Saturday, 20 September 2014

Interview with Old Man Lizard


Today's guests have a weird and wonderful sound compared to other bands. Their blend of Country, Rustic, Sludge and Stoner Metal had me raving on about their début album – Lone Wolf vs Brown Bear which I described as:

I have been waiting a very long time for this album. And I am pleased to say it's been worth the fucking wait. I originally became aware of Old Man Lizard back in Feb 2012 when I featured their excellent début EP. It was a stunning blend of Stoner, Sludge, Doom metal riffs.

Well it's time for their début album – Lone Wolf vs Brown Bear – a highly dangerous and volatile mix of Sludge, Doom, Stoner, Blues and Country music. Now don't let the Country aspect put you off as you will be missing out on something special here.

If you were disappointed by Baroness last album – Yellow & Green and waiting for the loud epic riffs which don't really appear. Well that's what Old Man Lizard have delivered. An album that Baroness should of made but failed to do so. As Old Man Lizard expertly combine different elements for one insane ride you won't soon forget about.”

I seen these guys in concert in June 2014 when they opened for Wo Fat/Mothership Texas Takeover tour in London. So I was already a fan of this band's unique style of music. I had to find out more about from Old Man Lizard.


Q1 – Hi guys. Thanks for doing this. How are things with you all today.

We are all wonderful, thanks for asking.

Q2 – Can you tell our readers a brief history on how the band started and where it is today.

Well, two of us (Jack and Gav) are cousins, we went to school together and we have been playing music together since we were 12 years old. Dan, our drummer, also went to the same school and we have all been good mates since we were teenagers.

We all played in various bands through our school and college life and then went our separate ways for University. Upon graduating and returning home, a few drunken conversations down the pub materialised into a band. At the first practice something clicked, we found that we all played together very naturally and all aspired to creating the same sound.

Q3 – So. How would you describe your sound. As you truly have a strange and wonderful sound that you don't come across within the Sludge/Stoner Metal scene.

That is a tough one! People have (very kindly) compared us to Baroness, early Clutch, and Harvey Milk, which we understand and these bands are all big influences of ours.

We are very purposefully not retreading the tired steps of Stoner, Sludge and Doom. There are some truly great bands from these genres but there is also a lot of boring, generic crap being churned out from these genres too. For example, it’s very obvious if a band has set out to be “stoner” or “desert” rock and they haven’t listened to anything outside of John Garcia’s discography; Stoner rock without grunge and hardcore running through its veins is, frankly, boring.

We try not to produce anything monotonous, when we write a riff we spend time making it our own, by using interesting chords and harmonies. Within each song we try to draw influence from a wide and interesting range of genres. We aren’t exactly sure how to describe our sound, we’ll leave that up to you guys.

Q4 – How did you all become involved with music.

We have all been rocking out since our early teens. We all just followed our passions and inevitably became more and more deeply involved in music.


Q5 – Why the name Old Man Lizard. Any specific meaning behind it.

No specific meaning, just a cool type of lizard.

Q6 – So lets get talking about your new album. Lone Wolf vs Brown Bear. Awesome album. Was it a hard or easy album to write and record for.

The whole thing came really naturally. The writing of the album was all done in our practice space (a filthy, greasy factory in Suffolk), which is a great pressure free environment to create music in, no time limits, no fees and plenty of cups of tea.

We were lucky enough to record with Sam Thredder (Slabdragger) at the Cro’s Nest in London (https://www.facebook.com/TheCrosNestStudio). The man is a recording Wizard! We recorded the guitar, bass and drums live; this gave us a chance to really get into the music and we feel this has come across in the recordings. The whole recording process was totally relaxed and this helped us to play to our full potential.

Q7 – It's been a long time coming as I heard it was supposed to be released in Summer/Autumn 2013. Can you please advise why the delay for the record.

The original label pulled out, so we were sitting on the record for about a year. Then Wicker Man came along and offered us a deal to release it.

