dimanche 29 juin 2014

Crowbar - Symmetry in black (2014)

Kirk Windstein left Down to dedicate full time to Crowbar, and if you listen to the new records of both bands, let's say it looks like a good move. Symmetry in black is an instant Crowbar classic, which means it's an awesome beast of an album. the opening song "Walk with knowledge wisely" hits you full front, urging you to higher the volume. and it sets the tone for the album. it delivers everything you want from a Crowbar album. it has the Crowbar perfect and unique mix of sabbathian grooves and hardcore. with also the dark melancholic and ominous heavy ballads that is one of their speciality. and it sounds like like the guys put everything they have in the songs, finely crafted, focused and heartfelt.
Symmetry in black is compelling and flawless, highly addictive and sounding better each time you listen to it.
this year no heavy metal album (and I mean HEAVY, this is Crowbar!) will beat it.

their FB page.

jeudi 26 juin 2014

Abyssal ascendant - Unleashing the outer plagues (2014)

Abyssal ascendant is a new death metal band from France, and Unleashing the outer plagues is their demo (preparing an album planned for 2015). if you're into old school death metal then you'll probably dig it. while it seems that nowadays most old school death bands draw their inspiration from Sweden, Abyssal ascendant proudly revive the sound of the more brutal and technical US scene, especially floridian but Suffocation comes also to mind. while the guitar work displays some Cannibal corpse influence, the heaviness and the "larger than life"  (or should I say larger than death?) atmosphere building reminds Morbid angel (or also Nile in its epic moments, but Lovecraft inspired, not Egypt). so if you're in need of your dose of old school death with good grooves, good guitar works with many leads, cool vocals, and well crafted songs conjuring lovecraftian unspeakable horrors, then just go for it!

the Bandcamp page

the website 

Florent their guitarist / singer (who also happens to be an old friend of mine) answered to my questions about his band :

-tell us the sorry of Abyssal ascendant from the beginning to your demo, Unleashing the outer plagues.

Well, the beginning of Abyssal happened in 2012, after fanny and I tried to play some death / doom stuff with a friend who was a drummer on Besançon (we played Morbid Angel covers).

We split, and immediately after I proposed fanny to begin something really serious, of our own, with programmed drums because no drummer was available, and some expanded lovecraftian concept. She was beginning with the bass and got very interested in doing death metal with such thematic. So we contacted Bochon, an old friend, to help us with the programmed drums, because we both haven’t any real expertise in studio engineering, to have a correct render on our live playback. Without him, nothing would have been possible so far.

Then we did 2 gigs before gathering all the stuff we had worked on and made it into an EP.

-I know you're into old school death metal since a long time now, tell us about that, how did you get into it and what kept your passion for it intact up to now?

I really discovered OSDM thanks to a lot of friends I met in school or in music.
The first time I listened to Morbid Angel, Crusher or Immolation, I was so shocked by the ambiance, I could sense nightmares weeping from the music they played. I regret that I only discovered all these bands only 15 years ago and not sooner (well I was 19). But still, old school expresses exactly what I feel and what I want to feel when I listen to music. I can’t express it in words, but it is the reason why I will never give up on this part of death metal. It is a strong way to express whatever I want, whatever I feel. It revealed something in me and from me, something that was sleeping deep. From my first death metal band with you, Dennis, until Abyssal Ascendant, it has never disappeared. It’s even stronger by the years.

-it's obvious that death metal and Lovecraft goes well together, and famous bands like Morbid angel already made this association, but tell us what led you to do your own version of the Lovecraftian death metal stuff?

