Sunday, March 31, 2013

...a primitive analog Sludge assault : Hands I Annul Yours "Asking for Death / Grind Humanity"

Hands I Annul Yours is a two-piece instrumental band from Minnesota (at least this was recorded there and that's about the only infos you get from them on the net !) whose 1st EP has been recently released on TAPE format through Major Destroyer Rds.

This 2 songs affair is also available digitally and I would say that's a fuckin' good thing cause we've got here a short but lethal dose of primitive Sludge of the highest order and it would be a shame that just one hundred of guys (number of -red- tapes edited) could enjoy this mysterious gem !

This is definitely how I like and consider Sludge at its best : slow, filthy, downtuned to the max and insidiously brutal (2nd song 'Grind Humanity' most especially) ! And again this duo formula with crashing drums and  mammothian riffage is a crushing winner, supported by feedback noise and creepy samples, not forgetting a sligth misanthropic atmosphere.

Damn shit, just 10 minutes is a bit frustrating and definitely too short but this is highly recommended ! More stuff from those maniacs, entitled 'Hell Crane', coming soon on that same label (watch out for other releases from them including the drone band Blut), can't wait :)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

... HUATA / BITCHO : Split LP -OUT now !!!-

After having shared live performances last year and becoming good friends, HUATA and BITCHO decided to form an alliance to release this split LP under the sign of hypnotic and droning psychedelism.

One year after their first full lenght ("Atavist of Mann", 2012), HUATA -from Brittany- comes back with two new tracks, a new psychedelic sludge dimension for this occult doom-stoner band that reminds SLEEP or ANCESTORS with very particular arrangements.

BITCHO from the Netherlands presents a long track (12 mn) with down tempo tunes a la GODFLESH and creeping sludge riffs with incantations.

Music Fear Satan freshly released 700 copies on gatefold VINYL LP (500 copies on black, 200 copies on clear puple with red and blue streaks)  with a retro-futuristic cover made by Benjamin Moreau (HUATA).

  HUATA have also new T-shirts for sale and will be again on tour in May with the mighty canadians of DOPETHRONE, watch out for dates below and updates on their fb page :    

Friday, March 29, 2013

... Get high : BLACK MOTH CULT 'The Fountain of Tantric Worship'

Black Moth Cult is a French quatuor coming from Toulon (or the "French Riviera" - which sounds more exciting for sure !) who formed in 2011 and has just released its full-length debut album earlier this month. Mystically called 'The Fountain of Tantric Worship', it contains 10 ripping songs for a stimulating 40 minutes experience.

Let's say it frankly this is a very very interesting band, that's why I'm not gonna review this album in depth... !!!??? I will come back to B.M.C. with an interview shortly, think it will be more fruitful cause I don't want to use again superlatives after having already censed quite many other french bands recently and also mostly because I've reviewed a good number of Stoner stuff recently and - feeling a bit limited in my vocabulary - I don't want to write again and again about the same words while this band would deserve better treatment !

It could seem a bit unfair towards a couple of others but if there's actually another Stoner french band that would deserve to be signed on the referent Small Stone rds, I would name right away Black Moth Cult... their sound and potential are clearly built to that destiny anyway !

The guys play Stoner Rock that's a fact, nothing distinctive here in France where this style is certainly the most represented in terms of heavy sounds, but not the too often typical Kyuss or Clutch-like types of Stoner, more the Swedish like (think about Truckfighters, Greenleaf, Dozer and even Skanska Mörd) which is uncommon and here stunningly infused, add some welcome hints of Desert Rock and punchy Alternative 90's rock (an influence from Queens of the Stone Age could embody those), you've got the explosive, fuzzy, yet melodic and hazy Stoner Rock those guys tightly deliver.

More than simple icing on the cake are those excellent vocals by Timothey Gelly; damn, he's really bluffing, at ease with blowing energy on the heavier moments, classy and soulful along with soaring melodic guitars, brilliant on the bluesy/foklish closer of the album 'Vintage Wines'... I've been a bit sceptical towards some vocal tones from french, spanish or italian singers in some recent reviews but here it's a pleasure to listen a faultless warm performance on this crucial point, he brings the band to a truly high level. 

Now do yourself a favour, listen this with attention and soon a contagious addiction... This is only digitally available as for now but vynil and cd editions are due to be released soon; finally, watch out for that intie soon on T.o.P. !!!

... GIANT MONSTER ATTACK 'cropduster' (album review)

Despite a strange (caloric !) cover that would be in my opinion more conducive to the grindcore genre (including the typography), we've got here - after Bacchus Baracus this week - another band from Scotland (Edinburgh)...

Playing in the Stoner/Sludge category, the band has a very rough and obscure sound  which reminds seriously some Melvins work.

Most of the songs go from slow to mid-tempos pace with occasional breaks in speed,  while a couple of ones are seriously gnarly and punkish with frenzy drums and punching bass-lines.
Riffs are simple, downtuned and often menacing, keeping almost constant that same feeling of weird and sick general mood  which the godfathers of sludge have invented in the late 80's. Vocals are not meant to be  sexy, whiskey-soaked or weed-fueled but they are heartly cryptic, guitars are not meant to be melodic but rather insidious and discordant... again, this would certainly need in the future some more personal development and a thicker production too, but is to my ears very well-crafted and has that something viscerally sick which can make the difference with the too usual Sabbathian type of riffage you find on the net everyday.

I don't hear any weak songs or fillers here, sure the album could have provided a couple of more memorable ones but with 'Insect Messiah', 'D Tune', 'Malcom McDowell' (what a sinister winner !) and 'Bolt Rocket', Giant Monster Attack have already some solid pieces to their credit which make this debut worth discovering; now forget that cover and go listen it !

