Updates

As you may have noticed, We Must Obey now has a Facebook presence as per the gadget on the right hand side of the page. It’s admined by both myself and Mike. If you’re part of the social networking behemoth then give us a ‘like’ to receive updates from activity on the blog. The profile pic is a cliché metal claw I took once in my boredom. It’ll do for now, but soon-ish we’ll hope to spruce up the site with a proper logo.

Secondly, we have a contact e-mail address for any queries or submissions you may wish to provide us with. You can grab us on wemustobey@gmail.com.

That’s all for now – we hope you like what we’ve provided so far, stay tuned for further reviews to come this week.

Peter Clegg

Crowbar – Sever The Wicked Hand

Crowbar

Sever The Wicked Hand

E1 Entertainment

It feels like too long since Crowbar last put out a record. Even though some bands go considerably longer without new output, 2005’s ‘Lifesblood For The Downtrodden’ really does feel like a long, long time ago since Kirk Windstein’s men stomped a proverbial mudhole in our collective guts. This is in no small part down to Kirk’s involvement in Down – who’ve only become more and more prominent with their success – and his other side-project Kingdom of Sorrow. But as news of ‘Sever The Wicked Hand’ came to light, so did Kirk’s admission of a struggle with alcoholism. There’s no need to go into that story – lyrically, ‘Sever…’ does that for us. It pictures an overriding theme of a quest for redemption that largely runs against the themes of agony and negativity of previous Crowbar albums, instead replacing it with a more uplifting tone throughout.

Thankfully, Crowbar haven’t lost their penchant for delivering slug after slug of sludge anthems, and they return here with renewed focus. Make no mistake, they mean business here. Opener ‘Isolation (Desperation)’ is vocally and musically so aggressive that it’ll leave you bloody-nosed and asking for more of the same – which they obliging do with the title-track. Crowbar aren’t pulling their punches at all and continue to deliver hit after hit with the same intensity throughout.

One thing you will find is the number of shifts between fast and slow are upped here compared to previous albums, and it keeps the listener on their toes. ‘Liquid Sky and Cold Black Earth’ is a stand-out track on this album, it’s mournful tone providing a return to familiar negative territory and the doomiest moment on this record. It sets up ‘Let Me Mourn’, which thunders along in much the same way but is no less uncompromising. The intensity re-up’s with ‘The Cemetary Angels’, which maximises the fast/slow shift to brutal effect with a monstrous breakdown sure to get moshpits around the world quaking to full effect; and ‘As I Become One’, which possesses a fantastic groove for the most part, Kirk practically celebrating his new-found sobriety in the lyric ‘I’m reinventing the man that you all thought was gone’. That’s the first part of the album done there, and not a foot put wrong.

‘A Farewell To Misery’ provides a break in proceedings, an instrumental track in keeping with the album’s theme but completely different to everything else, featuring a male-choir and a somewhat haunting piano. It’s pitched perfectly and sets up the remainder of the record very nicely. It struggles a little to rediscover the pace – there’s nothing wrong with ‘Protectors of the Shrine’ and ‘I Only Deal In Truth’ – both tracks are solid sludge numbers but don’t quite stand out as brightly as the majority of the rest of the record.

Yet just as you think it’s lost its momentum, they produce a diamond in ‘Echo An Eternity’, as fine a sludge ballad as you’ll hear all year round. When Kirk’s trademark croon reaches the chorus – ‘Innocence/beauty and innocence make me whole‘ – you soon realise that Crowbar have delivered yet another trademark mournful anthem in keeping with other classics among their back catalogue. The album closes with ‘Cleanse Me, Heal Me’, which sees Kirk discussing his struggles more evocatively than ever before, and ‘Symbiosis’. Both tracks are punishingly heavy and the latter finishes the album nicely with some dual guitar melodies that reflect the largely positive message that runs through ‘Sever The Wicked Hand’s’ arteries.

The production here is a little crisper than previous Crowbar releases, but thankfully it doesn’t allow for any sacrifice in sludgy bludgeonry. Pat Bruders (ex-Goatwhore), and Tommy Buckley (Soilent Green) deliver those goods in abundance, and Matthew Brunson also duels well with Kirk, particularly on ‘As I Become One’ and ‘Symbiosis’. Continuity clearly isn’t an issue for Kirk, especially with two more of Louisiana’s finest in the line-up.

Crowbar can definitely be proud of this one – it’s a stunning return after so long away, and one can only hope that Kirk’s commitments with Down and, to a lesser extent, Kingdom of Sorrow, don’t get in the way of further Crowbar releases in the future. Over 20 years strong, Crowbar are still showing why they are masters of their craft.

Peter Clegg


Visions: Red Fang – Wires

There’s a lot of buzz at the moment surrounding the new video for ‘Wires’ by Portland rockers Red Fang. The video is getting plenty of rave reviews and positivity and I can see why. Directed by Whitey McConnaughy, it’s chock full of wanton destruction and hilarity as the band blow a $5,000 budget on what is surely one of my favourite videos in recent times. I’m digging the song itself too. This is really good stuff. Kick-ass, thunderous rock ‘n’ roll that doesn’t compromise. Check out the video above – oh, and look out for Brian Posehn!