Q8 – I bet you're glad that the album is finally out for everyone to hear now. Looking back would you change anything about the album.

We are really happy with it, there isn’t really anything we would want to change.


Q9 – What is the overall concept of the album for people that haven't heard it.

We are really into nature documentaries and this album explores the awesome/obscure/brutal sides of nature. This includes things that swim up your willy, conker fights, fighting for survival in the desert, being eaten alive by fish. It also includes some elements of human nature, Sea of Witches is about our local night life and Beezlebeer Blues is a twisted look at preachers.

Q10 – Why did you call the album – Lone Wolf vs Brown Bear. Any particular meaning behind it.

It actually started out as a joke- picture those terrible (awesome) wolf t shirts that fat beardy blokes wear at beer festivals- but when we finished writing we realised that it actually fit the album perfectly!

Q11 – Which bands and artists influenced you as musicians. Any particular band or album that stand out.

Other than the obvious, we feel the following bands have really lent a big influence to our sound:

-This Will Destroy You
-Baroness
-Harvey Milk
-Earth
-Nirvana (Bleach/In Utero)

David Attenborough is a massive hero and influence on us; one of the lines in “Return of the Wildebeest” is actually a direct quote.

Our surroundings are also a huge influence on us. We live in Suffolk, in the middle of nowhere surrounded by beautiful meadows, woods, rivers and open countryside and we feel this is reflected in our sound.


Q12 – Love the album cover. Who designed the cover and how much input did you have with overall design.

Sick” Mike Dicken did all the drawing and design for the cover. He is a very talented man and we were lucky enough to be able to just leave him to it and trust that he would come up with something awesome. With very little consultation, he delivered!

Q13 – What is the song-writing process in the band. Is it down to one individual or is it a group collective.

We all bring riffs to the table and we then build a song around them. We all have equal say and all help crafting the song, we are very lucky to all have similar ideas and we have never found it hard to agree on what works or what doesn’t.

All our favourite songs tend to come from jams, though. That’s the most natural way to create music.

Q14 – How big of a help has BandCamp and the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal community been in promoting your music.

Without any of this, no one would have heard of us. We are forever grateful!


Q15 – What is your verdict on the current state of the UK Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene. It has been thriving over the last few years. Can you see this continuing or do you see a natural decline when you're performing gigs at home or on the road.

The scene is booming and it will continue to do so! Festival like Temples and Desertfest are prime examples of how big the scene is at the moment. Is all one big party with the best dudes and killer music, long may it continue!

Q16 – What is your musical set-up when playing live or recording your music. Any hints and tips would you like to give to the budding musicians out there.

We have a very simple live set up, which we bought into the studio. We figure if we keep things simple, less can go wrong, and we still achieve a diverse sound.

So our advice would be keep your setup simple, don’t bother with elaborate pedal boards or over complicated drum set ups; rehearse and record in a relaxed environment; don’t be afraid of mid (especially bassists); be pro but make sure you still have fun!

Q17 – We are massive Vinyl Heads here at Sludgelord. Are you vinyl fans yourselves.

Vinyl is the best.

Q18 – Do you guys perform a lot of gigs in your home town or do you have to travel further afield to perform regularly.

We have a really good music scene locally in Colchester which we are lucky to have, so we play locally fairly regularly. We get out and about around the country as often as we can.

Q19 – What is your verdict on the whole crowd-funding scene. Where bands ask fans to fund their next album. Are you a fan of that platform. Would yourselves ever go down this route.

It’s not for us but we can see how it could be good for some bands. It just seems a bit back to front to us: asking people to pay for a product before it’s been made.

Q20 – If you could give any advice to someone wanting to start a band. What would it be.

Listen to Juke Box Hero by Foreigner. If you can write a song half as good then you might be onto something.

Q21 – The last thing before you go, Do you have anything else to say to your fans.

Thanks for diggin’ our shit, PARTY ON!

Well guys. Thanks for doing this. All the best with the album. 

