Shameless Plug: Wort – Worts N’ All!


I’m not going to review this EP properly because although it doesn’t contain me as a band member, it does contain fellow contributor Mike as well as my other Poison Dwarf bandmate Phil. They are now part of new band Wort, and play diabolical blackened sludge/doom metal. Completing the line-up is Sanhedrin drummer Sam, who I must say takes my place in this offshoot band and puts in one hell of a shift. Their debut EP ‘Worts N’All!‘ was released recently and I unashamedly can say it rules. Four tracks of face pummelling sludge channelling the usual suspects of Black Sabbath, Bongzilla, Electric Wizard, Dragged Into Sunlight, Grief, Eyehategod and more besides. If I didn’t have obvious bias I’d give it a full review – nonetheless, tracks like ‘KDK12’ and ‘Plumplestiltskib’ absolutely slam with all their misanthropic intensity – I personally love the whole thing and ain’t ashamed to state it right here.

You can stream the whole thing below here, and the EP is available as a free download on Bandcamp. Go get it now and keep in touch with them – hopefully they’ll be playing a show near you very soon!
Peter Clegg

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/album=2896679365/size=venti/bgcol=000000/linkcol=b0b0b0/

Live Review: Black Sabbath @ O2 Academy, Birmingham, 19/05/2012

First of all I would like to highlight the predictability of this “review”, which can’t realistically be called a review, because that would imply it was an objective analysis. Attempting to write anything too derogatory about Black Sabbath might be compared to asking a devout Roman catholic to sodomize our good Pope Benedict XVI. This wouldn’t be a good example, because Black Sabbath are the creators, not an implement, secondly, I cannot vouch for the extent of sexual deviancy within the Catholic church.

After several hours of getting steadily giddier in Scruffy Murphies, (a place where a disregard for the decade leaves band t-shirts tightly tucked into denim) where the Sabbath discography was being worked through, we made our way to the O2 Academy. After being frisked and a quick bar visit it struck me that I was possibly going to have to stay in the same spot for the entire concert. The crowd were packed thick from the front to the very back and I had little hope of gaining much ground even if I coated myself in Vaseline drank away my conscience and ran screaming into these good people.

My worries about the view disappear when Ozzy’s voice screams out and an eruption of noise and raised hands is the crowd’s response. The Lord of the riff plays a rising scale and ‘Into The Void’, tears open the night. Concerns about the band’s enthusiasm or ability to play as they might have are immediately smashed. Ozzy sounds powerful and is as animated as I’ve seen him, grinning manically (possibly due to surgery) with blackened eyes, looking like an erratic jack in a box designed by Tim Burton. Tony’s flawless evil groove and biting licks are executed effortlessly, all while wearing his sun glasses and a thick leather jacket which must have been warmer than hell, his demeanour relaxed and emotionless bar the occasional telling smile. After War Pigs, Ozzy stated that people often complain about the lack of early material. The words “Black Sabbath” commence what was without a doubt the greatest part of the night. A glimpse into a part of history that created and evolved into heavy music as we know it today was possible, the intensity and raw heavy power of what Black Sabbath were in the early days electrified the atmosphere, with Geezer’s brilliant and ever changing bass lines maintaining the stomping groove throughout ‘Black Sabbath’, ‘The Wizard’, ‘NIB’ and ‘Fairies Wear Boots’.

It was during this frenzy of greatness that the androids I had situated myself amongst seemed to become increasingly disturbed by my movement, and general display of human emotion. Unequipped for dealing with this humanoid situation they began to shove and elbow me in confusion. For a brief moment, I stopped, puzzled. Tickets were hardly in abundance, this was a show for true Sabbath fans and these nerds are more concerned with me than the fucking Wizard and Lucifer! Ridden of guilt I informed them I wasn’t there to fry their circuits and ploughed through to much greener pastures (or a better view and section of the crowd).

The atmosphere had peaked and the coke fuelled uplift of ‘Tomorrow’s Dream gave way to the crushing Haze of ‘Sweet Leaf’. More early album greats came before the less predictable but very enjoyable ‘Dirty Women’. After being promised one more song if we were loud enough, very predictably, ‘Paranoid’ was played. I’ve never been sure why it’s a favourite and was a great deal more excited when they teased with the intro to ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ before playing it. The crowd explode one last time and a spectacular night is over.

