King Buzzo – This Machine Kills Artists (2014)

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King BuzzoThis Machine Kills Artists (Ipecac Recordings, 02 June 2014)

 

The bulk of my formative years were spent in the 1990s, from age eleven (when I was being introduced to Faith No More and Overkill) through twenty (when I was discovering Pentagram and Emperor). I experienced lot of music both new and old during that decade, all of which had a strong influence over my tastes and preferences, and frankly, made a huge impression on my life in general. And looking back, I think it could be argued that (taking into account both direct and indirect effects) singer/guitarist Roger “Buzz” Osborne and his band The Melvins had made at least as much of an impact as any other person or band, if not more.

After all, not only did I discover their own music somewhere in my teens (and found myself blown away by it), but that band can be said to have been almost singlehandedly responsible for entire genres of music — some of which rank among my absolute favorite. Where would sludge or grunge metal be, if it weren’t for their groundbreaking work? What would Crowbar or Eyehategod have sounded like; TAD or Harvey Milk; or dozens of other bands who’ve served such an important role in my life?

So clearly, I don’t think I could overemphasize how big of a deal they — and by extension, their one constant member over their thirty year history — really are. And so when Ipecac Recordings issues an album full of Osbourne solo acoustic material, needless to say I am very intrigued…

 

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Seven Sisters of Sleep – Opium Morals (2013)

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Seven Sisters of SleepOpium Morals (20 March 2013, A389 Records)

 

Well folks, the last weekend in May is upon us, which means that most of my peers in the music-writing industry (and many of my other metal-loving friends as well) have made their annual pilgrimage to Baltimore for the year’s largest metal festival (outside of Europe, of course), Maryland Deathfest. Once again, a number of huge names jumped out at me from the announced schedule (Hooded Menace! Crowbar! Fucking Candlemass!!), but also once again, various factors have conspired against me being able to attend.

But — whatever, I’m not just going to sit around all weekend and whine about it. I’ve got plenty of good music to keep me company, and I fully intend to listen to all of it. All of the musics. For starters, although I will not be seeing Californian sludge band Seven Sisters of Sleep performing at the MDF kick-off show tonight (Thursday, 22 May 2014), I can always stuff their second full-length Opium Morals (which happened to rank among my favorite albums of 2013) into my ears. And while I’m at it, I can share it with you readers (who, I assume, are reading this because you also not at the festival in Maryland right now). So here goes.

 

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Crawl – Crawl Demo

 

CrawlCrawl Demo (self-released, 12 October 2012)

So who’s in the mood for some heavy doom with a nice dose of southern sludge??

Don’t bother answering that; it was a rhetorical question. Here we go…

There have been a few bands called Crawl over the years, but this one formed in Atlanta, in spring 2012. Most of what I hear coming out of Georgia nowadays is rather fuzzy and stonery; it’s clear these guys draw from SOME of the same influences as their fellow statesmen, but they also incorporate some darker elements of west coast doom and the weightiness of gulf coast sludge, for an amalgam that’s definitely worth checking out.

 
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Supervoid – Endless Planets EP

 

SupervoidEndless Planets EP (self-released, 11 November 2012)

Good afternoon, all you fine people! How are things where you are? Here it’s been rainy and nasty, and of course it’s Monday which is never good, but I’m actually feeling pretty good. For one thing, the day’s over, which means I get to go home. But mostly, I’m starting to feel healthy again!

You may have noticed things have been quiet around here for a while. Part of the reason is all the normal crap that keeps me busy and unable to write as often as I’d like to. But a bigger part — at least for the past two weeks or so — is the fact that I have felt like absolute garbage. My normal yearly sinus infection, which tends to completely drain my energy and make my whole body tired and sore for a few weeks (plus my chest, throat, nose and sinuses feeling congested and clogged — which is miserable enough as it is, but also makes it tough for me to listen to music because my ears don’t work right and my head hurts from feeling stuffed up and in general I’m in a very foggy and cloudy state). But I’ve been to the doctor and got some antibiotics, and they’ve finally started taking effect over the past day or two, so I definitely feel like I’m on the road to recovery.

I’m still pretty exhausted and blah, but no more than on any other workday. So, hooray for just feeling marginally lousy, rather than completely and utterly terrible! BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME.

With a few exceptions, I’ve really been slacking as far as writing anything here, and I’ve been especially remiss in my duties to share new music with you readers. Here it is, nearly the end of the year, and I’ve got a virtual stack of music I’ve yet to write about, which figuratively is towering over me as I sit here. I’d better get moving!

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Here, for example, is something that I’ve been hanging onto for the past few weeks, and kept meaning to write about and share with you — because it’s a really incredible discovery, and I sure hope you all aren’t upset that I didn’t tell you about it sooner!

Endless Planets is the debut release from a relatively new band from the Pittsburgh area called Supervoid. Formed in 2011 by a couple Dethlehem ex-pats, and current and/or former members of several other bands across the region, the band decided to take time to perfect their style of space-rock/stoner/psychedelic/prog-metal before revealing themselves to the public. (By the way, check out this interview with The Sludgelord for more information about the band’s formation and their journey up to this point in their career.)