Lone Wolf vs Brown Bear is available to buy on CD/DD from WickerMan Recordings 

Check The Band From Links Below


Written by Steve Howe

Hunter Gatherer - S/T (Album Review)

HUNTER GATHERER cover art

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 14th September 2014
Label: Self Released

Hunter Gatherer - S/T - track listing:

1.THE JACK PINE 09:39
2.HUNTER-GATHERER 04:41
3.SUBTLE BODIES 04:07
4.BOREAL 11:51
5.STURGEON LAKE 06:27

Bio

Sound influenced by nature and humanity's destruction of the natural world

Review:

Hunter Gatherer is a Sludge/Doom/Stoner/Avant Garde/Noise-Rock/Shoegaze Collective who have just released a stunning and bleak as hell S/T album which will send chills down your spine. It's not your usual Sludge/Doom Metal album as it has a very experimental feel to it. It kind of reminds of a slower paced version of SANNHET.

Hunter Gatherer unleash a lot of different noises and moods on this album and it's a strange and wonderful sounding bleak odyssey that manges to capture a lot of raw human emotion. The sound can be very frentic and lo-fi at times which is expected since the album was released on cassette tape. It feels that the album was recorded in an old abandoned warehouse somewhere on a desolate planet as it oozes atmosphere you simply cannot get in a recording studio.

This is a very hard album to review as it changes mood and atmosphere with each song. Sure the Sludge/Doom Metal aspect is there but the band include so many different things in their music that it can be quite frustrating to listen to at times but you have to give the band credit for trying something different. Check it out for yourselves as Hunter Gatherer are giving this excellent album away for free download on BandCamp.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Check The Band From Links Below


Written by Steve Howe

BEAK - Let Time Begin (Album Review)

Beak - Let Time Begin

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 23rd September 2014

Let Time Begin - track listing:

Souls In Streams
Light Outside
The Breath Of Universe
Let Time Begin
Into The Light
Carry A Fire
Over The Shelter, The Morning Breaks
Fiery They Rose

Bio

Blending Heavy Psych tripping waves and Stoner power, explosion of fuzz, delay and wha wha solo support by a heavy and powerfull rythm section, Brain Pyramid is here to kick your mind on it's space ride !

Members

Chris Eichenseer
Jason Goldberg
Jon Slusher
Andy Bosnak

Review:

BEAK's debut album - Let Time Begin - is finally upon us almost 2.5 years since their critically acclaimed 'debut EP - Eyrie - was released back in 2012. I always rated BEAK highly even back then as I called them one of Post-Metal brightest hopes and I am pleased to say that BEAK more than match the potential they showed on their debut EP on this blistering and hard-hitting album.

Let Time Begin is not your conventional Post-Metal album as BEAK injects new life into the genre with stunning noises and effects to give their debut album brains as well as brawn with the colossal riffs on show. Opening track Souls In Screams has a slight industrial/electro-rock feel with its creative use of synths leading the way with Jon's vocals having a distorted feel to them. It has the tone of early ISIS though with a more electronica vibe at its core. BEAK still manages to create a ton of intense Atmospheric Sludge Riffs to impress you with.

Second Track - Light Outside - is a more straightforward Sludge/Post-Metal affair with BEAK playing a more familiar style of noise and carnage that will speak volumes to the Post-Metal crowed. The instrumental work is impressive through out with BEAK earning their Sludge/Post-metal credentials with huge success. BEAK deserves credit for trying something different and daring within the Atmospheric Sludge/Post-Metal field. Let Time Begin is an album where the creative process is just as important as the music and end result itself. The album dares you to be part of the entire process where the music is hypnotic and most equally dangerous.

Third Track - The Breath Of Universe - is one the albums standout tracks as it once again ventures into the murky world of electronica with heavy post-metal riffs giving BEAK a distinctive voice in the modern world of music. The digitized effects may be too jarring for some but I urge you to stay the full journey, as it is a powerful tune with emotional depth and intelligence to it.

