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 …

 

Continue reading

Advertisements

Lord Mantis – Death Mask (2014), NTW (2016)

Mantiscover

Lord MantisDeath Mask (Profound Lore Records, 29 April 2014)

 

Lord-Mantis_NTW_Cover2200

Lord MantisNTW (New Density Records, 29 April 2016)

 

In early 2015, the whole world was shocked and saddened to learn that Chicagoan misanthropic miscreants Indian were calling it quits. Maybe “the whole world” is a sight exaggeration, but for myself and everyone I know, it was difficult news — especially since it came just a year after the band had released what was unquestionably their best album to date.

But then that blow was softened a bit almost immediately after, when another huge announcement shook the metal world: that closely-related Chicago band Lord Mantis had parted ways with some of its members, leaving only founding drummer Bill Bumgardner and Andrew Markuszewski who had been the lead guitarist for nearly all of that band’s releases. Augmenting this newly depleted line-up would be most of the folks who had just left Indian — in addition to Bumgardner who had also been playing drums in that band for years, ex-Indian guitarist Will Lindsay (also a member of Anatomy of Habit) would be joining on bass, and former Indian guitarist/vocalist Dylan O’Toole (who has also appeared as part of the Wrekmeister Harmonies ensemble) would now be handling Lord Mantis vocal duties. And finally, rounding out the line-up by joining Markuszewski on guitar, Scott Shellhamer of yet another great Chicago band, American Heritage.

This shakeup didn’t come as a huge surprise to anyone who’d been paying attention to the goings-on surrounding Mantis; even in the press release for their last album, 2014’s Death Mask, it mentioned rumblings of turbulence among the band’s members at that time. And the new additions seemed like a perfectly logical choice, as not only had these guys all known each other and been friends for years, but Lindsay and O’Toole had each made contributions to the band previously, including guest appearances on Death Mask.

But now, finally, the result of all of these moving pieces has come to fruition, as the first recording by the new Lord Mantis is being released tomorrow — exactly two years (to the day) after Death Mask, the band’s own New Density will unleash the EP NTW. In this article we’ll take a look at the new EP as well as the album that preceded it. And for those who would like to learn more about how all these changes have affected the band from the perspective of its members, don’t miss this interview where they’ve answered some questions provided by members of Slaves BC!

 

Continue reading

Bardus – Solus (2014), Stella Porta (2016); Grizzlor / Barren Womb – Split (2015)

a2738736917_10

BardusSolus (Wolf Beach Tapes, 21 October 2014)

 

SLF022 - hi-res cover

BardusStella Porta (Solar Flare Records, 01 April 2016)

 

jacket

Grizzlor / Barren WombSplit (Riotous Outburst Records, 17 March 2015)

 

Hello, and Happy Friday to everyone out there! I hope you’ve had an okay week — and if not, then I hope you have a great weekend to make up for it. Before then, though, I’d like to throw something at you real quick.

At this very moment, there’s somewhat of a mini-tour going on — a handful of regional dates featuring a couple of bands, Philadelphia’s Bardus and New Haven’s Grizzlor, and it just happens that each of them have released something over the past year and a half that I’ve got in my to-do list for sharing with you readers. So it seems like a pretty convenient time to share both of those with you now, and even more so considering the fact that one of them also will have a brand-new album coming out next month — I’ll talk a little about that one, too.

I’ll try to keep this one kind of short (I know I say that a lot and it doesn’t always work out that way, but I promise I’ll try!) because I’m sure all of you are as anxious as I am to get started on those weekend plans. But scroll down to the comments section because I’ll also throw in the remaining tour dates for these two bands — which happens to include a stop in Pittsburgh this Saturday!

 

Continue reading

The Lion’s Daughter & Indian Blanket – A Black Sea (2013)

image

The Lion’s Daughter & Indian BlanketA Black Sea (Good Die Young Music, 12 November 2013)

 

Hello out there, hope you all are having a good afternoon! If you caught the article I wrote yesterday, you would have been treated to an unsettling combination of folksy Americana (Bask) and grimy, noisy metal (American Heritage). Writing about those two bands together reminded me of another incredible album — one which actually combines an American folk band with a heavy, sludgy metal band (Indian Blanket and The Lion’s Daughter, respectively), both of whom are from Saint Louis. This album was released nearly two years ago, and I’ve been in love with it ever since, but somehow never got around to writing about it.

I was actually excited about this album from the first time I heard that it was being made — before I ever heard any of the music on it — because I was already familiar with one of the bands involved. The Lion’s Daughter had been on tour with another band from St. Louis, the amazing Fister, when I wrote about that band’s album Gemini on the day that they both came here to Pittsburgh — which, by some remarkable coincidence, was exactly two years ago today! It may have been because I’d listened to Fister a lot prior to the show but hadn’t really known anything about their tourmates at the time, so I didn’t really have any particular expectations before seeing them, but The Lion’s Daughter completely blew me away that evening. I feel like both bands managed to bring equal amounts of intensity and sheer volume (and for those of you who’ve seen Fister, you’ll know that is no easy task!)

Anyway, several months later a collaborative effort with their friendly neighborhood folk band came to fruition, and it was every bit as cool as I had hoped for — in fact, it has seemed to grow on me even more with repeated listens, to the point where I ended up including it among my favorite albums of 2013. Check out A Black Sea for yourself, and I think you’ll see why.

 

Continue reading

Two Reviews: The American Edition

image

Two Reviews: The American Edition

 

Hey folks! Happy Thursday to you. (Does it seem strange to be excited that it’s the second-to-last day of the week? Like, the week isn’t almost over yet, but it’s almost almost over? I don’t know. But I’m definitely feeling that way this week.) Anyway.

So you might have noticed, a few days ago I wrote a thing about some Canadian bands I listened to last week on Canada Day. Well, a few days after that holiday is Independence Day for the United States of America, so it only seems natural that I should follow that post about Canadian music with one that is American-themed.

In digging through my massive archive of Stuff To Eventually Write About And Share With You, I selected two things that feature the word “American” — one in the band name and the other in the album title — although beyond this (and the fact that both actually live in America), there is very little in common between the two. I’m not saying that they’re quite polar opposites — not quite — but I’d imagine that a Venn diagram showing fans of these two albums wouldn’t have a huge amount of overlap. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe lots of you will absolutely love both of them. That would be cool. But there’s only one way to find out…

 

Continue reading