Soulfly – Savages

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Soulfly
Savages
Nuclear Blast

It seems Massimiliano Cavalera has got his teeth into all manner of stuff lately, be it with the Cavalera Conspiracy, trying to get the original Sepultura back together, jamming with the likes of Troy Sanders and Greg Puciato, and contributing guest vocals to other bands such as Man Must Die. It seems he must have been consuming a lot of cannibal horror films a lately as Soulfly’s new album ‘Savages’ is full of butcherous lyrics and macabre themes, and indeed marks a further shift away from the thrashier approach of ‘Dark Ages’ and ‘Omen’, and more into the groove metal they originally became known for. Don’t balk at that though – for the most part ‘Savages’ has more than enough in the band’s collective experience to keep it as what we understand Soulfly to be, having developed more into a crushing unit in recent years.

The first thing to note before delving into the remainder of the review, its worth noting this is the first Soulfly album to feature Max’s son Zyon Cavalera, helming the drummer’s throne and doing so with aplomb, pushing and pulling through every groove even without as much technicality as his uncle Igor – for which there’s plenty of time to develop yet. Back on track, ‘Savages’ is not without a smattering of guests, the finest of which is Neil Fallon, appearing on the track ‘Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla’, a welcome diversion from the cannibalistic theme with Fallon delivering spoken like a prophet over a super groove, and appropriately hollering during the faster section between Cavalera Snr’s trademark gruffness. There are times when the nu sees the metal a bit too much, case in point: This is Violence, which contains some sliding effect that harks back to the stale days of nu-metal’s fall from popularity; Mitch Harris’ cameo on ‘K.C.S.’ doesn’t really prove to be much of a thriller either, considering how awesome a prospect a Cavalera/Napalm Death meeting of minds was. Still, for the most part, Soulfly get it spot on, not spectacularly but efficiently so, be it the thrashier ‘Cannibal Holocaust’, or with satisfying succulent grooves on ‘El Comegente’, its gang vocal chorus appropriately describing its subject matter, Dorangel Vargas, aka ‘El Comegente’ – the Venezuelan ‘people-eater’.

Like most veteran bands these days, if you don’t know what to expect from Soulfly by now, where have you been? And for those that do, don’t expect miracles – but a good solid all round Soulfly album which proves groove metal can still be done well in this era.

Peter Clegg

Soulfly – Ayatollah of Rock ‘N’ Rolla (feat. Neil Fallon)

Buy ‘Savages’ here

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Weekend Nachos – Still

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Weekend Nachos
Still
Relapse

If there’s one thing guaranteed about Weekend Nachos it’s that, aside from having one of the most awesome band names ever, they don’t muck about, an ethos that beginning barely as ‘Sickened No More’ opens up their fourth album, and their debut for Relapse. There’s not an awful lot of change to be found here, which when you’re Weekend Nachos isn’t a bad thing – when you’ve come to expect their furious intensity you’d expect nothing less. But the sludgier sections we’ve heard from them in the past aren’t often present here, with a bit more leaning towards old-school hardcore and crust-punk in their sound than previously granted. Case in point: ‘S.C.A.B.’, where vocalist John Hoffman bellows ‘Did you experience greed and brutality/or did you read about it out of a lyric sheet?’, calling out bands writing about police brutality without knowing or experiencing a thing about it. Or the title track which undeniably lends itself to crossover appeal, like Suicidal Tendencies and Poison Idea getting together and birthing a party monster. Not to say they’ve dispensed with the slow trudge, as they slow down to a crawl on tracks such as ‘Watch You Suffer’ and Ignore’, albeit more briefly than on previous releases. The main thing here is that whatever they’re going for they land their punches with frequent accuracy, whether it’s the bodyslamming riff in ‘No Idols No Heroes’, the care-free nature of ‘Late Night Walks’, and the confrontational ‘Yes Way’, where Hoffman challenges ‘Fight me/with what you’ve got’ and later promising ‘I will kill you‘. Crikey.