It was a pleasure to see how much the band enjoyed it, with Ozzy joking amongst them, hugging Tony and calling him the Iron Man. The obvious void that Bill (Ward) left is a great shame and I’m sure he’ll feel that more than anyone. I’d be lying if I said that this put a downer on the performance in anyway, bar a “Bill”, chant that went pretty strong during a short drum solo. I’m not sure it was a very good idea to draw attention to the poor bastard sitting in (that’ll be Tommy Clufetos – PC) but he was soon rescued by the rest of the band. All in all Black Sabbath at the O2 Academy was the experience of a lifetime and one I’m honoured to have witnessed.
Michael Collins

Live Review: The Devil’s Blood @ Moho, Manchester, 17/02/2012

Due to my poor timing and the journey taking longer than planned, we managed to arrive moments after Funeral Throne finished. Now, with only candles set up around a shrine in the middle of the stage, and droning atmospheric ambience for entertainment, we waited for what seemed like a long time. The ‘scary music’ was unceasingly dribbling out of the PA system, giving a restless and cheap feeling that probably wasn’t what The Devil’s Blood intended. Not to worry, this at least gave me more opportunity to spend over three pounds a pop for cans of lager.

Eventually five very serious looking figures covered in mud, blood and adorned in tight leather pants enter the stage. The frontwoman or ‘priestess’ remains out of sight for the moment, while her brother, the creative and spiritual force behind the band, tightly harmonises and solos with the other two guitarists.

The guitarist closest to me chants to himself whilst staring directly ahead in a way that makes me think he might have seen action in ‘Nam. The Devil’s Blood haven’t ever given the impression that they do this for the love of music. Anyone who’s read up on the band will know that their objective is possibly more sinister and occult; it’s also of much less interest to me. Obviously I can’t speak for all as Ghost’s recent success has shown; there seems to be a lot of people who find it fascinating. Still, The Devil’s Blood were crazy long before Ghost started dressing up as necrotized Klan members and spouting their devil worship. The Devil’s Blood’s explanation of their agenda and belief seems cryptic and long winded, but is basically aimed at instilling rebellious behaviour, and it’s no surprise to me that they ideologically align themselves with the likes of Jon Nodviedt from Dissection, whose beliefs lead him to shoot himself instead of making another fucking album.

The band’s creation of atmosphere is the first thing to be emphasised. Songs seem to be more of a ritual than played track after track. Lengthy build ups lead into a sublime moment where songs such as ‘On the Wings of Gloria’ come in with a spine shattering bass line. This is where The Devil’s Blood’s brilliance, which is their strength of their songs, becomes apparent. The vocalist stands close to the crowd, her arms open wide, beckoning, with wild hair and shrouded in smoke. Her powerful, melodic voice slices through the mix like a razor through flesh. It would be easy for her to over indulge, yet the performance fits the band’s psychedelic rock influenced style perfectly, adding another dynamic that makes The Devil’s Blood special. Another is the bands ambiguity in terms of their musical design, their certainly black metal fans but draw just as much in their style from the likes of Fleetwood Mac amongst an array of trippy 70s rock. I find the band avoids mediocrity and distastefulness completely, even lyrically, on a subject I generally find to be arrogant and stupid. ‘The Yonder Beckons’ was certainly a highlight in the set, with the band at their most imposing, creating a powerful energy to the haunting march of the song, which gives prominence to the bands most powerful weapon which is their musical subtlety.

Unfortunately the electrical atmosphere these moments created did not last, and the band did not attempt to keep it flowing by moving on quickly. Jams inbetween and during songs were far too lengthy; there would come a point where the crowd, nodding along, would expect the start of the next song, and instead were subjected to another five minutes of solo trade-offs between guitarists. I felt sorry for the bassist having to hold onto what shred of a riff they were playing ten minutes ago. Although it would have worked in moderation, there were several point’s when I wanted them to stop fucking about and play a fucking song. It was a shame that these moments had to contrast so much with the great ones, and also with the band’s ability to write songs with none of the bullshit or ego that was displayed live. This, combined with the venues’ consistently bad sound didn’t stop the band from being an impressive, enjoyable experience and I left happy, also I’ll know at what points to go to the bar when I watch them at Hellfest.