Let Time Begin is not an easy album to like or listen to on your first listen so give this album time to fully understand it and enjoy. I will admit that it took me a very long time and multiple listens to fully enjoy the whole experience. When I did, I began to enjoy the album in a completely new light. The album becomes heavier as time goes on with a more rounded emphasis on noise and volume especially on tracks such as Into The Light and Carry A Fire. Hints of subtle Post-Rock ambient noises appear occasionally to give the album a more serene and peaceful tone though BEAK always unleash the post-metal chaos to give to bring the album fully to life once again. Let Time Begin is a daring, thrilling and haunting record that will create ripples within the Post-Metal/Atmospheric Sludge world.

Once the album has finished and taken you on an emotional rollercoaster, the first thing you want to do is press play and relive this wonderful audio experience over and over again. It is a powerful album that will last long in the memory. What more else can I say apart from this - BEAK are an unstoppable force of nature. Let Time Begin is simply unmissable.

Let Time Begin will be released on CD/DD through SomeOddPilot Records from Sept 23rd 2014.

Check The Band From Links Below


Written by Steve Howe

Brain Pyramid - Chasma Hideout (Album Review)

Chasma Hideout cover art

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 01st October 2014
Label: Acid Cosmonaut Records

Chasma Hideout - track listing:

Living In The Outer Space
Lazy
Landing On The Pyramid
Lucifer
Twin Headed Giant
Into The Lightspeed
Chasma Hideout

Bio

Blending Heavy Psych tripping waves and Stoner power, explosion of fuzz, delay and wha wha solo support by a heavy and powerfull rythm section, Brain Pyramid is here to kick your mind on it's space ride !

Members

Gaston Lainé - Guitar/Vocals
Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo - Drums
Ronan Grall - Bass

Review:

French Stoner Psych Space Rockers – Brain Pyramid – finally unleash their debut album – Chasma Hideout through ace Italian Record Label – Acid Cosmonaut Records.

So what does Chasma Hideout have in store for you. Well it's a very strange affair as Brain Pyramid's style of Space/Stoner Rock has a very experimental feel to it. It doesn't play by the rules as the band create a lot of different noises and effects to stand out from the crowd. Opening track – Living In The Outer Space – is a frenzied fast-paced affair which blends Space Rock and Stoner Rock for highly impressive results. The Psychedelic Fuzz is another great reason to check out the band as the album has a lot of feedback running through it's 46 minute time.

Psychedelic is the main order of business here as Brain Pyramid take influences from a whole range of Stoner/Psych/Space Rock bands from the last 40 years or so. The album will have something for everyone to rock out to. The vocals take a while getting used to but that's only a minor complaint for an album as good as this. Other great tracks to check out are Landing On The Pyramid, Lucifer and the brilliant 11:38 minute epic – Chasma Hideout – which is one damn fine acid-tripping psychedelic fuzz master-class which oozes class.

The whole album is one massive jam-based exercise in noise and volume and when Brain Pyramid unleash the noise they become a more frightening prospect in the realm of Stoner/Psych Rock. Brain Pyramid add elements of 60s/70s based Psychedelic sounds and noises which gives this album an adventurous and exciting feel to it. As I stated before the album is very experimental so don't go expecting a straight forward sounding record as Brain Pyramid will test some listeners patience to the limit. Trust me when I say that is a very good thing indeed. It shows a band who are not afraid to challenge people's perceptions about Stoner Rock music in general.

Chasma Hideout is an excellent debut album from Brain Pyramid. These guys are going to be something special in the years to come if they keep releasing great albums such as this.

Thanks to Acid Cosmonaut Records for sending me a promo to review. Chasma Hideout will be available to buy from October 1st on Acid Cosmonaut Records 

Check The Band Form Links below


Written by Steve Howe

Friday, 19 September 2014

'Summoning the Rhino' - The Sludgelord speaks with Javier Galvez of Horn of the Rhino


Once again, HORN OF THE RHINO have torn up the rule book of heavy metal with the release of their 5th record and third through Czech label Doomentia Records.  This trio from Spain are an infusion of many sub genres of metal and rock, the clean vocals of Soundgarden, the growls of the best death metal acts, mixed  with the fuzzed out guitar tones of distinguished acts like High on fire and you’re perhaps only just scratching the surface of this band’s unique sound.