Clearly some people have a problem with the macho lyrics on display here, and I’ve noticed some flame for Weekend Nachos from people who have nothing better to do than scold. If you don’t like it, why are you paying attention? This is a band who’ve been around a fair bit and you should know what to expect. Fact is, Weekend Nachos clearly couldn’t give a hoot who they offend and who they rub up the wrong way, and ‘Still’ continues this trend in excellent form – I’d vouch this is a slight step up from their previous album ‘Worthless’, though not massively different, but for at least mixing things up while retaining their usual urgency and spit and not compromising it for one second.

Peter Clegg

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Corrupt Moral Altar – Whiskey Sierra

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Corrupt Moral Altar
Whiskey Sierra
Dead Chemists

When we reviewed their debut release ‘Luciferian Deathcult‘ here, it was hard to maybe even dream if Corrupt Moral Altar could get any heavier and more menacing than when they first merged as mere shoots from previous bands. But since that particular release, which was perhaps one of the most devastating debut releases of recent times, CxMxA have gone from strength to strength, and as I correctly predicted – along with many others no doubt – they’ve brought the roof down on many a toilet venue, pub/gig venue or festivals bigger or smaller to cement their initial promise and transition from underground supergroup to leading lights of the UK underground extreme movement, and in little under a year as well.

They didn’t waste any time in getting their second record, the ‘Whiskey Sierra‘ 7″, off the leash and snarling at people unsuspecting or otherwise. If ‘Luciferian Deathcult‘ was the mean mugger laughing at your misfortune, ‘Whiskey Sierra‘ is its even harder comrade, the one that instead of leaving your smarting actually drags you away to whichever dark corner it originates from to meet an unpleasant fate. It’s almost inhuman – a beast. Something about this just seems even more heavy, malevolent and downright intentional. The title track doesn’t muck around in getting down to business, thrashing away in the same reckless abandon that got this lot their notoriety in the first place. And that’s before they unleash ‘Lord’, the money shot in all of this. A vicious cut of pounding riffs and clattering drums, Chris Reese even exclaiming ‘whoa‘ at one point before the choice cut of the song comes in, thundering along, briefing slamming to a jolting halt, before the boosters fire up again, eventually finishing with the most unholy slow down to mark what is arguably their best song to date. Throw in two remasters from the ‘Needle Drugs‘ demo, and there you have it – one of the single most annihilatic displays of irascible noise you will hear all year around.

Peter Clegg

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Tyranny is Tyranny – Let it Come From Whom it May

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Tyranny is Tyranny
Let It Come From Whom It May
Phratry

Tyranny is tyranny, let it come from whom it may’. Sound familiar? It certainly will be if you’ve ever read the works of Howard Zinn, the American historian, political scientist and social activist who contributed with one of the most important works of American historical literature, with his powerful take on America’s past and present in the shape of ‘The People’s History of the United States’, read through the eyes of common people than the elitism of political and economic ranks. Assigned as reading in many US colleges and high schools, it seems that Zinn’s legacy lives strong in the sound of Tyranny is Tyranny. Containing in their ranks two of the United Sons of Toil, in the shape of guitarists/vocalists Russell Emerson Hall and Jason Jensen, their debut album ‘Let It Come From Whom It May’ picks up the baton from the USoT and is in itself a scathing assessment of American capitalism, evident in its overtly glaring song titles and excellently strung together lyrics. Not that there are many words; Tyranny Is Tyranny don’t require the use of many lines to get their message across. If you were to compare it to their previous band, arguably it’s a bit more expansive – amidst the rage of tracks such as ‘Down the K-Hole’ there’s the odd injection of post-rock pumped into their collective veins. ‘Owned by Thieves’ is a stand-out track, starting with something of said needle before getting into its subject matter – the recession and the recovery from it. ‘Steady as she sinks/boom and bust/a bare existence/numbed by lust/How much is enough?’, comes the initial rhetoric, before the song stretches into a wonderfully epic sounding cry of ‘thrashing in the water’. The post-rock forays continue with the instrumental ‘The Haze of Childhood’, directly connected to the following track ‘Apostasy’, before arriving at the simmering ire of ‘The American Dream is a Lie’, declaring the dream ‘never lived’, eventually building into a thunderous call of ‘stillborn’. It’s the album’s truly powerful moment – they’re not the first nor the last to take such a pessimistic view of their country’s national ethos, but such a powerful word provides a chilling take on what they perceive as their country’s failure to be unilaterally upwardly mobile, fair and equal for all. If only people could at least come down to this level to reach an open-eyed and undiminished view of the real world, rather than the blinkered faith in the people who seemingly control them, with the blurring of the lines of choice becoming seemingly hazier.