First, fanny and I are dreamers. We like anything in culture (books, music, video games, roleplay games) that make us use our imagination and translate into a necessity to stay far from this rotten world. Lovecraft is, of course, one of our favourite writers, basing the background on the principles of cosmogony. We want to believe rather in this concept than in any other bullshit this society is serving us. Maybe we wish that all those things were true, and we want to make a musical tribute for this mythos. Besides, Fanny game-mastered the roleplay game Call of Cthulhu for quite some time, so creating an immersion through lyrics and music is like an achievement! There is so much resources and inspiration in the Lovecraft universe. And not only just in Lovecraft’s writings. He had some peers / followers who developed the mythos, creating new entities, lore and stories: Derleth, Bloch, or Frank Belknap Long (thanks to him for the Hounds of Tindalos, background of our song “Interdimensional Predation”)...So our own version of Lovecraftian death metal does not stop at what lovecraft wrote. We want to expand this, to make stories of our own; it’s a tribute to him and his peers, but it is also an occasion to be SF writers too.

-what about Unleashing the outer plagues?

This is a one-year-of-work achievement. And as I said, without Bochon it wouldn’t have been possible at all. He really takes care of us and makes all his possible to support and work with us. On one hand we really wanted people to listen to what we had, and on the other hand, we did not have enough money to make CDs. So I guess we are kind of lucky to live during this digital and internet Era; this was our first release, and it was 100% digital, and considering we didn’t have any money to distribute it, well, we thought it was far better just to give it to people. I made a PDF with lyrics and credits. People are free to donate or not (actually one guy offered 10 € for this EP!! We are absolutely thankful for his support, and did not expect this, even once, hehe). That’s all for the “material” aspect.

About the conception, the songs are not directly chained to one another, but the thematic is here in various ways, referring to various backgrounds of Lovecraft’s universe.

I assume that many people have certainly not read the lyrics, but I’d love them to.

-I know your first album is on the way, what can we expect from it?

Death Metal by Abyssal Ascendant: very much influenced music, maybe less inspired by known classic bands than the EP. I don’t know. And we don’t care about that actually.

Originality is not our leitmotiv. Many reviewers took it for a not so good thing. Do they expect me to say “wait wait wait, this riff is too Immolation, we erase it now” – and try to do something that has NEVER been done? In death metal? That is not our objective. One day, bands who love these artists will have to keep that style alive, when Morgoth, Nile, Cannibal Corpse, Immolation, Morbid Angel (etc...) won’t exist and do gigs anymore. And I still claim the ensemble is our own musical style and stuff, anyway. But I’m splitting from the topic. So you will have to expect ambient parts with weird voices and keyboards, old school death metal, some brutal stuff, some soli, some good old death-scifi/horror lyrics based on Lovecraft universe (I hope people will read them), of course ! In a more grown up way than the EP, I guess. And...maybe something a bit more...Epic. Also, at least one song will be the sequel of a story we started in the EP.

-what is the writing process for Abyssal ascendant?
Most of the EP lyrics have been written by me. Now Fanny is most of the time composing them, because she discovered she had good skills for it and because she loves reading, writing...While I compose the instrumental parts of the songs. Now we have Raùl on drums, I think rhythm parts will be more organic, as he is working on it.

So how do we proceed? Well, we do a list of some subjects we want to be set to music. Either I have some songs ready, and we discuss about a subject which would fit well on them, or Fanny gives me some lyrics and I make the song to incarnate it.

-which bands from your area would you recommend?

==>Fetal Massacre: good old school brutal stuff from Besançon; makes me think about the firsts albums of Cannibal Corpse, young guys, and have all their life to offer us this music, and it’s great to know that.

==>Dieresis: US Brutal Death from Besançon; this guys just kills since more than 10 years,

eager to listen to their new album (which is soon).

==>Komodo Island: Doom from Lyon, they just released their first EP; I think you should really throw an ear into it.

-Which evolution would you like to see for underground music in the future?
To be honest, I don’t know if I really want to go into these considerations...What I call underground is when you sell stuff illegally. Music must continue to be shared on different degrees, on different levels; actually we have this evolution right now: more accessibility for bands to make their music, and make it being listened, without being swallowed by the big names. I wish it will go on like this. It's not real "underground", but, it allows little bands (like us) to create music, share it and spread the word. Self-productions are now so decent! And easy to share...And real underground music must continue too, in its way, because it is the base of all things.

