dimanche 28 juin 2015

King giant - Black ocean waves (2015)

King giant is a great heavy metal band from Virginia (USA). Their previous album, Dismal hollow, back in 2012 was one of the best heavy metal of the year and I listened to it many times (read Here the review and the interview we did). They are now back with Black ocean waves. It's another awesome album that I also really enjoy listening to. I hope it will help them get the recognition they deserves. The album starts with a good instrumental and from the beginning compositional skills and good guitar works are on display, then the first songs starts and you hear how good the singer is (clean but powerfull heavy metal singing) and that the rhythm is good at doing what is needed to make it groove. Great traditionnal heavy metal with just a touch of stoner sound to add more heaviness. I mentionned the good start of the album but it doesn't fail to end on a high note with a classy 8 minutes long closing epic. Once again King giant are really strong at heavy, epic and groovy songwriting. If you need some comparison we could say they are somewhere between Iron maiden and Corrosion of conformity. Don't expect some important evolutions compared to Dismal hollow, the new album carry on in the same tracks, but I think nobody will complain, both albums are great, the band found their formula and are really good at doing it.  If you're into this kind of music I can't recommend it too much.

Their website

vendredi 26 juin 2015

Sommer - On waking and dreaming (2015)

Sommer is the new solo project of Adam Sommer after ending Charnel house. On waking and dreaming is his first solo album (released on his label Sygil records).  It sounds partly like a continuation of Charnel house, with some black metal influences in the dark atmosphere and some guitar parts. The ritualistic ambient element and mysterious feel is also still there. But very few metal drumming this time (more minimalistic drumming with a bit of repetitive / krautrock element), and more rays of light piercing through the dark feel. And no more female vocals exept when Charnel house singer Liv Mershon sings as a guest in "Wake state". Adam Sommer is doing the vocals, clean vocals, quiet and discreet, a bit like whispered incantations. What else do we have? a noise / drone element a bit like in Earth or maybe Arbouretum. And like in Earth there's in this album a great ability to blur the line between dark and light. We also have great guitar work, drones and some quiet, beautifull but sometimes slightly disturbing guitar melodies. we can even find a kind of "noisy blues", like in the excellent guitar parts of "celebration". There's a general feel running through the album and giving it its unity, but with many different shades and subtilities, and each song has it's specificity and distinguish itself. The black meets kraut thing, as well as the somewhat mystical feel, could remind Aluk todolo (we could say it's somewhere between Aluk todolo and Earth). We could try to describe the album as some "droning black kraut music".
But describing it is not the point anyway, just listen to it, it's some very well crafted, creative and interesting music.

Highly recommended!

The Bandcamp page 

mardi 23 juin 2015

Hot Graves - Magnificent Death (2015)

This is the second album from Hot Graves and this Magnificent Death sound like they didn't lose the infectious spontaneity of their music, true to the old school spirit of their D-beat / speed  / thrash metal / death / black lethal mix. Thrash crust riffing with a rocking vibe, D-beat alternating with mid-tempo, and aggressive vocals with death / black metal influences that always kill it. And when like with Hot Graves the band knows how to craft raw and catchy songs you can't resist it. If you're a thrash maniac or into any kind of old school metal this album is for you. Sink into their blackened pinkness and enjoy!

The BC page

vendredi 19 juin 2015

Abyssion - Luonnon harmonia ja vihreä liekki (2015)

Abyssion is a duo featuring members from Dark budha rising and Oranssi pazuzu,  Luonnon harmonia ja vihreä liekki which means in finnish “Harmony of Nature and The Green Flame” is their second album, which is released by Svart record. What they play could maybe be called "space black metal", the main component is traditionnal black metal, quite primitive and somewhat punkish, reminding old Darkthrone, not the more modern, brutal or technical kind of black metal. The other component brings the "space" thing : trippy keyboards parts. And maybe also some krautock something in the rythms, or is it just the repetitive element you often find in black metal? The album sounds a bit like you could imagine would sound Darkthrone jamming with he keyboardist of Acid mothers temple (that would be cool!). Of course it is sung in finnish, english would be so common...
Actualy I would have liked the experimentation going further in the black metal meets space / prog / kraut music direction (but one of the guys is already doing that, and it's awesome, with Oranssi pazuzu so...). But old school black metal with some twists of weird space synth parts is an intersting and enjoyable listening experience as well. Best than just another raw black metal band (they are actually quite good at doing the raw black metal thing, but the experimental additions makes it more interesting).
recommended if you're into black metal and more spacey / experimental stuff.