The trio have entered their tenth year as a band and they are continuing to grow with each record they produce, their mixture of sludge, grunge, thrash and death metal, is every bit as dynamic as that unlikely fusion suggest and at the heart of it all is founder, writer, vocalist, guitarist Javier Galvez.   

With ‘Summoning Deliverance’, recently released, everything about this band is better on this record, more riffs, more dynamics and the biggest asset of all, an incredible vocal performance from their hugely talent front man.  Upon discovering this band, formerly know simply as ‘Rhino’, to me they are continuing to prove that you can be unflinching heavy, yet melodic at the same time. 

Front man Javier describes this album as “conceptual” and an ode to misanthropy.
The
general hatred, distrust or disdain of the human species or human nature.  So I was keen to get the lowdown about the record from the man himself.  This is the conversation we had, when we talked back in August and prior to the record coming out. 





(SL) Welcome back to the Sludgelord Javier, pleased to talk to you again.   It is just over two years since the last time we talked. First of all, I have seen the artwork for the new record, its incredible and holy fucking shit, the two new tracks you initially stream are brutal.  Some of the best you’ve recorded.

Javier Galvez) Hey there Aaron! A pleasure to talk with you again for sure. I follow SL through FB and it´s a good reference to get through new albums and bands. Glad you like both the artwork and the songs.

(SL) Let’s kick things off; can you perhaps summarize the last couple of years for HOTR, what have been some of the highlights for you guys?   Have you observed a steady increase in popularity over this period or from album to album? 

Javier Galvez) The last couple of years were really full of activity; we released Grengus, that was/is a very strong record, and yes, I think the name of the band got a little more heard in the underground metal community, thanks in part to the promotion from Doomentia this time. As always, we played wherever we can, putting a solid great show for the people paying the ticket, delivering everything we got on the stage.

We played some cool festivals here and there, shows… but the highlight was the German tour in November 2013. Kudos to the guys in Beehoover for getting four unknown people into their bus and playing all over Germany together. Was intense, hard to do at times but worth every minute of it for sure. The HOTR machinery was well oiled and we proved it every night, I can tell you.

SL) Tell us about your immediate plans for the rest of the year? When’s the record officially out, because there have been rumours of end of July, but that’s fast approaching.  Set the record straight

JG) Seems like Doomentia got a tight schedule this summer so we have to wait a bit. The record release show is planned for August 16th so the CD should be out between right now and that date. From that we got a few shows and festivals already booked and more waiting to confirm.

(SL) What springs to mind when you think about the completion of your new/current record? You’ve got 10 tracks on this one, as opposed to 8, was that due to having better material this time around and were they completely new for this record, as opposed to being leftovers from the last one? 

JG) This time it wasn´t easy. There was so much pressure going on in the studio for different reasons. The mixing sessions were longer than expected and all the recording took a toll on all of us, I think. But at the end the record came out great.
We´ve got 10 tracks this time, but you´ll see. No leftovers, never; maybe, sometimes I can rescue a forgotten riff in the recorder but that´s all. And no better or worse material, just different. And hard to play haha!!

(SL) You’ve chosen to work with Xanpe again on this record at Koba Studios, was it the case of it ain’t broke don’t fix it?  What does he bring to the table that gets the best out of you guys?

JG) Xanpe knows the band; he´s a friend, he does live sound for the band. When we´re recording or playing live with him, he´s like the fourth member. A hideous topic but it´s true.




(SL) In terms of the mix, there seems to be more layers to your sound this time around, more guitar overdubs for example but it has a live feel to it too, is that a fair assessment? 