Michael Collins

‘Kin Hell Fest @ The Well, Leeds, 13/11/2011

(Originally posted on 12/12/2011 – now with live footage!)

Ninkharsag; I have no idea what that means, but every time I saw the name on a flyer it said to me “black metal,” which I suppose is helpful. Deeply rooted in the early days, this band would probably make those who use the words ‘kvlt’ and ‘trve’ do something sticky in their pants if they weren’t all miserable cunts and actually went to gigs.

The temperature of The Well is lowered as the grim hypnotic riffs flow between rolling drum fills and dark melodies. Ninkharsag have the same trance inducing quality to their music that Burzum have although they don’t follow in the same minimalist vein. They don’t compromise the song for the sake of speed, and the drums often emphasize the groove of a riff giving more weight to the track than endless shred/blast, although there is plenty of that to go around. I felt that the vocals didn’t quite match the power that the rest of the band created but Ninkharsag basically sound how black metal should do, evil as fuck. I was in fact so impressed, the urge to maniacally crab walk around screaming came over me. Unfortunately the ratio of beer to hangover was so far to the latter that by doing this I’d probably have fallen over and died. One black metal lunatic was completely overcome by the performance, he immediately set off out outside and set fire to a pile of leaves. Not quite a church but still.


Colonel Blast
bring death metal but not as you’re used to. There’s a lot of shredding and build up riffs to big moments that sound like some sort of post death metal pinnacle, uplifting rather than minor orientated. Amongst these moments there’s moody acoustic dynamics that are eventually savaged by all out death metal, jittering riffs and gruesome vocals delivered by a front man who gesticulated wildly, throwing punches around his unaware band mates, and at several points I feared for the safety of the bassist. There’s often a feeling of moving over several different types atmosphere within one song, all surrounding one moment of sheer power to follow these disjointed parts. Colonel Blast have defined death metal their own way, and it sounds good.

Oblivionized push the boundaries of the term tech death, the speed and ability of the musicians is incomprehensible to me. The complete insanity of what’s going on is probably a little lost in a live show and I won’t pretend that I knew what was going on most of the time, apart from the drums being ridiculously fast. If you like your death metal as intense as possible and have bionic hands, then these guys would be right up your street, or you could combine a CD with strobe lighting and have a useful tool for extracting information from a prisoner of war. I honestly can’t get into what’s happening and the only appropriate action I can think of while listening to Oblivionized, would be to internally combust or lose my mind. The vocalist also adds a strange style of chaos to the noise. Chaos however is what the band are obviously going for and they do achieve it.

The Atrocity Exhibit were up next and they bring on the filth; an unmistakable gravel like tone slaps you in the face and bastardized punk riffs give you that feeling in your gut that only something so brilliantly rotten can achieve. With the same kind of energy that Magrudergrind or Napalm Death can supply, the Atrocity Exhibit make me want to destroy everything in a grind induced frenzy and generally spaz out. The riffs are simplistic nasty, and seldom without massive groove. Obviously dedicated fans of all styles disgusting, the groove sometimes slows up into a sludged out stomp along, while piercing, abrasive screams tap into the feeling perfectly. Amongst the best underground grind bands in the UK, raw as hell and ferocious.

 

Foetal Juice bludgeon the energetic and appreciative crowd with fantastically sickening death and grind. I however, am sick of talking about the dodgy cunts so that’ll do. (Look at the Cannabis Corpse gig for more on these).


In a welcome change of pace, Wizard’s Beard appear to crush you like some sort of malevolent steam roller, assuming you didn’t have legs and couldn’t escape. The band drops into a disgustingly grim and droning start, each note pulling you further into some kind of sonic nightmare. Screams and shrieks punctuate howling feedback and fill the space between notes. As the tempo increases (not too much) the crowd are drawn in by planet shifting noise. The band are an interesting mix of droning depression and groove laden, schizophrenic blues. The groovier parts have an Iron Monkey type vibe to them, which is even more apparent with the similar all out throat ripping vocal style. While some parts of the set definitely stood out over others, the band has a distinct sound and can be crushingly heavy. One sinister and freakish crowd member of the crowd known as “Professor Big Bulge” described them as “swamp sludge, slow, heavy and powerful”. To be honest, that sums them up.