... IRON & STONE "Maelstrom"

Formed last year by Henning Lürig (vocals) and Stefan Möller (guit/bass), Iron & Stone is a German outfit which released its first demo-ep “Maelstrom” exactly one month ago.
The digital-download EP features 5 songs, clocking in at about 22 minutes of bone-shattering stoner/doom, inspired by bands like Down, Sabbath, Skynyrd and Saint Vitus.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

... To the fiery Hell below : DIRE FATE / ROTE MARE – Split Album (review)

I don’t know what they’re putting in the drinking water in Australia, but the land down under has spawned two exceptional traditional doom bands—Dire Fate and Rote Mare—who practice what can only be deemed as melodic doom metal. These two likeminded bands heavily mine the Sabbathian blueprint for their particular approaches, especially the haunting eponymous opening track from Sabbath’s debut, but each band proceeds to imbue their tunes with an ariose sensibility through their lush guitar leads, strong vocals, and subtle tempo changes that keep the tracks from becoming mired in plodding repetition. Dire Fate may not have the recorded output to match Rote Mare’s string of demos, debut EP, and a full-length album, but the band does manage to contribute three tracks that are within the same realm in regards to consistency and melodicism.
Dire Fate opens the split release with “Evil Ascending”, a moody, three minute instrumental that is reminiscent of Indiana’s mighty Apostle of Solitude. “Evil Ascending” slowly builds the tension that ends in a wash of feedback before “Satanic Eclipse” triumphantly rears its two-horned head. Like the best in traditional doom, the main riff is sinister and larger than life. Dire Fate kills it with this track. The vocals of Philip D. Atropos have a commanding, yet slightly theatric characteristic without sounding too over-the-top and they help carry the tune. The third track, “Salvation Through Pessimism”, continues and hones the band’s melodic sensibilities with the track’s opening guitar leads that slightly echoes Electric Wizard’s “Witchcult Today”. The remainder of the track is a slightly NWOBHM tinged traditional doom song that meanders through a variety of tempo changes. Again, Atropos’ s vocals soar on this track and add depth to an already great tune.
“Sinking Ships”, the first track from Rote Mare, is a bit uncharacteristic for the band in that it has an overall “gothic” sound to it and falling short of the three minute mark it is by far the shortest track penned by the band. Rote Mare has already established themselves as masters of melodic doom on their excellent debut EP, ‘Sorrows Path’, and the just as good follow-up full-length, ‘Serpents of the Church’, so this subtle departure in“Sinking Ships” is an anomalous detour that shows the band in a new light. The vocals of Phil Howlett are forlorn, yet more subdued on this track compared to other offerings which contributes to the gothic overtones. Whether the track works or not is almost inconsequential as the song ends almost as soon as it begins. The album ends with “Hour of Doom”—arguably the centerpiece of the split. This is Rote Mare at their finest and probably Howlett’s most expressive and powerful vocal performance to date. At nearly fifteen minutes in length “The Hour of Doom” makes it worth seeking out the split for this track alone, but the quality of the other four tunes makes this release that much better. The final track is a beast of a tune that showcases Rote Mare’s uncanny ability to craft songs that are epic in scope without testing the endurance or patience of the listener. The song effortlessly shifts from crushing, mid-paced doom groove to a contemplative crawl without missing a beat. Fine stuff indeed.
I initially sought out this split for the Rote Mare tracks, but was pleasantly surprised by Dire Fate’s contributions. Hopefully the Dire Fate/Rote Mare split is indicative of great things to come from both bands, especially the lesser known Dire Fate. While the direction of both bands have yielded a similar style of traditional doom, the two entities remain separated by impressive vocal performances. Fans of Black Sabbath, Reverend Bizarre, Gates of Slumber or even Orodruin should be able to find redeemable qualities in both of these Australian bands. Rote Mare has made a handful of releases available via their Bandcamp page including a couple of demos. Hopefully Dire Fate will follow suit.
Words : Steve Miller
don't know why the fuck  I can't post properly a video of each band, but anyway here are links to : Dire Fate 'Satanic Eclipse' and Rote Mare 'the Hour of Doom'.

... CHIVO "Cantankerous Rock" (Album review)

Actually on the road (8 dates between France, Belgium and the Netherlands... check out their fb page for details), CHIVO have just released their new  album "Cantankerous Rock", their 2nd - after 'Swamp of Sounds" which came out three years ago...

CHIVO (goat - in spanish)  is a pretty longtime running band from the  spanish Stoner Rock scene, formed in 2004, the guys know how to craft some great tunes with - if not originality, at least tightness and a great sense of catchiness. Different from MotherSloth (interviewed last week) who is rawer and doomier, the quartet takes more influences in the 90's with the likes of  Kyuss, Nebula and Fu Manchu, not forgetting some softer moments - typical of the alternative Rock of the same years...
A style and sound not particularly suitable to originality, yet there's here a fair proportion of songs that stand out from the pack... but also a couple that are dispensable and to my ears make the album too long (50 minutes).

'Roof TV', 'Drill on the Horn' are both good introductions with warm and fuzzy mid-tempos, thrilling riffage with a very heavy tone, pulsating drums and roaring vocals; they make the album aptly named !

'Yellow Finger' has that special fuzzy and hypnotic tone which you often got the impression to already know, but in fact it is so infectious that you enjoy it as if it was a kinda compost generating a new crushing sound ! 'Eyes Fire Desire' is pretty much of the same kind, just not as crushing but still attacking your senses with gloominess. Finally 'Tarnished Glasses' is a pretty memorable piece of sabbathian Stoner/Doom, it works great like a crisp distillation of plodding grooviness !

'Feed the Show' and 'Jerry Low' (despite the nice apparition of saxo) clearly try to find the good balance between heaviness and mellowness but fail more than less, either too syruppy, too long  or too predictable. Then there's what you could fear, the predictable hit-oriented ballad : 'Falling Away' is rather pointless with clean guitars, charming vocals, etc... I'm sorry guys but for me this brings nothing else than time for go pissing or rolling a new joint !

Both 'Make Things Hard' and 'Rockets on Fire' aren't average moments but sort of bring us back to our problem of predictability or lack of originality if you prefer, even on the long last one (9 minutes) CHIVO would need to be more adventurous, I don't know exactly how but maybe by using more effects, having more psyched-out solos, crazyer and more ferocious vocals according to the moods of their songs...

