Aethyr – Corpus (Cimmerian Shade Recordings, 19 February 2015)
Hello, Readers, and welcome to yet another paradisiac Monday. I could bore you all with another long intro filled with whining about being stuck back at work again after another too-short weekend, but today I’m choosing not to. Instead, I would like to pass along with you some interesting food for thought — something that was published last week, but I came across this morning on the bus when I saw that our fellow metal journalists at Broken Amp had shared it on Facebook. This article on Last Rites entitled “Heavy Metal in the Modern Age” discusses the role of the Internet in terms of the music industry — not just as the instrument that killed most of the previous infrastructure and completely transformed the existing business models, but as a tool that has leveled the playing field and removed many of the obstacles that were in place for bands, while offering far greater access and connectivity to fans. Much of the article, though, also relates to the changing role of the media outlets in this new superconnected world. Too often, says the author, websites are so busy clambering over each other to be the first to jump onto the bandwagon of the Next Big Thing that they forget to take the time to enjoy the music.
I can relate to a lot of what is said here: this new “level playing field” environment certainly lends itself to an overwhelming amount of materials available out there, and the absence of some of the former obstacles does result in a much wider range in terms of the quality of what ends up getting disseminated out there. But as I’ve stated in the past, I don’t mind wading through all the junk that exists, because the feeling of unexpectedly coming across something truly amazing more than makes up for it. Out of necessity — since this website is mostly a single-person operation with some rare exceptions — it takes a lot of time to go through everything that comes my way, so I hardly ever find myself playing the get-it-written-as-far-as-possible-before-the-release-date game. Rather, (as I’ve occasionally noted when writing about various albums) I sometimes will spend months (or longer!) enjoying something before I actually get the opportunity to write about it. But I don’t look at this as being negative; just because something has already passed its release date doesn’t mean it no longer needs to be promoted, or that it can no longer find its way to an appreciative audience’s ears. So this article has made me feel like my approach is somewhat vindicated. In any case, I will continue to share with you Readers as I come across things I feel are worth sharing.
For example, I’ve got something for you today from a Russian doom metal band called Aethyr. Here again is the link to that Last Rites article; you can bookmark it for later or you can check it out now and come back when you’ve finished. Either way, you won’t want to miss this….
Season of Arrows – Season of Arrows (The Path Less Traveled Records, 15 April 2014)
Hey there, folks — happy Friday! For a while it seemed like an end to these days of drudgery would never arrive, but finally it’s here! Hopefully you all have something exciting planned for the weekend — myself, not so much. If it ever stops raining, my yard needs cut badly, and then for an extra special treat, I get to head out to my Grandma’s house and do even more yard work there!
But before we all head out to do whatever it is we’ll be doing for the next couple of days, I wanted to leave you with a little something you might like to listen to: the self-titled album by Nashville’s Season of Arrows that came out a little over a year ago. If you like it — and I think you might — AND if you don’t have any weekend plans yet, AND if you happen to be within driving distance of Frederick, Maryland, you can go check out this band in person at the Maryland Doom Fest! More on that later, but first…
Spider Kitten – Behold Mountain, Hail Sea, Venerate Sky, Bow Before Tree (Undergroove Records, 27 October 2014)
Hello out there in Internetland, how’s everyone doing? — (Really, I’m only asking out of habit. No one ever answers me. For the record, I see the stats for this website, and I know how many of you are visiting each day — would it really hurt to say hello while you’re here?)
Anyway, the important part is that you’re here. And you’re in for a treat, because (of course) I’ve got some great music I’d like to share with you. Introducing: Spider Kitten, a Welsh band that has been kicking around DIY-style for well over a decade, in some form or another (I understand that the group has featured anywhere between two and seven members over the course of its history). Presumably, the name — much like Iron Butterfly — is meant to evoke images of widely contrasting concepts. In this case, apparently, those would be that the band is vicious and frightening, as well as cute and cuddly?
Regardless, this is indeed a band who have spanned a wide array of styles throughout their history — and its members have their hands in many other projects ranging anywhere from black metal to Americana. On the particular album we’re discussing today, we’re presented with a heaping helping of sludgy doom, kicked up a few notches with some epic arrangements and plenty of Viking themes…
Hey, guess what. It’s Monday. Another weekend concluded, another work week begun. By now, you’re all surely well aware of my Garfieldian opinions about Mondays (also, mornings; also, lasagna), so I see little point to continue any interaction with that particular decreased equine.
So let’s change the subject, because we all know you’ve come here to hear some music, not to read my grumpy mutterings. It’s been over a year since we last checked in on our favorite D.C.-area stoner/fuzz rockers Borracho, so it’s probably about time for an update there.
