense, no frills. The style works in their favour and Kill the Conductor is 49 minutes of gratifying Metal.

Sanzu – Painless (Review)

SanzuSanzu are an Australian Death Metal band and this is their début EP.

This is Progressive Death Metal with a modern slant – kind of like a more extreme Gojira; Gojira mixed with Morbid Angel would be a good starting descriptor.

The grooves and heavy rhythms are immediate and effective, but there is more than meets the eye here and subsequent spins reveal deeper layers to the songs.

The meaty guitars pummel and destroy and the production on this release is absolutely immense. With this recording they could be playing anything and they’d still demolish buildings. As it is, combined with these huge, monstrous riffs they seem to peel off with wild abandon, Sanzu sound unstoppable.

They have the songs to back this up though, otherwise it would be all sonic carnage but no longevity. Gojira have such a distinctive sound that it’s easy for any band that even comes close to their style to sound like a rip off; although Sanzu are clearly influenced by Gojira they avoid sounding too much like them due to the more aggressive delivery and the other Death Metal influences in Sanzu’s sound.

Well. Listening to this for the first time on a Sunday morning I can faithfully report that it blew all of the early-morning cobwebs away and left me feeling energised. This is an EP that bears repeated listens though, as the first time around it’s all too easy to get fixated on the colossal guitars and miss a lot of the other stuff that’s going on.

If this is just their début EP, what’s next for Sanzu? For their first album I hope for the same huge sound and a further development of their Progressive Metal side, while still keeping the Death Metal brutality. If they can pull this off then we may just have a modern masterpiece on our hands.

Until then we have Painless. It is enough. For now.

A must listen.

Interview with Witch of the Waste

Witch of the Waste Logo

Appearing like a violent hurricane of multi-textured chaos out of their native Canada, Witch of the Waste’s latest EP Made of Teeth is a dynamic and savage listen. Guaranteed to perk the interest of anyone who is into challenging and exciting music; I wanted to find out more, so delved into their world of rather amiable extremity…

For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!

We’re a Canadian band that plays fast, and weird music.

Give us a bit of history to Witch of the Waste

I started this band with a buddy. We found some friends to play in it. We wrote a demo, then wrote an EP. People were kicked out, people left. Unremarkable story really. What matters is that we always found a way to differentiate ourselves from our influences while still staying true to them. People have found it hard to pin us down because of that and we think that’s pretty cool.

Where did the band name come from?

It’s a reference to the Hayao Miyazaki film Howl’s Moving Castle.

What are your influences?

Everything from Converge, Gorguts and Russian Circles to Pink Floyd and Sigur Ros.

What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?

I’ve been super into the new Modest Mouse record. They have never disappointed me. I would also recommend our friend’s Exits who just released their first full length. It’s fast. Scope it out.

Where do you see yourself fitting in in the international Extreme Metal scene?

We are very much a product of Vancouver. Our scene is very densely packed with bands ranging from crusty metallic hardcore, techy metalcore to stoner doom and everything in between. Crowds here are also super open and down to hear new things which I feel is fairly rare. I think if we start looking at aggressive music with a wider scope I would say Belgium sticks out like a sore thumb. Oathbreaker, Rise and Fall, or Young and in the Way are all bands that we sort of liken ourselves to. It’s hard to pin down a specific genre because I can only think of a handful of bands but I suppose even something like Catharsis fits into that. Sort of Atmospheric Hardcore I guess you could call it. Either way I think we could find ourselves very happy in a place like Belgium. Also: they are wicked into beer.

What’s your favourite song on your new EP and why?

My favorite is They Haunt Minds. I feel like we were really able to nail our aesthetic and package it in something quick and terrifying. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to accomplish.

Witch of the Waste BandWhat are the subjects/themes of the songs on this EP?

I don’t feel like giving away much because I do feel it’s important to allow our work to remain ambiguous and let the listener have their own relationship with the songs and lyrics. If they feel it means one thing and I say it means another than that dissonance can be harmful. Besides, what do I know? I only wrote it. So without spoiling anything I can say that it’s a discussion of loss using imagery lifted from ghost stories and horror movies. There is probably also some True Detective in there. It’s really hard to have consumed True Detective and not be influenced by it haha.

