Written by: Volt Thrower
If you want to cook up some hype and expectations for a stoner/desert rock album, Albuquerque desert doom purveyors Red Mesa could do far worse than starting off with features from scene legends Wino and Dave Sherman, of essential acts The Obsessed and Spirit Caravan. Throw in recording and production by Matthew Tobias at Empty House Studio, who has handled massive recording projects like OM/Al Cisneros solo projects. Sprinkle in some mastering by John McBain, original guitarist of Monster Magnet, and baby, you've got a stew going. A stew absolutely bubbling over the brim with sky high expectations. Let's hope it can provide some meaty heartiness, not just a weak broth.
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
32 years?! It's crazy to say that Paradise Lost have been a band for 32 years. The masters of doom and melancholy have been going steady ever since then with no break-ups or hiatuses in between. After a brief wait, Paradise Lost return with their 16th opus Obsidian, the follow-up to the masterful Medusa. Said album was a slight return to their original death/doom roots although within a modern context...but enough about the past.
Obsidian is split into three different and distinct styles. You have the more death/doom-leaning tracks, the more gothic rock/metal-based tracks, and a subtler bridging between the two styles. It feels like a natural progression from the last album, with many of the trademarks we all love and adore about Paradise Lost, but with many twists and turns along the way. Welcome to the world of Obsidian.
As ye eagle-eyed readers may note, we published a review of this very same album, like, just a few days ago. However, we just couldn't deny Izzy--the Sleeping Village's self-proclaimed reviewer of all things screamy, dreamy, and inbetweeny--a chance to discuss the latest opus from Infant Island. Enjoy this review redux! - Ed.
Not too long ago I reviewed Infant Island’s latest EP, Sepulcher, and along with my mountains of praise for the band, I promised I would do a full-length write-up on the LP they had just announced, Beneath. I fully intended on fulfilling that promise, so here we are. I’ve been in love with this Virginia post-hardcore/screamo revival outfit since I first discovered them in 2018 with their self titled album, and so I cannot wait to talk about it. (Despite taking a little over a week to actually write this due to circumstances beyond my control.)
Sepulcher blew my mind, so I came into this with high hopes, and Infant Island certainly delivered. However, this is truly an example of an album I love, but think could’ve been something more, or maybe something else. That said, I want to end this review on a positive note, so I’ll begin with my few complaints.
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
Oh, Finland. What a glorious country--with your beautiful scenery, and, of course, your DEATH METAL. Yes, Finland, has produced some of the greatest death metal bands of all time: old Amorphis (love their new albums still), Convulse, Mordicus, Demilich, and of course Purtenance. The latter, topday's band in question, formed in 1989 under the name Purtenance Avulsion but shortened their name in 1991, releasing an EP and debut album before disbanding. Buried Incarnation is their third album released after reforming in 2012. But what awaits me on this audial journey? Let's begin.
"Into the Arctic Gloom" is quite the introduction. It's epic, sinister, and full of atmosphere. I really love the eerie melodies they use for the keyboards in the background, which only give the song more atmosphere.
Written by: Arzou
2020 has been quite the year and we aren’t even halfway done with it. For almost six months we’ve been dealing with pain, sorrow, anger, resentment, and of course, political and social issues. So much so that it’s safe to say that most people have felt like they’re going insane! I know I have. I’ve been cooped up indoors for 69 days! (nice). Luckily, grindcore duo Human Obliteration felt the same way and instead of writing countless facebook posts about how shit sucks, they instead released their latest album “Definition of Insanity” for us to eagerly enjoy with our ear holes.
Straight off the bat, if you haven’t listened to this album: do it. It’s 18 minutes long, which is shorter than your average episode of anime. Trust me, it’s worth it, and a much better use of your time. It’s okay. Your body pillow and cheap instant ramen can wait.
Now that I assume you’ve listened to the album we can continue. If you haven’t that’s okay. I don’t forgive you.
Written by: Volt Thrower
Canada has been on a tear with its metal releases so far this year. Alberta specifically has been a hotbed for heavy lately. Whether you want genre bending devastation of the stunning Wake Devouring Ruin release, or some mind numbingly heavy stoner doom in Highbernation's Comatokes, chances are you can find something to scratch that itch in-province.