As it turns out, around three months ago, the folks at Nashville’s Palaver Records launched the first entry in their new series of 7″ splits, which they’ve titled Sludgy Erna Bastard. (Slur the syllables together a bit when you say it out loud, and it should make more sense.) This inaugural edition pairs a Borracho song with a contribution from Brooklynites (and Palaver roster alums) Eggnogg. I suspect you’ll find each of them well worth taking the time to check out…
Diesel King – Concrete Burial (When Planets Collide, 02 February 2015)
Hey there folks, how is everyone on this fine Wednesday afternoon? It’s weird, ’cause it’s like, on the one hand — cool, the week’s halfway over. But then on the other hand — damnit, there’s still half of the week left to go. Either way, I think I need some more coffee. Be right back.
So I’ve made mention in the past about having a “to do list” of stuff I intend to write about, as well as a library filled with stuff I still need to listen to. Sometimes these two lists can seem pretty overwhelming, but I’m determinedly chipping away at each of them. I try to listen to at least a few new items every day so that I don’t get too hopelessly buried, and typically I’ll make a judgement about whether to keep them (for a future review) or discard. Stuff that gets moved onto the “to do list” can sit there indefinitely, because there might be other things I had already started writing about or that I had planned to share on a particular day. Very rarely do I hear something and immediately drop everything else to start writing about whatever it was that I just listened to. But today is one of those cases. Slowly combing through my folder of new stuff, I happened upon a band called Diesel King who’d released an album earlier this year, and I felt like I needed to share it right away. So here goes…
Hey folks! I’d like to share a quick little anecdote with you, then it’s time to talk about some more music. Deal?
Ok. So several months ago, this band called Attalla from Wisconsin wrote to me to let me know they’d released an album last year, and to see if I’d be interested in reviewing it. I then downloaded it and added it to my library of stuff to check out — but it just kind of sat there for a little while. I can’t exactly say what it was that kept me from listening to the album right away, but I feel like something about the band’s name brought up some sort of negative imagery on some subconscious level. (And frankly, that’s really a shame, because — at least from what I learned by watching Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure — the storied emperor seems to have been quite the bad-ass, and his name should certainly evoke similarly awe-inspiring thoughts.
In any case, I ultimately overcame whatever mental roadblock had been there (the word “attalla”, I would later discover, actually derives from the Cherokee word for “mountain”) and hit PLAY on the band’s self-titled LP. And I’m really glad that I did. I wasn’t just ‘pleasantly surprised’ at what I heard; rather, the album turned out to be pretty great. I guess the lesson to be learned here was, not only should you not judge a book by its cover, but you also shouldn’t judge a book by its title being vaguely similar to another book’s title. Particularly if you’ve already pre-judged that other book to be terrible based on ITS cover. Okay, moving on.
Anatomy of Habit – Ciphers + Axioms (Relapse Records, 10 November 2014)
Good afternoon, how is everyone out there? Myself, I’ve just finished my third cup of coffee (or was it the fourth?) and somehow I still feel like I could nod off any second. I did manage to sleep at least five hours last night — more than usual — which is a good thing. For a while, I’d been concerned I’d start seeing hallucinations.
Now, I’m just wondering if I’m hearing hallucinations. Yeah, I know, that was terrible. Sorry, but I just don’t have the energy to come up with a decent segue today. If you have a problem with it, you can write your own reviews.
Anyway, we’ll pretend that was a really smooth transition, and that brings me to what I wanted to share with you today. Again I’ve dipped into my extensive to-do list, and come up with this delightful little album that Relapse Records had unleashed on the world late last year. A bit strange, but it quickly grew on me, and I’ve come to really enjoy it a lot over the past several months. I’ve got a feeling that maybe some of you will, too.
EDITOR’S NOTE: as some of you may have noticed, I put out an open call for writers a short while back when I updated this website’s contact page. That offer still stands — anyone who might have something to contribute, please feel free to get in touch! Today I’m posting an article that was sent to me regarding Anthrax/S.O.D. guitarist (and perennial VH1 personality) Scott Ian. Please enjoy!
My Brother the Wind –
Once There Was a Time When Time and Space Were One (Free Electric Sound / The Laser’s Edge, 14 October 2014)
Hey there, folks! How’s your day going? Hopefully better than mine. Normally Tuesday mornings have me feeling like I’m sleepwalking anyway, and when you add in the fact that I’m basically trying to do the work of three people right now instead of the usual two (at no point this month will my department at work be fully staffed — they’ve all scheduled weeklong vacations over the next several weeks — but on top of that, we’ve also had people call in sick the past couple days). So my mind is racing in countless different directions all at once, nonstop all day long. And just when it seemed like it couldn’t get any worse, our network goes down for nearly two hours, leaving me without access to my e-mail, phone, or most of the files and programs I need to use to do my job. Sometimes it’s enough to make you just want to throw your hands up in defeat, and just scream.
But whatever, there’s shit to be done and I’m getting it done. And plus, a little bit of downtime gave me the opportunity to throw together a few words about some music I’ve been listening to. This will be a pretty brief essay, but a few days ago I discovered a cool album that I think a lot of people out there might enjoy, so I wanted to pass it along…