Give us a bit of information on your songwriting process.

This line up is very different from the one this band started with. Songwriting used to be like pulling teeth. It’s very collaborative now. A song can stem from a guitar hook, a riff, a bassline or even just a feeling. It’s been extremely productive.

How do you see your songs/direction developing in the future?

Made of Teeth was an exercise in boiling down our sound to a base aesthetic. I think we want to keep going in that direction but write with a wider variation of tempos and volumes. Fast songs faster and slow songs slower. Loud songs louder and quiet songs quieter. We want to expand on what sorts of songs we write.

What’s next for Witch of the Waste?

We are planning to tour Western Canada and the West Coast of the United states as well as writing for our next release. We’re actually the busiest we have ever been and it’s been really awesome.

Starless Night – Lost in Life’s Endless Maze (Review)

Starless NightStarless Night are a Black Metal band from the US. This is their second album.

This is Depressive Black Metal that is a little less Shoegaze than a lot of bands of this ilk and a little more aggressive instead. It’s a depressive aggression, filled with negativity and woe, but aggression nonetheless.

The songs are long and the melodies grim. Starless Night are not filled with hope it seems.

The vocals are Blackened screams that sound like the singer is gargling acid. They fit nicely with the venomous interpretation of the Depressive Black Metal style and seem to cut through the music like serrated bile.

Added to this, very occasionally, are some clean vocals that are far more angelic and despondent in nature. These counteract some of the poisonous effects of the main vocals and switch emphasis to the woeful nature of the main theme once again.

The drums blast or double-bass roll their way through the playing time and the guitars unleash their razor-sharp melodies on a bitter, bleak world. One of the things I really like about this release is that Starless Night are just more stinging and evil sounding than most Depressive Black Metal bands. The misery and anguish is here in spades, but it’s barbed and dangerous to approach.

Lighter and Ambient/Drone sections are also incorporated into their sound; this allows the band to draw out every last drop of grief while also allowing the distorted parts to sound heavier and more powerful by comparison.

The music is a long, drawn-out journey through Blackened upset and vicious sorrow. It tugs at the heart while simultaneously slashing at it with fiery claws. Ultimately though the listener emerges, better for the experience, drowned in negativity but enriched by sadness.

Check this out.

Grieving Mirth – Calamitosvs Omine (Review)

Grieving MirthGrieving Mirth are an Atmospheric Black Metal band with a multinational lineup. This is their début EP.

This is Black Metal that has speed and melody, neither of which are the main focus for the band though; this comes, instead, from the creation of dark atmospheres.

Even given that though, there is still bite here and the band manage to inject a certain savagery into the proceedings, even given the non-aggressive emphasis of the main themes.

It’s this inclusion of faster and harsher influences into the Atmospheric Black Metal style that marks Calamitovs Omine as separate from similar releases in the sub-genre as it combines these dark moods and atmospheres with an aggressive core that does its Blackened heritage justice.

The vocals have an innate power to them and there’s strength in these vocalisations that flows into the music and vice versa, working together to provide a foundation of muscle onto which the softer, traditionally more brittle, fragile elements of Atmospheric Black Metal are woven.

The songs take the listener into grim, foreboding places and illuminates them with a light that has real presence and force. Also included are a few nods towards Post-Black Metal, and even some clean vocals; both elements are skilfully incorporated into the whole.

This is a charismatic and impressive first release from a clearly talented band. Check them out and give them a listen.

The Big Jazz Duo – Enemy (Review)

The Big Jazz DuoThe Big Jazz Duo arre from Italy and this is their début album.

Looking at the album cover and knowing the band’s name, you’d probably never guess that they play Death Metal. But they do; Experimental/Atmospheric Death Metal/Deathcore.

This is sickeningly heavy with grooves and breakdowns aplenty. Speed and brutality are also present, as are pignoise vocals and scathing screams.

There’s a Djent aspect to their sound too, which seems to go hand-in-hand with a lot of Deathcore.

The band also include orchestral interludes, atmospheric sections and the like in their sound, which immediately makes them more interesting and raises their game.

