Vile Creature – Cast of Static and Smoke (2018)

Vile CreatureCast of Static and Smoke (Halo of Flies (US) / Dry Cough (UK), 09 March 2018)


Today we’ve got another album review for you — and a worthy follow-up to yesterday’s, as this one also contains long, low-tempoed tracks filled with filthy noise and despair. Although it’s actually their second full-length, Cast of Static and Smoke is the first output I’ve heard from these self-described “two weird queer kids with lofty ambitions.” But from that very first listen, Vile Creature grabbed my attention and never let it go throughout four tracks spanning nearly three-quarters of an hour. Let’s dig right in, eh?


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Huntsmen – American Scrap (2018)

HuntsmenAmerican Scrap (Prosthetic Records, 23 February 2018)


“Storytelling is the great, albeit fading, American pastime. It predated writing and in many instances, was told in song. In modern times, many musicians have approached their music from a storytelling point of view: Dylan, Springsteen and Waits to name a few. Chicago’s Americana metal outfit, Huntsmen, are carrying the torch for heavy bands to be added to that list.”

So begins the press release for this band’s debut LP, which came out about a week ago. Bold words? Sure. A little presumptuous? Maybe. But the self-described Heavy Americana band caught my attention, and the fact that they were kicking off the Prosthetic Records release of American Scrap with a short excursion across the mid-west and mid-Atlantic with label-mates Livid (with whom our readers ought to already be familiar) especially got me to check out this album.

That tour actually wraps up tonight (Sunday, 4th March) — see the details listed way down below — but first let’s talk a little about the band and their songs …


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NEWS: Laster Signs with Prophecy Productions; New Album in the Works

Atmospheric metal band Laster has signed with Prophecy Productions. The Netherlandic group, which formed in 2012 and refers to its ferocious sound as “obscure dance music,” is currently hard at work on its third full-length release and follow-up to last year’s Ons Vrije Fatum (Dunkelheit Produktionen). Laster‘s Prophecy debut is expected in 2018.

A uniquely gifted band with a singular, solitary sound, Laster plays metal with all its fury, but its music could also be described as progressive (i.e. Crack the Skye-era Mastodon), atmospheric, experimental, and even jazz-like. Attempting to categorize Laster‘s elaborately textured and ever-changing style is like trying to catch air with a net; it’s difficult to describe, but “atmospheric blackened shoegaze space prog” should provide a shadowy sense of what to expect. The band has the ability to stun first-time listeners with the utter violence of its initial impact which is unapologetically harsh, particularly with regards to the vocals which morph from flesh-peeling shrieks to ugly, gasping growls, harsh whispers, somber spoken words and rising yells of anguish. Despite its gruff exterior, digging into Laster‘s compositions reveals many layers of complexity.

Prophecy has been part of our musical development since we were in our early teens. Inviting each other to this dance feels like a proper and weirdly magical gesture,” comments the band when asked for a statement. “At the moment we are in the middle of the writing process. The record will be an expansion of Ons Vrije Fatum. A bit more technical. A lot more nocturnal. City vibes. Some more dissonance. Experimental.”

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NEWS: Conan Announce North American Tour, New Album

British caveman battle doomsters Conan are currently hard at work on the follow up to their 2016 release Revengeanance [reviewed here, alongside 2014’s Blood Eagle], which is expected via Napalm Records during the early part of this year. In anticipation of the new album, the band has announced a full North American headline tour beginning in February. The tour, featuring support from The Ditch and the Delta, starts February 9th in Calgary AB and wraps up March 13th in Denver CO. A complete list of dates can be found below.

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Fister / CHRCH – Split (2017)

Fister / CHRCHSplit (Crown and Throne Ltd / Battleground Records, 17 November 2017)


New year, new review! Here we have a split record between a pair of bands: Saint Louisian ugly-sludge architects Fister and fellow slow-doom-ahaulics CHRCH from Sacramento. While the first of these has been written about quite often on this site, up until this record’s release about a month and a half ago, that second name was brand-new to us here in the Valley. As it turns out, the name is (relatively) new to the band as well: their 2015 debut album was released under the name Church, and today’s subject is their first official recording with the abbreviated, vowelless moniker. It won’t be quite so long to wait until their next one, though: as of last month, word on the street says the band has signed with Neurot Recordings to put out another album this spring. But before we get ahead of ourselves, we’re supposed to be talking about this split 12″, containing exactly one gargantuan track by each of the two contributing bands.


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No Gnews is Good Gnews (11 December 2017)



No Gnews is Good Gnews!


Happy Monday once again, folks! Today we’re going to dive back into our extensive mailbox for various news items that have come our way since our last update. For starters, we’ve got new information about two of the bands we discussed last time (Harakiri for the Sky and Tengger Cavalry) plus more goodies!
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WVRM – Can You Hear the Wind Howl (2017)

WVRMCan You Hear the Wind Howl (To Live A Lie Records, 30 September 2017)


Okay, so one day last weekend I was running out to grab some food from a nearby pizza place. And as always seems to happen, especially around this time of year, I’ve found myself falling pretty far behind with checking out all the new releases that have been sent my way — and as a result I have been trying to take advantage of any spare moments I can find to listen to stuff. That includes times when I’ll be alone in the car, no matter how short the trip might be, figuring that I’ll at least get the chance to hear a song or two and possibly get a feel for whether I’ll want to write about something here or if it’s not really my cup of tea and I’d be better off moving on. Anyway, on this particular occasion the next thing queued up on my Walkman was a recent EP by a band called WVRM who I’d later learn (I usually try to go into things without any preconceived notions wherever possible) have been around for a few years now and are based in Greenville, South Carolina.

Well, the noise that emanated from my car speakers really grabbed my attention in a hurry; I felt battered, bruised, and tossed around the whole way — and just as quickly, it was over. In fact, the sixth and final song coincidentally had concluded just as I was pulling into a parking space, so I decided it would be appropriate to listen to the whole thing again (all nine minutes and seven seconds) on the trip back home.


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