Sâver – They Came with Sunlight (Pelagic Records, 08 March 2019)
Here in the Valley of Steel we don’t pay much attention to what’s trending or getting a bunch of recognition elsewhere; all we care about is listening to what we enjoy, and (sometimes) writing about it.
But having said that, sometimes it’s also nice to feel vindicated and validated, when something we identify as “good” achieves recognition from elsewhere.
Case in point: They Came with Sunlight, the debut offering from Oslo trio Sâver — which upon its release about eleven months ago made quite an impression upon this reviewer, later to become firmly entrenched in our selection of last year’s best records.
Ether Coven – Everything is Temporary Except Suffering (Century Media Records, 10 January 2020)
Ok, first things first — isn’t that a fantastic title? Really sounds like it was lifted straight from some Woods of Ypres lyrics or something, doesn’t it?
Well technically, it was lifted from Ether Coven lyrics, as the phrase appears a few times in the opening track from the Floridian band’s second album, released exactly one month ago today, which we will be diving into starting right now…
Wovoka – Saros (digital Locust Rising Music / CD Battleground Records, 14 April 2015)
LLNN/Wovoka – Traces/Marks Split LP (Pelagic Records, 16 June 2017)
LLNN – Deads (Pelagic Records, 27 April 2018)
So a few years back — about three, actually — this Californian heavy sludge band called Wovoka reached out to let us know they were releasing their debut record. We really dug it at the time, and have been revisiting it often ever since then, but somehow never quite got around to writing anything about it. Then last year we got word that these guys were participating in a split LP with Danish band LLNN. And then sometime after that, we learned that THOSE guys would be issuing a new album themselves (their second). That will be hitting the streets tomorrow, but today we’re going to cover all three of those releases.
Also, earlier this week saw the start of a month-long European tour with LLNN joining Bison. After you’re finished reading, keep scrolling down to the bottom where we’ll fill you in on those dates!
Thursday 17 August through Sunday 20 September 2017
at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, 4455 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas NV 89169
This weekend-long party in Sin City will feature some folks that you’ll recognize from previous mentions right here at Valley of Steel (Neurosis, Conan, Fister, Melvins, Hollow Leg, North, Ruby the Hatchet, Slomatics — just to name a few). Some other highlights will include Inter Arma, Black Anvil, Minsk, Goya, Manilla Road, Mouth of the Architect, Pelican, Vhöl, Year of the Cobra… YOB, Pentagram, Corrosion of Conformity, Sleep, Psychic TV… oh yeah, and King Diamond performing the whole Abigail album!
Neurosis – Fires Within Fires (Neurot Recordings, 23 September 2016)
So Neurosis are heading out on tour RIGHT NOW. That news by itself will immediately be a huge deal to most people who read this sentence. They’re only hitting a handful of cities across the northeastern U.S. (and southeastern Canada) over the next week and a half, but this is a band that infreuquently performs live in the first place, and very rarely visits the east coast outside the context of a larger music festival (such as Baltimore’s Days of Darkness which they’ll be headlining in October). So, yeah.
But sometimes when it comes to bands that have been around seemingly forever (well over thirty years, in this case) and have achieved a near-universal legendary status (at least, for these guys, among the majority of fans of post-hardcore/sludge metal), it’s easy to forget that there are some folks out there who may not already be intimately familiar with them. Easy to just assume that everyone knows them, disregarding the fact that there’s always somebody who has yet to make that big discovery.
After all, though, that’s the whole point of writing about music: to help someone learn about something that could potentially be life-changing. The About page of this website describes exactly that — while also referencing a particular time period of exploration for myself, which in that narrative was described as “The Napster Years,” but frankly a huge part of my own rebirth as a metal music fan directly resulted from finding Relapse Records CD samplers (like this one and this one) at a local record store (more info here and here for the younger readers). Interestingly, three of the artists that had really jumped out at younger me and grabbed my attention are ones I have written about here, just this month: Today is the Day, Dying Fetus, and now, Neurosis.
Specifically, there were a couple of songs from the band’s then-new album A Sun that Never Sets which I bought not long afterwards, and which was — front-to-back — one of the most amazing things I’d ever experienced. So in light of all that, I’m pleased to present — to any of you who may not have heard this yet — their latest release, 2016’s Fires Within Fires.