There's still a good number of very interesting songs which are enough to be convinced by their authentic potential, the glass is (a bit) more than half full but the band should pay more attention next time to make the whole content more cohesive and attractive on the length for the listener... Now listen and make your own opinion ;)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

... Talking about +Pulvis et Umbra+ : Interview with SURTR

Partly justified (or not...), 'World of Doom' the debut album of this trio met a mixed response from the scene, especially the french one which is often in 1st place to denigrate its own values for some more or less acceptable reasons...
But, after intense labour during the last couple of years, SURTR are now back with 'Pulvis et Umbra' - again relased via Altsphere. Filled with uncompromising Classic Doom, this sophomore release is much more consistent and brings the band to another level of composition which logically should open them new doors towards a well deserved recognition.
Andreas asked those visceral doomsters several questions which they nicely answered very quickly and eloquently ; beyond the obvious interest he has for this band, Andreas simply concluded by these words : "Just write that these guys are great people, down to earth and extraordinarily talkative" !!! Thanx to all band members who took part in this one with frankness and passion...

Tell me what made you guys play this type of music, and what makes the constellation you are playing in special?
Régis: We felt in love with doom metal for many years now. We like to play slow and to hear the bass roaring as the doom is coming out. Doom metal is a genre you have to love in order to play it. We’re really tired by people trying to play always faster than the other. That was okay in the 80's and the 90's when triggers weren't used and when people weren't scamming the fans.
For my part, playing Doom Metal is also going against the trend that makes me sick. And you know, when you are playing a show, you really get true doom and metal lovers. These people don’t fake anything.

How do you strive to put an original touch to Doom Metal?
Jul: I think that we distinguish ourselves in the fact that we don't restrain or put barriers between the different sub-genres of Doom metal or even Metal itself. We try to stay open-minded and put everything we like in our own music. Whatever the type of riffs and arrangement we create, it still ends to sound like SURTR, and that's what we're looking for. We are music freaks and all of us three have played in different bands over the years and developed our own style of playing, writing, and all of that helped creating our personality and our own touch. We are also fans of classic heavy metal, black metal, progressive music, and I'd like to think that it's something that you can hear when listening to the latest album.

How do you explain that the genre has recently gained more popularity?
Régis: I don't know if it really gained popularity. We were for a few days at a show of Saint Vitus, and the venue wasn't decently full for a band like Vitus. I think that people who love doom metal today are just more active than in the past. The networks and the visibility brought by the Internet are more helping than the confidential tapes in the 80s, that’s a fact. But it is also true that we see younger people in our shows now or in doom metal shows in general. I think that people are starting getting sick and tired of the mass market mainstream metal. They are looking for something more real, with true spirit and power. A lot of doomsters going out to the shows are also old school thrashers. They are just looking for true metal, played by real people who are not trying to scam them with triggered drums or voice effects. Like it is easy to say, it was better in the past, and doom metal is a genre coming from the past, how modern it can sound today.
 Is there a vivid Metal scene in your region? French Metal in general is still deemed as exotic over here despite the success of a group like Gojira …
Jul: We have a lot of good bands in our region and in France. But as you said, it’s just very difficult to go beyond frontiers. Medias give zero credit to metal here; it's definitely not the best to be for a metalhead. You're right when you speak about Gojira who's definitely a leader of the genre now, and it's totally deserved.
 Who played the keyboard on some of the tracks?
Jul: It's a friend of us called Clément Osmont. He's a great guy and a talented musician and composer. We really think that he did a great job on our songs. We guided him as we were working on the demos to compose arrangements that would give more depth and epic feeling to the existing material we already had. He came up with his own ideas and influences and we worked together until we arrived to something rich, but not over-exaggerated or cheesy. I think it was a great collaboration and it's definitely something we'll try to renew on the next album.
How did you get the idea to write a song about Frederick John Westcott?
Régis: This was Jeff's idea. In fact, Fred Karno's Army was one of the first names who were suggested to name the band Black Sabbath. The second one was very much more suitable by the way. Fred Karno's Army was also a World War One Music title, describing the English infantry during the conflict, joined by men who cannot fight nor shoot, in fact, a very chaotic army. For me it describes the vision we have of the nowadays society, full on men who are chaotically running against this wall, without hope and without trying to change anything to change their own destiny.

Jeff: When I wrote these lyrics it was also a way to tribute Laurel and Hardy movies that I watched a lot in my childhood and Charlie Chaplin ones. Both of them influenced what followed in the 70s like The Monty Python or Les Charlots in France and other classic burlesque movies. Moreover I really enjoy the way Chaplin had (as watermarks or not) social and political themes. It’s entertaining and at the same time it tells something about the life. It’s a process that I’m always trying to do through my lyrics.

 Your album title means "ashes and dust": what does this mean in connection with the artwork?
Régis: The songs are much more various on the album, in that way it was not possible to name it with a song's name. We discussed the question together and thought that a Latin title would match perfectly. Pulvis et Umbra comes from a Horace's quote, that means "We are but dust and shadows". And looking back, that's all what Doom Metal is about! Doom Metal has to breathe and smell the dust and has to show the shadows whose have contributed to his -and our- past. For the cover, it would have been too easy to represent a cross. And, trust me, the first idea was a lot similar to the last Down record! In a way, we hijacked the symbol of the cross, which is maybe the most popular symbol in the doom metal scene. Today, SURTR is our own cross, and we are the three nails that are supporting what we want to build together with this band. The booklet shows William Blake's arts (English painter and poetry written, 1757-1828). His style is totally atypical for his time. The paintings are fully representing the spirit of the songs on Pulvis et Umbra.
Is "Rebellion" about rioting in general, or does it refer to a concrete event?

Jeff: Like in our first album World of Doom, it doesn’t refer to an event. I hope anybody can find something in the lyrics that he can compare to a situation of his own dailylife. It’s a reccurent theme in my lyrics since I wrote. I don’t know. It’s inside me. It’s about not being a sheep of the modern society, about not accepting everything that your company tells you to do just because you need your salary to buy food or to pay your rent. For me rioting is not necessarily violent or against somebody or something in particular. It can be a daily opposition and protest. It’s a positive thing that helps people feeling freer and to live without suffering from stuff they see as a straitjacket. I still have the utopia that everybody can enjoy their own life without being fatalist. There’s still a flame burning in your heart. Our flame is Doom Metal and it helps us to learn about our life and to support it daily.
So where did you steal the vocal line from "The Call" from? I know it from somewhere else, for sure...