JG) That was the plan. The songs were asking for it. More guitars, more noise, more chaos! The overall production was meant to differ from the previous record, as we always try to do, and we needed that live, human feel, yes.

(SL) How long was the gestation of your new/current opus from conception to delivery? Are you a band that takes completed song into the studio or do you write in the studio for instance?  I remember when we talked awhile back, (I think when I bought some vinyl from you), that some of these songs have been around for awhile?  Give us an insight into the record 

JG) We need to go back to the end of 2011, that is when we finished recording ‘Grengus’. As always I write at my own pace so once I ended with my recording duties I put myself to work. This time I wanted to make a different thing so I planned to do a concept album. Slowly I glued all the pieces together: lyrics, titles, riffs… Because of the story line, sometimes the lyrics would come first as opposed to the usual “music comes first”, at least in my case. It was great to do it this way because it  kept things really interesting. We started the official rehearsals by November and began recording by March, with all the material written, yes!!  although this time I sang on the spot on most of the tracks; got the lines, verses, choruses and all but when recording I wanted it to be as fresh as possible.

(SL)  The new tracks seem to encompass the sounds of your last three records, ‘Builder of Carrion ‘Effigies for example is more Grengus, than say ‘Weight…’ but then at the end of the track there’s a nod to moments of DTM.   Is this the definitive record for HOTR, because I know with Grengus you said you wanted to make a more aggressive record, as Weight was built upon more melody in terms of vocals? 

JG) No, I wouldn´t say that. It´s another record by the same band, by the same song writer in a different time frame. There are things that will remind you of DTM or WOC because of that. We have a certain way to do things and that´s great, because that means  we have our own style, or at least seems like we try it haha! It´s cool cause you´re comparing those songs with our own material and not another band/influence.

(SL) I feel stupid for asking, but what are your thoughts about the record now? You probably wrote, recorded it awhile back, is there anything you would change looking back?  Do you rest on your laurels until the release or do you continue to write music for the next record.  I know when we talked before you were already writing songs, which may or may not have ended up on this record. 

JG) I would put more layers of guitars and crazy sounds in some songs but overall its cool the way it is. I think people will go crazy, it´s a massive album, the fast stuff is faster and the slow is slower so everybody will be happy! I stopped writing for this record right before entering the studio. And yes, I´m already writing new stuff for the next one.
 
(SL) Moving onto the artwork there are no massive cocks, this time haha.  Seriously though it is incredible. Who designed it?  Tell us about the concept behind it and is it reflective of your lyrics?


JG) Garrés didn´t want to be involved with us this time so I checked a few names here and there and Nick Keller was elected. I told him all the concept behind the album, gave him unfinished lyrics and my idea for the main cover so together we developed it, but all the credit goes to him, of course. It was a pleasure to see the guy so into it, telling me his ideas… You´ll see.

(SL) As music fan yourselves and given that music seems to be so disposal at times, how important is it is to offer a great package to your fans? You were recently giving away free CDS when fans bought shirts for example, so it seems you’re keen to give your fans value for money. What can fans expect in terms the finished physical product for ‘Summoning Deliverance’? What format is/will be available? 

JG) Oh yes, I always measure what we do with what we would want to see as fans, of course. In this day and age, that everybody “likes” music but in reality don’t give a fuck, it´s very, very important to give a high quality final product, whether it is a CD or a big old LP. We are lucky on this matter because Doomentia is a label that cares about things like that and, of course, we take advantage of it mixing great artists with our music. This time fans will be salivating every time they will put their greasy hands on the 2xLP or the CD, that are the formats that will be available, along with the digital download.

(SL)  Will there be a bonus track on the vinyl this time around?  If so, any details you wanna share? 

JG) Not this time, but you´ll be surprised for sure.

(SL) I could be forgiven for thinking Howard Jones (ex KSE) sings during the clean parts at the end (who is also a brilliant vocalist), indeed a major selling point in terms of your music has always been the vocals. On this record you’re continuing to mix things up, dare I say, your voice seems to be evolving with each record, do you view your voice more as an instrument now, than say in the past? 