Their FB page

mercredi 17 juin 2015

Coffin birth - Cult of the technocrat (2015)

Cult of the technocrat is the new tape from australian grinders Coffin birth. As expected it is very good suff (read HERE my review of the previous release, and HERE the interview we did last year). The tape (in a limited edition of 100 copies) features six songs clocking in 8 minutes in total. Maybe the old school component of their music is even more present with a big Napalm death influence and good ol' death metal as well. It's very classic grind, with a very abrasive sound and good old school grooves. They really do justice to their influences, giving it a fresh and wild feel, the songs are good and played just how it should. If you're into grind are also into the more primitive and punkier side of death metal (with more speed!) I'm sure you'll really like it. my only complain is that it's too short. It's time to release an album guys! we're waiting for it!

The BC page

lundi 15 juin 2015

Dante Augustus Scarlatti - Ameritheism (2014)

Dante Augustus Scarlatti is a "noise" artist (doing also video and other visual arts), but the album I'm reviewing here is noise related but is more in a punk / no-wave / industrial vein. It's, called Ameritheism and released by a very good label called Auris Apothecary (specialised in releasing avant-garde / noise music in limited edition and special format). It consist itn thirteen tracks lasting 1minute each. Everything is made with a guitar, a microphone, and a computer for the beats. As I said it sounds a bit like a kind of post-punk but more like no-wave extremism flirting with noisegrind than new-wave stuff. Dante Augustus Scarlatti is kind of ranting in the mic, in a way between punk singing / screaming and spoken words / rapping. The lyrics are doing a radical critique of some of the dumbest aspects of american ideology / politics. it's quite good. The music is going very well with his angered flow. simple beats and punk /noise / indus rock minimalistic riffing. In a way it reminds a bit Correction house (but is rawer and punkier). It's original, interesting and have a very live / spontaneous feel.

The BC page

vendredi 12 juin 2015

Seremonia - Kristalliarkki (2015)

Listening to the first Seremonia records I thought they were ok ( I should have paid more attention, because they already showed the band had a good potential...). But with Kristalliarkki (released with Svart records who are really doing an outstanding year!) Seremonia really took it to a higher level, gaining another dimension. With Kristalliarkki they really get better on everything, from the production (which is now great), to the cover art, but of course most importantly with the songs itselves. Their music is still based on a kind of proto-hard rock / sixties garage rock with some psychedelic touches and keyboards parts. But they added more diversity and displays on this album a greater level of creativity. Seremonia is now without question a really unique band. The album starts with an intro with some free jazz like drumming / percussions and choir like vocals and a bit of sax. And the album ends with a wild garage outro! and in between you have some hard rocking songs with a psychedelic flavour, some psychedelic doom with saxophone, some finnish folk / prog... imagine a jam with The Doors, the Stooges, Hawkwind, Black sabbath, Sun ra and Deep purple, with a girl singing in finnish (the vocals are great and add to the originality of their sound). The songs, even the less complex, more hard rock based ones, are filled with twists and suprises, with the keybords parts, the vocals lines, the guitar riffing and leads, the rocking but subtle drumming, a bit of flute, or some saxophone... The album culminating with the title track, an awesome 60' psych' doom 14 minutes song.
The album sounds very fresh and suprising, I already listen to it many many times and do it with an always renewed pleasure, it's so well crafted, full of nice details, and at the same time sounding spontaneous and lively (it's often really rocking, with a wild garage feel).

I really recommend you do yourself the pleasure of trying it. A highely exiting and enjoyable album, bursting with inventivity.

The Bandcamp page

ps : oh, and don't fail to listen to the single called "Hasiskulti" they released with the album (but the two songs does not feature on the album!), those two songs are also great, especially hasiskulti!

mercredi 10 juin 2015

Captain Cleanoff - Rising terror (2015)

This grind album really takes you by storm! and you will like it!  Rising terror is the second album from Australia's Captain Cleanoff (although they formed in 1997). One hundred percent grindcore, old school (Napalm death comes to mind, not only because of the cover art) and uncompromising. Captain Cleanoff manages to sound at the same time very punk and old school grind and very fast and brutal. Riffs and rythms keep it simple but it's really not at the expense of the overall agressivity, it sounds enraged through and through. The raw and powerfull sound, the speed, and the very vicous vocals playing a large part in it. And at the same time the trash / punk riffing have a very direct, brutally "catchy" quality, making this all out grind assault very memorable and enjoyable. after the slower song at the end stops you fell a bit disoriented by silence a few seconds... and can't resist playing the album again! this album, released by the cool grind dealer Blastafuck is easily one of the grind highlight of the year. excellent stuff!

