metal

GOBLINSMOKER - "Toad King"

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Goblinsmoker - "Toad King"

(The Sludgelord) 

Heavy sludge drips over every inch of this driving slice of stoner metal. The toad king is indeed alive and well, and he's got some dastardly deeds in store for the dwellers of murky, shadowy places.

Crunchy guitars of doom lockstepped with throbbing stabs of toxic bass and banging thuds of percussion dominate the track as an unholy minion of the underworld screeches out gargled incantations of filth in the opening title track of this terrifying triptich.

The second offering in this slimy ritual is a lenghty tome of unfortunate, and muddy profanity known as Take the Dead. We are not certain where the dead are being taken, but we do not care to argue with the growling creature that directs the dead to be taken. A slowly churning chord progression of psychedelic death echoes across the swampy pits of ruin that the Toad King inhabits, only ordered from chaos by clang and clamor of orc-hammered drums. A inhuman litany of unspeakable deeds is hurled from the witch-mouthed amphibian as the dissoving waves of sludge boil and swirl faster, sweeping up into a funnel of dark, dingy muck.

At last, a dank stone door is heaved aside, and in a rank cave filled with toadlings, a dark ceremony begins in the track Time to Ride. The hideous creatures gather their ill-begotten powers to mount a new offensive, screaming into the night sky that "The time has come." As the final driving pulse of rotten metal surges in intensity, the Toad King laughs manically and orders his murderous army to march upon the unsuspecting inhabitants of the earth.

Gray Lee

 https://thesludgelord.bandcamp.com/album/toad-king

BAST - "Nanoångström"

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Bast - "Nanoångström"

UK trio Bast slaughters ears and conjures fears with Nanoångström, a concept-driven, megolithic ode to brooding metal forged in the cores of distant planets long since darkened from the view of our own galaxy. A smoky slow burning intro, Distant Suns, leads into an array of five lengthy movements made of adrenaline and fire. While each successive track has its own unique sound, their dynamic structure and scope are always complimentary to the broader picture, and thus move as one.

The power of narrative composition is what sets Nanoångström apart from other metal records. There is a degree of patience and control here, amid the crispy doom metal guitars and pounding rhythms. Long passages of music go by without any vocal commentary. Patterns ebb and flow, grow and change. Amid the dramatically-timed voice work are the aggressive growls and snarls we crave, but also there are surprising moments of harmonized singing that produce some nice chills.

Exploring themes of loneliness, rage, and anguish against a backdrop of science fiction fantasy, Bast elevates the art of metalmaking with longform compositions that blend raw energy with ancient, galactic lore and legend. Overall, the churning rock apocalypse of Nanoångström is outstripped by its own artistry of arrangement, making it an easy repeat listen for the thinking metalhead, with just as many sorrowful asides as chunky doom metal riffs. 

Gray Lee

https://bastmusic.bandcamp.com/album/nano-ngstr-m

THE MOUND BUILDERS - "The Mound Builders"

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The Mound Builders - “The Mound Builders”

(Failure Records & Tapes)

Growing straight out of the Indiana soil, The Mound Builders, release their self titled full length of psychedelic rock infused metal. The album opens with Torchbearer, an epic seven minute riff-worship dug from the very foundations of crunchy, heavy doom-and-gloom metal. Just as the listener expects to hear a nasal vocal about witches and generals, frontman Jim Voelz steps in and begins hurling his trademark howl into the wind. His whiskey burned growl sears the track like a dirt-encrusted, acid-rusted bucket full of red hot coals.

With the introductions out of the way, The Mound Builders climb into other, more fast paced numbers, such as Hair of the Dogma that piles up a cathartic thrash, giving Jim an opportunity to showcase a blistering screech straight from the muddy pits of Hell. The aptly titled track Acid Sludge leads in with a smoldering dirge built from plenty of dirty low end buzz and demonic screams, and a solid, repeating riff that builds in geological layers before kicking into a faster, and more violent earthquake anthem.

The closing of this release, Vanished, is a durable rock journey that shovels together the many elements The Mound Builders draw from to forge their unique sound. Throughout the release, guitarist Brian Boszor, drummer Jason "Dinger" Brookhart, and bassist Ryan Strawsma exert precise control over varied style and rhythm shifts, while consistently delivering a viciously chaotic feel, creating a dynamic listening experience for metal devotees. The Mound Builders plan to unload this new release on Jan 18th.

Gray Lee

Preorder the LP: 

 https://failurerecordstapes.bigcartel.com/product/the-mound-builders-s-t-lp

 

BRANE - "Brane"

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BRANE - “Brane”

Rock heads, join me in jamming this self-titled release from Seattle-based band, Brane. Combining shadowy moods with aggressively sweeping vocal passages, Brane balances tension build and release to create durable hard rock tracks that invoke the ancient gods of metal without treading on their memories.