The band Diascorium is a violent attack on the idea of traditional song writing, and the musical equivalent of Mental illness. Insane sweeps are followed with slamming down beat brutality and a melodic interlude can descend into a complete cacophony within seconds, all while guttural/shrieking vocals perforate your ears. What surprises me about Diascorium is there one of the few bands I’ve seen that really make this work. The changes aren’t whimsical and work for and compliment the whole song. While it would be easy to watch them and focus on how impressive the musicianship is, it isn’t a regurgitated gimmick. There’s was plenty of crackin’ normal paced riffage and even the odd doomy bit to mix it up. One great thing about this was if something’s not to your taste in a track, you can guarantee there’s something in the pipeline that you will appreciate. This made them a fantastic band to watch live and they were certainly appreciated on the night.
 

Hangover defeated, I now faced a new challenge, which was staying upright and functioning with a great deal of beer and some very questionable local chicken inside of me while watching The Afternoon Gentlemen. The realisation that I couldn’t deal with the crowd at this point in time came as I first hit the deck, deciding to retreat towards the back and observe from afar. The Afternoon Gents bring awesomely psychotic violence in the form of music. Shredded vocal chords shout and screech in a constant barrage while relentless snappy punk and grind riffs create a whirlwind of flying bodies at the front of The Well. The bass crunches solo, with fuzz injected twang intermittently preparing you for the next bout of furiosity. The pace doesn’t let up but it doesn’t get boring; it’s kept fresh with stabs of sheer aggression and shredding followed by groove and power that keep the crowd moving.

 

The band are also pioneers of their self-coined genre ‘Power Joogle Pogger Violence’ which is their well practised art of running whilst playing with the retro toy known as “pogs”, and being angry at the same time.

I always though pirates were about disease, alcoholism and being sodomised but Skull Branded Pirates sound like they know otherwise. Power metal and melodic wizardry forms itself in tales of adventure from the seven seas. Good drinking music and a lot of fun if you’re not a cynical wanker (I am).

The drum kit has been moved from the middle of the stage and now sits amongst a captured audience, who are gathered in a circle focusing intently on two individuals in the centre. From the back of the room you can see no band, and the scene looks like a weird pagan ceremony’s under way, having said that, if I was at some sort of ritual of the earth and universe, I’d want Khudaplaying as well. It must be almost impossible to define this band with a few words and without mind expanding substances but here goes. A great deal of their sound seems to be influenced by post rock, looping, layering and building up to a sound that should be orchestrated by the big bang itself. Post rock however, wouldn’t exactly be a fully accurate description, a great deal of foreign rhythms and styles present themselves, some of which sound Baltic, yet these are still only part of a complex tapestry of sound. Many of the climatic moments do fit the post rock label but there’s no certainty as to how things will go. Psychedelic acoustic twangs ring out in slow spacey moments that build up to die out or explode with energy and percussive power.

A very interesting and dare I say original band that stole the day for me as I know they did for many others. As if Leeds shat this golden nugget out.
Astrohengebring the ‘omni metal’, which I’ve never heard before, but quickly decide is fairly odd. They give me the feeling of being chased around a dodgy fairground haunted house by Papa Lazarou, a scenario in which their music certainly fits. The instrumental four-piece have people stomping about the front with an odd combination of synth-fuelled riffs. There’s plenty of E-string thrashing amongst the groove and general anxiety inducing sounds. Astrohenge remind me slightly of Fantomas, but more riff focused.

The crowd that are watching Ingested don’t tell anything of the mixed feelings I’ve listened to through out the day. It’s easy to see why they’ve have gained popularity when watching live; they’re heavy and you know there’s going to be more than several points when you can stomp around pushing each other, or do that weird breakdown dance that makes me uncomfortable. I find parts of the set generic, predictable and very familiar, but there’s also quality death metal in there, plenty of fierce rhythms and some catchy riffs. Ingested have a formula and it works for those watching tonight, many of whom aren’t actually wearing New York caps and Ed Hardy t shirts!
 