Jeff: We seriously have no idea. I guess it’s like some guitar riffs in metal in general. Sometimes you said “Hey it’s the three same power chords than in that song, isn’t it?!” But theses vocals lines came just like that during rehearsal because it sounded pretty good and because it was the feeling which came naturally to this song through the rehearsals. We really work in an instinctive way for vocals. It usually only depends on the guitars riffs and the number of words in the sentences. That’s it. But now we’re fuckin’ curious so let us know if you find something about that !

 With "The Cross", you are toying with Death Metal aesthetics; where do your influences lie in this genre?
Jul: As I said before, we are music freaks first, and Death Metal is a genre we've listened to a lot, especially a few years ago. Speaking for myself, I think that Morbid Angel is a huge influence for many Doom bands, and it's definitely the first name that comes to my mind when I heard your question. Of course there are many bands that we could refer to, but these guys are « the link ».
Which war are you referring to in "Three Winters Of War"?
Régis: Three Winters of War refers to the beginning of Ragnarock and the Doom of the Gods when SURTR will finally get the last word by setting the world on fire with his sword. It comes just after Rise Again which is the first track of the record. So we could extrapolate that the rising of the giant announces that the end of the world has begun, and anticipated the grand final of Fred Karno's Army. The three winters can also refer to the number of winters that we spent together as a band. But at first, it was just mythological lyrics written to match the epic riffs brought by Jeff.
Tell me a bit about Altsphere and your ambitions with the label. What can you offer bands that they would never be able to handle themselves.

Jeff: I own this records label ten years ago and actually I can only say I don’t offer anything that bands cannot handle themselves. You can do everything I do. In ten years you can build a network like I build in ten years and learn the same things that I’ve learnt during this period. No more, no less. Oh so, that’s what I’m offering to bands actually: time. I chose to have only a part-time job to pay my bills and I work for Altsphere the other part. If I chose a full-time job, we wouldn’t be, in terms of promotion, distribution… at the place where we are today. It’s a lot of time to do daily promotion, to set-up delays between every people involved in the record, to plan the promo deliveries, the final stock deliveries in the different countries and so on. It’s a personal choice of life: more time but less money from my daily job. But everybody can do and learn that. I was just patient, I took my time and I understood how everything works. If I can give pieces of advice: be patient, don’t think promotion is just sending three mp3s to a webzine, to publish two songs on bandcamp or myspace or to send a cd-r to Nuclear Blast. Releasing a CD is the easiest thing for a label or a band. Giving it the promotion it deserves is a daily hard and sometimes boring work, and your free time or hobbies time cannot be enough to do the thing is the best way. I don’t say the “right” way because I think there is several ways to run and it depends on people’s personal ambition. But I seriously have no lesson to give. Do your thing, know it will be tough, be patient and learn from your own experience and mistakes.
What are your plans for the close and distant future? Where do you see Surtr in the grander scheme of things?
Jul: At this point, we plan to tour as much as possible to promote this record. The next step is to play at Hellfest Open Air France in June sharing the stage with Sleep, Witchcraft, Procession and more. After that we'll take a short break and study all touring opportunities we get.
I guess that we'll start working and jamming on new songs by the beginning of next year. We already have song ideas that we're sharing together and we're pretty excited to see what will come out this time. However the third album is an important step for every band, so we won't hurry ourselves, we are going to take our time to record songs that we'd be proud of.
Thank you for the interview and feel free to visit and

Interview by Andreas Schiffmann

... The Curse of Wendigo “Eclectic Tail” (Album review)

If you aren’t bored with home made variant of American psychedelic doom stuff yet, you should pay your attention to The Curse of Wendigo, That  formation from Donetsk region, Ukraine has a couple of aces in the hole even for sophisticated fans of the aforementioned and neighbouring genres. But, honestly, considering the fact the guys are of Ukrainian origin, I have a great mind to compare The Curse of Wendigo to their closest colleagues from Kiev – Ethereal Riffian. Moreover, both bands have similar ‘Indian’ concept and, say, record quality. Well, let’s dig a bit deeper.
By the moment of release of its debut album titled "Eclectic Tail" (December 2012) the band had been active with complete lineup for a year only, and if you read the interview with band members available on, you’ll find out that the whole stuff was recorded within a one day, and that some pieces were literally completed in studio. Is it easy to perceive actually? Sometimes indeed, and the record is to scarcely impress you with volume and deep sound. However, today is the case when such serious omission could be left unnoticed. There are no more and no less than five reasons for that because it’s a number of tracks excluding short intro titled "Here Comes Clint Eastwood".

 Though "Eclectic Tail", this 8-minute title track starts somehow fuzzy (barking vocals and aggressive, almost sludgy riffing), its main, conditionally "meditatively psychedelic" line getting more “doomy” and heavier and coming back to acoustic passages and chanting vocals appears really attractive, and using harmonica – isn’t it a good idea? In a whole, it is a serious and complex piece with strong culmination and epilogue once again hooking up with introduction. Well, good start. Next comes… space western for doom cowboys, namely "Gloomy Friend". Sleepy introduction with focus on old-school acid rock and heavy blues for tough guys as frame of the whole piece provides bloody positive effect, the one making us listen to the record on. But "Endless Hunger" – apart from previous pieces – is simpler and angrier, it is this track to reveal the image of ogre spirit from Indian legends, and the soundscape of the story is groovy southern rock. Unfortunately, raw sound and clumsy guitar parts spoil the piece making it sound unbalanced and somehow incomplete. Aggressive vocals, to my mind, do not fit The Curse of Wendigo, though I can appear prejudicial in this relation.