Let It Come From Whom It May’ is available now as a name-your-price download, CD, and soon will be available on vinyl. A rousing free and forward thinking piece of rock that stands tall amid the cluttered ramblings of the inane. 

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Let It Come From Whom It May’ here

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‘Kin Hell Fest announces five more bands + early bird tickets still selling!

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The ever rising juggernaut of extremity that is ‘Kin Hell Fest went and announced another five crushing bands to the line-up recently, and it was a corker. The biggest news is the confirmation of two of the UK’s finest acts, at polar ends of their careers and indeed for speed. Welsh death metal legends Desecration will be hitting Leeds to flay and slay the audience. As will rising Liverpudlian merchants of doom Conan; widely appraised by new and old fans alike, they will surely be one of the highlights of the weekend’s activities. Also appearing will be Portugal’s seasoned goregrind maniacs Holocausto Canibal, London snuffers Basement Torture Killings, and New Surrey based metallic hardcore crew Palm Reader.

They join a heap of awesome bands in what is set to be the nastiest, heaviest ‘Kin Hell Fest yet. There’s still more bands to be announced including two headliners to go alongside the already confirmed big name draw of Anaal Nathrakh.

Meanwhile early bird tickets are still on sale until the end of November, priced at £49 for all the above bands and more to be confirmed over three days, plus merch stalls, food & drink.

For early bird tickets and more information, head to the official ‘Kin Hell Fest website and hit them up on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news and updates and other wholesome meaty chunks!

Peter Clegg

Jungbluth – Part Ache

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Jungbluth
Part Ache
Vendetta

Formed from the ashes of Alpinist – one of the best bands of German hardcore – comes the heirs to the throne, Jungbluth. Named after the communist/antifascist World War II resistance fighter Karl Jungbluth, they comprise of three former members of their now defunct ancestors; ‘Part Ache‘ is their debut full length, politically branded and shouted mostly in their native tongue with sprinklings of English, the nine songs here pass by with the sort of bluster and heart-on-sleeve you’d expect from a band of such pedigree. Indeed it’s furious, fast and excellent, spanning nine tracks in total which isn’t as short as you’d think, and throughout its worthy and righteous. Tracks such as ‘Wakefield’ and ‘No One But Myself’ truly batter at the door, while ‘These Rare Moments’ displays a reflective moment halfway through before cantering ahead. An excellent record all round, combining melodic and chaotic hardcore sensibilities to create an unquestionably vital addition to your record collection.

Part Ache‘ is out now on Vendetta Records in Europe (Halo of Flies in the US), and is available as a name-your-price download.

Peter Clegg

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Volatile – Chin Check

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Volatile
Chin Check EP

Volatile are a four-piece metallic hardcore band consisting of members from Preston and Norwich, Connecticut, and ‘Chin Check’ represents their first release as a band. Three tracks long, ‘Chin Check’ is an exercise in furiously personal groove-laden diatribes which are quickly over in roughly seven minutes, but offer an insight into what the band are potentially aiming for. As it is, the groundwork is laid for Volatile to bloom into something excellent – here there’s a sense that the music is solid, if not spectacular, the opening ‘D’ perhaps the best display of the band’s versatile influences – it doesn’t protest too much to be strictly hardcore, nor too showy to be metal. Lyrically they show an intensity that ranks among the most vitriolic – ‘Let’s start by saying you’re a liar and a fucking thief’ their vocalist screams at the beginning of ‘Play for Keeps’. It’s not the most insightful or inspiring but whoever it’s about, its refreshingly honest in its scathing assessment of its subject.