-in addition to the album what is planned for Abyssal ascendant in the coming months?

We decided to take a break in order to compose, so, we won’t be doing any gig until the album is in mastering. But we go on rehearsing to work on the new songs. For now we are recording a song for a free metal compilation, “Armies of The Void” – this song is not on the EP, and won’t be on the album. It is also the first song Abyssal Ascendant will release with Raul (our drummer). For us it is symbolic, it’s an exclusivity.

-something to add?

Thank you very much for the interview, always a pleasure to share this kind of things!

I want to add 4 things actually:

- We are very proud and happy to play with Raùl Fernandez. We didn’t talk very much about him in this interview, but he is now part of Abyssal Ascendant’s essence. I hope he will stay with us (so far so good). He really completes us. He hasn’t recorded the album drum parts yet, but we are so eager to see this!

- We want to thank all the people who support us and believe in us since the fucking beginning. We didn’t expect so many people would be following us...Being there to encourage, and indulging themselves in our dark universe. A good way to discover that many other people are dreamers too.

- We really want to thank Alex and Jeremie from Dolorem records, our label. Thank you so much for your support guys !!

- And the very last words : “Fuck you, you're not in the band !” [note from Blasting days : this is a private joke!  yes Florent, indeed, this time i'm not in the band haha!]

mercredi 25 juin 2014

Wagars - Sidrabene lasts (2014)

Wagars is a band from Latvia and Sidrabene lasts (the curse of Sidrabene) is their second album. what they play is quality neo-crust (crust with melodies and an epic feel). nothing completely new but they manage to bring more diversity than usual in the songwriting and the ten songs are well crafted and executed. and of course the singing in latvian is also out of the ordinary. good stuff.

their BC page.

dimanche 22 juin 2014

Frail vessel - Frail vessel (2014)

Frail vessel from Newfoundland (Canada) only released a demo and this self titled digital album before splitting. but let me tell you it's really worth your interest. their demo and this one are really excellent stuff. its grind powerviolence sounds at the same time furious and controlled, nodding to the noisy tones and straighforward aggression of powerviolence and old school grind as well as to the heavier, tightier and more metal elements of modern grind and hardcore. it melts the best of both worlds in a marvel of balance betwen the two. the dark science fiction themed lyrics fits well with the music and is an original touch.
it's really a pity they split and I hope the guys will soon return with something as good as that.
oh, and thanks to the always excellent The plow behind you blog to pointing to this band.

Frail vessel music's on stream and free download on their BC page.

vendredi 20 juin 2014

Sammal - n°2 (EP 2014)

this EP from the finnish band Sammal (translates "wild moss", n°2 is their second record, released by Svart records) sounds at the same time familiar and unique. its warm tones and vintage keyboard reminds classic prog rock from the seventies, but at the same times the melodies (vocals in finnish, guitars and the keyboards that are really put forward in the songs) sounds very different (as only finnish melodies can!). very groovy and joyful, or softly melancholic at times, but not in a cheesy pop way,  it makes a very original, enjoyable and addictive listen. rarely bands inspired by 70' rock are sounding so fresh. just try it and you won't regret.

their website

dimanche 15 juin 2014

Grey widow - Grey widow (2014)

Grey widow is a new UK band with guys from dopefight, parole, the ergon carousel and evisorax. on their first, self titled, album they play some nasty and radical sludge, with the hardcore (or nearly black metal) accelerations from time to time but most of the time they lean on the slow / heavy side of sludge, bordering funeral doom / drone. very dark, from blast beats fast to very slow, heavy and dirty guitars, droning feedback, angry screams. that is their recipe. it sure tastes quite acidic and I have to say it's an excellent album, a very good start. at first attempt they found their own formula and it's most interesting and better than most bands in the now overcrowded sludge / doom scene. they are just more radical and they do it well. and listen after listen I discover new subtilities. I'll keep on listening to this one and sure wouldn't miss their next release.