 According to the guys themselves, the following track – "The Prodigal Son" – turned to be the most “laboured”, I wouldn’t agree here! Let the guys tell they haven’t heard God’s Tower, but I’m not the only one to find similar elements in guitar sound of Ukrainians and Byelorussian pagan doom old-timers. Even subject to absence of ‘pagan’ factor, the song is fully pleasant with its riffing and soloing. "Fallen Treasure", I think, is the most traditional and thought-through piece of the release – actually, it actually sums "Eclectic Tail" up, combining doom and psychedelic features and being common denominator to both. The track sounds persistently and has many hooky instrumental tunes, though vocals are not always perfect – this remains the point to work upon. Nevertheless, this is a good end of the album, it makes it whole as it should be.

The Curse of Wendigo is not unique, yet rather original appearance on post-Soviet doom scene, when, as it may seem, everything is already said and done, there is always a chance to find something interesting among new formations. Band’s debut release is noteworthy for fair audience, but I’m pretty curious to know what’s coming on their next album, as, apart from working on in direction chosen on "Eclectic Tail", The Curse of Wendigo can choose to follow down the beaten path towards trendy and total stoner scene. Though the album appeared hard to listen to for the first time, in course of checking it out over and over when getting ready with this review, I kept on revealing more of new features in it and remain satisfied with the result. Well, guys, get properly ready next time! As for now, the start is good – just keep on rocking!
(review originally published HERE - in russian, for

words by Aleksei Evdokimov

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The time has come for sacrifice : COUGH / WINDHAND – ‘Reflection of the Negative’

Richmond, Virginia’s brethren in doom, Cough and Windhand—two likeminded yet distinct edges of a sacrificial blade—have joined forces to release one of this year’s most anticipated splits. Both bands invoke the spirits of doom from the deepest, darkest chasms through their unique down-tuned machinations. While both bands cast spells upon the listener through their distinct, earth-quaking low end rumbles, Cough delves deeper into the grimy, ritualistic side of doom whereas Windhand relies heavily on a pulsating, narcotic groove to lull the unwitting into a stupor. The simple act of committing tracks to a release from these titans of the underground metal scene has resulted in one of the most potent doom splits to be pressed on wax.‘Reflection of the Negative’ solidifies Cough’s dominion over the realm of caustic, esoteric doom and at the same time affirms that Windhand’s excellent, self-titled debut was just an inkling of things to come.
“Athame”, the lone track contributed by Cough, begins innocuously enough with slug-like drumming before being joined by some seriously sinister sounding organ. This begins the spiraling descent into a pit of loathing and despair. “Athame” uncoils past the 18 minute mark and is easily some of the best material the band has put out. Despite the length, the track doesn’t overstay its welcome, though the listener must be prepared in full for a punishing education in the dark arts. Midway through the track the listener is rendered helpless and, in stasis, is subjected to ritual incantations, and an unholy assault of wah pedal abuse and feedback. The entire track is an unwavering battery of contempt that sways and staggers with a wounded gait.
Windhand’s first contribution to the split is “Amaranth”, a track that was first unveiled in demo form for Rue Morgue’s Hymns from the House of Horror. A culminating wave of feedback kicks off “Amaranth” before the band launches into their signature low-end groove. Dorthia Cottrell’s vocals, like on their debut, is mixed perfectly and complements the music by seemingly crying out amidst the din. “Shepherd’s Crook” is warmer, slower, has a more soulful feel compared to the first track and includes a more expressive vocal performance from Cottrell. While neither“Amaranth” or “Shepherd’s Crook” have made the progressive leap that Cough has achieved with “Athame”, they are still killer tracks that could have easily have been produced by the same sessions that birthed the band’s debut.
‘Reflection of the Negative’ is one damn fine split album and both bands, despite their own unique approaches to doom, perfectly complement each other. Cough manages to drag the listener through a foul bog of profane, ritualistic licentiousness while Windhand provides a warmer, enveloping sound due to the band’s oscillating grooves and Cottrell’s vocals. Both bands have succeeded by crafting tunes that are worthy successors to their previous releases and have definitely built up anticipation for their forthcoming full-lengths.
Words: Steve Miller

... BACCHUS BARACUS 'Tales of Worries, Woes & Whatever' (Album review)

One must admit that if we try to connect geography and statistics, the UK scene is and has ever been one of the most productive on earth, but if we give a look at it more precisely, we can easily notice that the biggest part of it is English... no injure to anyone, but there's rarely occasions to distinct proudly a band's name and say "fuck man, they're not English, they're Scottish/Welsh/Northern Irish !!! " ... This debut album from Glasgow (Scotland) based BACCHUS BARACUS could be that piece of slab you -scottish- would proudly go in a fight for , if you had to vote for your UK album of the month/year/life in your local pub !!!

"Stoner à la Clutch under steroids" (or something close) can you read here and there, well honestly I doubt that's a discerning point of view and this can't be helpful for the band anyway... I prefer the band's description, even if maybe cliche, delivering a classic but effective programm to your senses "Heavy Rockin', drinkin', smokin' never ending party..."

1st noticeable point is the very different type of cover, where the "Growler" Ep cover was (again) a cliche picture (exciting female legs), this 'Tales of Worries, Woes and Whatever" looks far more refined and mystico-psychedelic. This rule can - more than once- exactly be applied in its 1st part to the music on this 8 songs affair, understand more refined... for the 2nd part of it, more psychedelic, well, not as significantly even if globally the overall tempo has slowed-down, plus lets also place to quieter moments and most especially there's the closer 'Sweet Smell" which is an opened door towards psychedelic soundscapes and by far the longest song the band has ever composed so far, a kind of trippy journey into space rock, ending into a catchy soar of melodies.

One thing that can not be missed from the first notes of the opener 'Yo Wanna Deal' is the powerful production, authentically organic, it perfectly serves the groovy and punchy rock'n roll the band display. This up-tempo song tightly draws the portrait of the band's burning origins, an authentic winner as opening song or encore for live considerations, perfect for stomping, shouting and headbanging !
'Memo' follows up with a massive groovy mid-tempo; in those dynamics, vocals by Quzzy have a very good flow in  rythmical harmony with the music, his raspy tone give a sleazy 70's touch that fits so well with the heavy rockin' grooviness of the guitar... This is nothing highly technical, nor original, this is simply tightly played, catchy and kinda unifying, you know the kind of feelings like when you listen a classic from ZZ TOP or AC/DC.
The pace is more significantly slowed-down on 'Man of the North', almost melancholic with layered melodies or on the gloomiest song 'Love is a Prison' with its fuzzy bass, ominous riffage and infectious melody that makes your ride snaky.
'Mammoth' comes back to more commanding vocals and harsh tone, still with a sleazy work on the guitar-vocals connection, this is again another great song that will gather metalheads and dirty r'n'r  afficionados.
While not being soulless or boring, 'No Name' is clearly not the most memorable song of the band but it's soon followed by the doomiest song of the album that is the excellent 'Fuck Knows Man'. A plodding moment with dark vocal tones, before the already mentioned closer which is really experimentative and could give different perspectives to the band's future sound.

