The Pod – The Pod (2017)

The PodThe Pod (Accident Prone Records, 02 June 2017)

 

I’ll admit, I don’t really listen to electronic or synthesized music, because I have trouble getting into anything that’s too inorganic or artificial. Just a matter of personal taste, I guess, but whenever something shows up in my inbox that’s full of bloops and beeps and (especially) fake digital drums, it generally finds its way to the trash folder pretty quickly. Not intending to offend anybody here, I mean I understand there is certainly a market for that type of thing because it does appeal to a lot of people, but I just happen not to be one of them — and it wouldn’t make any sense for me to waste my time trying to write about something that I just don’t understand (or for you to waste YOUR time reading it).

However, when I find out that there’s a drone-ambient-synth project created by Mr. Scott Endres, guitarist and one of the songwriters for MAKE (one of my favorite bands, as you surely have noticed by now), and someone with whom I know (via the magic of social media) I share a rather large overlap in musical taste — well, I’m going to take notice, and give it a chance. I’m glad I did. Now I’ll share it with you, and I think you’ll be glad too.

 

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Heathen Beast – Rise of the Saffron Empire; MAKE – Pilgrimage of Loathing (2016)

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Heathen BeastRise of the Saffron Empire (Transcending Obscurity Distribution, 25 April 2016)

 

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MAKEPilgrimage of Loathing (Accident Prone Records, 15 July 2016)

 

It’s pretty much a universal truth that there are terrible people and terrible situations everywhere in the world, often when it comes to people who have power and influence over other people and the ability to make decisions about the laws and how the public is governed. This has been a societal problem for as long as society has existed, and people have always tried to find ways to protest or fight back. Back in olden times, folks like Woody Guthrie or Peter, Paul and Mary would sit around, holding hands, and singing about how the times were a-changin’. But since then, the times have a-changed; from MC5 to Public Enemy to Rage Against the Machine protest songs have increasingly shifted from blowin’ in the wind to fighting the powers that be.

To illustrate that concept, today we’re going to take a look at new or recent releases by two bands from different sides of the world, which nevertheless seem to share a similar ideology.

 

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Autarch / Soothsayer – Split (2016)

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Autarch / SoothsayerSplit (self-released 27 May 2016; vinyl via Replenish Records 12 June 2016)

 

Two years ago this week, Asheville neo-crust band Autarch saw their debut full-length on vinyl. When I wrote about that album, The Death of Actiacus, a few days later, I noted that the band’s tour was headed here to Pittsburgh on that particular evening — and that one of the local bands joining them at that show would be the fairly-newly-formed (at that time) Soothsayer, who draw on many of the same atmospheric/blackened/crust elements as their North Carolinian counterparts.

Well, I can tell you that particular show turned out to be a pretty great experience all around, and I’d also like to share some new information that was just brought to my attention. This Friday — almost exactly two years after their performance together that night in Pittsburgh — Autarch and Soothsayer are jointly releasing a split record. That album is available to order right now, so I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you all a little more about it …

 

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Graves at Sea / Sourvein – Split EP (2014), Sourvein – Aquatic Occult (2016)

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Graves at Sea / SourveinSplit EP (Seventh Rule Recordings, 13 May 2014)

 

Sourvein - Aquatic Occult

SourveinAquatic Occult (Metal Blade, 08 April 2016)

 

Hello and good afternoon, longtime friends and first-time visitors. I hope your Monday has been, at minimum, tolerable. From this side, “Today I didn’t even have to strangle anyone with their own phone cord or throw my computer through the cubicle wall out of frustration / I got to say it was a good day.”

Anyway, whatever kind of day you’re having, get ready for some positive, uplifting vibes to be coming your way from the music I have here to share with you. Now, that music is going to start with Graves at Sea, and for those who’ve heard the full-length they put out earlier this month (reviewed here), you’ll be able to tell right away that last statement was at least partly sarcastic. (For those who haven’t heard it, what the hell are you waiting for? Go read that review, or even better, check them out in person during their tour that starts tonight in Atlanta!)

The remainder of this article will be about material — some of it a couple years old, some from just a few days ago — by the southern sludgery cesspit Sourvein; although it may not seem that way, this is (supposedly) where the positivity comes into the equation. Or at least truthfulness and realism. Off we go …

 

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MAKE – Demos & Outtakes (2013), The Golden Veil (2015), In Pursuit (2015)

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MAKEDemos & Outtakes (self-released, 26 January 2013)

 

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MAKEThe Golden Veil (Black Iron Records, 17 July 2015)

 

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MAKEIn Pursuit (self-released, 30 December 2015)

Okay folks, lots of ground to cover today, so let’s just jump straight in. Cool? Cool.

The last time we talked about MAKE, the Chapel Hill band that combines blackened atmospheric doom with blackgaze and drone/ambient elements (for lack of a more concise description), it was a little over three years ago, and the band had just put out an EP of material that didn’t quite fit on their previous album (one which had ranked among the best albums of 2012), but also wouldn’t quite match the direction of their next one — which they had said they were beginning to work on around that same time…

 

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Two Reviews: The American Edition

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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…

 

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Now Available on Vinyl: Autarch – The Death of Actiacus

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AutarchThe Death of Actiacus (originally released 19 April 2013 on cassette and via Bandcamp; re-released May 2014 on vinyl by Headfirst! Records and All We Know Records)

 

Crust, as a musical genre, can be difficult to precisely pinpoint — it seems to hover somewhere around the intersection of gritty hardcore punk and various forms of extreme metal such as death/thrash/crossover or, sometimes, black metal. (This last association works especially well when the combined genres also incorporate atmospheric or “post-metal” elements.) While musically the term can span a fairly wide spectrum (while staying primarily within the general confines of the collection of styles mentioned), crust as a concept tends to be more clearly defined by its attitude and lyrical themes — often focusing on things like social issues, or protesting against perceived injustices. Therefore, it would seem to make sense for a band called Autarch to identify themselves with that tag: “autarchy” is a philosophy similar to anarchy, but with a strong emphasis on self-governance and pure individualism.

Following a self-titled demo in 2012 (which you can download from Moshpit Tragedy here, either for free or by donating any amount you choose, which will then be sent to Canada’s Cedar Row Farm Animal Sanctuary), this group from the Blue Ridge region of western North Carolina released an album called The Death of Actiacus last spring. (“Actiacus” is one of several names used for Apollo, due to the fact that one of the major ancient Greek temples dedicated to this god of sun and light was located at a site called Actium — so it seems, metaphorically, the album title is basically referring to the extinguishing of light.)

And now (actually, sometime within the past week), the album has been made available in a limited vinyl edition (just 300 copies pressed on grey marble). And the band is also in the midst of a tour up and down the eastern U.S. and Canada — with only a handful of dates remaining before they head back home, but including a stop in Pittsburgh tonight (Wednesday, 28 May). More on both the tour and the album can be found below.

 

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