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.
This particular Slumbering Villager's talents don't exactly fall in the “songwriting” category, but this I know: unless you're the immortal Bongripper, creating compelling long-form instrumental doom is damn hard. Fuzz-ridden repetition, while a hallmark, is a blessing and a curse, and few outfits command the dynamism required to pull it off. The lack of vocals effectively guillotines a prime focal point. And we haven't even begun to mention the encroaching boredom that lurks sullenly at every turn. While there are always exceptions, doom of this ilk often goes on and on without ever saying anything interesting. Much like...well, much like this introduction. Really painted myself into a corner there.
While it may go against convention at our humble Village, I think, in this case, it’s best to let the album artwork do all the talking. Those (techni)colors. That monstrous chain-whipping entity. The iron-clad horde. The font. Need I really break out the thesaurus to describe what Portland’s endlessly entertaining Soul Grinder sounds like? Methinks not. This is heavy metal at its most overt, and, thus, its most...fun. From the massive drums, to the riffs, to the wretch’d screams of April Dimmick (aka Prilzor), The Prophecy of Blight encompasses and exudes the slimy excess--sonic, visual, and thematic--that we fans of the genre crave. Secretly or no. But yet, through the jubilant viscerality, Soul Grinder treat their craft with an earnest and mature confidence.
Pull up a chair and put up your feet: I'm going to review this single by way of story. If you'd rather skip the drama, just stream the damn thing below. Either way: good choice.
Last night, in the midst of Sunday evening zeal, I was workin' out with some resistance bands whilst listening to Gatecreeper's latest single on repeat. Somewhere, somehow, said resistance band broke and catapulted into my face, which necessitated a very, very bloody journey to the ER. Bloody beard-trimming, three stitches, lots of unsightly bruising, and a chipped tooth later, I'm back at the scene of the crime...spinning "Anxiety" once more. If this isn't a clear indication of Gatecreeper's finesse in the injury-inducing department, I really don't know what is.
Sometimes a band has a almost-but-not-quite grand debut, the kind of album that bears the weight of rookie flaws, but speaks of something larger to come. And then, sometimes, said band delivers tenfold on their next outing, absolutely shattering notions of sophomore slump. And sometimes the groggy-eyed scribe who said he'd review the album in question in a timely manner spends two months mulling over how best to put his emamorment into words. And that lands us here, with Wolf Blood’s II spinning for what seems the umpteenth time.
Wolf Blood is one of those bands who revel in throwing a bevy of ideas at the wall and hoping they stick. Unlike most who engage in such reckless activity, these folks are really damn good at making sure it all stays up there. It’s purely original stuff, and in this business, that's a significant and rare quality.
Whilst reading through the back catalogue of albums I have vocally enjoyed, one may notice a variety of little quirks and foibles. These include, but are certainly not limited to: A. an issue with albums that run unnecessarily long, and B. a general disinterest in color-by-number black metal. Regarding the first point, let it be known that today’s album in question suffereth not. Regarding the second, while the legends and the classics will always garner respect and the occasional spin from this particular Villager, I seldom find myself seeking out black metal artists of the new era. As such, when I say that Vrednesdal's (stellar, as it turns out) Fealty of Diabolism was one of my most anticipated albums of the year, it’s my hope that my words will carry a modestly significant weight.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!