‘Kin Hell Fest was a really fucking good day thanks to an awesome selection of bands

and a great atmosphere. It was also however, a very messy time, so the bands aren’t in the order they played, probably. Thanks a lot to Paul Priest and whoever else helped organise what was one of the best underground all dayers I’ve been to. Cheers to Jez Walshaw of Monster Riffage for the footage. Apologies to Decayed Messiah, who I unfortunately missed.
Bring on the next one!
Michael Collins

Live Review: Melvins @ The Irish Centre, Leeds, 02/11/2011

 
At around 9 o’clock in Leeds at the Irish Centre, the stage, which the crowd have been loitering around drinking for a fair while now due to lack of support bands, is invaded by 4 weird looking fuckers. The one with a guitar appears to have a neck-warmer on below a huge fuzz of hair, and an odd throw with multi-coloured horses under a black silk robe of some sort. Next to him are two drum kits which are now occupied, one of the percussionists sporting what looks like half a gimp suit, his fellow stick wielder, the only one that wouldn’t stand out in a crowd. To the right of the kits, more spherical hair nearly makes the stage look like a mirror image.

If you don’t know who Im talking about yet, I’m surprised you’ve gotten this far. The band of course are the Melvins. Howling feedback and huge noises come from Buzz Osbourne while perfectly synchronized beats that are almost tribal with earth shattering toms demand the attention of everything in what must be a mile vicinity.
After a few unhinged minutes of child-frightening noise, the riffs are flowing and the beats thunderous. Its easy to see why the Melvins have the reputation they do; the live intensity of the band is certainly formidable and I can’t see that they could have anything but improved and honed this very distinct sound over the years.

There’s nothing predictable about the performance, riffs that have the speed of a crippled sloth and the size of a universe suck you into hypnotic daze and the next moment you’l be subjected to a surreal chanting session between Buzz and Jared or a chorus that hooks faster than the finest Peruvian. Old songs such as ‘Lizzy’ are played with new energy and some alterations, and sound a little more like something from the bands newer material. They do lose a little of the raw sludge feel that they had, but gain power, focus and of course quirkyness.

A variety of old and new kept the set interesting, with a good few from ‘Nude with Boots‘ being played (im aware that this isn’t their newest album but it’s the latest I have, fuck off.) alongside the likes of ‘A History of Bad Men’. They played for around 90 minutes which makes many bands, especially for people of my concentration level, become dull. The Melvins did not. The hour and a half would have actually flown by had it not been for the fact that we had come to realise that this ‘Irish Bar’ was, in fact, a giant oven. “No wonder I’ve never seen a band here before, everyone that comes here is cooked alive”, I would’ve thought had my brain not been boiling.
Despite the temperature, there was a great atmosphere and everyone seemed to be having a good time (or most), which makes a change from the majority of metal gigs I attend where a significant amount of people seem to be having a ‘how angry can I appear’ competition, and the rare sight of a female attracts the rapist stare. One particularly warm moment for the crowd was watching a very drunk man of the latter description failing to start fights and falling over every two minutes, nothing better for the soul than someone else making massive tit of themselves.
The Melvins finished on an odd note, which is predictable really. However, far from feeling cheated by the lack of a proper last song, I still feel the need to stress the band’s greatness live. You really wouldn’t even have to be a fan to appreciate them being on their own (though you should probably check you like em). Considering the volume of material they’ve got it probably won’t make much difference if you’ve heard the band anyway.
Michael Collins

Sanhedrin – And On Into the Eternal Nether…Of Forgotten and Stricken Souls

Sanhedrin
And On Into the Eternal Nether…Of Forgotten and Stricken Souls
Self-released
Black/death metallers Sanhedrin are a four piece hailing from the true founding grounds of grimness and evil, Hvddersfield, spouting their second blasphemous offering forth to corrupt the ears of you poor bastards, and for free no less!
Minor notes from an acoustic guitar ring out maliciously, as ‘And On Into The Eternal Nether…’ begins, and roll across a bleak wasteland, snow capped mountains, thick forestry or whatever your own custom black metal landscape includes. The haunting acoustic is in the company of the black metal spoken (or near enough) word, which saves itself by being fairly short in duration, leaving the atmosphere intact. The section thankfully sounds more like a sequence of devilish noises than a monologue which could have gotten dangerously queer.

