This week, I have been busy reading books for review, so I haven’t been able to listen to a lot. But what I lack in quantity, I make up in quality. New Woven Hand and Triptykon albums really impressed me this week, and I also review an amazing unsigned band from Norfolk, Va. called The Kill Circuit-after you listen to their new album Low Transit, you will ask yourself “why have I not heard this before?” Good question Slappy. Starting this week, I have given up the rating system. As I have said before, I am only going to mention releases that I love-rest assured, they are great, so there is no use in me trying to rate how good they are. You can decide for yourself, as most music is available to stream before you buy nowadays, search it out and give it a listen.
And since I have a meager amount of product to offer you, I am taking this opportunity to plug my own project’s new EP Isolated Cockpit-Nipple Music. It is only available as a digital download as of now. What!?! It’s my blog, what better venue for me to pimp my wares? You might like it, crazier things have happened. As always, if you are a band or label, send me your new releases to the address at the bottom of the page. ROCK!
Triptykon-Melana Chasmata, Century Media
I have been a huge fan of Celtic Frost from back in 1984, Morbid tales (1984), To Mega Therion (1985) and especially Into the Pandemonium (1987) are all albums that seriously rocked, and to me were much different from the thrash I had been listening to. Then Cherry Orchards (1988) came along. I never bought another album from them. I felt betrayed, bamboozled even. That album just pissed me off. Well, I figured that I have held my grudge for 25 years, and I decided to give Thomas Gabriel Fischer (Tom G. Warrior) another chance. I have been hearing good things about Triptykon, Tom’s newer project, for a couple of years, so I have swallowed my bile and listened to Melana Chasmata. I am so glad that I did.
It hearkens back to the early days of Celtic Frost, in that the visceral screams, grunts and howls are accompanied by the brutal guitar crunch that enthralled me as a young man. Nothing new or special here, but that is what is refreshing; over the years, metal has become a dandy’s game, what with 7 string, detuned guitars, Phrygian scales, and cookie monster caterwauling. This is pure, straight ahead, Doom- metal-a muscular, testosterone slathered beast. It’s just a fun record to listen to, and it is honest. that’s not to say that there isn’t any nuance contained within the 9 compositions. The sound borrows from the Frost of old, yet there is something new about the sound that gives it a dark beauty. Layers of single notes, bending and twisting underneath a bone-crushing rhythm, while Fischer’s vocals lumber from a guttural moan, to a sinister growl, and finally a sullen, baritone crooning, begging for answers that are not forthcoming.
Songs like Boleskin House and Altar of deceit are as heavy as anything you will hear, but really quite beautiful in their simplicity. Breathing offers some good old school thrash, while Aurorae and Demon Pact are surrounded by swirling feedback, mixed with melodic, finger-picking elements that are downright orchestral. My favorite song on the album would have to be In the Sleep of Death (see video link below), a slow crawl of crunch and squalling guitar lines, with Tom’s vocals beseeching “Emily, why won’t you speak to me? Can’t you see I’m not sleeping?”
Melana Chasmata is a dark and beautiful release, one of Tom G. Warrior’s most accomplished collection of songs since Into the Pandemonium in my opinion. It is at once simple and straight-forward, at times displaying a multilayered swirl of malevolence that will leave you breathless. It is without a doubt one of the best Metal albums I have heard in a great while. As for the album’s cover,this beauty was designed by H.R.Giger ,who sadly, has passed away this week. Recommended for fans of Souls at Zero era Neurosis, Mastodon and Emperor
Woven Hand- refractory Obdurate- Deathwish inc. 2014
Over the years, I have listened to many musical genres, be it punk, thrash, metal, post-punk, Goth, well, you get the picture. I have acquired a small collection of not so much musical heroes, but people whose work truly resonates with me. These artists continue to put out amazing releases; it doesn’t matter if they change styles, or tempos, or emotional output. These artists always deliver for me, like a crutch, or an island in a sea of mediocrity. Four of those artists that come to mind are Nick Cave, Michael Gira (Swans, Angels of Light) Helios Creed (Chrome) and David Eugene Edwards. the latter may be best known for the Alt-country/Americana band 16 Horsepower. Edwards current band is Woven Hand, and This is their 10th release I think, and I believe it may be their best, and most bold effort yet.