Chin Check’ was released earlier this year and is available directly from the band on their Bandcamp page. Stream it below and go check them out. There’s some good potential here and they’re worthy of a listen and a dollar or few.

Peter Clegg

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Vista Chino – Peace

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Vista Chino
Peace
Napalm

The Kyuss Lives! reunion was meant to be joyous. Despite Josh Homme’s refusal to be a part of it, John Garcia, Brant Bjork, Nick Oliveri and finally Bruno Favery, playing Homme’s parts, embarked on an incredible tour which was possibly the last one I got proper merry to before parenthood made its presence felt. For many who never got to see Kyuss in their heyday, this was as close as it could get to the real thing, with 3/4 of the original line-up jamming out classics from ‘Blues for the Red Sun’ and ‘Welcome to Sky Valley‘ making for practical stoner heaven in 2011. Then it got ugly. Homme and Scott Reeder, at one point deputising in the reunion for a trial-bound Oliveri, sued the other members and the Kyuss name got dragged through the mud. Seemingly it centered on the reunited band seeking to use the Kyuss Lives! name for studio material and thus profiting from it. Regardless of however popular it made Homme in light of his proceedings, he had a point, and so the Kyuss Lives! party came to an end, the Kyuss name tarnished not by the music, but through judicial action.

And so, the reunion returned to wilt in the hot desert sun. And like the proverbial phoenix, Garcia, Bjork, Oliveri and Favery rose up, under the name of Vista Chino, and thus the most simple solution to this mess – a name change – was found. The debacle was resigned to the past, and it therefore seems appropriate that the latest album in the Kyuss family lineage should be entitled ‘Peace‘. Enough of the shit-stirring, let’s see if the group still sound as good now as it did in the 90’s. The surprising answer is yes, absolutely. ‘Peace’ is a cracking return from a group whose members’ best days are often considered behind them. That it does more than enough to step out that large shadow is something else.

Vista Chino – Dargona Dragona

True, it doesn’t do away with that old skin completely, as ‘Dargona Dragona’ brings back shades of 1991 all over again. A simple no-brainer, to remind people of that era is as much as you’d expect from the seasoned veterans of the desert scene. The hot glow of the sun seems to shine ever brighter though, as ‘Peace‘ rumbles on. ‘Planets 1 & 2’ is phenomenal, Bjork handling Planet 1’s vocals and Garcia coming back for part 2, a brilliant reminder of the excellence they first showed in the 90’s, yet the first mark that Vista Chino steps out and casts its own shadow, is the seductive 70’s groove of ‘Adara’, followed by the jam band indulgence of ‘Dark and Lovely’, and the whopping stoner worship of the 13 minute ‘Acidize…The Gambling Moose’. Never mind what went before it – Vista Chino Lives!

Peter Clegg

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Motörhead – Aftershock

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Motörhead
Aftershock
UDR

Consistency. That one word we all strive for. It’s a byword for reliability, and often, excellence – although I suppose you can be consistently rubbish. But yeah, consistency. A good jam/marmalade/preserve has the right consistency. FC Barcelona have remarkable consistency for results. Oh I digress. Motörhead themselves are such a byword for consistency, in so much consistently living by the mantra ‘we are Motörhead, and we play rock ‘n’ roll’, and living by such a lifestyle that their frontman Lemmy Kilmister seemed at one point to be invincible, having drunk, smoked and banged and every other living thing and substance in existence, and yet survived all those things, and in doing so being able to become a third guarantee in life; death, taxes, and a Motörhead UK tour in November. So Lemmy’s recent health struggles were well documented – after all, the man seemed inhuman, able to have consumed seemingly millions of pints, cigarettes, the thousands of women he’s allegedly slept with, living the rock and roll lifestyle seemingly without any sign of slowing down. And so a November Motörhead UK tour is no longer guaranteed, with their live dates due to take place this month now rescheduled to February 2014 while Lemmy works to come back ‘fitter and stronger than ever’.