An unexpected twist in this first track takes place when the guitar; strumming instead of the hypnotic prelude quickens, sounding like a Mexican classical guitarist possessed by Jon Nodtviedt and Chuck Schuldiner combined. The track at this point does have a “voice of the soul” feel, with some good fretwork working around the acoustic. I was surprised to learn that the solos on the EP are improvised, they sound like they’ve been thoughtfully written out, and at no point did I think “when will this egotistical wanker shut up?
The second and main track on the EP, (‘…Of Forgotten and Stricken Souls’) is an epic 12 minute integration of Black, melodic and death metal. Immediately, as the first riff comes in, it’s apparent that there are strong influences of early melodic death such as at the gates, with vocals reminiscent of Tomas Lindberg in their savage delivery. Although it pulls from a few different styles, the song fits and flows well. The freedom to explore within the song is helped due to the length of the track which lets it come together. It’s not easy to span such a length of time within a song without sounding pretentious of potentially boring the shit out your audience by trying to do too much and sounding pretentious, which thankfully isn’t the case.
What appeals to me most about ‘…Of Forgotten and Stricken Souls’ is that in parts there’s that “epic” (I hate that word these days) feeling that Dissection were the masters of, a kind of positive energy in black metal. Sanhedrin achieve this by using harmonies and simple major riffs to break up the faster paced sections with darker riffing. Just as you’re sitting back and contemplating this change, you’re kicked viciously in the balls by a stomping death metal section with a powerful vocal rhythm, a violent crackhead clown at one of Gaahl’s wine tasting evenings.  Once again there’s some tasty guitar work thrown into the mix towards the end of the track, with a memorable alternating ring out that would send Dark Funeral running in fear for the musty caverns of Satan’s colon.
The EP ends with a classical piano piece ‘Leviathan Restrained’ by vocalist Reece Holloway. The piece has a gothic feel to it, but doesn’t really have the depressing feeling you might associate with it. In a similar way to the previous track the song manages to sound cold but positive, cleverly using major chords placed amongst the other haunting notes. The track is an interesting idea, though I only would’ve found it more appropriate after a few heavier tracks, the title song being the only track that gives you a full idea of what the band are about.
And On Into the Eternal Nether…Of Forgotten and Stricken Souls’ is a solid EP that seems to have more ambition than many releases from bands fighting to establish their good name. Sanhedrin have no shortage of ideas or good riffs and a noticeable difference in style since their debut album would suggest that the band are defining their sound or exploring ideas, either way, there’s a lot of potential for things to come. The lack of pretence in Sanhedrin is a good thing, which is why I have a bit of an issue with the lyrics, which slot nicely into one of black metal’s many clichés, the anti religion routine.
Not a personal jibe at Sanhedrin, but when the fuck was the last time you felt oppressed by Christianity?  People should understand the hypocrisy of denouncing religion whilst stating what people should and shouldn’t believe themselves. It isn’t relevant to us, and it’s an issue that bands love to regurgitate, especially in black metal. Why not talk about something relevant to our society? Sanhedrin, for example, are from Huddersfield, where depravity lurks behind every corner, plenty of scope for grim lyrics.
Anyhow, if you fancy a slice of some quality, aggression-fuelled black/melodic death metal pie, get yourself onto Sanhedrin’s Facebook page for the download link. As I said, it’s fucking free so why not be super cool underground and get on it now eh?
Michael Collins
Download ‘On Into the Eternal Nether…Of Forgotten and Stricken Souls’ either via their Facebook page, or alternatively, via their Bandcamp page

Muchas gracias!

Just a quick shout out and a massive thank you to anyone who’s viewed the site lately. Interest in the site spiked overnight when Catharsis PR retweeted Mike’s review of the recent Cannabis Corpse show. We’re really grateful for the extra exposure. It was nice to log in this morning and see the hits it generated.

We’ve excelled over 2,000 unique views for the site since it launched in May. It doesn’t seem like a lot but it’s a big deal for us. Thank you to anyone who’s visited, read the articles, left a comment, submitted anything for reviews, and to anyone who’s put stuff our way so far in general.

Laura’s going to drop any time now, so that break will no doubt be coming soon. I’ll hopefully have some stuff lined up to tide over the lull in activity.

Once again, cheers everyone! Keep visiting We Must Obey, and let us know if you think there’s any improvements you think we could make, or if there’s anything in particular you want to see – hit the Contact tab. And yes, we’ll get round to a logo. Eventually.

Peter Clegg