Sioux – The One and The Many (Review)

SiouxSioux are from the US and play Stoner Metal.

Imagine a band like Mastodon had gone full on Stoner Metal and you’ll have the right idea. Sioux inhabit this special place, where the foundations of Stoner are laced with exquisite vocal melodies and spikes of aggression to create wonderfully enjoyable songs full of pace, dynamics and life.

Each of these tracks sparkles with an inner light that comes from a core of pure molten Metal, distilled though layers of desert Rock.

The vocals are reminiscent of Mastodon in places, as mentioned, but never in a plagiarised way; merely a shared debt to captivating melody and depth of voice.

All of the six songs that make up this 28 minute release are well written and hold attention easily. The band have lots of ideas and the talent to back it up with hooks and powerful arrangements.

Sioux may very well be your new favourite band.

Drawers – Drawers (Review)

DrawersFrench Sludge/Stoner Metallers Drawers release their self-titled second album, and as soon as you press play it’s party time at the dive bar for everyone!

Coming across as a mix of Crowbar, Baroness and Mastodon, this is an enjoyable romp through France’s underbelly of Southern-tinged bars. Moving from scrape to scrape all night long and out into the crisp morning dawn to reflect on what’s been lost; the songs are largely high-energy but have a forlorn air of lost-innocence which is somehow endearing.

It’s this aura of fragility coating the otherwise burly riffing and coarse vocals that adds a layer of depth to the band; that lets you know there’s more to this drunken bruiser than meets the eye. The riffs may be heavy and scuzzy but the melodies hidden underneath the obvious give the band a secret ingredient; the same could be said of the vocals also.

Drawers have an undefined edge to their sound that is as apparent as it is hard to grasp. A wonderful combination.

If you enjoy rocked-out Metal of this variety but are also looking for something a little different with it’s own individuality then I’d suggest this album be on your list of wants.

Morality Crisis – Boats (Review)

morality crisisLet’s face it – any band that has a song named Enormous Fucking Death Ass Knife are going to be brilliant. It’s inevitable. This also happens to be the first song on this rather excellent release – slow and sludgy and so ridiculously catchy you’ll find it buzzing around your head like a slow-motion chainsaw as you try to get to sleep at night.

Second track Lumberjane is a bit more upbeat, with a bit of a Mastodon vibe going on, only dirtier. Filth-ridden sludge is the main order of the day, but with a side salad of calm consideration and reflection which allows the band to show off the fact that they’re not just all about the bludgeoning and distortion, but can also do other shades of grim. Some nice progressive elements to this song too. And blastbeats.

Naptaker starts off with some guttural vocals winding its way to some nice Mike Patton-esque croaking and hardcore shouting. Overall the vocals on this release are diverse and accomplished, yet layered in so much grime and muck that it’s hard to focus on how good they are when they’re raping your face and stripping your ears raw. Same goes for the music really.

By track four Gary Plays With Fire I’m well and truly in love with this band. Essentially a short, crusty hardcore song with a twist – it hits the spot.

Next song Touched by an Adult cements the level of quality of the band in my mind. I find that the best albums are the ones that have enough presence to catch your attention but enough depth to keep it. Morality Crisis play a sort of highly-inventive sludge/hardcore mix that has a lot going on and more ideas in one song than a lot of bands manage in an album. And they have a wonderfully filthy sound – have I mentioned that yet? They may be from the US but they sound more like they should be from the UK with a sound that would sit perfectly alongside the best of the dirty, filthy, sludgy UK underground Metal scene past and present, (Raging Speedhorn, The Atrocity Exhibit, Extreme Noise Terror, Corrupt Moral Altar, Charger, etc).

Anxiety Rifle, (another great song title), starts off like a Converge song with Death grunts and proceeds to batter everything around it before dropping into such a nice groove that it’s all I can do to stop myself from dancing on the table.

By the time the final song Electric Friends rolls to a close I am a happy camper.

So many bands seem content to sound like their heroes, thus ensuring that bands like Morality Crisis are so needed. They take their heroes, mash them up in a bin and parade them in front of their loved ones before beating and eating them to absorb their essence. To sum up – this is special music that deserves to be discovered by any and every filth-loving sludge fan out there.

Essential.

Anciients – Heart of Oak (Review)

anciientsEver wondered what it would sound like if Mastodon and Enslaved got together and released an album? Well wonder no longer, as it would probably sound like Heart of Oak. Imagine a 50/50 collaboration between both of those bands – the melodies, both vocally and musically displayed here are reminiscent of both groups and are hugely enjoyable.

This is not to say that Anciients are a rip-of band of course – far from it – the Mastodon/Enslaved comparison simply serves as a useful starting point when describing Anciients and they certainly have their own individuality and flair – more so than most bands. Amazingly this is only a debut album – a release of this calibre is usually not heard of on a first full-length and is as refreshing as it is enjoyable.

The songs on display here are arguably simpler/less complex than a lot of Mastodon/Enslaved songs, (to use these bands as a reference point again), but this is not to their detriment, as this album is all about the melodies and the song structures. This is probably one of the catchiest metal albums you’ll hear all year, and yet it still manages to retain its edge that will allow it to age well and not become tired as some melody-driven albums can become after time.

An album that is as long as it is good. Worth it.