Friday, 31 July 2015

Greenhorn - 'Like Rows Of Crooked Teeth' (Album Review)

‘That's what's so brilliant about Greenhorn; as well as being seriously fucking heavy, you get a history lesson thrown in too’

Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 01/04/2015
Label: Black Bow Records/Hibernacula Records

'Like Rows Of Crooked Teeth' CD//DD track Listing:

1). They Said It Was Treason So They Cut Her Fucking Head Off
2). Kentucky Boone
3). Long Drop
4). Witch's Bridle
5). Dead Man's Hill
6). Like Rows of Crooked Teeth
7). Outro

Greenhorn is:

Sid | Bass, vocals
AJ | Guitar
Vlad | Drums


Greenhorn's demo, released in 2013 was good enough for Terrorizer to label them "the future of British doom" and with this, their first full length, it's not hard to see why. "Like Rows of Crooked Teeth" was produced by producer extraordinaire and current Conan bassist Chris Fielding, indeed he has put his weighty stamp all over this.

'They Said It Was Treason So They Cut Her Fucking Head Off' starts with a simplistic lonely guitar riff before the proceeding monolithic slab of superb doom. Guitarist AJ's sound is thick with fuzz and sounds like he used tar to lube his strings. Vocalist/Bassist Sid's voice is harsh and evil as he sings about Lady Alice Lisle and her execution in the Bloody Assizes. Blood curdling stuff. Second track 'Kentucky Boone' features the vocal talents of Conan's Jon Davis whose high pitched banshee wail fits perfectly with the weighty riffs on this story of Wild West outlaw Helm Boone.

That's what's so brilliant about Greenhorn; as well as being seriously fucking heavy, you get a history lesson thrown in too. 'Long Drop' is a relatively short affair, the opening drum fill from (now former) drummer Vinnie prompted my girlfriend to restart the track 5 or 6 times before I could give the song a proper listen. The vocals are belched rhythmically over the simple yet compelling riffs making this a song that's impossible not to nod along to. A rerecording of 'Witches Bridle' from their demo is up next, Sid showing he can do melodic vocals if he wants. The eerie melody of this song and the grim subject matter (the torture and Execution of an elderly woman at the North Berwick witch trials) provides a sinister edge.

'Deadman's Hill' builds with some almost military drums and wailing feedback before the ridiculously catchy main riff batters you. Around the 4 minute mark it all breaks down to a slow crawl before another brilliant riff takes the song to metallic territory, whilst Sid screams "she was filled with his cum" over and over. Finally the title track and the minute long outro, 'Like Rows of Crooked Teeth' features samples of an interview with American psychopath Carroll 'Ed' Cole mere hours before his execution, played over the toe-tappingly terrific intro and the stellar main riffs, which have the density of an imploding planet. The screeching feedback leads off into the outro which deceptively lulls  you into believing you're about to hear another song with a brilliant doom riff,  before it all ends, much like the tactics of Ted Bundy.

This isn't a concept album; there is a recurring theme with each song having its own concept, mainly about genuine historical figures and their tribulations. I was very pleased to see a mention of my little band included in the album's 'Thank You' notes, this goes to show how much of an impression we made on them. Truthfully, my first listen to Greenhorn left an everlasting impression, they truly are a force in the UK doom scene and this album only strengthens that belief. Give this album a listen; let them leave an impression on you too.

Words by Chris Bull

‘Like Rows of Crooked Teeth’ is available here

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Ecstatic Vision - 'Sonic Praise' (Album Review)

‘Like Sleep jamming with The Heads whilst Dave Wyndorf tempts you to join him on the ride of your life’

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 26/06/2015
Label: Relapse Records

‘Sonic Praise’ CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Journey
2). Astral Plane
3). Don't Kill The Vibe
4). Sonic Praise
5). Cross The Divide

Ecstatic Vision:

Doug Sabolick | Guitars / B3 / Vox
Michael Field Connor | Bass
Jordan Crouse | Drums / Percussion 


Philadelphia trio Ecstatic Vision claim they got together in order to "play what they wanted to hear". After listening to “Sonic Praise”, it seems they wanted to hear heavy, mind-altering psychedelic rock of the highest order, which is fine by me.

The band combine hypnotic krautrock grooves, scuzzy garage rock and fuzzed-out stoner rock to devastating effect across the five tracks on offer here. “Journey” kicks things off in fine style, like Sleep jamming with The Heads whilst Dave Wyndorf tempts you to join him on the ride of your life.  Douglas Sabolick’s vocals are a key element of Ecstatic Vision’s sound. The relentless cosmic repetition of the music is enough to transport you to a higher plane, but it’s the shamanic vocals that convince you that there is nothing cooler than following the band on their voyage into oblivion. 

Another key element of the band’s sound is their rock-solid rhythm section. Every song is based on minimal bass and drum patterns which, once locked in, seem to drive on to infinity, raising the intensity of the guitars and vocals around them. This is particularly evident on epic album highlight “Astral Plain” as riffs ebb and flow before building to one last freak-out with added wailing sax. As the album progresses, the bands attack seems to tighten. The final track “Cross The Divide” is focused around a single chord but still reaps maximum rewards.