They had their debut performance at the end of August, and a few more shows since then, attracting a good bit of attention in the local music scene along the way. During that time, the band got together at Pittsburgh’s Treelady Studios to lay down some demo tracks — which they then decided to release in the form of this two-song EP.

Clocking in at around sixteen minutes, Endless Planets serves as a great introduction to Supervoid, as it showcases the band’s talent and is representative of the range they span as performers and songwriters. Plus, it’s available to download for free, so you have no reason not to grab yourself a copy — and once you do, you’ll understand why everyone who has seen this band has been so impressed, and you’ll find yourself anxiously watching to see where this quintet is heading next…

 
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Out Last Month: Tribune – Elder Lore / The Dark Arts

TribuneElder Lore / The Dark Arts (Corpse Corrosion Music, 20 March 2012)

Whenever I discover a new band, I usually try to learn as much as I can about them, including where they come from. If it’s a country or a city I’m not especially familiar with, occasionally I’ll hit Wikipedia and see if there are any interesting facts to be learned there. Maybe I’m just a major dork, I don’t know. Whatever. Sometimes I like to look at a map of where a band comes from, just to see where it is in relation to things I do know about. This is how I discovered that the city of Burnaby, British Columbia, is right next to Vancouver, near the Pacific coast and just above the U.S./Canada border. Playing with the settings a bit, I found myself looking at a topographic map of that general area. In this way, I found that Burnaby is surrounded by a few lakes, and most of the land seems to be pretty close to sea level anyway. From that I would surmise that there just might be a good bit of swamps or marshlands near that area.

Now, I wasn’t just randomly seeking out information on the geographic characteristics of various cities in Canada. No, I was learning about Burnaby because it’s home to the band Tribune*, to whose recently-released double-EP Elder Lore / The Dark Arts I had just been listening. The blend of riffs and vocals they incorporate into their particular version of death metal might give you the impression that they come from the same backwater bayou country as Down or Crowbar, rather than the frozen tundra of British Columbia, which is what set me on that particular path of research. But anyway, hometown notwithstanding, these guys have put together a combination of styles that I’ve decided to call stoner/death metal. You just need to check it out to see what I mean.
 
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* By the way — I don’t know if it’s a Canadian thing or what, but I’ve learned that the band’s name is pronounced differently than I originally thought. It’s actually supposed to be “TRY-bune” (as in “tribunal”), rather than “TRIB-une” (as in “tribute”).
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Now Available for Pre-Order: (drama) – Zastor Tišine

(drama) - Zastor Tišine (Altsphere Production, 24 February 2012)

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Fuck me, I can’t seem to keep my eyes open.  I’ve probably had about five cups of coffee today, but still, here I sit staring at this computer screen and it keeps going out of focus.  Why does the last day of work before a break– especially a nice, long holiday weekend– always seem to drag on forever?  Not that things will get any better when I leave here; I am completely dreading the fact that later tonight, and probably much of tomorrow as well, I will have to venture out into the world of holiday shopping!  Suffering through the world’s worst drivers (they always seem to come out in hordes this time of year, don’t they?) to struggle to find a place to park; pushing through huge crowds of horribly annoying people to get the chance to spend money I can’t really afford on a bunch of crap that my family members don’t really need anyhow… it’s enough to seriously bring on an anxiety attack just thinking about it!

Of course, that’s why the past few days I have been cheering myself (and hopefully some of you out there in internet-land, as well) with great big heaps of awesomely depressive doom metal.  Today’s post will complete the trilogy I described earlier (part I | part II), as we voyage to Croatia to check out the debut LP of a band from Zagreb called (drama), which is entitled Zastor Tišine (Croatian for The Curtain [or Shroud] of Silence).

Following a 2006 demo, the band actually recorded this full-length back in 2010 and made it available through various digital outlets earlier this year.  I can’t remember, now, where I first became aware of them, but I know I heard one of their songs somewhere; I enjoyed it enough to be willing to put in the effort necessary to track down more info about the band– which was no small task!  You try Googling the word “drama” – with or without the parentheses, it makes no difference – and see how easy it is to wade through the billions of results!  (By the way, for your benefit I’ve included a list of links at the bottom of this post, so you can have a much easier time learning more about the band and keeping informed about them.  You’re welcome.) Continue reading

In Case You Missed It: The Matador – Descent into the Maelstrom

 The MatadorDescent into the Maelstrom (Serotonin Productions, 21 April 2011).

 “It raged with such noise and impetuosity that the very stones of the houses on the coast fell to the ground.

Much like the short story of the same name, these progressive-post-doom-metal Queenslanders’ EP takes the listener on a voyage that explores unknown depths of madness.  Also like the Poe narrative, there is no telling where the experience will end up, but what is certain is that you will not emerge from the other side unscathed or unchanged.

This review is somewhat atypical, in that I will be describing each of the songs in detail, rather than just giving some overall impressions of the entire album.  Ordinarily I wouldn’t do this, but for one thing, there are only five songs on this release; also, the passage of time through the tracks seems to represent a progression – an aural journey that represents the titular descent – and it felt like this was the best way to do justice to the material.

Keep reading to join me on this voyage, and along the way you’ll come across links where you can listen to and/or download a couple of the tracks…

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