The BC page

dimanche 7 juin 2015

Abyssal ascendant - Chronicles of the doomed worlds : part I (2015)

Chronicles of the doomed worlds part I : Enlightenment from beyond is the first album of the french death metal band Abyssal ascendant. It follows the release of a good demo last year (read HERE my review of this demo, with the interview I did with their guitarist / singer).
 The album takes where he demo left and bring it to a higher level. Abyssal ascendant is still one hundred percent death metal, of the US kind, definitely old school but with a good dose of "epicness" that reminds Nile, or Morbid angel, sharing with the latter the same fascination for the Great Old Ones.
 But the strong point of the album is the songwriting, strictly speaking, because what I mean here is really the ability to write good songs. Many bands try to be the fastest or most technical or brutal as they can, sometimes it works and it's great (when the band manage to combine technical ability with a good songwriting), often it just bury the listener in a mass of guitar layers, doube kicks and pigs squeals, and you get bored very fast because it sounds the same the whole album, you just can't distinguish a song from another or sometimes not even a riff from another. Abyssal ascendant, while having no problem at keeping the brutality and playing at a death metal level, are very good at keeping it simple and going straight to the point (going nearly trash metal at times, which is fine with me). You can follow what every instrument is doing, every vocal lines, and how they combines and work well together to form a good song. Every song is memorable and "catchy" in an old school death metal way.
After the instrumental intro (every lovecraftian themed album needs it, right?) the first song starts the album very strongly, delivering blows after blows, with a strong epic feel, at the first listen you know this is a "death metal hit". the following songs have a less direct and immediate impact, but after a few listen you realise you remember the riffs, rhythms, and that the whole album is great as well. And you'll get back to it, and after every listen you'll like it more. This is indeed a very enjoyable and addictive album.

Yes, that was my "love death metal and the old school" moment of the month! if that strikes a chord in you don't hesitate for a second and go for this really good death metal album!

The Bandcamp page

their website

jeudi 4 juin 2015

Sammal : the interview

With Myrskyvaroitus, the finnish band Sammal released (with the excellent Svart records) the album that I listened to the more often this year up to now, and I'm sure I'll listen to it many times again. It has what I love in 70' psych / prog' rock, plus something else, because their not just a good retro band, they're not even a retro band in fact, they really have a strong personnality. their melodies, their sound, their songs are unique. well, I'm not gonna review it a second time, HERE is the review I did, but this post is about posting the answers to the questions I sent them by mail. Jura Salmi (guitars / keys), is the one who answered it and I thank him for that!

read the interview below :

-to start with, can you tell us how did you formed Sammal? what was the project as the start?
We had played in a band with Jan-Erik Kiviniemi almost 10 years prior to starting making songs in Finnish. We were just doing it for fun, recording songs with 8-track recorder, nothing ambitious in mind. Just making songs we enjoyed ourselves, after making music with the previous band in English. But even that band Resident 43 was started by the two of us back in 96. So that band kinda slowed down, and withered away, and at the same time we became more interested in all kinds of more obscure and mostly older music.

-what about Myrskyvaroitus? I think you managed to introduced more diversity of sound and mood in your music with this album, do you agree and if so was it something you especially tried to achieve when writing the songs?
I think it came naturally, because we´ve been a tight unit for last 3 years playing gigs, and recording our debut, and one EP. We made these songs as a unit too, experimenting more with keyboards and band chemistry that had developed, allowed us to jam and use our greatest asset, rhythm more.

-what is the typical writing process for Sammal?
It can start from a jam, but mostly on this record it was either me, or keyboardist Juhani Laine, coming up with the main parts for each song. But finally putting them together with the whole band. Normally music and vocal melodies come before Jan-Erik writes the lyrics.

-I think you manage to sound at the same time really influenced by the music created in the seventies and at the same time very unique. do you think it has something to do with the finnish kind of melodies you bring in?
Definitely, being born and raised here, we have that weird mixture of really having slavic melodies that have always been a part of Finnish music, but on the other hand, strong Swedish folk&jazz influences too in even mainstream music in Finland. Add to that US, UK, German, French musical impact etc. I think we´re not restricted to anything really. Finland in a way really is between east and west.

