Here we have a little over 60 minutes of music from a talented UK band that have only just properly come to my attention, despite a friend of mine telling me to check them out when this album was originally released in 2017. It’s definitely my loss, as Asheran is ambitious and huge in all of the best ways. Continue reading
2017 was an amazing year for music, with so many top-notch albums seeing the light of day. I pretty much say this every year, of course, but that doesn’t seem to stop it being true. With this in mind, the 2017 list was especially hard to put together, and I agonised over this one more than I did for any of the lists in previous years.
As is traditional, I also want to mention some releases by bands that could easily have made it onto the list, and should have by many rights, if only I could have somehow managed to fit them all in –
I urge you to check out all of the above releases, in addition to the ones in the actual list below. I could probably keep adding more bands you should give a listen to, but a line has to be drawn somewhere, I suppose.
So, without further ado, let’s get right down to it… Continue reading
Well, I’ve been hungry for this. 2014’s Surrounded by Shadows is one of my favourite sludge/doom releases, making it high up on my end of year best of list for 2014. Over the years my appreciation for this superlative album has only grown, so has my desire to hear its follow up. Continue reading
The début album by Sorxe – Surrounded by Shadows – is an absolute stunner of an album that will hopefully find Doom fans everywhere frothing at the mouth in anticipation of getting their grubby mitts on it. It really is that good.
I manage to catch up with Tanner Crace to find out what makes this band tick, and just how they created such a good début…
For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!
We are Sorxe from Phoenix AZ .
Shane Ocell – Drums ,
Tanner Crace – Guitar , Vocals and Synths
Christopher Jason Coons – Bass
Roger Williams – Bass
Give us a bit of history to Sorxe. Also – why two bassists?
The band was formed in the summer of 2012 after Shane and Myself jammed out a few improvs. When looking for a bassist to complete the sound we each had a bass player in mind. Both Roger and Chris already knew each other so it was just natural to have both guys join and just roll with two bassist, it felt right and sounds HUGE!
Its like what are we listening to now or what influenced us while we were making a particular song? Hard to say cause at any time there could be a number of different influences during the writing process.
Shane is big into Helmet and the Melvins, I have always been partial to Mike Patton for his range vocally and also his choice in melodies. Old Metallica, Soundgarden, Nirvana and Pink Floyd is a big one, all the cliché. I learned the most from two specific groups – Fantomas’ 1st album was a huge eye opener in that there are absolutely no rules in music that one must follow and then Neurosis for the use of space and textures, peaks and valleys in their music.
We all love so many bands and different kinds of music this list of influences could be a book.
What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?
T-Rex – the slider, Pallbearer’s new album – Foundations of Burden and Take Over and Destroy – vacant face.
The vocals on your album are especially impressive. Anything to reveal about them?
I try to add some variety to the vocal lines, and I also like to texture certain passages, the phrasing is the most important part, lyrics come 2nd. The vocal phrasing is written usually in the early stages, and most of the lyrics for this album were actually the last thing written – some times the lyrics don’t come till I’m actually about to lay down the vocal track – since we recorded the album on our own terms I had the time to experiment and write the lyrics while recording.
What did you want to achieve with your new album? Any specific goals?
We just wanted to put out a dynamic album packed with music that can best possibly portray where we are as a band right now. And also something that will leave a mark on the people who enjoy the tunes.
Are you happy with how it turned out?
Yes, we are proud of having done everything ourselves. But I will never do it like that again cause its a major time consuming bitch!
What can you tell us about the lyrics?
The lyrics are for the listener to interpret in their own way.
Your songs are richly textured and very well composed – give us a bit of information on the songwriting process.
Most of our songs come out of improvs, a lot of the riffs we jam out in practice and then I’ll have Shane lay down some beats and refine them later on back at my home studio. Then bring them back to the rest of the guys and work out all the kinks. We don’t really sit down by ourselves and write, that would defeat the purpose of this bands mission.
How do you see your songs/direction developing in the future?
We are just still learning how to write together so I feel that we will get a lot tighter, and more comfortable together in our jams which will lead to better songs. I already have an outline for the next album based on about 20 songs/riffs that are in the back catalog. Its going to be a lot deeper, darker at times and lighter at times.
Tell us about the Sorxe live show.
Loud, relaxed and crushing.
What’s next for Sorxe?
The 1st half of October we will be on our 1st tour with Godhunter, then Southwest Terror Fest opening for Neurosis in Tucson Oct 18th.
Two bassists? Layered vocals? Textured soundscapes? Heavy as fuck Doom? Yes please!
Sorxe have a crushing sound that’s befitting of a band who have double the normal number of bass guitars. This is as monolithic and colossal as you might imagine. The music is expansive with Progressive Doom tendencies and has a warm and heavy sound. Surrounded by Shadows has strong ambitions and the talent to see them through.
Special note should be made of the vocals, as they are diverse and wide ranging in their style. The singer shouts and bellows his voice raw, uses powerful semi-cleans and even manages soft crooning. It’s extremely impressive.
The songs on this album combine the unbearably heavy with the richly evocative and highly emotive. The band seem adept at switching from crushing passages to sections of energetic feeling seamlessly. Each song is highly accomplished and the band have truly unleashed something special.
The instruments are all used creatively and the synth effects add a further layer to their already involved sound.
Surrounded by Shadows combines elements of bands like Neurosis, Ufomammut, Electric Wizard, Yob, Isis and Mastodon to create an album that spends as much time destroying the listener via harsh sounds as it does through emotional weight.
These songs are diverse and well-written. They resonate with feeling and are richly textured and layered. This album has the complete package and offers a holistic, cohesive listening experience.
A stunning début that I’ll be playing for a long time to come. Essential listening.