Sila Slona – Sila Slona (Zero Hero Recordings, 27 January 2017)
Montezuma’s Revenge – Them (Zero Hero Recordings, 03 March 2017)
Anyone who has read or watched any sort of news in the United States over the past few months may have noticed that Russia is being mentioned in connection with nearly every story that’s being reported these days. That country is currently discussed more often in this country, than any other time in the past several decades — at least since August 1991. Not even during the Sochi Olympics do I recall having heard about Russia nearly this often.
But I’m not here to talk about political matters, and you certainly aren’t here to read about such nonsense either. So it seemed like a much more fitting idea would be to discuss some Russian music. Specifically, here are albums by two different bands from Moscow, which were both released earlier this year by Moscow-based Zero Hero Recordings. Enjoy!
As you are all surely aware, tickets for this show have been completely sold out for MONTHS. Since basically like twenty minutes after they went on sale. But as a special treat for our loyal readers, we have a pair of tickets to give away for FREE, thanks to the nice people at Opus One Productions.
High Fighter – The Goat Ritual (self-released, 28 October 2014)
High Fighter – Scars & Crosses (Svart Records, 10 June 2016)
Zirakzigil – World Builder (Prosthetic Records, 10 June 2016)
Hey folks, how are you? Thanks for stopping by. Are you ready for another dose of good stuff to listen to? I hope so, because once again I’ve got some here to share with you today.
Both of the bands we’ll be discussing today will have an album released on Friday: High Fighter from Hamburg, Germany, will see their first full-length put out by Svart Records, which we’ll talk about in addition to that band’s debut EP that was self-released a while back; Zirakzigil from Portland, Oregon, also have their first LP forthcoming, one which was originally released by the band last year but is now being repackaged (and etched onto vinyl for the first time) by Prosthetic Records.
Corrections House – Last City Zero (Neurot Recordings, 29 October 2013)
Lumbar – The First and Last Days of Unwelcome (Southern Lord Records, 11 November 2013)
Salutations. It’s Monday, and I just don’t have the energy for any of the wisecracks or silliness these things often start with, so instead I’ll just jump right into introducing today’s topic of conversation. It’s been a long time coming, but finally I’m getting around to writing about these two albums which were each released in late 2013, and which each subsequently found their way into the top ten of my Top 13 of 2013 list. Yes, that particular list did contain a total of twenty-seven albums, technically speaking, but still that’s no excuse for a delay of more than two years before getting some of these reviews done — particularly considering the exceptionally high quality of the material found here.
The two albums in question were the first to be released by two different groups of musicians, all veterans of fairly well-known bands: first, Corrections House is a conglomoration of Mike IX Williams (Eyehategod), Scott Kelly (Neurosis), Bruce Lamont (Yakuza), and Sanford Parker (Minsk), with some of the lyrics contributed by the phantasmatic “minister of propaganda,” Seward Fairbury; and Lumbar is a project led by Aaron Edge (well-known as a graphic designer, who worked for Southern Lord Records for several years, but also a guitarist and drummer who has been part of literally dozens of groups, including Brothers of the Sonic Cloth), with the addition of Mike Scheidt (YOB) and Tad Doyle (Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, formerly Tad).
In each case, I think you’ll find — as they say — that the finished product shows each collective to be more than simply a sum of its parts. But even if that wasn’t the case, looking at the particular parts involved, those would still be pretty lofty sums, no?
Sunwølf – Beholden to Nothing and No One (30 June 2014)
Hello out there, and Happy Monday everyone! My original plan was for this review to be published last Friday, but that was the 4th of July, aka Independence Day, which is the American holiday commemorating the time when some folks who lived here decided to send a letter to England saying they wanted to get a divorce. And I realized that it would be very un-patriotic of me to finish writing this on that date. Not because it’s about a British band, but because it would have involved actually doing something productive on a day off from work. In this country, we take our leisure time very seriously. But now it’s Monday and time to jump right back in. So here’s Beholden to Nothing and No One, a massive 80+ minute collection of post-metal/ambient music (spanning two CDs) by Leodensian band Sunwølf.