Brane’s debut EP opens with a track titled Research Vessel that forms from a moody guitar line that is joined by dynamically shifting metal guitar and drums that lend to the brooding atmosphere. The second track Oyster Knife, introduces a faster tempo, some entertaining harmonics and gravely reverb-heavy vocals that display Brane’s ability to rotate their music-making methods for powerful shifts in variety and texture. Each selection seems to center on a different riff or rhythm that the band has collected from their years of rock and roll fandom. Indeed, it could be said that the voice of this music springs forth from they who have first listened to many other voices.

Throughout these five tracks, Brane delivers riff-laden chunks of thoroughly entertaining rock that leaves the listener looking for more. We’ll certainly be keeping an eye on them in the near future to see what they come up with.

https://enterbrane.bandcamp.com/releases

STORMLAND-"Songs of Future Wars"

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Stormland - "Songs of Future Wars" 

War is the father of us all...
— Heraclitus of Ephesus

If Heraclitus were alive today, he would surely be headbanging to Songs of Future Wars, the first full-length release from Stormland.

Forged in the harsh, icy climes of British Columbia, this sonic sacrifice supplicates the god of war for chaos, mayhem and a swift victory! All in screeching speed-metal style!

The opening salvo Blitz Fatality (GAT-X207) straight brutalizes your earholes right out the gate with blast beats and breathless, staccato vocals à la Slayer in their 80's glory.

Instead of a four-piece band though, all this aggression and fury spews from just one man, bedroom-metal mastermind Justin Pierrot.

Pierrot turns the intensity all the way up to 11 and keeps it there for the entire album. It thrashes from start to finish with searing, shred-a-licious guitar solos, grooving breakdowns and gravelly vocals that growl at sub-bass lows and bark at demon-shrill highs.

At the very end, the release turns soft and introspective with the metal ballad Psychic Causality (MSZ-06). Here Pierrot contemplates the hollowness of victory when the victor loses his humanity in the process.

Although speed and thrash heavy, Songs of Future Wars mixes in elements of doom, grindcore and death metal for a sound that’s 100% Stormland.

It is the perfect soundtrack for conflicts of the past, present or future.

It speaks to the warrior spirit in all of us and gives it a safe outlet that doesn’t require storming a beach head or laying waste to a city.

I still wouldn’t recommend listening to it during rush hour though. It may amplify feelings of road rage and aggression.  

Theron Willis 

https://stormland.bandcamp.com/

RUNESCARRED-"We Are" [Videos Included!!!]

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Runescarred-"We Are" 

Texas-based metal trio Runescarred has hit a home-run out of the park with their first release-the three-track EP We Are.

While they describe their sound as prog metal, I would classify them as just damn good modern metal that’s accessible and enjoyable to rock fans of all stripes.

Watch Runescarred's This is Mine!!!

Guitarist Tim Driscoll and drummer Payton Holekamp create an positively grooving combo of crushing riffs and thunderous drums. The perfect musical backdrop for vocalist Ven Scott who effortlessly switches between clean vocals and gutsy screams with a signature rasp. All the while, Scott enunciates so precisely that you can pick out almost every single word he says.

While these Texan titans certainly possess the chops for prog, they flex them quite modestly. They display their technical prowess only in brief bursts of searing guitar leads and exciting musical breaks that will tease you with their brevity and have you hankering for more.

This musical taste and restraint creates a tight and exciting release that won’t turn off hard-rock newcomers nor disappoint die-hard metal-heads.

Theron Willis

https://runescarred.bandcamp.com/releases

Runescarred's music vid for A Darker Man is absolutely brutal!

WEED DEMON -”Astrological Passages”

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Weed Demon-”Astrological Passages”

(Electric Valley Records)

Sultans of stoner rock Weed Demon spark up the jams (and maybe something else) for a special vinyl release of their 2017 Astrological Passages.

This release represents the very best of the stoner metal genre, and the track Primordial Genocide exemplifies this. It burns slow at almost 9 minutes long with sludgy Black Sabbath-espue riffs and raspy baritone growls and chants accentuated by the occasional banshee shriek.

Oh, and don’t forget the absolutely bitching instrumental section that starts at around 3:03. I guarantee you will be playing air guitar along with the solo.

As far as aesthetics go, the track titles, lyrical imagery and album artwork distills all the best stoner “what-ifs” that have ever been thought of while passing around the bong.

In many a basement and toke-up spot, the title of the aforementioned Primordial Genocide will definitely launch many a spaced-out soliloquy on the existence of prehistoric advanced civilizations.

Sampling of said soliloquy: “Duuude, what if there was some sort of Primordial Genocide of this advanced race of beings way, waaay before our time? That’s why we have no trace of them today bro!!!”

Yeah dude...sure.

While you tell me more about that, why don’t you go ahead and click the link to pre-order this beautiful vinyl release?

The ancient aliens will greatly appreciate it.

Theron Willis

P.S. Be sure to check out Jettisoned. Let’s just say the harmonica has been taken to another level of cool in my book.