Fister / CHRCH – Split (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.
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.
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?
Hey, just a quick heads-up so you can start getting excited about this: Nashville, Tennessee’s Across Tundras are heading out on tour in just a couple of days, and will be making their way back and forth across the country, almost non-stop for two months. A full list of dates can be found at the end of this post, including a few yet to be confirmed or still needing booked.
But first, here’s a small sampling of what’s in store for you if the band is coming near where you live (spoiler alert: they are coming to Pittsburgh!) If the name wasn’t already in use for a similar genre, I’d be tempted to call this desert rock, because in my opinion that expression suits this music perfectly: it’s very mellow and introspective, sometimes sparse, and it’s extremely heavy without being especially loud. I don’t know if that makes sense, when you read it, but have a listen and see what I mean…