“Sonic Praise” is an impressive debut from Ecstatic Vision that should have a broad appeal to fans of heavy riffage, blissed-out psych rock, hip-shaking rock’n’roll and everything in between.

Words by: Charlie Butler

‘Sonic Praise’ is available here

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Year of the Goat - 'The Unspeakable' (Album Review)

‘This is an unstoppable offering, a collection of songs that makes you relieved you listen to the music that you do. A real contender for anyone's end of year list’

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 31/07/2015
Label: Napalm Records

‘The Unspeakable’ CD//DD//LP track listing:

1.  All He Has Read
2.  Pillars of the South
3.  The Emma
4.  Vermin
5.  World Of Wonders
6.  The Wind
7.  Black Sunlight
8.  The Sermon
9.  The Key And The Gate (Alternative Version - Bonus Track)
10  Riders Of Vultures


It all begins with the near 13 minute epic 'All He Has Read'. Tribal drumming and disembodied whispers are all that can be heard, as though some grim ceremony is about to take place with you at the centre of it (remember that soul claiming business...).  It continues to build with a gothic tolling bell and some unnerving lead work before the hammer gets put down. The song opens up with some epic guitar work which veers from a soaring melody line right down to a doom drenched chug. This is where Thomas Sabbathi's breathtaking vocals enter. The guy can sing and I mean really sing. The vocal harmonies are just stunning and it seems hard to believe you're hearing this in 2015. It's a mesmerising start to proceedings that takes a few interesting turns.

Continuing with 'Pillars of The South', the band apply all of the tricks displayed earlier but instead condense the result down into a 5 minute rocker (as is the case for the remainder of the record).  A catchy, classic riff is underpinned by a haunting organ, the accompaniment of those soaring vocals, is then met with exquisite lead guitar work. It's not all pace however, with 'The Emma', the band reduce the tempo, make astonishing use of the vocals and organ and connect it all together with a melancholic bluesy guitar and bass, that results in something pretty spectacular. 'The Wind' and 'Black Sunlight' both romp along with all the trademarks you'll know and love at this point. It's always epic, it's always haunting and it's always authentic.

The records closer 'Riders of Vultures', utilises a smirk inducing doom riff and a hypnotic harmony guitar part that just feels classic, as though you've heard it somewhere before but are so glad you're hearing it right now. All this before the lead guitar appears alongside some vintage backing vocals; once again, you'll be somewhere familiar. It's at this point we’re told were going to meet the master and the albums heaviest moment thunders forth. It's massive. It's spine tingling. Get ready.

If this record indicates anything at all, it is that ‘this is the Year of the Goat’. This is an unstoppable offering, a collection of songs that makes you relieved you listen to the music that you do. A real contender for anyone's end of year list and as the great Bart Simpson once said "all the best bands are affiliated with Satan". That's more true now than ever.

Words by: Rhys Miles

‘The Unspeakable’ is available here

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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

'BBQ’s and Spontaneous Combustion' - An Interview with Valley of the Sun

Valley of the Sun spent two weeks trekking across Europe before making the necessary stop in Tilburg, Holland’s own rock n’ roll hideout. At first sight, birthday boy and singer Ryan looked a little worse for wear but when he showed me the van they had been travelling in, it all made sense. He introduced me to a friendly Frenchman, Arnoud, who I learned was borrowed from The Dot Legacy and was a stand-in for this tour. Then Aaron, the drummer, grabbed a chair and rambled on about Creationists and a museum in Cincinnati where humans are depicted riding on the backs of dinosaurs. I was in good company that was for sure. Eventually we got down to the interview, which you can watch below. If you enjoy stories about touring, food, and making music then be sure to check out this video

Interview by: Victor Van Ommen

Camera: Casper Stokhuyzen

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Death Angel - 'A Thrashumentary' DVD (Review)

Media Type: DVD
Date Released: 24/7//2015
Label: Nuclear Blast

Death Angel is:

Mark Osegueda | (vocals)
Rob Cavestany | (guitar)
Ted Aguilar | (guitar)
Damien Sisson | (bass)
Will Carroll | (drums)


Being an avid appreciator of all things “making of” and “history of”, I jumped at the chance to review this- over two and a half hours of footage combining both those docu-genres. The first half of this engaging film covers Death Angel's history. Yes, they were very young when they started out and yes, the band was part of the second wave of Bay Area thrash so of course you get lots of their contemporaries as talking heads or cropping up in photos from the time. Each band member (as is now) are interviewed extensively and contribute interesting comments to their history and path through the somewhat murky and ever changing waters of the music industry. The spectre of This is Spinal Tap is never too far away but things never get all the way there as the band members come across as hard working and dedicated pros who often laugh at themselves and the business. Certainly, the band has overcome a lot, for example a horrendous bus crash which effectively curtailed their rise to the top- line up changes, industry changes and even complete dissolution. 