‘Wires’ is from the album ‘Murder The Mountains’ which is available now.

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘Murder The Mountains’ here


Red Fang Official site
Bandcamp
MySpace

Review Roundup: Primate/Wadge/Combat Astronomy

Primate
Draw Back A Stump EP
Primative Recordings

Primate is the new ‘supergroup’ (a dreaded term if there ever was one) featuring Brutal Truth’s Kevin Sharp and Mastodon’s Bill Kelliher, among others. They seem to be pitching themselves here as a grind band, but I sense they’re having too much of a good time here to be balls-out grind. There’s a real punk ‘n’ roll vibe going on here too, and the result is a cracking EP that will leave you thirsting for more.

Draw Back A Stump’ comprises seven tracks in total, including a cover of Black Flag’s ‘Drinking and Driving’. The standouts for me though are undoubtedly ‘Hellbound’, with its gang-vocal chorus and Kelliher’s soloing all over it, and closer ‘Reform?’, which provides the EP with a solid blast of surging raw power. Not as vicious as their main projects (or in Kelliher’s case, certainly not as epic), Primate avoid the pitfalls of most supergroups and succeed just by playing to their strengths. Here’s hoping for more of the same.

Wadge
Grindcore Lu’au
Grindcore Karaoke

This is the first release from Agoraphobic Nosebleed mainman J. Randall’s label, Grindcore Karaoke, and it’s something right out of the box. Canada’s Wadge mix drum-machine grind with surf rock (as if you didn’t guess from the title). That doesn’t mean they’re breaking out into Beach Boys covers, but indeed the Hawaiian flavour is prevalent in this record. Just perusing through some of the titles confirms this – ‘That Little Grass Shack’, ‘Pineapple Sickness’, ‘Demon Dogs of Waikiki’ being just a few of the gems on offer.

Indeed, this surf rock/grind combination first becomes truly apparent on ‘Extremity Jet-Planed/Eyes of Crust/Obstinate Erection’ – a three part track which culminates with the first sound of a surf rock riff. It’s a joy to behold and you might want to break out a pina colada as you jive to it. However, the lo-fi production and lack of overall quality starts to weigh it down and at fourty minutes, it is a little bit of a stretch. Still, Randall is giving it away for free, and it is worth checking out.

Combat Astronomy
Flak Planet
Zond

Finally in this round-up, something really out of left-field. This is Combat Astronomy’s sixth release, and it really defies classification. It’s not really metal – though it does have that sort of appeal, given its heaviness.  There’s a heaping helping of jazz spicing things up here and it’s a real mish-mash of elements. I don’t listen to much jazz, if any at all, so I’ll sum up as best I can.

For the most part, it is pretty damn good. It’s not unlike Meshuggah in places, given the somewhat technical aspect of their music. Opener ‘The Stone Tape’ is the best example. It’s a little more restrained that some of the later tracks and the instruments all synchronise well with one another. After that, they let loose with the saxophone and the album unfortunately suffers as a result, in particular on ‘Zona’, which has piano plinky-plonking all over it as well and doesn’t seem cohesive. ‘Flak Planet’ does regain its balance later on with the four-part ‘Inverted Universe’ tracks that close the album, which bring together all these elements to provide a satisfying conclusion.

This is a solid album that is certainly challenging – if you don’t like jazz, you may well hate this. But do give it a listen if you’re of an experimental disposition – you may well be surprised.

Peter Clegg



Combat Astronomy on Bandcamp
Zond Records – home of Combat Astronomy

Review: Weedeater – Jason…The Dragon

Weedeater

Jason…The Dragon

Southern Lord

North Carolina dirt merchants Weedeater recently unleashed their fourth album of fuzzed out sonic excess ‘Jason…The Dragon’. As the album title suggests the band stays true to their tongue-in-cheek approach, which makes a refreshing change from the legions of ‘posing in leather and sunglasses’ metal bands that grace the covers of overpriced magazines, looking moody, trying to say something about their bands’ insightful and satirical message regarding politics or religion and failing miserably. Besides Weedeater are br00tal; Dixie Collins infamously shot his toe off with a shotgun, sparking their 2010 ‘9 Toe Tour’.

Bitching about metal aside, Weedeater’s sound has basically stuck with the formula of their previous album ‘God Luck and Good Speed’. For anyone who thinks that’s a bad thing, it probably isn’t. While many bands can suffer from trying too hard for a certain sound, Weedeater know what works for them. Their fairly prolific status for a band in the sludge genre has arisen from their crushingly heavy sound. They combine huge riffs with psychosis-infused stomping blues and bass as heavy as a few fat elephants in a skip, topped off with thunderous beats and Dixie’s dangerously damaged sounding Southern bile vocals.

Jason…’, whilst sitting in the same vein as its predecessor, offers up some golden moments which rest easy amongst the bands best work. The album starts at a crawl with ‘Hammerhandle’ and gains momentum. The first five tracks relentlessly pummel the listener’s ears with a variety of grooves mixed with the occasional faster section to keep the album fresh.