Now you might be saying, “I'm actually in the mood for some trad-heavy, maybe some NWOBHM speed stuff.” If so, gather ‘round weary reader, for the local village Journeyman has the release for you. Termination Shock, recently released through Gates of Hell Records, is the second full-length from Calgary speed rockers Traveler.
Written by: Izzy
If you’re at all into grindcore, you likely recognize this name. If you aren’t into grind you’ve probably never heard of this band in your life--such as the scene goes, the best bands go unnoticed to all but the most dedicated. That said, I am bringing this album to your attention for one simple reason: it fuckin' rocks and you should go listen to it.
Nepalese immigrant grinders Chepang have been blast-beating their way into the crusty hearts of fans ever since their 2016 EP, Lathi Charge. Chepang, however, have only gotten better and better with each release if you ask me (which you may or may not be, but this is my review). As they improved they also got more adventurous, and Chatta continues to follows that trend. It’s 28 minutes of razor-sharp, hyper-focused jazzy grinding madness, split up into a main section that’s 16 minutes and a 12 minute remix B-side.
And now for something a little different, both in format and in sonic content! To adequately assess the latest offering from Slow Draw, two Village-dwellers--Continuous Thunder and The Administrator--took up the pen to express (complimentary) views, making for a somewhat rare double review 'round these parts. Without further ado:
Written by: Continuous Thunder
I’d like to start this with a bit of a disclaimer that I went into this album with no previous knowledge of Slow Draw or Stone Machine Electric (something I will be correcting immediately). I just saw the drone tag and I hit play. Drone can mean any number of things, but as this was a drone project of a member of a stoner band, I went in with expectations of good vibes and ultra-long riffs. What I didn’t expect was just how sparse the arrangements would be. Seriously, there’s little more than an electric piano, synths, and a guitar at any given moment on this album, and it lines up more with ambient music than drone.
Sparsity in music can be a blessing or a curse. On one hand, it strips things down to their bare elements, removing any fluff or embellishments that distract from the core of the composition. On the other, it reveals just how strong or weak a composition actually is. I think back to the last album from Earth where they dialed back the fuzz and reverb and had to lean on their riffs more than the atmosphere. Gallo does the same thing but to an even greater extent. The guitars are (mostly) acoustic, buzzy synths only serve as a backdrop, and there is very little, if any, percussion.
Written by: Ancient Hand
“Blackgaze” is a term that immediately disgusts and turns off purists of straight forward, Satan-worshipping, formulaic black metal. The image of modern hipsters wearing skinny jeans while writing black metal in basements is stomach-churning to some who would rather imagine 90’s hipsters wearing skinny jeans while writing black metal in basements. “Blackgaze” is a term openly embraced by Canada’s Unreqvited. Tagged on the project’s new album, Empathica, is the controversial term itself. Additionally, the album is self-described to contain “shimmering blackgaze melodies and grandiose orchestral segments.”
The second part of this description, though, is where the innovation lies. We’ve all heard an album make use of beautiful guitar melodies paired with tremolo picking and relentless drumming, but Unreqvited’s ability to roll symphonic and orchestral elements into the music is quite groundbreaking when experienced on this new LP.
Written by: Continuous Thunder
I first got into heavy music in my mid-teens, and by “got into heavy music” I mean found music that not only appealed to me, but also bothered my parents. (What’s the point of heavy music if it doesn’t cause your parents genuine concern?) Anyway, way back in the mid-’00s, when I was just a distant rumble, the heavy music of choice for the youths of the day was screamo and metalcore. CD players and primitive iPods were full of the sounds of bands like Underoath, The Used, From First To Last, and The Devil Wears Prada. Jeans were tight, lips were pierced, and hair was long and dyed black. These genres and styles fell out of favor right around the end of the decade, but screamo has had a bit of an underground resurgence in recent years. Infant Island, in particular, are a relatively new band that may prove that the genre isn’t entirely dead.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!