All things come to an end, and by hook or crook, so will Motörhead one day, one day. And we all dread that day, don’t we, because we all knows what that potentially means. But Lemmy won’t ever make that easy, as he sung on ‘Killed by Death’, and the second ‘Aftershock’s opening single ‘Heartbreaker’ comes in, all fears are laid to rest and forgotten about. Lemmy is bang on form as are Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee, with a ripping chorus which will ring in your ears for a long time. It lays out the path for one of most storming albums from the trio in years. Sure, we could compare it to the last few albums, or discuss the apparent lack of originality again, but it’s Motörhead – like all the top veterans and mainstays and rock and heavy metal, there’s no need to fix what’s not broken, and what matters is the quality. The quality is here in spades. ‘Lost Woman Blues’ and ‘Dust and Glass’ are two of the best laid back, bluesy tracks that Motörhead have ever penned, lovingly sandwiched between numerous road-tested anthems from the typical bluster of ‘End of Time’,  the unholy rumble of ‘Death Machine’, and the bar piano-tinged, whisky-soaked rock’n’ roll of ‘Crying Shame’. Lemmy might well be approaching septuagenarian status, but with the band approaching its 40th year since its inception in 1975, Motörhead sure as hell won’t be going away that easily. ‘Aftershock’ is a reaffirming statement of intent that sends all the little rock rats scurrying back to their holes and reminding everyone it might not be new, and shit, it might not be pretty – but its Motörhead, and they play rock ‘n’ roll. Clear?

Peter Clegg

Motörhead – Heartbreaker (official video)

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Lay It On The Line – Vigilance

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Lay It On the Line
Vigilance
Lockjaw/Fire Engine Red

Melodic hardcore quintet Lay It On the Line have been making positive strides in their career trajectory so far, thanks in part to a progressive, conceptual focus that sets them apart from many of their peers. This focus got personal their recent split with Belgian rockers Arizona (reviewed here) in which their two tracks covered the real life tragedy of their murdered friend. Hardcore is often powerful when telling a tale, but on that occasional it reaches incredibly intense levels. Their latest EP ‘Vigilance‘ returns to historical themes, this time centering around George Hutchinson, a witness who came forward following the death of Jack the Ripper’s final victim, Mary Jane Kelly, in Whitechapel.

This latest release sees a slightly more melodic shift and understandably a less personal slant that previously. There’s good intentions behind the tracks, but here it feels a little bit rushed – the shorter tracks seem to suffer a little as the band get through riffs before they’ve really had chance to take hold. It starts well, with ‘Condemned Parts I & II’ opening with a sample from Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Tell Tale Heart‘ before letting rip, continuing in satisfying vein with the traumatic atmosphere of ‘Petticoat Lane’.

I can only applaud a band for taking risks and Lay It On the Line clearly aren’t ones to shirk from that path, but on this occasion it’s unfortunately it finishes up inconsistent. ‘…And That Photo Made Me Feel Ill’ feels unfinished, sizing up for a possibly monstrous outro, instead leaving an initial source of confusion which hasn’t dissipated upon further listens. ‘You Little Ripper’ redeems this, featuring an awesome first couple of minutes, with the band on some of their best form yet, a mid-paced gnasher, before shifting into an acoustic, sample-laden outro and just seems to finish the record with a bit of a fizzle rather than a bang. Not quite on a par with their previous releases, but LiotL are still barely a year old and with their collective strength, don’t be surprised if they’ve got a true masterpiece hidden beneath their sleeves.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Vigilance‘ here (name-your-price)
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