JG) I don´t know… I think I always approached my voice as an instrument. Depending on the song, it could be the icing on the cake or the main reason to be if you got a killer vocal melody.

(SL) What continues to be the ‘goal’ for HOTR as a band and thoughts on the emergence of the whole ‘underground’ scene and its increasing popularity?  Bigger labels seem to picking up bands from the underground scene, is that something that is attractive to you as a band?  Doing the band full time for example.  Some feel it could dilute the creative process in some way, taking the element of fun away from it

JG) I always said that the moment somebody tells me something about my songs in a “this works, that not, this sells, that not” kind of way, wouldn´t work, because music must flow free, no rush, no evil plans to conquer the world and get rich; yeah, I know some bands did something like that and worked for them haha! Personally my goal is achieved already, writing songs, putting them on wax and be able to play them live? That´s my thing! Obviously would be great to be up there with the big names of the genre, getting credit for what you do and be a well respected band, that would be huge for me.



(SL) How valuable are blogs and social media for bands such as yourselves? 

JG) Right now they are what keep the wheels in motion. I don´t like so much the social media thing but nowadays is a necessary evil, you must be there if you want to know about your favourite band. And blogs, of course, help a lot doing coverage of new and not so new bands and albums.

(SL)  Will you guys be hitting the road in support of this one?  Any concrete plans you can tell us.  Frustratingly it appears that you won’t make into the UK again this year, any plans head over next year.  You recently hooked up with a booking agent, is that correct? 

JG) Man, we´re trying to do a tour through UK so bad! Our booking agent is working on it right now so we hope to book some dates in the not so distant future. So far, the confirmed dates are in our country:

Aug16 Bilbao
Aug 23 Cangas
Sept 6 Madrid
Oct 11 Vitoria

(SL) What are your survival tips for the road?

JG) Stay healthy with decent food, if possible, lots of good sleep, no alcohol, no smoke and lots of water and hot tea if you´re the singer. Once the tour/show is over, you can get crazy as you want!

(SL) What do you guy use in terms of guitars, amps and why? Also what tuning do you use? 

JG) I have a bunch of Gibson that works perfectly through a modified 800 and a Matamp GT1, that are the amps I usually play both in the studio and on stage, but this time we recorded some tracks with a Mesa Boogie that sounded killer in the mix with the rest. I like dirty, high gain sounds but the sheer power of the Matamp is unbelievable. The tuning is AECGDA.




(SL) What have been some of your highlight in terms of records you’ve bought, shows you’ve attended etc this year?   

JG) Recently I go to see Incantation for the first time and was amazing. John McEntee is a true warrior. Being a legendary figure of the underground as he is, the guy keeps on doing his thing not matter what. Regarding records, I bought the new ones from Black Anvil, Lord Mantis, Tombs, Full Of Hell, Impetuous Ritual, Triptykon… Great albums all of them.

(SL) From a personal perspective thanks for talking, as you know I’m a massive supporter and fan of you music.   Do you have any final comments/word of wisdom you’d like to bestow upon us? Things to look out for in the future? 

JG) I know you´re sold to our cause Aaron haha! Thanks to you and the SL blog for the coverage and the endless support. We´ll see what the future will bring. Right now I want every HOTR fan to enjoy the new album. Like I said, it´s a massive one, so much crazy things going on there, a killer and honest record from an honest band. We´ll be putting up on our site new live dates when confirmed so stay tuned and maybe we´ll be playing near you, who knows?

Thanks again and keep it brutal!