For me the album reaches its highest point with the title track, before settling down into ‘Palms and Opium’, which is, erm, a Hawaiian beach song that Dixie wrote while chillin’ on the opiates for his toe. For the most part the album is loud n’ heavy as expected; a few tracks, however, including ‘Palms…’ and ‘Whiskey Creek’, sit among the anomalies of ‘Woe Is Me’ from ‘Sixteen Tons’ and ‘Alone’ from ‘God Luck…’. Whilst some people seem to be bothered that Weedeater aren’t doing the heavy thing in these songs, its easy to see the band are making the music that they want to, which is how it should be. Besides, I fucking like those tracks. ‘Whiskey Creek’ closes the album with a bit o’ light hearted banjo playing with the noises of what sounds like a swamp in the background, emphasising the bands roots down south.

While I have no qualms with the eclectic nature of the album, it does feel a little short on the whole, and while 35 minutes doesn’t sound too bad, it might have benefitted by having another track thrown into the fray, due to the first track being a spoken intro and another being a humorously titled drum solo, ‘March of the Bipolar Bear’. That’s not to say the album disappoints by any means; the albums very listenable and shouldn’t have you swapping halfway through, which makes it a good one to start on if you’re new to the band. Weedeater’s home grown strain of sludge should have you coming back for a fair few hits regardless.

Mike Collins

Formulas Fatal To The Cred?

[PHOTO BY ALEX SOLCA]

Horrible puns aside, it seems that Morbid Angel’s long-awaited comeback isn’t quite as well-received as many would have hoped. They have a new album coming out shortly, ‘Illud Divinum Insanus’, continuing the alphabetical trend of previous albums. It’s the first one from the band since 2003’s ‘Heretic’, which didn’t quite live up to expectations when it was released.

When news of a new album broke, people were excited. The death metal legends were finally returning, festival appearances are in the offing, and even drummer Pete Sandoval’s exit due to back injury failed to mute expectations. Tim Yeung is a more than capable replacement, and indeed, the hype machine was in full effect. Indeed, that’s where the story begins to go awry.

First of all, the album art was released, which in some quarters seemed to be described as a bad Photoshop job. It’s certainly not the bad-ass artwork many would expect from Morbid Angel, but let’s not judge a book by it’s cover. The first track to emerge from the album was ‘Existo Vulgoré’, which is a solid if slightly unspectacular track. David Vincent’s vocals certainly don’t sound like they used to, and it certainly doesn’t capture the classic Morbid Angel sound. But in my opinion, it’s far from dreadful, and let’s remember it’s just one song from the album.

But then this video (seen after the jump) emerged online, containing samples of all the tracks from the album, and the internet metal community seems to have exploded with outrage, disbelief, and a lot more besides. I, for the record, can’t claim to have heard these samples yet – I’ll certainly get round to it – but the reports are that these new songs contain a more ambient/industrial feel in certain places. People are up in arms over it, some saying Vincent’s time in the Genitorturers and Trey Azagthoth’s desire to incorporate techno/drum ‘n’ bass vibes into Morbid Angel’s sound are to blame. Some have even gone as far as to say this is the worst metal album since Cryptopsy’s ‘The Unspoken King’ – which needless to say needs no introduction in metal’s proverbial Hall of Horrors. And that promo photo (pictured above) isn’t doing them any favours either.

I was a bit of a latecomer to Morbid Angel, I’ll be perfectly honest. It took me a while to stop being lazy about it and actually get the bulk of their material checked out. Based on the one song alone…this is no ‘Altars of Madness’, or ‘Covenant’. It’s alright, but it’s not making me want to bring out the metal claw and hold it aloft. It doesn’t send me dizzy like ‘Bleed For The Devil’ does.

However…it’s just one song. The samples certainly don’t tell the whole story. Maybe the reaction from the fans is a result of the massive hype they placed on this record. Maybe it serves to highlight a closed-minded mentality amongst the metal community, as Trey once argued. But there’s a fine line between experimentation and downright buggery. Let’s see which side the coin falls on. Work of genius, or their very own ‘Cold Lake’? I’m prepared to keep an open-mind on this one.

The sample video follows the jump.

You can download ‘Existo Vulgoré’ via Morbid Angel’s label, Season of Mist.

‘Illud Divinum Insanus’ is released on Monday June 6th via Season of Mist

Peter Clegg

Updates

We’ve only been live for a day and already the staff numbers have doubled! Following a quick bit of promotion on Facebook yesterday, we have one new recruit, in my Poison Dwarf bandmate Mike Collins. Mike will be contributing material to the blog, the first of which you’ll see very shortly.

The first few reviews will include albums released earlier in the year on top of old releases. You could say we’re playing catch-up here, but there’s been some killer albums released already this year and they’re worthy of mentioning here. This is only the beginning and we aim to establish We Must Obey as a prominent voice for rock and metal coverage in the UK. Stay tuned.

Peter Clegg