-which band influenced you the most?
I´ve normally mentioned Camel, Trettiåariga Kriget, but personally I would say that even nineties bands like Soundgarden, Faith No More, have had a strong impact on the way I personally see how music can be done. Not the style, but the freedom of creating space for our musical world. Keep in mind this is just my opinion. All of the guys in the band have a long list of favourites. Some stuff most of us like are stuff like the first Journey album, Kebnekajse, early Wishbone Ash, Finnish Topi Sorsakoski & Agents, Rauli Badding Somerjoki, Colosseum, Australian band Buffalo, Birth Control, Kingston Wall, all kinds of hip-hop, soul, blues.....the list could literally be endless.

-what about the lyrics?
Sorry really can´t say as the deadline of the interview is now. I would need our singer answering that. But I think it´s mostly really honest, about his life, about how he sees the world. He´s never mentioned anyone to be his influence on writing his lyrics.

-can you choose a song you especially like in the new album and comment on how it was written and about the lyrics?
I like the opener Storm Varning at the moment. The lyrics are in Swedish as an homage to Jan-Erik´s Swedish speaking side of the family. All of have strong ties to the Swedish speaking side of Finland as we are from the west coast and have family from the islands, or have worked in those parts. Musically too, it´s closer to Scandinavian jazz than maybe most our songs, and right now it really is the song I´m most fond of.

-psychedelia is often associated with, metaphorically speaking, opening gates and discovering new paths and territories, and as a musical movement coincided with questionning the dominant values and experimentating new ways of living. how do you relates to that and what does psychedelia means to you personnaly?
It means being open minded, and challenging the so called "truth" about how humans are and should be. It´s about trusting my own instincts and valuing my opinions just as much as any other person´s opinion. Think for yourself and try to see the world with other people´s eyes too. The world wouldn´t have to be such a mess. But we´re letting it be that way. I like that quote that keeps circulating on the internet all the time by Bertrand Russell: “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wise people so full of doubts.”

-if your music would be used as a movie soundtrack, what kind of movie would it be? do you like the idea?
It would be a dark melodrama with somewhat happy ending. It would be great to at least hear our music in some movie. And the idea of a soundtrack sounds intriguing....maybe in the future.

- Myrskyvaroitus being so good, have you any idea about how you could improve next time? are some new song already written?
We have some riffs and small parts in our back pocket. I don´t think it will be too difficult to improve. But I might be wrong, maybe this is our zenith! But time will tell. We´ll try our best I can assure you.

-do you think of something sound / interesting about Sammal or Myrskyvaroitus that is never mentionned in reviews or interviews?
On Herätkää! I play the opening keyboard with a crappy Roland synth. through my normal guitar pedals and amp&cabinet. And working with V.R. Studio owner Jussi Vuola isn´t mentioned enough. Great guy, and not sure if want to work with anyone else anymore. Absolutely fantastic working with him!!!

-how did you get in contact with Svart records at first?
There was an underground buzz going on about Sammal, and we already had recorded the debut. We approached them a few times but no reply. Then we already discussed with the Swedish Record Heaven that they could distribute our album, we were about to release it our self. But then people like Kimi Kärki and Mat McNerney said a good word for us, and suddenly Svart was ready to release it. Tomi Pulkki said something like, he must´ve had fever or been sick for having not paid attention to our music and emails earlier. If he had, he said they would´ve released it in a heartbeat!

-which evolution would you like to see for underground music in the future?
More expressive, not following trends, but doing what feels right to each individual artist or a band. And I love good melodies. I think it´s ok for UG bands too to have some catchy melodies
-what is planned for Sammal in the coming months?
This summer and fall playing quite a few gigs in Finland. So enjoying them and the Finnish short but beautiful summer.

-something to add?
Hoping to play some dates in rest of Europe in 2016, as Roadburn and Netherlands was so cool. But we´ll see...

-Jura Salmi/Sammal guitars, keys.

lundi 1 juin 2015

O.D.R.A - Sexnarkoman (2015)

O.D.R.A is one of the best kept secrets of the sludge world. But if they keep on releasing albums as good I hope it won't stay a secret so long. This new one called Sexnarkoman is their fourth, I don't know about two first (and that's a shame, but I'm gonna soon listen to it!) but I really liked the third called Karl Denke blues (read my review HERE). They are polish (and sing in polish) but what they play is sludge along Eyehategod lines (you could guess by the cover...) and Sexnarkoman is way better than the last Eyehategod one. With Rectal hygienics they made what will without doubt stay as one of the best sludge album this year. I really like how their riffs are infused with a bluesy grooves while at the same time their music is so dirty. Warm but miserable, dripping with acid and sweat. Play it to 11 and feel the heat...

Their Bandcamp page