In the rush to cover the constant waves of new music, we all too often neglect discussing the releases that leave the most substantial impressions in our lives. As such, we recently invited some bands and artists to wax poetic about an album that was deeply impactful or influential to them, either musically or personally. The fourth in this (increasingly popular, apparently!) series of guest reviews is Forest Bohrer of Adzes--who, incidentally, just put out a very good album that you can read about here. Read on!
Written by: Forest Bohrer
Time brings them all home
To the eye of every storm
Upon the landscape of heavy music, Neurosis looms. The Oakland-based collective has produced a slew of landmark records through the decades, influencing multiple generations of musicians and spawning entire genres of like-minded bands. Their most well-known record is the apocalyptic machine that is Through Silver In Blood, a sprawling seventy minutes of oppressive darkness. And yet, when I think of Neurosis records that had the profoundest influence on my life, 2004’s The Eye of Every Storm is the record I return to.
At the turn of the 21st century, the band had just delivered Times of Grace, a masterpiece perhaps even surpassing Through Silver In Blood in emotional weight and crushing sludge. And rather trying to reach the great heights of Times, or the depths of companion EP Sovereign, the band turned to a more contemplative, organic approach. A Sun That Never Sets and its successor The Eye of Every Storm featured gravelly singing, acoustic guitars, cellos, complex harmonies, and matured songwriting, but are no less weighty than other Neurosis albums for that.
Written by: Volt Thrower
Being born into a bible bashing religious cult/family is a traumatizing experience for a curious child. Something I've only started to fully grasp after countless hours and thousands of dollars in therapy. So when I saw the press release for a Bible Basher record featuring Tich of Temple of Coke, Joe E. Allen of Kurokuma and the doom doc featuring the UK underground, plus members of Archelon and Spaztik Munke, I knew I had to have it. I purchased a cassette copy instantly, I don't even own a tape player but I guess I'm on the lookout for one now.
Scathing, sacrilegious, supergroup sludge from Sheffield, UK, is exactly what the doctor ordered for this 2020 hellscape. “Words from the bible, riffs from hell.”
In the rush to cover the constant waves of new music, we all too often neglect discussing the releases that leave the most substantial impressions in our lives. As such, we recently invited some bands and artists to wax poetic about an album that was deeply impactful or influential to them, either musically or personally. The third guest to graciously offer a retrospective in this series is Steven of (intoxicatingly cathartic and emotive) dark electronica act aortaproject. Notably, this is the second of four(!) NIN retrospectives. Read on!
Written by: Steven of aortaproject
Nine Inch Nails The Fragile: Trent Reznor's opus. Not his most critically acclaimed work, but for diehards, this is "all that could have been" for Nine Inch Nails.
It's been almost 20 years since the iconic double album’s release in Sept of 1999 and I still couldn't be happier with it. The Fragile remains a staple in my reported influences, and a constant in my playlist. Even after thousands of hours of listening, I still find bits and pieces I haven't noticed before. Exploring the threads of Reznor's genius. The Fragile is laced with sonic texture, intricate layering, and an articulate blending of synthetic and natural elements, encroaching the frail temperament of stringed instruments with the powerful programming of electronic drums and pulsating synths.
Written by: Lord Hsrah
2020 has most definitely proven to be an immensely dreadful year--and that's saying the least in every way. It is in these times of turmoil and unrest that we often turn to the arts for comfort and solace and peace, to find an escape from all the chaos around us. And of all the arts and recreations, the one singular thing that lights our lives up is music, and, thankfully, for the power metal geek that I am, this year hasn't been short of providing power metal in decent abundance. Today I'm feeling like some driving symphonies, some operatic vocals, some ballads...and guess what! I have just the thing on hand that I'm looking for. Let's take a look at Northern Irish symphonic power metallers Ravenlight's first full-length album, Project Genesis.
Written by: Alex, Bringer of Payne
Forest Boher, the single member of Adzes, is rather angry on No One Speaks About It. In this case, “it” represents the broad threats that existentially threaten our societies as we know them, from unaddressed climate change to rampant poverty, and his anger is directed exclusively at the elusive 1% that maintain an inescapable influence over all of our lives. Accompanying his ominous message is a thick soundscape of sludgy, shoegaze-influenced metal.
The project opens with "Divide," a sludgy, downtuned track that’s driven by a melancholic, undulating bassline. Swirling vocals haunt the instrumentation, insistently questioning the world’s borders and the lack of compassion that is required to uphold them. As an introduction it’s stellar, for it showcases the sonic and political tone candidly; if you dislike this track, for whatever reason, there’s no need to go any further. "Jesus Built My Death Squads" follows suit, although sonically, it’s a little brighter with a needling guitar riff that reoccurs. This track is perhaps the closest that Boher strays into the mainstream, and is one of many highlights that are littered throughout the project’s tracklist.
