Look. In the hunt for excellent heavy metal with which to rudely awaken our slumbering populace, we're well aware that some genres, by nature, aren't...how shall we say. Subtle in their execution?
The nasty blackened thrash/speed metal/punk conglomerate brokered by Wraith is the definition of one such sonic palette. Gloriously exemplified by high-octane riffage, rabid vocals, and a general sense of fun-loving wild abandon, their sophomoric album is an effort as energetic as it is loud. Take opener "Devil's Hour" as a prime example of all that follows: a raucous ride, equal parts deadly and jubilant. Think Midnight, Witchtrap, or perhaps Exciter, all by way of Venom. While the more critical among us would comment on the extreme brevity and the general lack of diversity, I'm here to say, emphatically: who gives a damn? I went into Absolute Power expecting an absolute ripper, and that's exactly what I got. No more, no less. Thank god.
Finding excellence in unexpected places is one of the greatest joys in the (otherwise sordid) life of a music-reviewing scribe. While I haven’t been terrible vocal on this forum regarding personal opinions on melodic metalcore/post-hardcore, here’s a primer: I don’t explore those particular bogs frequently, as the vast majority seems to exist in a nebulous state of commercial creative regurgitation. And I don’t like bile on my boots.
But, on infrequent yet glorious occasion, a band like The Last Martyr takes elements of an established sound, add their own spin, and elevate said genre out of the murk. At risk of spoiling the rest of this damn review, let’s just say that Creatrix, the stellar debut EP before ye, succeeds enormously in this regard.
Captain Graves isn't a new name 'round these parts. We interviewed this extraterrestrial bringer of destruction (in conjunction with Advent Varic) a few weeks back, and I'll be damned if his vision of apocalyptic planetary demise didn't strike a certain nerve. You see, we Villagers appreciate a good turn of phrase, even if the scribe in question is intent on our inevitable violent expiration.
And so we bequeathed The Captain his very own review column within our humble halls. Herein, he'll be chronicling dark and heavy earthly music that suit his judicial tastes. Our time here is limited...so enjoy these recommendations while you still can.
First up: Texas' own Forebode.
I am not a child of the 60's or 70's. I am, however, a child of a child of the 60's and 70's, and that has made all the difference in my current state of musical appreciation. Not to say the hippie aesthetic is my thing--far from it--but folk and proto-rock planted a certain something, and every once in a while, it's fun to revisit. Enter Flowers, the forthcoming debut LP from Sweden's Children of the Sün.
Sonically and thematically, Children of the Sün's brand seems, at first blush, easy to place. Vocal harmonies? Check. Liberal application of hammond-esque keys? Check. Pitter-pat percussion? Check. Airy acoustics? Check. Back-to-the-earth sentimentalism? Double check. Take your favorite carefree folk rock--Traffic or perhaps Blind Faith as several examples among many--and mix, sparingly, with the modern edge and vocal prowess of MaidaVale or Halos and Hurricanes-era Avatarium. The latter may be a stretch, but Josefina Berglund Ekholm and Jennie-Ann Smith certainly share similarities in syrupy-yet-grounded delivery.
If you haven't yet checked out Bostonian power trio Death Pesos, but had the chance to skim through the playlist they graciously curated for the Village over on spotify...you've got a pretty decent picture of what awaits. Scuzzy riffs and grimy licks are the name of the game. Throw some forthright aggression in the direction of the drums, supplement heavily with groovy bass, and bury deep in the mix some filtered buzzsaw vocals, a la your favorite Uncle Acid. These self described “garage-metal stoners” are all about noisy guitar, fuzzy ambiance, and rockin’ attitude--and on their latest single/B-side, they present a raw and rollicking amalgamation of influences. It's high-quality fuzzy rock ‘n’ roll, so we've gotta roll out the red carpet: with echoes of Cream, to Captain Beyond, to Stoned Jesus, to Faux Ferocious, to Graveyard, there's a lot of influential sounds on display in these 7-ish short minutes.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and heavy enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a certain groggy-eyed and highfalutin' peasantry.