Deathcore and Djent are two sub-genres that can get very stale, very quickly, if not handled well. The Big Jazz Duo avoid this trap by mixing these up with more traditional Death Metal and a melodic edge, as well as the more experimental aspects of their sound.

The songs are well written and the band understand the need for dynamics and pacing. A very polished and strong production rounds off the package and ensures that the songs have the best chance to shine.

These songs may be largely quite short but they’re packed to the rafters with goodies. Heavy groove, blasting carnage and atmosphere all merge together to create a listening experience that, in all honestly, makes me really fucking happy. I can always tell when I’m getting into an album when I start spontaneously bouncing along to it without realising. As you do.

If you imagine a cross between The Black Dahlia Murder, All Shall Perish and Xehanort then you’ll be on the right lines.

So, Brutal Death Metal, Djent, Deathcore, melody, atmosphere, orchestration…all in 31 minutes and all very well-written? I’m sold!

An extremely impressive album, especially considering the oft-dreaded Deathcore/Djent aspects of their sound.

Very highly recommended.

The Vintage Warlords – The Invisible Foe (Review)

The Vintage WarlordsThe Vintage Warlords are a Doom/Death Metal band from the US and this is their début EP.

The Vintage Warlords play old, ancient Death Metal that’s slowly consuming the rotten husk of Doom.

The band’s sound is cavernous and heavy, yet a lot cleaner than I was expecting for this style. It’s Old-School and Doom-laden but a lot more polished than is usually the way for some similar bands.

The professional veneer of the music carries over to the vocals too; the singer has a tight, focused growl that is more like a surgical slaughter than a shotgun message. It’s a really satisfying voice and he uses it well.

The songs merge the best parts of Death Metal’s songmanship and Doom’s cranky demeanour. As such, slower parts vie for place with groovier sections and there’s enough rhythmic mayhem here to get the listener bouncing around quite nicely.

The Vintage Warlords are adept songwriters and there are plenty of good ideas on these three tracks. Each song has its own identity and the band capitalise on this well.

I’ve really enjoyed this release. If they can translate this success into a full-length then it’ll be a real treat.

Årabrot – You Bunch of Idiots (Review)

ÅrabrotÅrabrot are from Norway and this is their latest EP. They play Noise-Rock.

I have no idea what’s going on in the album cover, but it’s very striking nonetheless. Combined with the name of the EP, which I love, this is something I was itching to listen to. Having never encountered Årabrot before I was unsure what to expect.

It starts off with Cannibal Manifesto, which is a dramatic spoken word performance. I’m not a fan of this kind of stuff, so this is not a good start.

However, once you get past this pointless intro track and onto the first song proper, Time to Pull the Sticks, things are looking up.

Here we have some charismatic Rock with some nice Therapy?-esque riffs and vocals that carry high performance levels.

The music is Experimental Rock that still manages to be catchy and memorable. The songs have Punk undertones and a nervous energy to them.

I hear elements of bands like Therapy? and Smashing Pumpkins mixed up with their own brand of Rock ‘n’ Roll. There’s even some Progressive Rock influences, especially on the last song It’s Hot Drop It.

Once you get past the first track, this is a very enjoyable collection of songs and is even better than I was hoping for.

Check them out.

Witch of the Waste – Made of Teeth (Review)

Witch of the WasteWitch of the Waste are from Canada and this is their latest EP. They play violent Hardcore.

With some amusing song titles and an album cover that’s oddly disturbing, this is 14 minutes of intensity that’s almost guaranteed to fuck you up.

Full to the brim of technical frenzy and passionate delivery, Witch of the Waste are an exciting brand of Extreme Metal that incorporates aspects of Death Metal, Grindcore and dark Hardcore into their volatile mix.

This is not music that’s purely of the ultra-chaotic variety, although they do have that aspect to their sound; rather, there is a controlling intelligence to the mayhem that tells the players to either let loose or restrain themselves. Dynamics are important and Witch of the Waste have this locked down, seemingly able to hold themselves back or unleash chaos on-demand.

The vocals are savage and abrasive, with insectile screaming and deathgrunts mixing together with the greatest of ease. Like the music, the intensity never lets up.

Releases like this are a great listen. These songs are complex and nasty, yet can change up in an instant to something more atmospheric and considered.

Top release – more please!