More mature than on the debut ep, with a massive and warm sound, oscillating subtly between thunderous, groove-laden and spaced-out stuff, Bacchus Baracus released here cohesively a solid album of  tasty Heavy Rock'n roll... Believe me this band deserves your attention and it would be a shame for you to miss this "Tales of Worries, Woes &Whatever" to just concentrate on the biggest/sexiest names of the genre; Scotland can be proud to count on Bacchus Baracus... !

listen here 'Memo' premiered a few days ago on The Soda Shop !

Monday, March 25, 2013

... new Spanish label KNOCKTURNE Rds present : Jacob Meets Blooming Latigo, Orthodox...

Creation of Pedro and two of his buddies, KNOCKTURNE Records is a new Spanish label from Seville and they have their first releases now available... disturbing sounds that should interest Drone/ Experimental / Ambient / Noise freaks !!!  

Jacob meets Blooming Látigo
"Knockturne Records’s first release is the perfect match of two unsetting bands: Jacob and Blooming Látigo. Three songs from the Blooming Látigo’s album ‘esfínteres y faquires’, an unclassifiable band that doesn’t follow anyone’s way, have been mixed following the musical view of Jacob, the new project with David Cordero (Úrsula) and Marco Serrato (Orthodox). The final result evolves into dark, abrasive and insane songs that mix the rhythm and powerful voice of Blooming Látigo with the texture, noise and threatening atmosphere from Jacob. An excepcional work mastered by James Plotkin (Khanate, SunnO))), O.L.D)."

Orthodox "Der Fliegende Holländer"
"This power trio doesn’t need any introduction: one of the best Spanish bands of recent times. This new release from the “avant-doomsters” was recorded during a show at Der Fliegende Holländer venue in november 2012. Three live songs that show the deepest and the most experimental side of the band, far away from accepted standard and searching their own way. This new cassette is limited to 100 hand numbered copies signed by the band. It contains a new and exclusive song, El Aullador, with the collaboration of David Cordero (Jacob, Úrsula) which follows Ábrase la Tierra from their last album ‘Baal’ and includes two well-known songs Con Sangre de Quien te Ofenda and Templos, from their second album ‘Amanecer en Puerta Oscura’."

... EARLY MAMMAL 'Horror at Pleasure' (album review)

Whereas their label mates Brujas Del Sol drift out into space, Londoners Early Mammal stay in their garage and interpret the psychedelic sound of the Sixties with fuzzy heaviness as well as rather condensed songwriting, the successful epic "Ressurection Men" being the exception from this rule.

After a short instrumental introduction ("Left Hand" and "Uncle Scary's Right Hand" forming a bracket around the other eight tracks), "Final Witch" turns out to be a fitting opener to captivate the listener. Grounded on a graspable lick, the guitar playing gets busier and busier as we witness frontman Rob Herian working towards an inevitable climax, a recipe the group applies again later on in "Checking The Bullshiter's Queen". His singing, particularly during the succeeding "Demon Or Saint", makes Roky Erickson and Tom Waits come to mind, while the raw and trebly production may not be for everybody either. Early Mammal are clearly not on the poppy side of things, although they do know how to soothe the listener if you take the moody interludes "Coming Back" and "Going Out" as a yardstick.

In between, "To Find Me Gone" is lo-fi in the truest sense of the word, temporarily stomping and more hinting towards a definite beauty behind the hissing and scratching than to shove the bloss down your throats. You have to work, preferably with headphones, in order to get the gist out of this band, and to bait you into doing this, Early Mammal add "Money Shot" to the mix, the simplest amongst the songs and kind of a nasty take on the Rolling Stones' earliest efforts. In its entirety, "Horror At Pleasure" is a rare case of carrot-and-stick-policy set to music, ideal fodder for those who like non-academic Rock that nevertheless needs some (drugged?) brains on the listener's side to unfold its full potential. The devil lies in the details, as they say ...

words by Andreas Schiffmann

Sunday, March 24, 2013

... BRUJAS DEL SOL 'Moonliner" (album review)

This longplayer compiles the three "Moonliner"-singles by Ohio-based troupe Brujas Del Sol (quite a name for a band from Columbus, the home of folk activist Phil Ochs) on one LP. Stylistically, the band caters to an audience with preferences between Space Rock and Neo Psychedelia.

The titles of their tunes are evocative with respect to the direction the music takes: "Ships In The Distance" nods vehemently toward Hawkwind at their most plodding, returning to ground zero after exactly ten minutes. While here, Brujas Del Sol are working for the sheer hypnotic effect, the following "Satanic Surf Girls Love To Dance" actually cultivates a distinct melodic motif, which keeps shifting but doesn't become irrecognizable, thus making the song more memorable. "Conquistadors" starts on a droning note and remains relaxed throughout, based on a simple riff and guitarist Adrian's typically hushed vocals. The leads and melodies once again take on an improvisatory charakter without seeming incoherent.

The paired arrangement of six songs insinuates that there are three A- and three B-sides, but which is which does not become clear, as Brujas Del Sol refrain from composing easily accessible tunes. "Noon On The Moon" draws from flanger effects and a mantric bass pulse consisting of one note only to underline slightly oriental guitar lines until surprisingly, an organ comes into play to accompany the singer. Being the longest track on "Moonlighter", it is also the standout on the record, but the rest also clearly surpasses the rather unwieldly first half: "Baba Yaga" focuses on a higher pace and guitar leads that sound more concrete than ever, while closer "Castles Upon Golden Gate" builds a wall of sound without the mannerisms of post rock. Instead, Brujas Del Sol let the song fade out ever so gently.