In the rush to cover the constant waves of new music, we all too often neglect discussing the releases that leave the most substantial impressions in our lives. As such, we recently invited some bands and artists to wax poetic about an album that was deeply impactful or influential to them, either musically or personally. The second guest to graciously offer a retrospective in this series is Chris H of antifacist blackened outfit Phryne. Read on!
Written by: Chris H
The first time I listened to The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails was in 2015. At that time, I was starting to find myself listening to heavier music, and I was venturing to discover all the classic hallmarks of metal. Industrial had always been interesting to me, but as a kid I was always too afraid of the dark imagery to really listen. When I sat down to listen to The Downward Spiral--the first industrial album I decided to listen to--and pressed play, I heard the sounds of a man being beaten in a strangely rhythmic fashion. At that moment, I was uneasy and wondering if I should keep going and listen on, but as the sample from the film THX 1138 crescendoed into a chaotic noisescape, I gave in and was transported to the grimy world Trent Reznor had created. “Mr. Self Destruct” is still one of my favorite album openers because of its raw attack and energy. It is the perfect beginning to the experience that is The Downward Spiral.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
Nothing really scratches an itch for the heavies like a solid slab of traditional doom with a monstrous boom. Castle have been around for a little while now, but they didn’t cross my radar until a friend suggested them, and their most recent effort Deal Thy Fate hooked me in an instant. Repeat listens only made me love it more. Every box is checked; intricate rhythms, strong solos, incredible vocals, and haunting structures.
With that, you can take it and run with it, or you can go absolutely nowhere, all depending on the songwriting. Thankfully, this department has been perfected. Guitar leads with bouncy energy reflected off crushing bottom riffage is the name of the game. You’ll also find all kinds of higher wails between the solos and the fretboard fun. Amazingly, they also manage to pack a lot into generally short runtimes for songs, cramming in endless riffs and licks that dance around the typical song structure. A darker shadow is cast upon this, but they never lose their accessibility.
In the rush to cover the constant waves of new music, we all too often neglect discussing the releases that leave the most substantial impressions in our lives. As such, we recently invited some bands and artists to wax poetic about an album that was deeply impactful or influential to them, either musically or personally. First up in this series of guest reviews is the prolific Espi Kvlt of Apricitas, Yngve, Seas of Winter, Phryne, Guan Yin, and Exsanguinated Shade. Read on!
Written by: Espi Kvlt
Is it blissful?
It’s like a dream.
I want to dream.
These words, from the first track off Deafheaven’s sophomore album, cut through me like a knife the first time I held the lyrics booklet up to my face to digest its contents. Impossible to decipher by simply listening to the album, I wanted to absorb every bit of it, as it had caressed me in the darkness of that filthy basement apartment where I lived with the man that would soon become my ex-boyfriend. The screeching vocals off Sunbather called out to me like a friend each time I was left in that bed in the corner of our room to ponder what I did to deserve the abuse from the man I thought I loved.
It cannot be overstated how much the lyrics alone have left a permanent impact on my
psyche, so much so that I branded those lyrics from “Dream House” permanently onto my flesh beside a ram skull. During those tumultuous times in that apartment, they were a source of comfort. They were my therapy. Accustomed to bands like Darkthrone and Cradle of Filth, it was the first time I had encountered such poetic language in black metal. Later in my life, this extended to my own lyrics. Deafheaven’s Sunbather still informs each decision I make when I put that pen to the paper. Lines like “Lost in the patterns of youth / And the ghost of your aches comes back to haunt you / And the forging of change makes no difference” make me both overjoyed at the experience of being able to read them and saddened to know I didn’t come up with them myself.
Written by: Volt Thrower
Skate rat doomers LáGoon are back again! Following up the maniacal mushroom meltdown of Maa Kali Trip from earlier this year, the two-piece has apparently one-upped into a power trio after seeing the light. They kicked ass as a duo, but have found that missing piece that will really solidify their status in the stoner rock world. Now with their fourth full length and seventh release in just a shade over two years, they remind me of King Blizzard and the Hizzard Whatevers...except LáGoon's music is actually enjoyable.
In all seriousness I do enjoy KG+tLW, I was obsessed with Im in Your Mind Fuzz in 2014/15, but have not been a huge fan of anything else until their latest. LáGoon, however, have been nothing short of a rocketship ascending.
Written by: Shane Thirteen
When I was in school in the mid to late 80's, Dungeons and Dragons was the Friday night pizza-fueled, soda pop-buzzin, eye-buggin fantasy fodder for me and all my friends. Friday night we would meet at Rex's house to play 'till late into the night.
When I saw the name Bog Wizard I was instantly traversed back to the campaigns of war and adventure of my youth. Now my band of merry warriors has a soundtrack: Bog Wizard! This power doom sludge trio from Michigan is thickness incarnate, so much so that the tracks laid down in From The Mire, in my opinion, should spark its own sub category in the stoner/doom/ sludge scene. This new sub-genre could be called, say: Northern Tundra Thickness Doom.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!