It is noted that it took Chuck Billy having cancer to bring them back together, but once reformed things were better than ever. At the heart of all this is the music, of course. Death Angel have made some cracking records (The Ultra Violence and Frolic through the Park are considered early classics) both early on and recently in their career (The Dream Calls For Blood is superb). The process of how they made ‘Relentless Retribution’ is the focus of the final part of the doc. Jason Suecof is the studio maestro capturing the musical magic while the band roll the songs out with new found enthusiasm due in part to a hungry new rhythm section.

For those with an interest in Death Angel, Bay Area thrash or musical history generally, then this is a must watch. You will be pleased to know that it's nothing like Some Kind of Monster, in that those involved come across well and as likeable down to earth guys. There is not a therapist or a sweater in sight. Much like the band's records, this is no frills; a metal documentary that does what is says on the tin. 

Words by: Richard Maw

‘A Thrashumentary’ is available here

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KLØTT - ‘KLØTT’ Demo (Review)

‘This is 6 tracks of filth. From start to finish, these tracks just drip with pond scum and reek of stale beer, weed smoke, piss and body odour.’

Album Type: Demo
Date Released: 21/07/2015
Label: Self Release

‘KLØTT’ DD track listing:

1). Black Sun
2). Lost in Smoke/Found in Death
3). Anvil
4). Chosen of the Slain
5). In The Gaze
6). Blistered


Hull sludge/grind/crust/hardcore upstarts and Hull Noise Collective affiliates KLØTT have just released their demo on Bandcamp in a "pay what you want" deal, which is what the D.I.Y scene should be all about. These guys maybe young but what they lack in experience they make up in exuberant intensity.

This is 6 tracks of filth. From start to finish, these tracks just drip with pond scum and reek of stale beer, weed smoke, piss and body odour. 'Lost In Smoke/Found In Death' is a personal favourite with its tempo shifts as is 'In The Gaze' in all its unwashed, crusty glory. Plus the noisy intro to 'Anvil' and the uber doom riffing that follows is sheer brilliance. Yeah, the production value isn't the best but if it was any more polished it would disarm the raw fury contained within. Whenever these guys record and release something to follow this up I'll be first in the queue to grab a copy.

Give it a spin, spend a quid or 2 and support the UK scene you bastards!

Words by: Chris Bull

‘KLØTT’ is available here

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Monday, 27 July 2015

Dead Existence - 'Endless Misery' (Album Review)

‘This is sludge/doom at its most painful, misanthropic and unforgiving. Some would say it's a bit long as it is an epic journey of soul crushing proportions and if you're thinking that, you're missing the point of it; the title is 'Endless Misery' after all’

Album Type: Full-Length
Date Releaed: 04/04/2015
Label: Black Bow Records

‘Endless Misery’ CS//DD//LP track listing:

1). Consume
2). End Devoured by Beginning
3). ....
4), Worthless
5). Tear Apart The Veil
6). Obsidian Black
7). Delusion of Hope
8). Regretamine


Ooh this is a bit tasty! Dead Existence has been plugging away at the underground sludge/doom scene since 2004 and have made many a venue crumble to dust. 'Endless Misery' is their first full length since 2007's self titled self release and is 8 tracks of sheer misanthropic, unmitigated filth.

We start off with 'Consume' with its Celtic Frost like opening riff veering off into Crowbar territory while vocalist Jake bellows about how meaningless your existence truly is. Things get more atmospheric for 'End Devoured by Beginning' as the clean/reverbed guitars play the opening notes before the heavy, sledgehammer like riffs pummel everything in earshot and the slower closing section wears you down like the Project Mayhem initiation scenes in Fight Club. After the brief interlude of the 3rd track it's back into relentless, punishing sludge for 'Worthless' which has some great double pedal work from drummer (and former bassist) Max. It's clear Jake is angry at the world as he shouts more discouraging phrases and anti humanist slogans. Brutal, nasty stuff indeed.

Next is 'Tear Apart The Veil' and it's dissonant, hardcore style riffs that bleed away as the bass plays a slower, claustrophobic pattern before the guitars join back in for some more Crowbar worship. 'Obsidian Black' starts with some nice 3/4 beat action to get heads wind milling and is a highlight for me personally. The riffs slow down towards the end and the guitars use some different tones and effects pedals to make it all the more miserable before it fades out into noise/ambient/spoken word piece 'Delusion Of Hope'. Finally we get the dying beast of the final track, the superbly titled 'Regretamine'. This song is an epic, painful crawl through self loathing, akin to starving yourself to death. The 13 minutes have enough interesting changes to keep the listener involved but man, it's hard to listen to without wanting to off yourself!

This is sludge/doom at its most painful, misanthropic and unforgiving. Some would say it's a bit long as it is an epic journey of soul crushing proportions and if you're thinking that, you're missing the point of it; the title is 'Endless Misery' after all

Words by: Chris Bull

‘Endless Misery’ is available here

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