To put the group into a drawer, take Tame Impala or even Mercury Rev, yet with drawn out songs, less singing, respectively hardly any pop appeal (which is a good thing) and a mystical atmosphere. Get your rockets started and take these guys with you on a journey into the unknown.

words Andreas Schiffmann

Saturday, March 23, 2013

... Like a saving Pain : Interview with CROWN !!!

Since their creation about one year and a half ago, Colmar based french duo CROWN have experienced a meteoric ascencion in the Sludge/Industrial/Doom sphere. Their debut EP "The One" opened them quickly a lot of doors, including most notably the ones of Roadburn festival and Candlelight records ... and now the guys are justifying all those promises and expectations with their stunning debut album "Psychurgy" !

 A masterpiece of 10 songs, composed with heart, sensibility, pain and dark anger, not to forget an amazing apocalyptic-driven sense of urgency. Brilliant songs like 'Abyss', "Blood Runs", 'Psychurgy' and  "Alpha Omega" still have that abrasive and unrelenting tone - while more refined and/or introspective ones like 'Telepath', 'Serpent and Fire" or 'We Will Crush the Open sk'  provide at times a welcome contrast to the rest of the album's sheer power and heaviness with audacious explorations in Post HC, drone or Post Punk territories.
Beyond this, what differentiates Crown from many of their contemporaries is not their special french touch (!) but rather the fact that all those  mixed ingredients are being enveloped in a very personal shattering mood which bring them to another level of disturbing lines... I've asked the very friendly Stéphane Azam some questions about all those cool events and perpectives, to my great surprise he was joined by other member Pascal which makes this one even more complete and interesting, thanx a lot mates !  

Hi Steph…  13 months after the 1st one, thanx for accepting a new interview in Temple of Perdition ! Well, lots of things happened during this rather short period, I think that simply everything got linked perfectly well after the release of the EP : positive reviews, album of the day at, gigs+ tour  in Switzerland and Germany with Zatokrev, announcement for Roadburn 2013… how did you enjoy  all those successive good happenings ?

Stephane : You're welcome Stephane ! Yeah 2012 was really a sucessful year for CROWN, we put a lot of efforts and finally we didn't expect such a good feedback, it's incredible as we're a really young band ! So we're now very excited to release Psychurgy and spread the disease hehe.

Pascal : It was a pretty good surprise, and it really started to get faster after The Roadburn review. Gigs, Schecter endorsement, tour, then Candlelight. By the way,  it brings more work, but it's so exciting, to work on concrete things, because you know that things will happen. It's not the same when you work, on sending stuff and get no answer.

As I said, all this happened in about 8 or 9 months, a busy period of time where yet you composed and recorded your 1st full length “Psychurgy” which seems pretty incredible… were a part of the songs from the album already composed before or have you been very productive in terms of composition in a short period of time ?

Stephane : yeah we got 2-3 demo songs on the work but nothing was finalised, in fact Psyhurgy was written in 2 weeks, so it was a very instinctive and spontaneous process.

Pascal : Only two songs, where composed before, and played sometimes on stage.

Reviewers and fans (including me) often use superlatives, you know like “they are more this” or “sound more that”, but rarely use “less” at least in a non-negative way… I’d say that for me “psychurgy” is less crushing than “the one”, this is not a reproach at all and naturally I’ve got a wagon of positive “more” to put in front of this appreciation, what do you think of this and most importantly what’s the main difference for you between the album and the ep ?

Stephane : I think you're right ! It's maybe less rough but heaviness is still here, there's more electronic stuff on psychurgy and it's maybe more industrial. Psychurgy is more mature than the 2 Eps , I think we found the real dark side of the crown's dark side hehehe, including the music, the design and the lyrics.

Pascal : I think that with the first EP, we had the idea to really kick asses. We wanted to do something short but intense. But there are some hypnotics and sweet ambiances on the EP too and one electronic tracks “100 ashes”. With Psychurgy and a long play album, you get more time to told a really story.

When you announced the deal with Candlelight rds, you thanked people/fans for all their support, moments of joy and accomplishment but also of pain and hard suffering, were you refering to the recording of the album which has been short and intense , or maybe this was refering to other hard moments that the band has had to live… ?

Stephane : Yeah, if we can compare a band as a human being, fans are like the blood running in your veins and you have to do it with your heart and your soul, without fans you won't even exist. The recording of the album was a real painful process for me, intense, lot of hard moments not refering to the band itself, i've put my blood and tears in it hehe, really.

Yet, you were recording without any deal in hands, even if you certainly knew that something great will naturally happen, did you still feel a certain pressure on your shoulders ?

Stephane : We had many really cool reviews but we never expected such a cool thing to be a part of Candlelight Rec, it's exciting to have good reviews but on the other way you're under pressure unfortunately because of that, anyway it's a good thing to be under pressure when you're writing an album.

Pascal : The pressure came more, because of the “superlatives” words of the EP reviews. All people say, we are waiting for the LP ! All recording, mixing and master was done by Stephane in his studio. So it's not the same when you have to pay for that and have no deal. That was the problem with our bands before.

On “Psychurgy” , Freddy from Zatokrev appears as guest vocalist on two songs , the title one and “alpha omega”, why did you place them successively at the end of the album ? Was the order of the songs something hard to work on ?

Stephane : Yeah it was an honour to have Freddy on these 2 tracks, I'm a big fan of Zatokrev and I love so much his voice ! So intense !! He did a great job and he has also written all the lyrics of Alpha/Omega ! In fact the order of the tracks was really natural.

The song featured on it was an unreleased recording of “the one” session, so it was easy to achieve for Crown but was the split EP with S.t. Valley  something planed and logical in the band’s schedule,  or was it also a good opportunity to present your ambient side-project ? Is S:t Valley an outlet for you too, different but maybe necessary…?

 Stephane : The split was not really planned but we talked about that many times with Pascal since the release of The One as we got 2 tracks left from “the one” session. We thought it would be a good idea to release a split with my solo project STValley, it's very calm and ambient and contrasting with the heaviness of CROWN. STValley is my little outlet exactly, it's calm really different but I need that as a real balance between heavyness and calm.