their bandcamp.

vendredi 13 juin 2014

Beyond - Fatal power of death (2013)

I'm kinda late on this one but Fatal power of death [sic!] was one of the best death metal record released last year and it's really a kind of death metal I like. Beyond, from Germany, plays a death metal conjuring Florida, the speed and straightforward agression of Brazilian death and could also remind Angelcorpse. so, old school evil death metal with fast tempo (but knows when to slow down when it suits the song and to help building an ominous feel) and guitar works with a lot of crazy leads and a hellish and chaotic atmosphere. this is really death metal, the real deal, the good old school way.

the Bandcamp page.

samedi 7 juin 2014

Down - IV part II (EP 2014)

as it was for the first part of this EP series I got mixed feeling about this second part. on one hand Down still is a really good band with a strong personnality and their songs really have something, on the other hand I'm a bit disapointed because it's good but nos as much as it was on their albums. some songs are excellent, while some  other would have been more fitted for B-sides or bonus tracks. or would have needed some editing, for exemple the two long jam like tracks on this one ("conjure" and "bacchanalia"). three songs out of the six are ok but a bit below Down average. and the first song, "steeple", is an excellent epic heavy metal song with great singing and very fine Keenanesque lead guitar works very. this one, "steeple", is worthy of becoming a Down classic. but this Ep won't stay as one of the best Down record for me.

their website.

jeudi 5 juin 2014

Tombs - Savage gold (2014)

if you're looking for more brutal or more technical extreme metal, Tombs won't do, but if your looking for originality and better songwriting, then the sophisticated black / death metal of the band from Brooklyn will be an excellent pick. their new album Savage gold (soon to be released by Relapse records) is a brilliant confirmation of the qualities already showed on their previous works. their songs still have the epic progressions, the post-punk / post-metal elements creating a somber and eerie atmosphere, while being rooted in black / death metal grounds (think of Entombed, Neurosis, Killing joke, and Deathspell omega melted together and you might get an idea of what kind of stuff it is). Savage gold pushes it further and, helped by a heavier and sharper production (by Erik Rutan), give it more contrasts, breathing extra life (and death!) into it.

highly recommended!

The Bandcamp page.

mardi 3 juin 2014

Detroit / thedowngoing (split cassette 2014)

wow, seeing a split with Detroit and thedowngoing, two of the best recent grind related band, coming was exiting. but actually listening to it is even better, I expected really good, and why we have is trully awesome, a monster of a split, a very strong contender for the grind split of the year (and there' are many grind splits). as I said both bands are among the best recent grind bands but each one in a realy style so it really made sense to have them share a split (Hygiene records is really getting a good habit of releasing excellent stuff!). Detroit, the canadian powerviolence / grind powerhouse are offering what is maybe their best material to date, unrelenting and frenetic to a high level.thedowngoing, from Australia, are not letting the intensity fall, compared to Detroit their songs are heavier, noisier and more chaotic. their noisegrind is really devastating stuff.
a faultless and impressive split, don't fail to listen to it.

the Bandcamp page.

and if you want to learn more about these bands you can read the interview I did with them :
interview with Detroit in 2012
interview with thedowngoing in 2012

lundi 2 juin 2014

Enduser / Needle sharing / The Teknoist - Enduser shares needles with The Teknoist (2012)

from time to time I'll review some electro music. dark and undergroud stuff of course. this one,  Enduser shares needles with The Teknoist, released by the excellent Ad noiseam, is a collaborative album between three "big names" of the breakcore / hardcore drum & bass scene. Enduser, The Teknoist and Needle sharing who did ten years before a collaboration on the same model with Panacea and Tarmvred. on this record you have a combination, with a different dosage on each track, of the hardcore techno fast drive and the rythms and live sounds of the drum & bass as well. and it's finely crafted so we can say it's the best of both worlds.

the BC page.