Beelzebud – Self Titled (digital/tape self-released 23 October 2015; CD Cyclopean Eye Productions 13 February 2017)
Mudbath – Brine Pool (Saka Čost / Troffea Records / GPS Prod / Grains of Sand Records / Third-I-Rex, 02 May 2017)
Since we missed publishing anything new yesterday (sorry, but about half of the company I work for decided to take the day off, it seems, leaving the rest of us to pick up all of the slack…), today as an extra treat I’ve got two things to share with you. First will be the self-titled album by Singaporean noise-doom duo Beelzebud, which was released without much fanfare in 2015 but later discovered by the owner of India’s Cyclopean Eye who immediately decided the album needed to be re-released. And secondly, the latest release from avignonnais sludge-doom quartet Mudbath (their second album). Both of these are available to download for free from the respective bands’ Bandcamp pages, but physical copies can be purchased from the various labels associated with these two releases. Enjoy!
Body Count – Bloodlust (Century Media Records, 31 March 2017)
Some of our younger readers may recognize Ice-T as the curmudgeonly old guy in the “It’s Lemonade” commercials, or maybe they’ll recall his stints as a reality tv star (here and here). Perhaps he’ll even seem familiar from his portrayal of a police officer on Law & Order: SVU. But before he was gracing screens small and big (and by the way, his acting career has included roles as cops dating back more than a quarter-century), the man born as Tracy Marrow in New Jersey (and then raised in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles) made quite a name for himself as a hugely influential part of the music industry.
Known primarily as one of the innovators who helped to shape the gangster rap genre, with songs like “6 ‘N the Morning,” he later formed the group Body Count with some high school friends who shared an affinity for hard rock music — introducing the band on a self-titled track on his 1991 album O.G. Original Gangster before they came out with a full-length self-titled album the following year.
They have been heavily influenced by fellow Californian contemporaries in the worlds of thrash (like Slayer) and especially crossover (like Suicidal Tendencies) — but for years I’ve seen a lot of negativity expressed towards these guys within the so-called “metal community,” from some of its more closed-minded individuals. Whether that’s a refusal to acknowledge rap or hip hop artists as genuine musicians, or a xenophobic reaction to a perceived “outsider” tresspassing into the “scene” — well, Ice-T‘s spoken-word intro to the original “Body Count” song can be applicable in both directions: “You know, as far as I’m concerned, music is music. I don’t look at it as rock or R&B, all that kind of stuff, I just look at it as music. […] But I do what I like, I happen to like rock ‘n roll. And I feel sorry for anybody who only listens to one form of music.”
Wildspeaker – Spreading Adder (Prosthetic Records, 23 June 2017)
“Spreading adder” is one of several nicknames for the eastern hognose snake; others include “hissing adder” or “hissing viper,” “blow snake” or “blow viper,” and “puff adder” — this last one despite the serpent being entirely unrelated to the similarly-named highly venomous species found in Africa. These derive from the reptile’s defensive behaviors which include a display of spreading its body like a cobra, hissing aggressively, and feigning attack.
Spreading Adder is the brand-new album by Dallas-based troupe Wildspeaker, just released this past Friday by Prosthetic Records after a handful of self-released efforts over the past three years. Self-produced by the band and recorded in bassist Garry Brents (also a member of Cara Neir)’s own studio, the album comes across with every bit of viciousness and ferocity as its namesake animal.
The quintet (the line-up also includes vocalist Natalie Kahan, drummer Ricky Rivera, and Nelson Favela and Zak Pitts on guitar) are currently in the middle of a tour across the U.S. — but unfortunately we’ve just learned that they’ve had a bit of a van mishap! Click here for more details on that story, including a link to a Gofundme page to help with needed repairs — or you might also consider buying a copy of their new album or other merch to help get them back on the road. (The remaining scheduled tourdates will be listed in the comments section below, but you probably ought to keep tabs on Facebook to see whether there is any new information.)
I remember one year in elementary school — it might have been fourth or fifth grade — when our teacher would occasionally come in and draw a ketchup bottle on the chalkboard. This was an indication that it would be a “ketchup day” or “catch-up day”: where we wouldn’t have any new lessons that day, but could use the time to get current on homework assignments or whatever else we needed to do.
Looking back as an adult, that sounds an awful lot like a scene from the movie Bad Teacher when Cameron Diaz’ character would show her class videos all day because came to school hungover. But in any case, today’s going to be a ketchup day for some recent news items that have come across the VOS editor’s desk …
Portrayal of Guilt – Portrayal of Guilt (Miss the Stars Records / Contrition Recordings, 02 May 2017)
Recently I got a message from this band called Portrayal of Guilt, with barely any information other than the fact that they had a brand-new EP out, and a link to their Bandcamp page. So, armed with that miniscule amount of knowledge, I went to check it out, as one does. There I learned that the band is from Austin, Texas; a bit more poking around revealed that they seem to be a relatively new group: all of their social media presence dates back no further than January of this year. Oh, and also I found that one of the keywords they use to describe themselves is “screamo.”
Now I don’t know about you, but that word tends to make me feel a bit trepidatious. After all, just like its predecessor “emo” and distant ancestor “hardcore,” what originated as a great concept became completely perverted and bastardized over the past few decades — to the point where, in modern usage, the term came to be applied to something completely unrecognizable when compared with its archetypal format. But I decided the EP was only three songs — barely more than six minutes altogether — so I might as well give it a shot. And to make a long story short, as you could infer from the fact that I’m writing about it now, that concern turned out to be completely unfounded.
Apostle of Solitude – Of Woe and Wounds (Cruz del Sur Music, 04 November 2014)
Devil to Pay – A Bend through Space and Time (Ripple Music, 12 August 2016)
So — maybe you’ve noticed a running theme this week — but once again I’m sharing some music with you from a band that will be playing at The Maryland Doom Fest this weekend! That would be Apostle of Solitude, whose latest album Of Woe and Wounds has been hovering on my to-do list ever since it was released nearly three whole years ago. And while I’m at it, there’s another album I’d like to bring to your attention, last year’s offering by a band who are Indianapolis neighbors (and even overlap by one guitarist) with Apostle of Solitude, and whom we’ve spoken of highly in the past, Devil to Pay.
Hollow Leg – Murder EP (digital: Argonauta Records, 03 March 2017; cassette: Southern Druid Records, 16 June 2017; Crown, Murder Edition CD: Argonauta Records, 30 June 2017)
He Whose Ox is Gored – Paralyzer 7″ (Chain Letter Collective/Void Assault Records, 16 June 2017)
Cave of Swimmers – The Sun 7″ (Southern Druid Records, 03 July 2017)
Today I’ve got three different releases to share with you. Don’t worry, I won’t take up too much of your time — each of these has just two or three songs. But more importantly, all three come from bands who have had some pretty incredible previous releases we’ve already talked about: Hollow Leg, He Whose Ox is Gored, and Cave of Swimmers. So you can already be guaranteed these will all be great, too!
Oh yeah, and if you scroll on down to the comments section, you can take a peek at the dates for Hollow Leg‘s current tour which centers around an appearance at The Maryland Doom Fest on Saturday (24 June)!