Pascal : When we released “The one”, we had to choose the songs, and indeed we had 2 more. After a while, we decided to release something new and different, and always loved  the idea of a Split Ep

How is a new song usually composed in Crown ? Do you rehearse often with Pascal ?

Pascal : Stephane is working hard at home, programming stuff and riffing crazy on it, put some nasty deep & dark samples ! Then we listen each song, drink beer, talk about arrangements, structures, and that's the process !

Until now it’s you who took care of the band’s promotion  but now that you gonna have more interviews to give and promotional duties, will Pascal take part and duties be shared then ? Does this increasing demand towards the band imply a special training in English and a work on yourself ?

Stephane : Pascal and me were involved on all promotion for both EPS, it takes so much time, now Candlelight is taking care of the promo and it's a good thing so we can be focused on music only . I'm not really excellent in English but I do my best, I certainly have to improve my english for sure hehe but it's a good things and anyway it's exciting and also answering questions in english is the best training way !!

Pascal : No I never answer to questions ...hahaha. I'm not sure everything will be clear for everyone, but I didn't have a special training. It sucks ! In fact I was more working on design, webdesign, and some mailing for gigs and promoter.

After a couple of months of inactivity, new exciting live performances are coming… starting with the Roadburn next month, of course you’re not the first but you certainly feel something pretty special at the idea of playing there after both last years as fan ?

Stephane : As a real fan of this festival i'm truly honoured to play at Roadburn with CROWN and also looking forward to see a ton of performances of bands I like !

Pascal : We are excited as hell for sure. But we have never known months of inactivity, we were working hard on deals, on recording. For sure for Stephane it will be something different. He told me since many years that I have to come with him there, thanks to Walter, his dream is now reality.

Then in May the release party in your hometown  with your fellows of Zatokrev and your first date in Paris with Dopethrone and Huata… sounds exciting !?

Stephane : Yeah we will party as hell with our good friends from Zatokrev, we have also invited AsideFromADay , really excellent band and their new album Chasing shadows is absolutely killer !! It will be our first gig in Paris with CROWN and i'm exciting to play with Huata and Dopethrone, I love so much these two bands !

Pascal : We are always happy to share the stage with Zatokrev, we know us since à couple of years, we also invite Asidefromaday, they have released  a fucking good new LP. The gig in Paris sounds good too, the two bands are very great, and we are excited to meet them.

But what should we say then about the perspective to play this same month again as opener of GODFLESH on 3 french dates, they’re a very influential band for Crown, even a reference ?

Stephane : having the opportunity to support Godflesh is really amazing, thanx to our booker Charly at Hibooking ! Of course it's a reference but it's not the only one, we're often compared to Godflesh because both bands have the same set up on stage I think, 2 guys and a machine, even if I think our music is a bit different , anyway it's exciting and I can't believe it will happen for real, never thought one day I will have the possibility to share the stage with such a great band.

Pascal : For sure, I saw them 2 times yet, first time in the venue where Stephane and I work, and some weeks later in Geneva, when I was recording an album with my old band. We have now à great booker, HIBOOKING, and he make that tour possible.

On your fb page after those dates announced, you wrote “and maybe more who knows …?”, this was about two weeks ago and  needs some precisions now, don’t you think !?
If not practically concrete yet, there’s maybe some other perspectives of long touring, are you ready for this and have already taken all necessary dispositions towards work obligations especially ?

Stephane : Yeah you're right ! Let's make it clear haha ! In fact Charly from Hibooking was looking for more support shows with Godflesh but it's not that easy so we'll see , maybe another show supporting the mighty Godflesh or maybe not. Of course we're ready to tour as hell but because of our jobs we cannot tour more than 2-3 weeks in one time, we're actually preparing a european tour for fall 2013. I'm a sound engineer and Pascal is working in the same venue where i'm doing the sound so it's not a problem for us to take dispositions towards work obligations.

Pascal : We will play some more gigs this summer, but you have to wait for announcement. End of this year, we are planned to be on tour, in Europe.

When we met at Roadburn last year, I remember you telling me that you sometimes were doing special drugs when composing and/or recording, do you think they push your limits further and have virtues that transcend particularly well with your sonic experimentations ?

Stephane :  hehe I remember, for me it's more absynth, i'm not really into drugs that much hehe, but let's keep it secret and ask Pascal about that hehe. Of course I think drugs and alcohol are increasing some visions or pushing some limits but you have to be really careful with that shit hehe.

With the way things have evolved in the past months, did this still leave you some time as you’d liked for SuperStrong rds or do in fact each band make its own business for its current release under the banner of Superstrong and then your lack of time isn’t really a serious problem ?

Stephane : Each bands in Superstrong are doing their own business and it's a good thing because actually with the release of Psychurgy we are really really busy but that's a good things.

Pascal : When we started Superstrong, the agency was created by the guys of the 3 bands. CROWN-JIZZLOBBER-SIX IN LINE, and everyone has to work on his own band. But when it's possible we try to help us all. We just received this morning a Beer called SUPERSTRONG, that we did together with a friend who is beer manufacturer TONTONS BRASSEURS. It will kick your ass with 9,99% alcoohol : SUPERSTRONG, MORE THAN MUSIC, MORE THAN BEER. I make the design of the bottle stickers ! With SUPERSTRONg we produce some gigs to work like our release party for Psychurgy, and many other gigs in our hometown for end of this year.

Well, thanx a lot Steph, all the best to you and Crown for the future, have good times ! Of course, it’s now time to give all necessary infos about the release of the album and eventually new merchandising, etc… cheers
PASCAL : Thanx, new merchandising will be ready for the next shows, with new design and new products.

Stephane : Thanx a lot Steph too ! Psychurgy will be available through Candlelight Records in Europe on april 22nd ( and we will have some cds for Roadburn and new merch of course hehe ) in North America June 11th .  See you on the road guys !! And by the way, let's make some promo for a good friend of us who's doing custom pedals : Arts In Bloodshed, he's actually creating special distortion pedals for us and it's just killer stuff !!!