I use the terms Americana, Alt-Country etc to describe their sound, but in reality these labels do not fully categorize the band’s output-that may be an exercise in futility. Refractory Obdurate contains measures of Cock-Rock swagger, Southern Preacher earnestness, dark Gothic tones, as well as punk, metal and even industrial elements. His vocals are at times accusatory, at times melancholy, delivered in a rich baritone-a departure from his earlier countrified twang, as witnessed on previous 16 Horsepower releases.
Songs like Masonic Youth offer a hard rocking delivery that envelopes a country soul, by way of banjos, and slide guitar. the lyrics are dark and morose, as he drawls “the darkness doesn’t want me, it refuses to hold me.” the songs The Refractory, The Good Shepherd and Salome are dark and heavy, yet retain a country soul , with twangy, surf-punk guitars, eerie slide work and a lazy beat. Towards the end of the album, the songs get much heavier and darker, pounding out a brooding and menacing attack on King David, with a dark banjo clanging underneath. By the time Field of Hedon rumbles forth, the music is transformed into an Appalachian metal dirge, followed by the tribal percussion of Obdurate Obscura. The album just continues to get increasingly heavier with the song Hiss (video link below), which reminds me of Black Sabbath mixed with Skinny Puppy playing with banjos tuned by Satan himself.
From beginning to end, the music, the lyrics, the thick, humid atmosphere brings you up, then kicks you down into the tall grass, while promising you retribution, all the while holding a knife under your chin. I can’t tell you how immense this album is. I detect Nick Cave’s story telling style, with Michael Gira’s intensity in Edwards’ delivery, but these are just token comparisons. His style has been honed over a couple of decades, and he is as talented, and original as any who have put their hearts and souls onto wax, earning the right to be named with such talents as Cave and Gira. I believe that this is an important record that I will continue to visit for years to come.
The Kill Circuit-Low Transit
Hailing from Norfolk, Virginia, The Kill Circuit are a four piece ROCK band. Yes, ROCK! In an era of Nu-metal, Alternative, Indie, blah blah skinny jeans and angular haircuts, The Kill Circuit are simply a really good frickin’ heavy ROCK band. On their first full length, self-released album Low Transit, the 9 songs are heavy, melodic power pieces. I detect jazz influences in Joey Rudacil’s drum playing, as he is pounding a relentless 4/4 beat one moment, only to shift gears into an impossible barrage of lightning swift rolls, and off-kilter cadences. he keeps the action rolling, as the dual guitars criss-cross each other, running the gamut from intricate finger exercises, crunching rhythms, to delicate yet forceful leads.
Songs like Search for Echoes, and Reach the Outside (video link below) display the band’s seasoned chops, and no-nonsense delivery, while Too Thin to Show is full of galloping drum beats, crafty guitar riffs and heartfelt vocals. The lyrics tell stories of dissolution, confusion, hope and resignation, utilizing melodies that are masterfully sung by vocalists Mike Ragan (guitars/vocals) and EJ Toudt (bass/vocals). You just don’t hear melodies executed this beautifully from a hard rock band anymore. I am reminded of early Alice in Chains at times. My favorite song of the album would have to be And They Said, which contain amazing vocal melodies, guitar intricacy (Ragan and Pete Raffetto) and steady rhythm section of Rudacil and Toudt.
I am surprised that The Kill Circuit are not national, because they are better in so many ways than much of the cookie cutter dog shit that I hear being pushed down the public’s throats on a daily basis. You can get their new album, as well as the earlier EP We Could Have Been Unstoppable on their website (Link Below), but hurry, the CD release is limited. You can also purchase them as digital downloads. Recommended for fans of Queens of the Stone Age, early Alice in Chains, and no-nonsense, heavy, melodic rock.
Isolated Cockpit-Nipple Music (BIGFATUGLY brand/ManTray studios)
yup. I am plugging my release. so sue me. Available at the Bandcamp link below.
Watch the video for Vi Min Sentas Kiel karnomanga