Intro and inteview by: Aaron Pickford

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Horrendous - Ecdysis (Album Review)


Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 14/10/2014
Label: Dark Descent Records

‘Ecdysis’ CD/DD/LP track listing:

1. The Stranger  (07:12)
2. Weeping Relic (03:58)
3. Heaven’s Deceit (03:10)
4. Resonator (03:38)
5. The Vermillion (02:55)
6. Nepenthe (04:31)
7. Monarch (03:57)
8. When The Walls Fell (02:25)
9. Pavor Nocturnus (06:22)  
10. Titan (04:45)

Bio:

East Coast Death Metal trio HORRENDOUS are set to return with their highly-anticipated sophomore release, Ecdysis, on October 14. Picking up where the band's critically acclaimed 2012 debut, The Chills, left off,Ecdysis sees HORRENDOUS emerge as one of the most intense, brutal, and most importantly, genuine contributors to today's traditional death metal revival.

Ecdysis is set for an October 14 worldwide release on CD, vinyl and digital formats via Dark Descent Records. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered at Subterranean Watchtower Studios (www.facebook.com/SubterraneanWatchtower). Cover art for the album was done by Brian Smith. 

The Band:

Jamie Knox | Drums
Damian Herring | Vocals, guitars
Matt Knox | Vocals, guitars

Review:

Horrendous have produced one of the great death metal albums of 2014 and when all is said and done, ‘Ecdysis’ should be remembered as one of the great death metal albums of the decade. That isn’t hyperbole and it isn’t baseless hype on my part. It’s just the truth. Perhaps I’m reading too much into things because I’m so enamored with the album as a whole, but everything about ‘Ecdysis’ feels like Horrendous set out to create an all-time classic from its earliest stages. Even the artwork is improbably good. There’s a confidence level and a self-assuredness exhibited throughout the whole album that is so rare in this day and age.

The album starts off in incredible fashion with “The Stranger”, which is on par with the best death metal songs of all time. I’ve probably listened to it at least 30 times in the short time I’ve been listening to the album and it still stuns me every time I’ve listened to it. The immense melodies, the shimmering lead guitar work, the brilliant rhythmic work from both the drummer and bassist. Everything fits into place in a truly magical way. From the borderline-doom opening section, with melody oozing from each labored riff and chug to the ingenious main riff that utilizes rhythms usually reserved for Van Halen albums. Believe me, I get why that might sound terrible on paper, but it fucking works. There are sorrowful chords that flirt with black metal like Dark Tranquility used to in the early 90s. The guitar solo work throughout this song and the album as a whole is absolutely gorgeous. I’m prattling on because I feel like I can’t move on until I run out of glowing words of praise; that’s how much I love this song. It’s only for your benefit that I move on to the rest of the album.

Elsewhere, the album is engorged with memorable riffs from start to finish. If you put a gun to my head, I’d say that mid-period Death, Edge of Sanity and ‘Heartwork’-era Carcass strike me as being primary influences, but they’re definitely not just some hodgepodge of repurposed old ideas. “Resonator”, as an example, does an excellent job of alternating between a thrashing death metal attack out of Stockholm in 1990 and a tumbling mid-paced section that sounds even older. “The Vermillion” brings back something I absolutely loved: the seemingly random but beautiful acoustic guitar song in the middle of a death or black metal album. It was a staple of Swedish bands in the 90s, from Dissection to Lord Belial to In Flames, and dozens of others, and “The Vermillion” is a nice addition to tradition that hasn’t been observed all that much in the last ten to fifteen years.

The only song that really feels out of place is “When the Walls Fell”, a two and a half minute detour, in which Horrendous opts to jam a variety of more traditional heavy metal riffs. As a self-contained instrumental track, it’s just fine, but it seems like an unnecessary song that doesn’t really lead to anything. Once we’re back on track, “Titan” closes the album out in an excellent fashion, highlighted by some excellent lead guitar choices, and a renewed focus on melody and a fittingly weary-yet-victorious emotional tone to the whole of the song. Paying attention to details like writing a song that actually feels like it gives the album closure is just one of the reasons that Horrendous is at the top of the death metal heap in 2014. Now someone book them on a tour with Morbus Chron so I can die a happy man.

Words by: Daniel Jackson

You can pick up a copy here



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